Dominique Coffin had until the afternoon to make a decision.
In late April, he had been offered a position has athletic director and head football coach of Cascade (Leavenworth) High School, his alma mater in central Washington. He and his wife, Ashley, had been struggling with the decision. They prayed on it “for a while,” and took the entire day to finally make a decision. He called Cascade principal Elia Ala’ilima-Daley, who was also Coffin’s mentor in high school, to inform him that he would accept the offer.
“I kinda always knew I wanted to go back eventually,” Coffin said. “I wasn’t thinking it was going to be any time soon or didn’t want it to be any time soon ... I knew I’d at least apply for it. I was thinking about going home and didn’t want to regret it. It was a tough decision for me and my wife to try and figure out if it was time to go back or not.”
It was a difficult choice.
His plan was to stay in Stanfield as long as he could. He wanted to build something great in there and loved the sophomore class. There was talk of Ashley, who works in the Tri-Cities, helping with the Tigers volleyball program, and Coffin, a “big basketball guy” himself, was considering stepping into the vacant boys basketball position.
But this was an opportunity he felt like he couldn’t pass up.
“Me and my wife, we kind of prayed on it for awhile to figure out what to do,” he said. “We kinda just realized God isn’t going to open this big of a door unless it’s something that’s meant to be. We were evenly split, if not pushing towards staying in Stanfield. We just felt like we couldn’t give up this kind of an opportunity ... It was just one of those things where it felt like God was pushing us and telling us to go there.
“At first, I could really tell that my wife was really leaning towards staying and me, too. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to break it to the kids that I was leaving, you know ... It was probably the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.”
Coffin is leaving Stanfield bodily, but the things he learned there will stay with him forever, he said. He feels like he was put in the perfect position with the perfect support system for a first-year administrator, coach and teacher. Principal, and former Stanfield AD Bryan Johnson, was instrumental in Coffin’s development. He was always available for questions or advice.
“Without Bryan, I wouldn’t have been able to do it at all,” he said. “It’s nice he’s a younger principal, he was at my position before. He really ... you could go ask him questions and with him, you can never ask too many questions. He’s always willing to help. At any school, I don’t think I would’ve been able to survive my first year with all the responsibilities I had. He was a huge, huge part in the success I had this year.”
It’s been little more than a month since Coffin accepted the position in Leavenworth, and he said he’s received nothing but well wishes and support. Initially, though, he was expecting some push back. He himself even thought he was bailing on Stanfield, that he was only there for a year and bolted for a seemingly better job.
Instead, people were understanding and congratulatory. It caught him off-guard.
“And that’s what’s crazy — the community was awesome,” he said. “They’re so supportive. All the other teachers, Bryan, the kids — that’s what’s crazy, too is when I did break the news to everyone, I expected people to be really mad. I mean, I came for a year and left. But the community support — they understand that I gotta do what’s best for my family and I’m going home.
“That’s what made it even harder. Once I saw how supportive people are ... I mean, I’m sure some people feel like Stanfield was used, but that was never my intention to be here for a year. I wanted to be here for a long time before I went (back home). But it was one of those one-in-a-million chances that I gotta take. It’s awesome to have, though. The community supports me and wishes me the best of luck. That’s been really nice and reassuring.”