"What's really important is what you learn after you think you know everything."   Earl Weaver

Coach Hugh Wyatt, shown here with his team, the North Beach Hyaks of Ocean Shores, Washington. The insignia on Coach Wyatt's jacket is that of the 28th Infantry Black Lions. Since 2001, Coach Wyatt has administered the Black Lion Award. (Photo for The Daily World, Aberdeen Washington by Kathy Quigg)














 getting started

I grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and played my high school ball at Germantown Academy under Ed Lawless, a firm believer in the single-wing. I graduated from Yale in 1960 (with a degree in history), and played football all four years there, with no great distinction; I started on the frosh team, but spent most of the remainder of my "career" on scout teams. (It's a matter of some regret that I spent a little too much time enjoying myself and not enough time applying myself - athletically and academically.) While injured my senior year, I volunteered to coach my house's intramural (tackle) football team, and immediately caught the coaching bug.

I wouldn't actually get into coaching for another 10 years.  After graduation, married and with a family to support, I did what was expected of an Ivy-League graduate at that time, and entered the corporate world.  During those years after college, I missed football desperately, and in 1968, at the urging of my wife, I jumped at the chance to play football with the semi-pro Frederick (Maryland) Falcons, of the Interstate League. Given this second chance to play football, I took it seriously. When, after two years as a player, I was offered an opportunity to manage and coach a minor league team in nearby Hagerstown, Maryland, I took it. It paid next to nothing, and it meant giving up a really good job and taking a series of part-time jobs, but I saw it as a chance to go back and do what I should have done 10 years before. It was my ticket to football coaching, so I reluctantly said good-bye to a great job in an exciting business (with a Baltimore brewery).

getting into coaching - the hard way

I've paid my dues.  Starting back in 1970,  I coached and ran the minor league (semi-pro) Hagerstown Bears for three years. Many of my players were pretty good - they'd been cut by the (Baltimore) Colts, Eagles, Steelers or Redskins, and when the World Football League started up in 1974, I parlayed my knowledge of how to find players into a job with the new league. I spent two years in the WFL, first  in 1974 as Player Personnel Director of the Philadelphia Bell, then in 1975, after a move to the West Coast, as Assistant  GM/PR Director of the Portland Thunder. I did gain a measure of somewhat indirect fame as the person who signed Vince Papale, the inspiration for the movie "Invincible," to his first pro contract.  (Yes, he had played two seasons of professional football in the WFL before being "discovered," a fact conveniently left out of the rags-to-riches tale told in the movie.)

When the WFL went out of business in mid-season 1975, I stayed in the Northwest and returned to college to pick up the education credits I needed so I could teach and coach. I started teaching and coaching in the fall of 1976 at Gaston, Oregon High, a rural school with fewer than 200 kids in four grades. (Just in case you're wondering if it's too late for you to get into teaching and coaching, I was 38 years old at the time.)

Since then, I've been a head coach at seven different high schools, large and small, rural, inner city and suburban. I've been an assistant at five different schools.  And I've spent seven summers coaching in Europe.

In areas other than coaching, I spent the summer of 1986 as an intern in the athletic department at LSU under AD Bob Brodhead, my former boss with the Portland Thunder.

For three years, I did color analysis on Portland State's telecasts.

I've coached overseas, in Denmark and Finland; the highlights of my seven years in FINNISH FOOTBALL   from 1987-1993 were (1) Winning the Maple Bowl, the National Championship of the top division, in 1989, and (2) building a new team totally from scratch and in our second year  winning the 1992 Division II National  Championship and the Division II Coach of the Year award. It was while in Finland that I first saw Coach Don Markham's Double-Wing in action, and it was while I was there that I incorporated his "toss" play into the Delaware Wing-T I had been running.  Using the numbering system and terminology I had developed, I began running my version of the Double-Wing.

In 1996 I was named head coach at LaCenter, Washington, High, a school of about 600 students (9-12) some 20 miles north of Portland, Oregon.  At the  time I was hired, the Portland Oregonian called La Center "perhaps the most forlorn program in the state of Washington." (During the 1980's, La Center had once lost 39 games in a row.) By my third year, 1998, we made it to 5-4, not a spectacular mark by most standards, but at La Center, the first winning record in the school's history as an 11-man program!

In 1997, while at LaCenter, I introduced a direct-snap version of my Double-Wing offense which we called the Wildcat - because that was our nickname. (Not very original.) We ran it in our last two games, and won them both, one of them a runaway victory over a school two classes larger! (After the 1998 season, I wrote an article about it - "Wildcatting With the Double Wing") for Coach and Athletic Director magazine.) I found it amusing, to say the least, when in the 2008 NFL season the Miami Dolphins began running a direct-snap series which they called, for some reason (maybe the article?) "The Wildcat." Even more amusing was the number of  people who came out of the woodwork claiming to be he source of the name. 

(I take great pride in the fact that my successor at La Center, John Lambert, a former student, player and assistant of mine, has since taken the program to great heights, including the 2003 state Class 2A Semifinals, and has established LaCenter as a state small-school power.)

In 1999, I accepted the head coaching job at Washougal, Washington, the town adjacent to Camas, where I live. Washougal had won just two games in the previous two seasons, but when I arrived I found good kids who told me they were willing to work hard - and sure enough, they were. Although they had been a passing team, they took a quick liking to the Double-Wing, and after losing our first two games to strong opponents, we got it together and ran off seven straight, finishing the regular season at 7-2, the unbeaten Southwest Washington AA league champs. I was deeply honored to be voted Coach of the Year by my fellow coaches. In April of 2000, with some regrets, I chose to resign my position.

