Terry Haugen

Back in the '90s Terry Haugen overheard three young baseball coaches talking one day. (I know because I was one of them!) They were talking about how they approached their pre-game “infield” warmup with their non-varsity teams. Not terribly experienced and probably a bit insecure, the three coaches were sharing what they did when their infielders made mistakes in the pregame. It was like a contest to show who was the toughest on their kids and could demand the most out of 14-15 year olds. Haugen, then the varsity head baseball coach at South, overheard the conversation and interjected, “I don't know what you guys do, but when one of my infielders misses a ball, I hit him another one.” And with that simple wisdom, three young coaches learned a valuable lesson: it's not about you, it's about the kids.

“Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.” That's a clever turn on words but, most especially in the case of Terry Haugen, it's a falsehood. Terry could most definitely “do”. He was an outstanding athlete in every sport he chose to participate in, but, even more, he can teach it. He has the technical ability, “the eye”, to break down and simplify complex skills. Put that talent together with philosophies that accentuate finding the positive in each young person he coaches and you have a man who, arguably, through his coaching of football (42 years/8 as head coach), baseball (24 years/15 as head coach, including the '91 OSAA State Championship), and softball (11 years as an assistant, including the '14 OSAA State Championship) has touched the lives – and continues to touch the lives - of more young people at South Salem High School than any other person in the history of the school. (Although he says he is retired, he has “come back” to coach Saxon softball as an assistant for the '24 season, the 79th team he has coached in his South Salem coaching career.)

Terry is a lifelong resident of south Salem, and, as associated with the Saxons as he has been, most would assume that he is a graduate of South. He is not. He attended South Salem for his 10th and 11th grade years (high schools were only grades 10-12 in those days) before he transferred to the brand new Sprague High School in 1972. His was the first graduating class ('73) at Sprague. 

“I believe in playing multiple sports...I played three sports all the way through and my kids played two sports per year. I believe the more experiences we have, the better we are.” Throughout high school, whether South or Sprague, Terry participated in football, basketball, and baseball. At South, as a junior, Haugen was a running back on Marv Heater's '71 state championship team. As a senior at Sprague he played for Jerry Gilman who had been an assistant for South Salem during Terry's junior year. He led the Valley League in scoring as a tailback as a senior while garnering all-conference and all-state honors and was selected to the North/South Shrine football game, honoring the best seniors in the state. In basketball he was a “swing” player as a junior at South before reaching the varsity on Walt Hamer's team for the Olys. At South he was a starting shortstop for Mike Doran's Saxon team and at Sprague it was Al Zupo who got to pencil him in at the “6” position.

Haugen has been extremely successful in the diamond sports – baseball and softball, but football was his best sport in high school and the sport he would continue to pursue in college. From Sprague he headed to Mt. Hood Community College to play football for the Saints. Mt. Hood CC was an outstanding program and for most of the '74 season were ranked as one of the top ten junior colleges in the nation. In '75 Terry was recruited to Willamette to play for the Bearcats. He started at running back until an injury sidelined him. In '76, his senior season, he moved to wide receiver where he started and earned all-Northwest Conference honors. Also during his two years at Willamette, Haugen played golf, a sport he had only begun to play competitively in his second year at Mt. Hood. He was selected all-conference in golf as a senior. Yes, he definitely could “do”.

Technically Haugen's coaching career began in fall of '77 when he served as a wide receivers coach for Willamette University. It was in fall of '78 when his high school coaching career began in earnest. He was hired as a teacher and coach at South where he would teach and coach in six decades. Haugen gives great credit to Dave Johnson, then South Salem football coach “... who probably taught me the most about the art of coaching and what it takes to be a successful coach. Planning, preparation, dedication, working hard, studying your opponents, delegating, and how you treat your players were some of the things I learned from him.” He also credits coaches Doran, Zupo, Al Leopold, Randy Wegner, Tommy Lee, and Scott DuFault as mentors as well as Saxon ADs: Dick Ballantyne, Johnson, Lara Tiffin, Dave Johnson, and Brian Armstrong as people who “I learned from”.

As a coach at South, Haugen:

There is no question that Terry is, and should be, proud of all of his accomplishments in coaching. But for all of that success, there is nothing more central to his life than his family. He married wife Amy in 1980. They will have been married 44 years this coming June. “She is without question the most influential person in my life and the main reason I am the man I am today...Behind every good coach is an even better wife.” Terry and Amy have two children – son Aaron and daughter Kristen. Both have followed in dad's teaching and coaching footsteps. Aaron, a South Salem grad, is currently a health teacher, like his dad was, at South Salem. Daughter Kristen is a math teacher and former softball coach in Pheonix, Arizona. Aaron played football and baseball at South and was coached in both by Terry. Kristen played softball for the Saxons and she was coached by Terry as well. Aaron went on to play baseball at Linfield University while Kristen went on to play softball at College of Idaho. Terry's most recent baseball coaching took place as Aaron's assistant coach for the Saxon JV baseball team. And in 2005, at the conclusion of his baseball season, Terry actually retired as the very successful Saxon head baseball coach because his coaching duties interfered with being able to watch Kristen – who started at 3rd base for the Saxon softball team. Because baseball and softball played at opposite sites, as head baseball coach in 2005 Terry had missed all of Kristen's games. That wouldn't do. He retired to watch her play. Coaching was important, but not as important as family.

(Interestingly, head softball coach Scott McCormick recognized a valuable commodity when he saw one and didn't wait long to call. If Terry was going to be at the games anyway, the difference between sitting in the stands and sitting in the softball dugout was only a few feet and Kristen had already given McCormick the “thumbs up”. Thus began his 11-year softball assistant coaching tenure.)

Terry Haugen has set a standard of longevity, success, and care for, dedication, and loyalty to his athletes and colleagues. To this day – some 45 years after he was hired at South Salem High School – he's still coaching. He's never lost the desire to instruct and teach. He values each student-athlete he works with and they in turn value him. It's a model for all to aspire to. It's the model of a Beacon.

 By Bryan Sutherland