Chris Raffelson to pilot Ocosta football program

A familiar name in Twin Harbors football will get his first chance to pilot a high school football program this fall at Ocosta High School.

Chris Raffelson, the co-founder of the semi-pro Grays Harbor Bearcats and current paramedic at Aberdeen Fire Department, was tapped on Tuesday to take over the Wildcats this fall.

The 1993 Ocosta High School grad will step into a program that will have its third head coach in five years and has never been to the state playoffs. His appointment will be made official, pending Ocosta School Board approval, on June 20.

“A lot of the kids asked me about applying for the job,” said Raffelson, who was a volunteer coach for the Wildcats and had helped out in the junior high programs at Ocosta, Montesano and Aberdeen in the past.

“I knew eventually that I wanted to be a head coach, but I didn’t know the chance would come this quickly,” he added. “Especially with my job, it is tough to be a head coach. So, my plan is to hire good offensive and defensive coordinators to run the practice when I am not there and have them call the plays.”

Raffelson’s job with the Aberdeen Fire Department will keep him away once a week, but won’t be an obsticle to taking the new job at Ocosta. Raffelson played for Jon Wahl with the Wildcats and played 13 years of semi-pro football with the Washington Cavaliers, the Bearcats and the Nationals, a national traveling all-start team.

“We’re excited to have him as a coach,” Ocosta Athletic Director Mike King said. “The players and the community believe he’ll do a good job for us. He has a good positive relationship with the players and we want to see the program go in a positive direction. I think he will build the program and get more kids into the program. I want to see him be successful and I’ll do everything I can for him to be successful.”

He also worked as an administrator for the North American Football League and the Pacific Football League while he was with the Bearcats. His administrative work will come in handy at Ocosta, but he noted that he still has a lot of learn.

“The Xs and Os are the easy part of the job; it is getting a handle on everything else,” Raffelson said. “We’re coming up with a five-year plan and the first thing we’re working on is getting a junior varsity team started. The gap between middle school and high school football is one that we need to fill and a junior varsity team will help bridge that gap. We also want to get the kids into the weight room and establish a weight lifting program.

“My expectation is to start with the foundation — accountability, get the kids working, build the program,” Raffelson added. “We will come into every game ready to compete. You have to be realistic, but you have to build the program from the bottom up. One of the biggest things is to turn this into a football program, not an after-school activity.”


Ocosta Athletic Director Mike King said that there will be interviews for the assistant coaching positions soon. Due to a writer’s error, it gave the appearance that assistants have been hired and they have not been hired in Saturday’s The Daily World.

As a matter of policy, The Daily World will publish corrections of errors in fact that have been printed in the newspaper. The corrections will be made as soon as possible after the error has been brought to the attention of Sports Editor Rob Burns at 537-3926.