New hire expected to take Pioneers to playoffs

After less than two years at the helm of the Pioneers football team, Sandy High School has fired head coach Todd Quinsey.

'He is a kind, caring man and is well-respected by athletes, the administration and the community,' Sandy Athletic Director Courtney Murphy said, 'but we just feel that there is an opportunity to move in a different direction.'

Murphy noted that although Quinsey had been released two weeks ago, the decision was made prior.

'There were still inquiries to be made and strategic plans to be done before the announcement,' Murphy said. 'This was not one person's decision; it was a group decision to make a change.'

Quinsey, who was hired in June 2006 by a previous school administration, compiled a 3-15 record in two years. He said the timing of his firing puzzles him.

'I am shocked and surprised,' Quinsey said. 'If there was going to be a change, I thought it would be in November or December. Once I got past my year evaluation in January, I thought everything was ready for next season.'

Quinsey said he was working with athletes and preparing for spring workouts. He was encouraged by the fact that many students were already attending voluntary workouts.

'The kids were excited and had been lifting before school, and everyone really seemed on board with our program,' Quinsey said. 'We also had started a football-only booster club which had helped make a big difference in support.'

Quinsey's staff of assistants also was fired, but have the opportunity to apply for any openings once a new coach takes over.

'I have gotten a lot of support from the kids, parents and community over the two years, and I will miss them,' he said.

Reaction from football players has been universal.

'The timing was horrible and I don't think (the administrators) and athletic director know what they are doing,' Sandy senior offensive lineman Will Terada said. 'I loved Quinsey and I am glad my last year was with him and this coaching staff. I just wished the younger guys could have learned from them as well.'

Sandy senior captain Eric Anderson agrees with Terada.

'It wasn't made known to the players why they were making the change, and I think the players should have had some influence,' Anderson said. 'I'm glad I finished my last year with Coach Quinsey.'

Murphy said she has begun the process to find a new coach.

'I am spending a lot of time recruiting quality candidates and looking at the best candidates in the state of Oregon,' she said. 'I want someone that has been successful somewhere and built a program into a winning tradition.'

The athletic director said she is focusing on recruitment and has communicated with many interested individuals.

'I have three candidates who called me and about five that I have talked to about the opening here,' Murphy said.

Murphy said her criteria for her search is being based on West Salem High School football. In six years, that school built a completely new program into a powerhouse.

Murphy said she has one goal for whomever she hires as head coach.

'The measuring stick is they need to win enough games in the first year to get us in the playoffs,' Murphy said. 'In this conference, five teams go to the playoffs. I don't want low expectations for our new coach.'

Coaches are required to apply for teaching jobs within the Oregon Trail School District, and one such job is expected to be posted sometime this month.

'I would like to have a coach in place as soon as possible,' Murphy said. 'Two weeks after (a) teaching job is posted, I want to start interviewing all perspective candidates.'

Quinsey said while he disagrees with Sandy High's decision, he hopes people aren't setting the athletes up for failure.

'I respect (Principal Brian) Heinze and Murphy's decision, but I think the program was headed in the right direction,' he said. 'I just hope at this school they are not only judging on wins and losses, because there has been so much improvement in these kids.'

Sandy was hit hard by injuries last season and had students that started the season on junior varsity playing quality minutes each game.

'Injuries killed us last season, but these kids never quit,' Quinsey said. 'We were making progress, and it was showing.'

Quinsey, also an English teacher at Sandy, said he is looking for opportunities elsewhere.

'I plan on looking for teaching jobs and an assistant coaching job somewhere,' he said. 'I've been a head football coach for five years and before that seven years as a girls basketball coach, so I don't need a head coaching job.'

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