Thursday, June 02, 2005


Western’s long-time offensive line coach makes tough choice for daughter

BELLINGHAM, Wash. --- With the well-being of his oldest daughter prompting his decision, Scott Hodgkinson has resigned his position as offensive line coach on the Western Washington University football staff, effective June 30.

The 40-year-old Hodgkinson is ending a 13-year stay at Western. He also has handled the duties of offensive run-game coordinator, academic advisor and summer camp coordinator for the Vikings’ gridiron program.

Hodgkinson will be moving to Tucson, Ari., with his wife Kerry and their three children, daughters Kristine 10 and Kelci 4, and son Kyle 5.

The reason for the move was to find the right school for Kristine, who is deaf. She will attend the Arizona State School for Deaf and Blind, located in Tucson.

“The situation here was not the best for Kristine,” said Hodgkinson. “The option of moving certainly wasn’t our first choice. We explored a lot of different options. But the best option we feel as a family for her is to be at that school in Tucson.

“I thought long and hard about this and it was not an easy decision, but it also was an easy decision. When you know why you’re doing it, it’s definitely going to be the best situation. We’ll make adjustments and make things work out.”

Kristine and twin sister Kaitlyn were born four months premature on May 10, 1995. Kaitlyn died two weeks later and Kristine was hospitalized until Sept. 16, the same day Western ended nearly two decades of frustration with a 30-26 win over Pacific Lutheran. Hodgkinson said that is his most poignant memory during his stay with the Vikings.

Hodgkinson has coached six All-Americans at Western. They were center Matt Cross (1993-96), tackle Travis Cruse (1992-95), guard Jon Garber (1992), center Nick Giralmo (1998-2001), tackle Joaquin Paratore-McNabb (1999-2002) and guard Todd Walcker (1994-97).

“Scott has been a tremendous assistant coach and a tremendous asset to our program and he will truly be missed,” said Western head coach Rob Smith. “As I told him, replacing the coach will be the easy part, replacing the individual is what’s difficult. He’s as loyal as the day is long, and he truly works with the genuine best interest of the student-athlete in mind. That’s hard to find.

“With that being said, we truly understand and respect the decision he has made and support that 100 percent. You need to put family first in anything you do, and we wish Scott and Kerry and the kids well.”

During Hodgkinson’s tenure, the Vikings were 90-45, won seven league titles and made five national playoff appearances. They reached the NAIA Division II National Championship Game in 1996 and got to the NCAA Division II national playoffs in 1999.

“What I’m really going to miss the most is the relationship with the players,” Hodgkinson said. “There’s nothing like game day, but unless you’re a high school teacher/coach I’m not sure if there’s anything out there where you’re going to have that kind of impact on what these young men are going to do once football is over.”

Hodgkinson will leave behind a veteran group of offensive linemen, which includes Will Freitag (Sr., Maple Valley/Eastside Catholic), Justin Simpson (Sr., Kennewick/Kamiakin), Brandon Torrey (Jr., Graham/Bethel), Peter Van Datta (Jr., Bremerton/Central Kitsap) and Loren Winter (Sr., Bothell/Juanita).

“I’ve told them that they have the potential of being the best five at one time that we’ve had,” said Hodgkinson. “They’re working their tails off. I told them that they are only going to be as good as each other and they’re really bought into that.

“We just got done with weight testing and this group all PR’d. That’s quite a sendoff, and it shows something about this group.”

Prior to coming to Western, Hodgkinson was the offensive coordinator at Mendocino College CA in 1991 and an assistant at Chico State from 1987-90 where his primary responsibilities were the tight ends and offensive tackles.

Hodgkinson obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1989 and master’s degree in 1997, both at Chico State. He was a first-team Northern California Athletic Conference all-star for the Wildcats in 1986, being named the team's most valuable offensive lineman.

“I’d like to thank Rob Smith, all the coaches, their families and Western for their support of my family and football coaching career,” said Hodgkinson.

Paul Madison
Sports Information Director
Western Washington University
Office - 360-650-3108