Greg Asbury said his decision to get back into a head coaching roll wasn’t based on program success, or potential wins or losses.
For Asbury, the chance to make an impact on kids’ lives was the driving force.
The former Parma and Homedale High coach was hired last week as the new coach at Columbia High, just a week after Jon Helmandollar stepped down. Helmandollar’s resignation came after an Amber Alert in March for his wife, Brooke Helmandollar, and their 10-year-old daughter. Both Brooke Helmandollar and the girl were found in Cheney, Washington, with the girl unharmed. But the incident sparked an investigation into Jon Helmandollar for child endangerment, according to the Spokesman-Review. Booke Helmandollar was charged with criminal mistreatment.
“I looked at the situation the kids were in and I felt real bad for them,” said Asbury, whose hire is pending approval from the Nampa School District’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday. “It was kind of a traumatic thing, losing the coach right there. It’s just one of those things that the pieces fit. But the main thing is about the kids. I’m probably one of the guys that can bring this thing back together and take care of them. That’s the bottom line, that what we’re here for, make sure those kids are taken care of and we do the right thing by them.”
Asbury had been hired earlier this year as the running backs coach at Ridgevue after 15 years of coaching in Parma. That time included a successful four-year stint as the head coach with the Panthers. He compiled a 35-7 record during that time, won three 2A Western Idaho Conference titles and won back-to-back state titles in 2008-09. He remains the last coach to lead a school located in Canyon County to a state football title at any classification.
Asbury stepped down as head coach before the 2011 season, but remained as an assistant at various levels in the Parma football program until taking the job at Ridgevue. This will be his first head coaching job since.
The Columbia football program started turning around in Helmandollar’s first year after years of futility. Columbia won six games this past season, matching the total number of wins they had in the previous four seasons, combined. They qualified for the 4A state playoffs for the second time in school history and picked up their first postseason victory, a 27-26 win against Century.
“I think Coach Helmandollar did a really good job from a football standpoint,” Asbury said. “Those kids had bought in, they’re excited and they’ve been working really hard. I do appreciate that. I have a lot of respect for what he did here. We’re just going to build on that. That’s one of the keys, we got to keep that excitement level up.”