Terry Dion is the New Aberdeen High School Football Coach

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TerryDion250_0529Former Seahawks defensive lineman Terry Dion is the new Aberdeen High School head football coach. Dion also teaches history at Aberdeen.

Dion spent the 2011 high school season as Aberdeen’s defensive line coach. He is also the second Seahawks alumni to take over a Washington state high school football program in 2012, joining Jon Kitna, who is the new head coach at Lincoln High School in Tacoma.

“Being here for a year and a half, I know the kids and the community,” Dion related. “I don’t feel like a hired gun. I really understand the school and the community because I feel so much a part of it.”

Although stressing he plans to adjust to the team’s personnel, Dion said the Bobcats likely will favor a wing-T offense and a 3-5 defensive alignment — with an emphasis on physical football. With much of the line returning and a shift from the Evergreen 2A Conference to the Greater St. Helens 2A League next fall, Dion is optimistic about the future.

“Next year should be the transition to winning and we’re going to be very competitive,” he said.

After playing on a Shelton High School state championship team in 1974 (he also played at Auburn), Dion spent four years as a defensive end at the University of Oregon, and played in the Japan and Hula Bowls.

A fourth-round draft choice by the Seahawks in 1980, Dion played nine games (starting two) for the team as a rookie before injuries ended his NFL career. He still has several vivid memories of his season in Seattle.

“The first memory is how fast and athletic the players were as compared to college,” Dion recalls. “In college as a defensive lineman, I often out ran most of my teammates in sprints and stair drills. Some of that was my ability and some of it was my motivation. When I ran sprints with Seattle, no defensive linemen beat anybody fast and no linebackers beat any defensive backs — everybody on defense was fast. The second memory was, while in camp, I was amazed at how many outstanding athletes got cut because they couldn’t learn fast enough or weren’t motivated enough. When everybody is good, it comes down to attitude and intelligence.

“Another memory that was really poignant in my mind was the psychological dualism of training camp. You’d go to a meeting where some of the coaches would treat you like you didn’t deserve to draw a breath. Immediately afterward, you’d go outside to be besieged by adoring fans wanting your autographs and telling you that you were their heroes. It would be back and forth between those extremes for 30 days.”

And Seahawks then-head coach Jack Patera certainly had the players keeping an eye on the water tanks during camp.

“Jack was a real old-school coach, and because of that we conditioned incredibly hard,” Dion said. “We had 30 straight days of full-pad practices, and I routinely lost 12-13 pounds of fluid weight per practice and would have to rehydrate about two gallons between the two-a-day practices.”

One of Dion’s college accomplishments was attaining the highest grade point average on Oregon’s football team. He also made the dean’s list while doing post-graduate work at the University of Washington.

“I really want to promote the student-athlete,” he said. “I want football to be a meaningful experience for them.”

Dion and his wife Janice have three children: Ashley, Madison and Colton.