When the Canby boys lacrosse board asked Jake McDonald if he wanted to become the head coach of the Canby High varsity team, McDonald was surprised.
He had just graduated from Canby High three years ago and didn't feel old enough to be under consideration.
Nevertheless, they chose him. And he accepted.
"It seems like I was just there. I have a good experience and knowledge about the game so it seemed right," he said.
McDonald replaces Nick Hund, who served as the team's head coach for one season and led them to the first round of the state playoffs.
McDonald has coached for Canby middle school select teams, the fifth and sixth grade team and served as a junior varsity head coach.
McDonald played for Canby's first ever fifth grade team, rose up through the ranks and went on to play for the high school team. He developed a passion for the defensive side of the ball both in basketball and in lacrosse.
"The x's and o's is super equivalent to basketball. My knowledge for basketball is pretty high. I learned a lot playing for the basketball team," he said.
In recent years, Canby has been better on the offensive end of the field than the defensive end. McDonald hopes to change that and to contain the offenses of high-caliber league foes such as Lakeridge and West Linn.
"In Canby, everything has been about the offense. There's been no focus on defense. In our league we can't be a bad defensive team," he said.
"I want to have a physical, high IQ-oriented defense. That's what I like. Not to the point where we're blowing kids up but just to let people know we are there."
McDonald's familiarity with kids currently in the program could be an advantage. He's coached current seniors for at least one year in high school and coached some of them in middle school.
"The reason why I took the job is it's something the kids asked me to do. They wanted me to take that position," he said. "I have good chemistry with the kids."
But he doesn't want to be a pushover. He hopes to develop a more challenging and productive environment.
"My mentality is I expect a lot out of the kids. It's a work facility first and then have fun after. That's what I want to get going," he said.
McDonald says the Cougars will miss 2017 graduates such as his brother Nate McDonald, Tayvn Jorgensen and Brandon Tietz but brings back a solid contingent in Jacob Huggins, Ronan Gay, Garrett Netter, Andrew Strand, Zak Bailey, Zach Pilorget and others.
"This set of kids will go further than Canby ever has," he said. "Losing Nate and Tayvn is a huge loss but we have talent to replace them."