In 2003-2004 I was privileged to work as an assistant to head coach Tracy Jackson at Madison High School in Portland, coordinating the offense. (Guess what we ran?). In 2004, after winning only four games total in the previous four years, Madison finished the regular season 7-2, its best record in years.

In July of 2005, when Tracy left to take another job, I elected to stay behind and replace him at Madison. It was not an on-the-field success.  The timing was bad, we were very young and inexperienced, and we lost every game. We moved the ball okay - we just couldn't stop anybody. The kids worked hard and gave me everything they had and I love them dearly. They were simply outmanned.

In 2008, I was attracted to a job at North Beach High School, in the quaint resort community of Ocean Shores, Washington. My wife and I rented a neat ocean-front condo for the season, and I was able to convince some other coaches to join me, including recently-retired Jack Tourtillotte, veteran Double-Winger from Boothbay, Maine. The upshot of it was that we were able to take a good group of kids who had been 1-9 in 2007 to a 7-3 finish in 2008. Our three losses were by a total margin of 11 points.

We rushed for 3670 yards - an average of 367 yards a game . We ranked fifth in the state in our class in scoring, and outscored opponents 353-172.  In a tribute to our players and coaching staff, I was named Pacific League Coach of the Year, and I was the subject of a very nice feature in the Aberdeen Daily World.

In 2011, I returned to North Beach at the request of new head coach Todd Bridge, to assist him in rebuilding the program, which had won just three games in the two years since I'd left.  We've worked well together in re-establishing a culture built on Three R's - Respect, Responsibility and Resilience - and in building a program based on sound fundamentals.  In 2011, with a lineup of mostly freshman and sophomores, we managed to win three games, including an upset of the defending state champions, and in 2012 we won four games and a spot - barely - in the state playoffs.

In 2013, expanding our offense to include an "Open Wing" package,  we finished 7-3.

In 2014,  we finished 10-1,  finally losing in the state quarterfinals after winning ten straight.   Combining my "Open Wing" with the tried-and-true Double Wing,  we  outscored our opponents 437-74 and experienced the school's first undefeated regular season ever,  its first outright league championship since 1975, and its first playoff win since 1983.  Todd Bridge was voted Pacific League Coach of the Year and,  following our double-overtime win over league power Raymond,  Seattle Seahawks' Statewide Coach of the Week.  North Beach  finished Number 4 in the final Washington State Class 2B rankings.

In 2015, despite returning just five players on offense and four on defense, we went undefeated for the second straight year, winning our second straight league championship and losing in the first round of the state playoffs. In ten games, we scored 495 points, and average of 49.5 points a game, and led the state in scoring.

taking my lumps

If it's true that you learn more from losing than you do from winning, then I've learned a lot. In my first job, in Hagerstown, Maryland, we lost our first seven games in a row, before we finally won. But then, fortunately, we won our last seven games, and finished 7-7.

In 2005, my team at Madison High in Portland went 0-9. You're not a coach until you've survived a season like that. I offer no excuses. I knew things were going to be tough and I didn't have to take the job. But I did have a chance to work with some really good kids who gave me everything they had and never quit, and you'll never get me say anything that would reflect badly on them.

I also know what it's like to be out of work. On two occasions - in 1974 and 1975, the World Football League went out of business, leaving me jobless. In 1975, it stranded me in Portland, Oregon, 3,000 miles from my home in Maryland, but it turned out to be one of the best things that's ever happened to me. I found a high school coaching (and teaching) job and my wife and I were able to raise our four kids in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, they all went away to college and now they're scattered all over the map. If only they'd all move back...

video production

Video is a great way to improve your effectiveness as a coach. I have a professional background in this area; I've taught classes on the subject, and as you may know, I've produced my own videos. One of the most amazing things I've seen happen in the past 10 years has been the introduction of computers and software that enable every coach to produce videos of his work, and sites such as Youtube that provide the opportunity to display them.

consulting, camps and clinics

Since 1997, I've put on more than 150 clinics and camps around the US, and in several foreign countries as well. I continue to so so, but I find myself cutting back my schedule in both areas.


Football is actually my second career. Before I became a high school football coach, at age 38, I had already had a career in PR, marketing and advertising. I worked in marketing as a product manager with a Baltimore brewer... I've worked for a printing company... I've sold TV commercial time...  I've done evening sports on TV, and I've written sports for daily newspapers... I've been the PR Director of a pro football team, and I've been a color analyst on college football telecasts.  And now, of course, I find myself marketing my materials. One measure of my success as one of the first people to market football videos is the number of coaching videos now available for sale, many of them excellent resources that once were unavailable to coaches.

cutting edge

For the better part of the last year, time permitting, I've been involved in testing GoArmyEdge, a VR (Virtual Reality) program developed for football coaches by the US Army. It's pretty slick.  Unlike the more highly-publicized VR programs in use by major colleges and NFL teams, GoArmyEdge is priced to appeal to even the smallest high school program - it's free. Take a look at it for yourself: www.goarmyedge.com


I've had the benefit of a good education and I've had a bit of experience writing, and in the early days of the Internet, I saw an opportunity to promote my materials by getting my own Web site.  (Wow.  That was really a big thing in the 1990s.) My idea was to write a daily "column" of things that interested me - things related in one way or another (usually) to teaching or coaching or football. Of course I'd like people to read what I write, but even if no one did, I'd still write.   I soon gave up on the "daily" aspect of it, but for at least 10 years I've published twice-weekly.  Somewhere along the way, someone created the word "blog" for what I write.  It's an ugly-sounding word.  It makes me think of "clog" or "slog," but what are you gonna do?   I invite you to join me:  http://www.coachwyatt.com/news/html

Read The Aberdeen Daily World's Profile of Coach Wyatt