PALATINE HILL -- Joe Bushman is the next offensive coordinator of the Lewis & Clark Pioneers, head coach Jay Locey announced on Monday. Bushman helped the Clackamas Cavaliers win the 2017 OSAA 6A football state championship, Oregon's top level of high school football.
Bushman will work with returning unanimous All-Northwest Conference First-Team selection Michael Abraham and the Pioneers offense that led the NWC in red zone touchdown percentage in 2017.
"Joe is a really good fit here," Locey said, a five-time NWC Coach of the Year who is entering his fifth season as head coach. "He's had a very successful and innovative program at Clackamas and has done a great job developing students. He brings an NCAA Division III background as a former Northwest Conference student-athlete, so I know he'll bring that success and quality leadership to our program."
"It's just a wonderful opportunity -- the chance to get up there and work with coach Locey and learn from him, someone who is so well-respected, especially in the coaching circles in Oregon," Bushman said. "You look at that program. It's a program that's building. It's on the rise. I think it's a great time for me to get in there, dig in and hopefully help Jay push them over the top in the next few years."
In addition to winning the 2017 state championship, Clackamas qualified for the last three state semifinals under Bushman's lead. Over the last three years, Bushman and the Cavaliers finished with a 35-4 record, and Bushman totaled a 94-57 mark over his 13 seasons as head coach.
Last season, Lewis & Clark had some of its best success in recent years. The Pioneers defended the Wagon Wheel traveling trophy in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992 after a 39-21 win over Willamette. The Pioneers also earned their first consecutive multi-win seasons since 2011 and 2012. Along with Abraham, Andrew Werst was named All-NWC First Team for the second straight year, and 10 Pios in total were named all-conference.
The Pioneers also eclipsed 3,000 yards of total offense (3,278) for the first time since 2013 with their most rushing yards (1,174) since 2011.
"There are a lot of returning, impactful pieces to this offense. I'm excited to get to work with those student-athletes, getting to meet them and see what they did on film. Once I figure out their strengths, we'll be able to design a system that will go with their talents. Some years, we'll run more or throw more accordingly while always trying to remain balanced. You need to run the ball effectively to win."
Bushman gradated cum laude from Willamette in 1993. He was an Academic All-American and team captain for the Bearcats. In 20 years as a high school head coach, his teams qualified for the state playoffs 19 times with six league championships. Bushman has 150 total head-coaching wins. Originally from Portland, Bushman went to Benson High School where he was an honors graduate.
"The areas outside of competition speak to me," Bushman said. "I want them to excel academically, on campus and be good character students. We had a similar philosophy to Building ChamPIOns with my Clackamas student-athletes. That's one of the big draws to Lewis & Clark because coach Locey and I have similar philosophies and helping our students develop in life as much as winning on the football field. That's why I think it is such a great fit for me.
"I'm coming up to support Jay and build on what the student-athletes and he have done. They're in the right direction and work hard, and I hope to add to that and put them over the top."
Lewis & Clark is scheduled to return 19 student-athletes with starting experience including rising senior quarterback Caden Voges, Abraham and wide receivers Xavier Tharpe, Kevin Johnson and Aidan Verba-Hamilton (All-NWC). Numerous offensive linemen - Devon Franklin (two-time All-NWC), Kalae Wong, James McArthur, Eryk Schaftlein and Mercury Compagno - are also back next year.