He just completed his fourth decade in coaching, so Bill Diedrick ought to know when it’s time to retire.
The University High football coach told his team following its 31-27 loss to Southridge in a 3A play-in game that it would be his last as the Titans’ coach. Come the end of the first semester in late January, Diedrick and his wife plan to relocate to San Diego where they own a condominium and home.
It’s time to go golfing.
I suspect walking away from coaching won’t be an easy thing for the 65-year-old Diedrick. Diedrick admits as much. He hasn’t closed the door to coaching again in the San Diego area. He sees himself being an assistant coach somewhere.
His days as a head coach, though, are over.
While his stop at University was probably too short for U-Hi followers, he did lead the Titans to three straight postseason appearances – a first in school history.
He leaves a program much healthier than how he found it.
Diedrick’s coaching career has been that of a wanderer. Right out of college at Eastern Washington University, Diedrick followed his college coach to the University of Hawaii. He returned to Spokane and was an assistant for five years at Ferris, followed by six seasons as head coach at Rogers.
Then came a long span at the college level. He spent two years each at Whitworth and Montana State, three at Idaho, two at Washington State and then two seasons as an assistant in the Canadian Football League at Edmonton.
He returned to college for four seasons at Washington, followed by four years at Stanford and three at Notre Dame. He returned to the CFL for two years at Calgary and one at Toronto.
Diedrick then retired and moved to San Diego. He wasn’t out a year when a former player got the head coaching position at Indiana State. He had told the player if he got a head coaching job he’d help him out. So he spent 10 months there before leaving.
He was flying to Spokane to spend Thanksgiving with his mom when he heard the U-Hi job came open.
Diedrick, a 1965 North Central graduate, said it’s time to move on.
“I’m really pleased with how well all of the kids have developed,” Diedrick said in talking in broad terms about what he accomplished at U-Hi. “They’ve developed as football players and as a team. Off the field, I’m really pleased with what I’ve seen and with what I’ve heard about them as people. The kids bought into what we were trying to develop not only as football players but also socially and academically.”
If Diedrick has his way, he’ll hand off the program to an assistant coach he believes is ready to be a head coach – defensive coordinator Rob Bartlett.
Bartlett, who comes from a deep coaching tree, interviewed for the job when Diedrick was hired.
“He was very well thought of back then,” Diedrick said. “The good thing is he’s already in the building and been part of the program.”
Bartlett’s father was the head coach at U-Hi in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His grandfather was a head coach in the 1960s at Lewis and Clark.
They’ll go through the proper hiring process at U-Hi. The position will be opened up for applications. But Bartlett will be the next head coach.
Diedrick loves the game so much that he made it out to Albi last weekend even though he didn’t have a dog in the hunt.
He will be missed in the GSL.