Greg Lupfer has returned to the Walla Walla Valley for his first, and long awaited, opportunity to be a head football coach.

Walla Walla High School hired the Dayton alumn (Class of 1988) and former WWCC Warrior in late February to take over the Blue Devils, and he brings with him about 24 years of coaching experience as an assistant — and mostly at the collegiate level.

“It is 100 percent a homecoming for me,” Lupfer said. “I’m extremely excited to finally be back. It’s just that this journey has taken me so long, through a lot of states and so many years.

“It’s been a crazy journey,” he said. “My youngest daughter is 12 years old, and this is the sixth state she’s had to live in. But it stops in Walla Walla.”

The cross-country trek has seen Lupfer coach at Boise State (1994), Portland State (1995-2006), the University of Toledo (Ohio, 2008), Cal Poly (2009-2011) and Colorado State (2012-2014).

Lupfer went back to high school football last year as the defensive coordinator at Grand Prairie, Texas, about 15 minutes outside Dallas.

Shortly following the 2018 season, with Wa-Hi head coach Eric Hisaw resigning after his eighth year, Lupfer found an opportunity.

“The truth is, the last couple of years — the last three years, actually — I’ve been looking to see if there was an opening for the football head coaching position at Wa-Hi,” Lupfer said. “No such luck, until this year. 

“It was ironic. I just saw it, and right away started contacting people I know in the area. Being a head coach has been my dream my whole life.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” Lupfer said. “If you put together at all the different positions I held at all the different schools all those years, all the great coaches I got to work with and everybody I got to interact with along the way, so many great people, not to mention great players I got to coach, everyone has in some way helped make me the kind of coach I am. 

“It’s something I’m incredibly thankful for.”

Hector writes stories about local sports, helps produce the daily section and updates the web site. A lifelong sports nut having grown up in Maryland, he joined the U-B with more than 15 years experience in journalism.

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