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BREAKING: Thompson steps aside as Shasta College head football coach after 23 years

For the first time since the turn of the century, Shasta College will have a new head football coach.

Shasta College head coach Craig Thompson talks to his players following a win over College of the Sequoias during the 2018 season, one of two wins for the Knights that season. He finishes as the Knights leader in wins, years coached and games coached. (Photo by Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)

For the first time since the turn of the century, Shasta College will have a new head football coach.

Craig Thompson announced Friday night at the Shasta College Celebrity Dinner-Auction at Win-River Resort & Casino that he is stepping aside as the Knights’ head coach after 23 years. All Shasta College coverage provided by Sierra Pacific Industries.

Offensive coordinator Bryon Hamilton, who has served two six-year stints as the play-caller for the Knights including the past six seasons, will take over as the ninth head coach in program history.

Thompson said he will stay on to be the defensive coordinator. He compiled a 115-125 overall record since 1996 when he took over for his longtime mentor Leon Donohue, who had coached 15 seasons for Shasta.

“It’s been an unbelievable ride,” Thompson said. “Trying to look back and reflect upon championships, great seasons, all the people involved who contributed to success is hard to wrap your head around.”

Bryon Hamilton (center) takes over as the head coach at Shasta College after serving as the Knights’ offensive coordinator for the past six season. (Photo by Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)

In 23 years at the helm, Thompson finishes as the program leader in games coached (238), wins (115) and years coached. The Knights averaged 28.7 points per game during his tenure and posted a 65-54 record at home, which is the most wins at home. He also led Shasta to four straight bowl game appearances from 2014-17, and captured the Northern California Football Conference’s American Division championship in 2015 and 2017.

Above everything he achieved, the connections he felt with the men around him is what stands out.

“This is a relationship type profession, the relationships I’ve been able to build with players and coaches throughout my career are far more precious to me than any other thing that I’ve done for 23 years,” Thompson said.

Hamilton, who is also the head track and field coach, has helped the Knights average 37.8 points per game during the past six seasons. He was the head coach at Foothill High School from 2003-2012 after he spent the previous six seasons coaching as an offensive coordinator under Thompson at Shasta College.

“It’s awesome to take the program that he’s worked so hard for the last quarter of a century, really, and take it and continue to do great things there,” Hamilton said.

“Craig and I working together as a head coach and assistant head coach have won a lot of football games and I expect that to continue.”

T.J. is a national-award winning journalist passionate about local news and telling the story no one else knows about. He’s roamed sidelines, baselines and bleachers in the North State since 2010 and is a content producer from sunup to sundown. Sports are a hobby he shares with his wife Tracy where they’ve spent many dates around a field or court of some sort.


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