Meet Garrett McKay, Auburn Mountainview’s new head football coach

Garrett McKay comes from a football family.

With the school year coming to a close, football season is just getting started. Auburn Mountainview is welcoming new Head Coach Garrett McKay as the new face of the Lions.

McKay played football at Whitworth University, and has been on staff with the University of Washington strength and conditioning program and a quality control assistant at Eastern Michigan University. He was most recently on the staff at Bellarmine Prep, his alma mater, as their offensive coordinator.

He also coached at Auburn Riverside in the COVID-shortened season prior to becoming the head of the Lions program. Despite not playing the Ravens this season, McKay knows the importance of rivalries and is excited to play against Coach Greg Herd’s squad — whenever that is.

“I know how important those rivalries are to the school district and city of Auburn. I’m disappointed we don’t get to play… I have a good relationship with Coach Herd, I love what he has done there. They have done a lot of good things,” McKay said.

McKay comes from a football family. His grandfather and dad still coach with his uncle Darren McKay at Curtis High School. For McKay, having his own program is a mark of how far he has come in the football world.

“I am pretty task-oriented and get tunnel vision when it comes to goals. I haven’t really taken the time to let it set in… It is very special. I have dreamed about it for a long time…Being a head football coach at the high school level has always been something I wanted to do,” he said.

Last year, the Lions’ year ended in controversy. An investigation was conducted about reported hazing in the locker room at Auburn Mountainview in the junior varsity program. As a first-year head coach and coming into a situation that ended so poorly, building trust is important for McKay.

“Trust is an ongoing process…We are continuing to vocalize our expectations and standards for the program moving forward,” McKay said.

The Lions are in a new 3A NPSL league with the addition of Decatur, Federal Way, Enumclaw and White River and the subtraction of Auburn and Auburn Riverside. For a team that was inconsistent last season, it is going to be an even tougher road this time around.

“3A NPSL got much better from last year to this year. It has nothing to do with Xs and Os. I think it has everything to do with our mindset and being resilient,” McKay said.

McKay and his new pride of Lions had a scrimmage day against Bonney Lake and Timberline in his second week of practice. His players have had just 10 days to implement a new system, a new scheme and new play style. In that short time frame, McKay saw a lot of things he liked.

“We did some good things. There are definitely things to work on… (There was) a lot of good.” McKay said.

His focus in the summer is on expanding the kids and coaches knowledge and staying healthy. If the kids stay out of the training room, and they learn something everyday, that is success, he said: “I am even more excited for the direction we are headed.”

One constant from last year to this year under McKay is Elijah Baird tossing the pigskin for the Lions. McKay also hinted that he will play some defense this year.

“He is a stud,” McKay said. “We’re trying to build an offense that takes advantage of his skillset. He also is a pretty darn good defensive player. It may not be the most traditional thing to do, but he is going to play some defense for us. He makes that big of an impact.”

The Lions open up with Federal Way High School on Sept. 6 at Auburn Memorial Stadium — that is 84 days until the regular season starts up for the Lions.

Sir Naomas Failalutusi keeps his eyes downfield as he runs the rock. Photo Provided by Maria Dorsten.

Sir Naomas Failalutusi keeps his eyes downfield as he runs the rock. Photo Provided by Maria Dorsten.