Published: Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 12:01 a.m.
Marysville Getchell High School's first head football coach is no stranger to Snohomish County playing fields.
Davis Lura, the man hired to shape the new football program at Snohomish County's newest high school, grew up playing sports in this area and maintains a wide network of connections with other local coaches.
A 1993 graduate of Stanwood High, Lura was a standout wide receiver and defensive back for the Spartans under then-head coach Tom Boehme. Lura went on to play football at Central Washington University, where he won an NAIA Division II co-national championship alongside quarterback Jon Kitna in 1995.
Since then, Lura has coached at the college and high school levels, including a four-year stint as an assistant at Mountlake Terrace High and a three-year run as a Ballard High assistant.
The past four seasons, from 2007-2010, Lura was head coach at West Seattle High School. He guided West Seattle to a 23-18 record, including a Metro League Sound Division title and a Class 3A state playoff appearance in 2008. It was just the second state trip in the program's history.
After spending the past seven years in the Seattle area, Lura yearned to return to his roots.
"When Marysville Getchell opened up, I thought it would be a great opportunity to be the first head coach there," Lura said.
He got his wish. In addition to being closer to where he grew up in Stanwood, Lura is back in the Marysville School District. He once was a student teacher at Marysville Pilchuck High.
At Marysville Getchell, which opened a year ago but will field its first varsity teams in 2011-2012, the community has been very supportive of the new football program, Lura said.
"There's been a buzz in the air. I couldn't be more pleased with what's going on," he said.
Marysville Getchell's spring and summer football sessions were encouraging, Lura said.
"I was very pleased. We had 110 (student-athletes) signed up, and by the end of spring ball we had about 80 kids. That was the first time we got to teach them."
About 65 to 70 players consistently worked out in the school's weight room during the summer, and around that many were participating through the first week of fall practices.
Last week, as the Chargers prepared for the first game in program history, Lura reflected on how much his inexperienced squad has progressed.
"You can see a big difference from the first time we worked with them. You can really see the improvement," said Lura, who installed an offense that incorporates spread and Wildcat formations -- vastly different than Marysville Pilchuck's three-running back, ground-centered attack.
Coach Lura is about to see how his players' preparation translates to a game. Marysville Getchell kicks off its inaugural season with a non-conference contest against Lindbergh at 7 p.m. Thursday at Renton Memorial Stadium. A member of the nine-team Western Conference 3A, Marysville Getchell begins league action Sept. 9 against Meadowdale.
Will Marysville Getchell have immediate success in the Wesco 3A, like Glacier Peak did when its football program debuted in 2008? That is a tall order, but several local coaches who know Lura said it's only a matter of time before the Chargers are consistently competitive.
"He's going to bring enthusiasm. That's the number one thing. He's excited about the job and the ability to start something," Jackson offensive coordinator Alex Barashkoff said.
Barashkoff used to be the head coach at Mountlake Terrace and Ballard. Lura was on Barashkoff's coaching staff at both schools and for several seasons was in charge of the offense.
"He was a great offensive coordinator and he really knew how to throw the ball well," Barashkoff said. "He was known for the air attack."
Current Mountlake Terrace head coach Tony Umayam and Lura have been friends since they were both assistants on the Hawks staff. Shortly before Lura was hired at Marysville Getchell, Umayam asked Lura if he wanted to be Mountlake Terrace's new offensive coordinator. But Lura eventually accepted the head coaching gig.
So instead of teaming up, the pals will go head to head in the Wesco 3A. Marysville Getchell has a home game -- its first ever -- against Mountlake Terrace in Week 3 at Quil Ceda Stadium.
Umayam expects Marysville Getchell to be well-prepared.
"There'll be a certain attention to detail (and) you know the players that go through the program there are going to be well-coached," Umayam said.
"Once the level of athlete -- if it's not already there -- gets to a certain level, they're going to be a pretty tough team to beat," Umayam added, "especially if (Lura) has a lot of the same guys that have been making the Marysville Pilchuck program successful."
This season, Lura isn't necessarily looking at victories as the benchmark for success. He is more concerned with big-picture goals, like developing traditions and team-wide dedication.
"We're just trying to establish a first-class program," he said, "and we're just happy to be playing."