EHS football

Ellensburg High School head football coach Randy Affholter, seen here in a game in 2017, has accepted the position as head football coach at Kennewick High School.

Randy Affholter has been around Ellensburg High School for quite sometime — 22 years to be exact — as head football coach and teacher.

But, his legacy at EHS is coming to an end.

Affholter recently accepted a position at Kennewick High School to be its new head football coach.

Affholter and his wife, Tara, we’re browsing online for jobs in Arizona, as when they both retire they want to be snowbirds down south.

But during their search, the Kennewick job popped up and grabbed Affholter’s interest. Former head coach of the Lions, Bill Templeton, stepped down after 17 years with the program in November.

Tara Affholter’s parents live in Eastern Oregon and this gave them an opportunity to be closer to her family — and the Tri-Citie’s area is also where Randy and Tara can envision themselves retiring.

“It all kind of came into place,” Randy said. “We were talking, too, with our teaching careers and coaching careers — looking for a new challenge. And you know, it all just kind of fell into place for us.”

He’ll finish out the school year at Ellensburg as the health and fitness teacher and in the first weeks of June, Affholter will make some trips back and forth to prepare for spring football with Kennewick before he and Tara move there.

Affholter, 53, will continue teaching health and fitness — and now leadership, too.

“Personally and professionally, he has meant a ton, not only to me,” said EHS Athletic Director Cole Kanyer. “The things that he has done with this football program are evident throughout our entire athletic program. The culture that he’s established in the football program has shown up in other programs for sure. Most notably in the weight training that he’s done for kids in summers since he’s been here for 22 years.”

EHS football qualified for state this past season after a wild ride to get there. It had to compete in a Kansas City tie-breaker with Othello and Ephrata high schools after all three ended the year with a 3-1 conference mark, which put each in a tie for first in the north division.

In all that clutter, the Bulldogs earned the No. 1 seed, but fell to Prosser High School in the Central Washington Athletic Conference Championship game a few days later.

In the cross-over game, Ellensburg drubbed Pullman High School, 31-7, to advance to state. It would later fall to Liberty High School in the 2A quarterfinals.

Leaving Ellensburg wasn’t necessarily on Affholter’s mind after the season concluded, but coaching at a higher classification school was a thought.

“I always kind of take time off and think ‘Do I really want to keep coaching?’ Affholter said. “I’ve always come back to it that I want to do it. And I wasn’t really thinking about it, but it was kinda was in the back of my head of going to a bigger high school, seeing if what we were doing here, if we could do that there.”

In his 22 season’s, Affholter and his teams have compiled seven league titles, 10 post-season berths, four semifinal and four quarterfinal state appearances. In his career, he was 162-76.

The community of Ellensburg and his years here have been indelible. It was a tough decision to make.

“I can’t say enough about it,” he said. “Our experience here just coaching wise have been great. Living here, for both my wife and I has been outstanding. We can’t say enough great things about this place.

“That was the hardest part. When we started talking about it, we probably went back and forth, I don’t know how many times, about do we do it or do we stay? You know, have a lot of great friends here. And finally, we just made the decision that it was time to take on a new challenge.”

Ellensburg will begin its search for a new head coach and health and fitness teacher.

“It’s kind of hard to talk about the process because there is a few intricacies we’re working through right now, but we’re going to try and find the best person possible for both his (Randy Affholter) teaching and his coaching position,” Kanyer said.

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