Sports

Abe will be back as Beamer football coach

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Gem Abe is no longer the interim head football coach at Todd Beamer High School. Athletic director Jerry Peterson removed the interim tag from Abe’s title Monday and officially named him the head coach of the Titans.

“He will be our head football coach,” Peterson said. “He’ll be back. He is now focusing on moving forward and continuing building the program.”

Abe showed Beamer officials enough during his first season as the head coach. Despite the Titans finishing just 2-8 in the fall, Abe gained the respect of his players and administrators. Beamer’s only two wins came in their first two games of the season. The Titans beat Thomas Jefferson and Decatur before losing eight-straight games.

Abe took over before last season for Hall of Fame coach Dick Zatkovich. Abe had been an assistant at various schools, primarily with Zatkovich. He came to Beamer in 2006 as an assistant for Zatkovich, who took over the struggling program. The Titans finished 5-5 that season.

Zatkovich announced last February he was retiring to deal with some family health issues. Abe, who was offensive and defensive line coach, decided to apply for the head-coaching position. Abe coached with Zatkovich at Lakes and Lincoln high schools before coming to Beamer.

According to Peterson, the interim tag was the best fit for the school during the 2007 season, and Abe will be evaluated as a permanent coach at the end of the football season.

Abe, 41, played football for Zatkovich at Hudtloff Junior High School and calls him his mentor. He played at Steilacoom High School and was manager for the football team at Washington State for four years. Abe also has been a volunteer coach at WSU and Western Washington University.

The Titans will lose a lot of starters from last year’s 2-8 team, including All-South Puget Sound League performers like lineman Evan Cook, running back Larmardray Fuller, defensive back Cory Obungen and wide receiver Josh Waller.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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