Longtime assistant and youth coach takes over after year with Southridge

by: MATTHEW SINGLEDECKER - Joe Monahan led Southridge to the state semifinals last spring. He now takes over at West Linn where he served as an assistant for nine years. He is also the former president of the West Linn Youth Baseball Association.When Joe Monahan took over the baseball program at Southridge High School last year, he envisioned a long tenure with the Skyhawks, one that saw him turning them into a state powerhouse. But it just happened that the one job in the state that could ever pull him away opened up this summer.

Monahan has been one of the most involved people with West Linn's baseball program over the past two decades.

He has lived in the community for 21 years and has been with the youth program for 15 years, also serving as the West Linn Youth Baseball Association's president.

Somewhat unexpectedly, the head coaching job with the Lions opened up again this year when Kevin Mills stepped aside to fill the athletic director vacancy after two years as varsity baseball coach.

It was an opportunity that Monahan couldn't pass up.

“Truly this was the only job I'd ever even think about taking. It's one of those that you dream of. I'd like to end my high school coaching career here,” Monahan said.

Monahan was an assistant for the varsity team for nine years before moving on to assist in building up the program at Horizon Christian High School, helping lead the team to a state title.

He took over Southridge's head coaching job last year and had immediate success. The Skyhawks went on an impressive postseason run, advancing all the way to the state semifinals.

“It was a tough situation because I was hired in November and hadn't seen any of the players before," Monahan said.

It was not easy to leave Southridge after just one year.

“It's definitely bittersweet. It's tough to leave after just one year, but this is where my heart is,” Monahan said.

Now Monahan is returning home and aspires to rebuild West Linn into a state powerhouse once again.

Continuing to work with and build up the youth program is a high priority for Monahan.

“I want to be very visible in the community and at the youth level,” Monahan said.

He inherits a program that has fallen off somewhat in recent years but one that is still inundated with young talent.

“I'm definitely familiar with a lot of the guys coming back. They have a lot of young talent and played in a lot of close games last year,” Monahan said.

Monahan will focus on teaching fundamentals but also on his players as individuals.

“We want to focus on doing things the right way and that starts with building up the student athlete. That comes first,” Monahan said.

Ulimately, Monahan hopes to return West Linn to its status as one of the top teams in the highly competitive Three Rivers League and as a state contender year in and year out.

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