Elma High School has lost its athletic director.
Aberdeen High School hired former North Beach head coach and Elma athletic director Todd Bridge in early May to helm the Bobcats, replacing Kevin Ridout, who stepped down from the position shortly after the end of the 2018 season.
Aberdeen’s newly hired coach has a vision of a Bobcats football program that can grind the game to a halt to impose its will.
“We’re going to attempt to impose our will on our opponents by slowing the game down,” he said. “We want to eliminate the opposing offense and the number of possessions they have, thus limiting scoring opportunities. When you live in Grays Harbor, you never know what the month of October is going to look like, so we want to maintain a running game.”
Before starting his coaching career, Bridge saw success on the field as an offensive linemen on the Washington Huskies Rose Bowl-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.
Bridge’s name should be familiar to sports fans around the Harbor. Bridge has lived or worked major school district in the county except Aberdeen.
Aberdeen’s new head coach found success while at the helm of the North Beach football program, where he led the team to consecutive state playoff appearances in 2014 and 2015.
His most recent coaching job came in Elma, where he served as an assistant coach under head coach Ron Clark.
Bridge said he’s learned something from every coaching job in his career and learned a lot about the value of tough-minded attitude while coaching the Eagles.
“I’ve had the fortune of working in seven different programs and I’ve taken a little bit or a lot of bit from every single one of them. The one golden nugget I’m taking from Ron Clark’s football program is grit,” he said. “The Elma football players are gritty. It’s more than physical toughness or mental toughness. It’s all of that put together.”
Aberdeen’s move to hire Bridge came after the retirement of Kevin Ridout. Ridout retired from his coaching and teaching position at Aberdeen High school effective at the end of the school year.
Ridout may be retiring from the his coaching and teaching positions but he and Bridge used to roam the sidelines together when they both coached at Montesano.
Bridge said Ridout was helpful in the transition as the Aberdeen program changed hands.
“Kevin has a knowledge of the game and he’s very gracious. We spent over three hours together and we talked a lot on the phone,” Bridge said. “I went through his equipment room and it’s like he went through it with a fine-tooth comb. Everything was just ready to go.”
Bridge is also going to keep four assistants from last year’s staff on his team. Gage Martell, Cory Martinsen, Joe Fagerstedt, David Tarrance and Zach Carpenter will all stay on after coaching under Ridout.
Aberdeen’s new head coach has brought on Hugh Wyatt as assistant head coach an.
Aberdeen has struggled on the gridiron for the past few seasons but the win-loss record isn’t scaring him away from the job.
Bridge said he wants his name to be a part of the legacy of Bobcats football.
“Aberdeen has been a program I’ve been watching for a while,” he said. “It’s a beautiful school with a wonderful stadium. There is so much pageantry and history with that program. It’ll be a challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”