Heglar ready to lead Decatur football


Sports editor

Bill Heglar had always dreamed about returning to the South Puget Sound League.

“There is no doubt it is the best football league in the state,” he said. “

The longtime high school football coach will get his wish. Heglar, 59, will take over the Decatur football program when the Gators take to the practice field in August.

“It is just a great job,” Heglar said. “I have coached for so many years and I called a couple of my SPSL buddies to check in and they told me that Rik (Haines) was retiring and going to Florida to be with his family. One thing led to another and I was fortunate enough to get the job.”

Heglar coached in the SPSL while at Sumner High School in the early 1980s before moving on to Interlake, Bellevue and, most recently, Seattle Prep.

“There are a lot of good football players at Decatur from what I’ve seen,” Heglar said. “They have a lot of guys coming back.”

Included in those returning players is quarterback Darin Harris, who will come into the season as one of the most hyped players in Washington. Also back will be running back/defensive back Tracy Ford and fullback/linebacker Kyle Bressler.

Harris, Ford and Bressler will have a chance to showcase their talents in Heglar’s Wing-T offensive philosophy, which his teams have run for a number of years. The run-oriented formations use a lot of deception and trap blocking to gain yardage.

“It is going to give all these kids the opportunity to succeed,” Heglar said. “Some of the other coaches said they have seen drool on my shirt because of what I will be able to do with these guys.”

Heglar’s defensive philosophy includes multiple sets, adapting to whatever the opposing offense is running.

“You can’t really run one defense anymore,” he said. “Especially with the offenses in the SPSL.”

Heglar said he will be teaching at Decatur and won’t bring any assistant coaches with him. His longtime assistant Deino Scott, who has been with him for 13 years, was recently hired to succeed him at Seattle Prep.

“We got some guys we are going to be looking at and doing some interviews in the next few days. Then we will put this thing all together,” he said.

Haines resigned as Decatur’s head coach in April after just three seasons and an 18-21 record. He has since moved to Orlando.

“What set (Heglar) apart is his experience and his successes,” Decatur Athletic Director Greg Flynn said. “He was the most qualified candidate.”

Flynn has known Heglar since their days coaching against each other. Flynn was the head coach at Decatur when Heglar was coaching Sumner in the ‘80s.

“There was nothing really wrong with (Seattle) Prep,” he said. “It is a small school with something like 650 kids. It is a very strong academic school.”

But, Heglar said the attitudes of the student-athletes at Seattle Prep are a little bit different than he is used to.

“We do get a good turnout of kids, but the kids are really diverse in the things that they do,” Heglar said. “The kids really spread themselves thin to do all the things you need to do for football. We played really hard for three quarters, but the guys kind of ran out of gas in the fourth (quarter).”

Heglar was 11-16 in three seasons with Seattle Prep, which included a 2-7 record last year. His most success came at Bellevue, where he won or shared the KingCo League title three times.

Heglar retired from the Bellevue School District because he was eligible for full retirement benefits from the state of Washington. That was before the state enacted a retire-rehire program that allows teachers to collect retirement benefits while still getting paychecks for their current service.

“I think they put that in the year after I left,” Heglar said. “I wouldn’t have left Bellevue if I knew that was coming.”

With Seattle Prep being a private school, Heglar could still collect his retirement package from the state, while getting a salary.

“That was just best for the family to be able to double-dip like that. It really helped us out.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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