Eastlake hires Skyline’s Don Bartel as head football coach

January 22, 2013

By Jayson Jenks

Eastlake High School has hired Skyline High School defensive coordinator Don Bartel as its new football coach.

Bartel previously spent three years at Eastlake as a defensive coordinator and also served as the head coach at Enumclaw for four years before joining the Skyline staff this season. He served as the Spartans’ defensive coordinator and helped lead them to a 14-0 season and a Class 4A state championship in his only year there.

He now moves just a mile down the road to Eastlake.

“Eastlake has always been a place I knew if I had a chance to get back to, I was going to get back there,” Bartel said. “I just didn’t know it was going to happen as soon as it did. It’s tough to leave Skyline after only one year.”

“They’re getting a guy that is as motivating as a speaker and a presence as I’ve ever been around,” Skyline coach Mat Taylor, a close friend of Bartel, said. “He has that knack for being able to relate to kids and get what’s best out of them.”

Bartel takes over for interim coach Pat Parnell, who assumed head coaching duties after Gene Dales abruptly resigned two games into the season. Dales said he stepped away to take care of personal issues, including the health of his wife, that weren’t allowing him to fully commit to football.

Eastlake went 4-6 this season, but the Wolves will see the return of quarterback Richard “Blue” Thomas and running back Drew Lewis, who already has an offer from Pitt.

“The biggest thing for us is we have to re-establish the identity: What it means to be an Eastlake football player,” Bartel said. “We definitely think those kids and that community deserve to have a program they can be really proud of.”

And Bartel also offered this: Skyline and Eastlake, two schools that are essentially neighbors on the plateau, will play each other once again.

“Next year, will be real interesting, knowing how good those guys are,” Bartel said. “It will be a good challenge. It will be a nice deal. And we’re definitely going to play them. I don’t know how or why they got away from playing that, but that’s a game that needs to be played.”

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