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Homegrown coach takes field at Banks High

Hometown boy makes good.

We’ve all heard that story before, but in the case of first-year Banks High School head football coach Cole Linehan, this “Banks Guy” is living it. NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Banks native and ex-Oregon Duck defensive lineman Cole Linehan prepares for his inaugural season as head Banks football coach by coaching up future players at a youth camp at Banks High School.

Linehan was born and raised in a football family. His father famously coached it at the high school level in Oregon, his uncle has and presently coaches it at the NFL level and his older brother Josh coaches it in Pendleton. It was only natural Linehan would coach it as well. So when the 4A school of nearly 400 kids came calling, it wasn’t a tough decision.

“I love this place. I love this community,” Linehan said. “I only want to see it be successful.”

Linehan played at Banks and played defensive line for the Oregon Ducks from 2004-09. He spent last season working as defensive coordinator under legendary Banks coach Ben Buchanan — who retired after nearly two decades at the helm — and prior to that had assistant stints at Astoria, Jewel and most recently Hillsboro High School, where he coached the defensive line.

But it’s Banks that’s home, and Linehan is excited about his new endeavor.

“Ben built a great program here,” Linehan said. “I like a lot of the things they’ve always done here, and look forward to carrying on much of that tradition.”

Linehan also looks forward to contributing what he’s learned both on and off the field from his time at the University of Oregon, under Mike Bellotti — and from his previous coaching stints. He knows there’s value in experience, and believes his experience in all his previous stops willNEWS-TIMES PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - First year varsity football coach Cole Linehan provides encouragement to a couple local kids during the Little Guy Youth Camp in Banks.

help on the sidelines at Banks.

“It’s actually nice that I didn’t just go from playing at Oregon to this position at Banks. Then it would’ve been like playing here, playing at Oregon, then back to here,” Linehan said. “I got to see how they do it in Astoria, at Jewel and then at Hilhi. I’ve learned a lot.”

And not just on the field —Linehan understands the value of offseason work and has brought that same philosophy to the program at Banks.

“I open the weight room every morning, and turnout has been growing,” said Linehan. “The kids have bought in. They’ve always worked hard, but they’re really buying in.”

Banks has seen roughly 50 kids show up for summer workouts, and they “really got after it,” Linehan said, adding that now they’re feeling the workouts, are in better shape because of them and are seeing the benefits of their hard work.

As a player, Cole walked the walk. But as a coach, he knows it’s that “walking” that allows him to talk the talk.

“I would never tell a kid to do something I haven’t done. And I’ve done it to the extreme,” he said. “I learned that from strength and conditioning coach Jim Radcliffe at Oregon. He asked us to do crazy stuff sometimes, but he’d always do it with us — and we respected him for that.”