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Rimkus headed to Redmond | Prep football news
When Interlake athletic director Art Kuehn was tasked with replacing popular head football coach Sheldon Cross before the 2010 season, he knew it would be a challenge. As he looks to replace Cross' successor Jason Rimkus, who took the Saints to the postseason in two of the last three years and recently accepted the head coach position with Redmond High School, he knows the challenge could be even greater this time around.
Cross, despite facing the same challenges that have continuously relegated the Saints to also-ran status in ever-powerful KingCo, took his team to the 2A playoffs during the 2008 and 2009 seasons and was mostly beloved by his players. When he left to pursue a coaching opportunity in college, Kuehn hired Rimkus and was immediately impressed.
"He got a really good offseason program rolling that has been good for all of our athletes, not just football," Kuehn said. "He has a really positive attitude and knowledge of the game."
Rimkus will take over for Jeff Chandler in leading the Mustangs and RHS athletic director John Appelgate said he hopes the same traits that helped him at Interlake can benefit a Redmond program that last posted a winning season in 2007.
"We feel like we're on the right track," he said. "We have a bubble of talent coming back and we're on track to be competitive next year."
Appelgate said Chandler more than fulfilled his main goal of increasing the turnout for football during his time there and while a KingCo title may be an unrealistic expectation for a program that won only three games in 2012, the hope around the athletic department is that Rimkus can infuse the program with the same energy.
According to Kuehn, that shouldn't be a problem.
"He was really passionate about everything," Kuehn said. "He's done a great job."
Interlake went 5-4 in the regular season in 2008 and made the playoffs in 2A, falling to Lynden 34-0 with Cross on the sidelines. He took the team back to the postseason the following year before falling to Mark Morris and leaving the program to Rimkus, who won only one league game but still won three playoff games with standout running back Jordan Todd.
Todd won state offensive player of the year honors during a senior season that saw him break the state's single-season rushing record the following year as a senior, when the Saints again won a pair of playoff contests and lost to Lynden in the season-finale.
While Redmond now has its new man, Interlake is left searching for a replacement that will also not enjoy the same 2A status Rimkus and his predecessor did during parts of their time at the helm. As school enrollment has swelled, it now trails only Newport in the district's high schools and will remain a 3A competitor for the foreseeable future, meaning only a finish in the top third of the conference will result in a trip to the postseason.
Kuehn said he expects Rimkus to take most of his staff with him to Redmond and will begin the search for a new coach within the week.
"I think we can keep the offseason program rolling," he said, adding that a current member of the staff has agreed to oversee conditioning. "It's going to be really tough, but that is part of the deal. I'm happier than heck for him."
Interlake football since 2003
Since Luke Huard took over the program in 2003, the Saints have had three head football coaches and made the playoffs four times, all in Class 2A.
Interlake football coaches in the past 10 years
Luke Huard, 2003-2006: 12-28, no playoffs
Sheldon Cross, 2007-09: 16-17, 2008 2A state tournament, 2009 2A state tournament
Jason Rimkus, 2010-12: 12-23, 2010 2A state quarterfinals, 2011 2A state quarterfinals