Knudsen Retires After 32 Years On The Sideline


Coach Chris Knudsen coaches football team during the 2016-2017 season. Knudsen looks forward for retirement.

Rebecca Johnson, Staff Writer

Head Football Coach and P.E. teacher Chris Knudsen has retired from Centennial High School after 32 years.

In total, Knudsen has coached football for 42 years, 10 of which were at different schools.

His overall record of wins to losses is 158-158, and he has won seven league titles. His early 1990 teams were as good as any teams in the state.  He has been named MHC Coach-of-the-Year numerous amounts of times, and State COTY three times.

Even though throughout the years at CHS he had opportunities to coach elsewhere, he declined them all because he enjoyed the CHS community.  Each time someone would inquire about taking him from the Eagles, he’d ask himself a simple question: “Would I have it better there than I have it here?”

While not every team he coached finished near the top of the league, Knudsen did not care because he cared about the students he was with more than the score of a game.

When asked about his favorite memories, he talked about how everything was great. The wins and losses did not matter to him because he was in it for the students and with the goal of helping them grow.

Knudsen lights up when he talks about how he always wanted  to be a head football coach as well as a PE teacher which came to be his life and he was grateful for it. Knudsen said, “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was six years old. I wanted to be a head football coach and a P.E. teacher and so I guess you could say my life has been a success that I got to do what I’ve always wanted to do.”

He was on the sidelines since he was six years old because his father was the head football coach and the first game of the upcoming 2018 season will be the first time not being on the sidelines since being a kid.  Knudsen’s ball boy years with his dad as coach were followed by his playings years through the youth systems and eventually at Linfield College. He began his coaching career immediately after his final college game.

Being a head coach and teacher along that took up a lot of time from his family but everyone in his life was very supportive about him following what he wanted to do.

His wife Kathy is excited about the retirement but throughout his whole career she has been very supportive over everything he has done along with his two children Tyler and Brittany.

Both of their children have their own children which he will now be able to travel more to see everyone which is exciting.

Tyler played for his father at CHS and has gone on to be a coach at a California college while Brittany has played many sports such as volleyball, basketball, and golf for CHS.

“It is time for me to give back to my family because they’ve given so much to me and their support to let me follow this passion,” says Knudsen.

Even though he is retiring, Knudsen will continue working as he has accepted a position with the OSAA as a Associate Director of the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association.

Brent Child, Athletic Director, said, ”It’s hard to see Coach Knudsen finally hang it up. He’s been a mainstay on our staff for over three decades. His high energy, passion, and tireless work ethic will be greatly missed. He has been a pillar in our community. One of the greatest leaders we have ever had walk the hallways at CHS. He has helped mold the character of thousands of students over the last 42 years in education.”

“This is a special place and I’m not sure people realize that,” Knudsen said as he was explaining how much Centennial High School, but more importantly football, meant to him.