Former All-League and All-Region offensive lineman and 2016 football state champion with the Camas High School football team, Marcus Gray, is the newest addition to CHS’s coaching staff.
He was met with open arms when he asked CHS Head football Jon Eagle if he could help out this season. Eagle set up Gray with a coaching job a few years back at Skyridge Middle School. There he found his passion for coaching and wants to pursue it full time.
Gray wants to use this coaching experience to eventually land him a job at the collegiate level. He said he is willing to coach anywhere in the country and is willing to go wherever there is an opportunity. However, he admitted it would be really cool to coach at his Alma Mater, Washington State University. Another one of his goals is to coach in the National Football League.
He said, “I’ve always wanted to get to the highest level that I could get to. If I had the knowledge, I would do it (coach in the NFL) for sure. That’s just a dream, but if I could then I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
So far this year, Gray has been working with the offensive linemen. Even though this is only his first season, his impact is felt by everyone.
CHS Junior Noah Christensen said, “Marcus has helped develop my game in ways that only a former Camas offensive lineman. He has taught me techniques that I’ve never thought about for our plays.”
He added, “I like his coaching style because he talks from his personal experience and what has worked for him in the past. And it works!”
CHS Junior Tyson Jacobson said, “I like how he focuses on one on one coaching and relays specifically what to improve on and gives ways to improve on them.”
Gray knows what it takes to compete at the highest level of high school football. Both coaches and players enjoy having him around and appreciate his advice.
CHS running back coach Allen Jones said, “It’s always a great thing when a former player can come back and coach, particularly a kid like Marcus who was part of a state championship squad. Marcus knows firsthand what it takes as a player to try and win a title, how to practice and how to train and that knowledge is invaluable. Often players will kind of start to tune us old guys out and so hearing stuff from a dude who was recently in the program, the players hear that info a little easier and can be more receptive to it. On top of all that Marcus is just a great dude who loves football and has a really good attitude and so even if he wasn’t a Papermaker, he’s a guy we would want around our athletes on a daily basis.”
Jacobson said, “Being a former state champ, Marcus brings a winning culture and mindset to the team that helps push us all to do our best.”
“His contributions as a coach will be essential for our success this year. He knows what it takes mentally and physically to go all the way. We can relate to that,” Christensen said.
Last year’s offensive line was one of the greatest contributing factors to the team’s state championship season. All five linemen graduated, so there is a new group of guys coming in that Gray has to coach up.
“Last year’s o-line was insane. They’re a big reason why they won state last. We have a whole new starting five playing now. Trying to get those guys in the mindset of I can do this too. Don’t compare yourself to the team before and that winning attitude is still there. That’s what Eagle tries to get across and that’s why Camas football is so good. Every year no matter what we have a next guy step up and we’re here to win. That’s our mindset,” Gray said.
Being someone who has both played and coached for the CHS program, Gray has a unique perspective. He believes that the Camas winning mentality has not changed at all from his time as a player.
“It (CHS program) built character. You ask the coaches what they try to get out of these kids playing there, to build these kids into men. Football’s not easy. You have to wake up early, you have to lift, go to class, then have practice for two and a half hours. Mentally it makes you better and prepares you for tough things,” he said.
The CHS program is fortunate to have someone like Gray, who knows what it takes to be great and how to relate to players.
Christensen said, “In general, having him on the staff is nice because he is so relatable.”
Jones said, “The thing I’ve noticed about Marcus when he was playing here and I see it now as a coach, is that he wants to be great and he’s willing to work at it. He is always asking Woch and Iwi (offensive line coaches) great questions about the how’s and why’s of our offensive scheme. I think Marcus not only wants to be an o-line coach but he also wants to be a play-caller down the road and having that o-line background and knowing how to block things up will be a tremendous benefit to him.”
Jones added, “Marcus fits in really well with our group. It’s always great to see former players come out and coach at their alma mater, in the end it just means more to them that the program is successful and so they generally give the players everything they have because they want to ensure that the winning legacy continues for a long time.”
CHS’s first football game is Friday, February 26th at Doc Harris versus Union High School. Gray has never lost to UHS as a player and wants to keep that streak alive as a coach.
“We’re fired up and ready to go,” he said.