Sports

Redmond football coach Pluschke resigns

Redmond High football coach Mike Pluschke recently announced his resignation after six seasons with the Mustangs, citing that he has not achieved his goals for the program. - Bill Christianson, Redmond Reporter
Redmond High football coach Mike Pluschke recently announced his resignation after six seasons with the Mustangs, citing that he has not achieved his goals for the program.
— image credit: Bill Christianson, Redmond Reporter

Six years ago when Mike Pluschke returned to his alma mater and took over the Redmond High School football program, he established a set of lofty goals for himself during his tenure at the helm.

As the years wore on, the rigors of maintaining an unestablished program in the toughest football conference in the state, 4A Kingco, simply became too overwhelming. After going 5-13 combined for the last two seasons, Pluschke decided to resign Tuesday night, according to a press release from the Redmond High Athletic Department.

"I wanted to make our football program at Redmond one of the strongest and most feared in the conference and in the state," said Pluschke on his original goal. "I felt like after six years I’ve had my shot and it was time for me to step aside and let someone bring a new breath of energy and a different perspective to motivate the kids of this great school."

In his six seasons, Pluschke complied a 23-32 record while having two winning seasons and one playoff appearance in 2006, when the Mustangs lost to third-ranked Tahoma in the first round.

NUMBER CRUNCHING

Compared to the football dynasties of Bothell and Skyline, which both had over 100 kids turn out on the first day of practice this season, the struggling Mustangs have been embattled with injuries and low turnout numbers during Pluschke's tenure, making it very difficult to stay competitive.

"Depth was an issue," Pluschke said. "When you’re trying to keep kids healthy, create competition in practice, those types of things, those are always difficult obstacles when you’re facing teams that have the luxury of 100, 120 kids out."

Pluschke, who left what he called a "great job" at Juanita for his current position at Redmond, said he made sure to resign at Redmond for the right reasons.

"I never planned on stepping aside, but I just felt like if I truly loved this school as much as I do... I needed to do what was in the best interest of the program," he explained. "Right now, we’ve had two seasons in a row that we truly haven’t been excited about ... it was probably the smart thing to do for the sake of the students, the athletes and the community."

FAMILY MAN

Pluschke, a 1990 Redmond High graduate who teaches Physical Education and Health at Redmond, admitted that his love for the game of football is too strong to stay away from coaching for long. But being the father of two young kids, ages 6 and 8, who attend Horace Mann Elementary, he has his priorities in place.

"There are casualties anytime a family man is a head coach in high school football, and they tend to be the children that he has," Pluschke noted. "I need to make sure that I’m giving them their fair due and talk to them about what they want out of me in the next few years. If those directions coincide, I think coaching will be in my future again."

In the meanwhile, the 37-year-old will remain a fixture in the classroom, and hopefully watch the program that he led through tough times blossom into a perennial playoff contender.

"I’m an educator first, and that’s one of the things I’m most proud of. I provided, over my six years of tenure there, a total encompassing extracurricular activity for young men to grow into their young adulthood, and allow them to make decisions, understand consequences, and grow from those decisions," Pluschke said. "The true extent of my production at Redmond will be seen after the players I worked with are grown, have their own children, and have made those life decisions that happen over the course of time."

Interested candidates for the head coaching position at Redmond should contact RHS athletic director John Appelgate at 425-498-7142 or jappelgate@lwsd.org.

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A walk down memory lane with Mike Pluschke

Q: What is your fondest memory of your six years coaching at Redmond?

A: There are two that are tied. The Eastlake win of this year was the epitome of team football, and a complete team win. That was the best win in my six years. Another was back in 2006 when our team was 2-3 coming out of the first five games and we ran the table to go four-in-a-row to make the playoffs and play the No. 3-ranked team in the state, Tahoma. It was a monumental game that we had an opportunity to win with a minute and 30 seconds left.

And players that I’ve had the opportunity to be around like Trevor Guyton, Colin Porter, David Gilbertson, Cameron Sandquist, John Martino, Longwone Mitz, Jabari Mu’ied ... just some truly talented kids that I’ve had the opportunity to be around. I’ll always remember those guys.

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