NASELLE — Kevin McNulty is on deck to become the new head football coach at Naselle High School.

The appointment of the former Ilwaco coach was on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of the Naselle Grays River School Board.

He will take over from his lifelong friend Jeff Eaton, who coached the Comets for 32 years. The two grew up as next-door neighbors in Naselle, share a Halloween birth date and each served as best man for the other’s wedding.

Eaton retired earlier this year after guiding the unbeaten Comets (6-0) to a league and district title in a Covid-curtailed season. He was recently honored as the Seattle Seahawks’ Washington 1B coach of the year. The prior two seasons, his 8-man squad reached the WIAA state championship game and semifinal.

“It is already a really good program, and I will want to continue with its culture and character,” said McNulty, who lives a “snowbird” lifestyle, spending winters in sunny Arizona and the rest of the year in Pacific County.

He has already attended a clinic on 8-man football and has plans to substitute teach in Naselle.

“I have always wanted to coach at my alma mater,” he said. “These are big shoes to fill — I am looking forward to it. I will continue to emulate what Jeff has done. He has had a fabulous career, impacting lots of lives.”

McNulty graduated from Naselle schools in 1981 and earned his degree at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., where he played football. His lengthy career began teaching at the Naselle Youth Camp, then took him to Ilwaco for eight years, with Eaton serving as his defensive coordinator for his first year coaching football. McNulty had stints at Sequim and White River, before returning to Ilwaco for 11 years. Most recently, he worked in Nevada before retiring.

A year away from coaching convinced him he wanted to return. “I do miss it,” he said.

The Naselle school board Tuesday is accepting the resignation of Brian Macy as athletic director. The job will be taken by A.J. Smith. The Naselle Schools’ Facebook page recently announced that Macy was named District 4 Athletic Director of the Year. “Mr. Macy is a most worthy recipient for his career-long pursuit of excellence and integrity in athletics and academics,” school colleagues posted.

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