Football coach pens letter to Oregonian editor ripping rival school's controversial hire

Ben Rohrbach
May 1, 2014
Tom Smythe (left) and his coaching successor Chad Carlson (right) address the Lake Oswego (Ore.) Lakeridge High football team. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian)

In April, we brought you the tale of the Lake Oswego (Ore.) Lakeridge High football team that devolved into "the most undisciplined football team in the history of the game." Since then, it's only gotten worse.

How could it possibly have gotten worse in an offseason that already featured a $2,500 fine and four years of probation levied on a program the Oregon School Activities Association described as one with "a significant lack of institutional control" following a fall that featured 15 penalties per game?

Well, the Lakeridge administration started by replacing Chad Carlson, who allegedly usurped the program from legendary coach Tom Smythe, with vice principal John Parke, who according to The Oregonian hasn't coached in more than 20 years and pled guilty to driving under the influence in 2009.

Parke's first order of business? Reportedly offering Chad Carlson, who received much of the blame for his team's 41 personal fouls and 21 unsportsmanlike whistles last season, an assistant coach position.

Needless to say, many in the community are outraged, including Oregonian columnist John Canzano, who penned a piece entitled, "Go fish, Lakeridge High — your football hire is a slap in the face." And the drama compelled Beaverton coach Bob Boyer to pen a scathing letter to The Oregonian's editors.

Over the past year, the Lakeridge HS football program has done more to negate our work than any other element in our football community. It was obvious to so many in the Oregon football family that what was, and continues to be happening, in the Lakeridge football program, is a travesty to our sport and those who work to improve it. The culture that Lakeridge coach Chad Carlson brought to that program is not only an embarrassment to coaches around the state but an amazing example of a "win at any cost" belief the Lakeridge High School administration and community has embraced and continues to throw in the faces of the OSAA and football enthusiasts around the state. The style of play Lakeridge has endorsed has set our efforts as coaches, as educators, back decades.

Boyer went on to question the hiring of Parke and rehiring of Carlson, ripping Lakeridge superintendent Bill Korach, principal Jennifer Schiele and athletic director Ian Lamont in the process. "Collectively this administration has placed a black mark on the face of high school football," he wrote.

Instead of doing the right thing, the powers that be have laughed in our faces and demonstrated the lack of respect for the school, community but most of all the players in this irresponsible, misguided decision. How can this happen? Lakeridge has placed winning above the players and what your program represents. You admonished this coach, and then put him back on a pillar? AD Lamont, where were you during the past season? How did you not know what was going on or why these coaches were not certified properly, and how do you justify rehiring a coach who was the force behind this embarrassment? Where are your institutional controls? How do you keep your job?

Those are strong words from an acting high school football coach about a rival school — ones you would rarely see voluntarily sent to a state's largest newspaper — and yet it's difficult to argue Boyer's point.