MILTON-FREEWATER - After 14 years on the Mac-Hi varsity football coaching staff - four as the head coach - Chuck Pease is no longer the head football coach at Mac-Hi.
The school district elected not to renew Pease's contract Nov. 17 after he was given the opportunity to resign.
Although Mac-Hi athletic director Bryan Miller would not confirm details surrounding Pease's exit, he said, "A decision was made to move in a different direction."
"They told me they wanted a younger coach and to go in a new direction," Pease said of the decision. "Was I happy about in? No, I thought we (the Pioneers) were making progress, but I hope their decision is correct and that it's good for the program and for the team."
Miller said that decisions regarding head coaching positions are made by both the athletic department and administration.
During Pease's four-year tenure as the Pioneers' head coach, Mac-Hi was 10-26 overall and 1-11 in Greater Oregon League play, including a 1-8 campaign in the 2011 season.
Although Mac-Hi made the playoffs as an at-large team last season, it was largely due to a system that the Oregon Schools Activities Association uses which takes into account a school's strength of schedule.
The highlight of Pease's career at Mac-Hi came in 2008 when the Pioneers went 4-5 overall and picked up Pease's lone win against a GOL team with a 28-6 victory over La Grande.
Pease graduated from Mac-Hi in 1975 and helped lead the Pioneers to a GOL championship and the semifinals of the Oregon 3A state playoffs as guard on the offensive line and a linebacker during his junior year in 1973.
Pease has been involved with Mac-Hi sports since he returned to the valley in 1987 when he started coaching football and wrestling at Central Middle school. He is currently employed at the Washington State Penitentiary.
"I hope that the kids and the program continue to grow," Pease, who plans to go into officiating in the Blue Mountain Conference and possibly in Washington, said. "And I wish the best of success to the kids because that's what I coach for."
Mac-Hi has received interest from six-to-seven potential applicants, Miller said, although no progress has been made toward hiring a replacement. The deadlines for applications is Jan. 20.