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Mabton Vikings football coach resigns

Citing a need to spend more time with his family, D.J. Search resigned as Mabton's football coach this past Friday.

A Pasco resident, Search said the hour commute each way to teach in Mabton combined with the time commitment as coach resulted in too much time away from his family.

Search accepted an elementary school teaching position with the Pasco School District and said the only coaching he plans to do in the next few years is coaching his children.

"My kids are getting older and I haven't been able to watch them play or coach them," he said. Search and wife Stephanie have a son in the eighth grade, a nine-year-old daughter and five-year-old twins.

Search regretted the timing of the move with the first day of practice set for Wednesday, but is confident the Viking football program will build on the momentum from last year's 10-0 regular season campaign, the first perfect mark in school history.

Mabton also qualified for postseason play the last three seasons and sported an overall 24-26 record during Search's five years at the helm, after going 1-16 in his first two seasons.

"It was hard saying good bye to the kids (football players) yesterday," Search said by phone this morning.

Search said changes in Mabton's play book for the 2007 season were already implemented during practices this spring.

Mabton Athletic Director Denny Brown said Search's departure wasn't entirely unexpected and had been anticipated during the past two weeks.

"It's been in the works for a couple of weeks. It wasn't like he left us high and dry," Brown said. "It's strictly a family issue. He had a very emotional meeting yesterday with the boys."

Mabton hired John Durham of Yakima to replace Search. Durham, a retired teacher, was a Mabton assistant coach the past two seasons.

Durham's name is not only known around Mabton, but he's a familiar face in the 1A SCAC West the Vikings will compete in this fall. Durham has previous head coaching experience with league opponents Highland and Zillah and was a head coach in the B football ranks with LaSalle.

Durham's 30 years of coaching experience also includes a stint as head coach at Wapato.

Being named to the Mabton helm may have been rather sudden, but he said he had a similar experience in LaSalle when the head coach had to resign due to health reasons.

"It's a challenge taking over a program, but it's exciting and I'm looking forward to it," Durham said.

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