The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Doug Peargin, Steve Thorpe win state Coach of the Year honors


June 13, 2017

DOUG PEARGIN holds the state swimming championship trophies won by his boys and girls teams this season.

Two Sweet Home coaches have been named Coach of the Year in their sports by the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association.

Sweet Home swimming Coach Doug Peargin has been named the sport’s 4A/3A/2A/1A Coach of the Year, and wrestling Coach Steve Thorpe was named the 4A Coach of the Year.

The awards were presented at a ceremony at Autzen Stadium in Eugene on May 20.

Peargin completed his 50th year of coaching in February, the last 42 at Sweet Home, with the school’s first-ever double state championship – boys and girls team titles. His teams have averaged at least one top-four state trophy per year for the last 16 years.

The double championship was the second time any school in the small schools division has won both the boys and girls titles in the same year, the last being current 5A Division Sherwood in 2005 and 2006.

The boys team title was Peargin’s and Sweet Home’s fourth, and the girls title was the second, after the Huskies won their first-ever girls championship last year.

The OACA award was Peargin’s fourth. He also has been the national Coach of the Year once, in 2012.

This one was special.

“Even though I had tremendous athletes this year, they have to believe in what you’re doing,” Peargin said. “You can have the best athletes and not even be in the top five.

“The boys, they had to be perfect. There could not be one mistake.”

OACA Executive Director Rob Younger, former football coach at Sweet Home, said the highlight of the banquet, for him, was handing out the awards to Peargin, Thorpe and Section 8 Cheer Coach of the Year Amber Rosa, all of Sweet Home.

Younger has known Peargin for decades.

“I’ve never seen anybody as good as Doug, who is able to peak athletes like he can,” he said.

He noted that Peargin actually received two awards, one for Coach of the Year and the other for 50 years of service to the profession.

“That’s just a highlight of our banquet, when we are able to award someone 45 or 50 years. In his case, 43 of those 50 have been to Sweet Home.

“When I introduced him, I talked about him. Year in and year out, Doug’s the same. It wouldn’t matter if his team were going to be boys or girls champions, or if they would struggle to win the district championship. He coaches them all the same.”

Peargin said his swimmers had to buy in.

“I was really happy that the kids took on the state of mind and put the time in, and if they swam a perfect race, they’d have a shot. That’s all they wanted.

“We had more talent in the gals,” Peargin said. “We won seven of the 11 events at state. That’s unheard of.

“I couldn’t be happier. I’m proud to be part of a crew of kids like that, willing to work that hard and make something of themselves.”

Thorpe received the 4A award for the third time after winning his fifth state title.

“I’m honored to get that award from my peers, of course, but there’s a whole lot of people who go into making that award happen,” he said. “I work hard, but I do not forget that this is a big-picture thing involving a lot of people.

“I do a lot of things to be successful. I have big expectations for the kids. It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s not just me. There’s a lot of guys in the program, a lot of coaches, a lot of wrestlers who do things for me.”

Younger noted that he actually had Thorpe as a student and was activities director at the high school when Thorpe was student body president.

“To see him come back to his alma mater and see his success in wrestling, that’s just a credit to him,” Younger said. “He could go anywhere, to a larger school. But he’s chosen to make Sweet Home his home. I just respect that about him. He’s created a positive experience for these young kids. He’s a real attribute to the community.”


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