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From Redmond Panther QB to coaching at Alabama, Mitch Dahlen’s football journey continues

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Redmond native Mitch Dahlen has coached the Heisman runner-up in the national championship and is now a coach at one of the decorated programs in NCAA history, the Alabama Crimson Tide.

 “I mean, Redmond's obviously got a special place in my heart," Dahlen said. "My family's still there, my friends are still there, so any waking moment I have, like we'll have some time off this summer, and I'll go back."

Dahlen is a Central Oregon kid at heart, living a life many can only dream of.

"I feel like every time I'm home, I'm making my parents have people come over to kind of catch up and and see everybody," he said, "But it was truly unique to be able to kind of share that experience with everybody else, too. "

This past football season, Dahlen was on the coaching staff one of the best teams in the country, the Washington Huskies. With two seasons at UW, some games were more surreal than others.

The Dahlen family has ties with Oregon State. Mitch's dad played football for the Beavers and his brother Matt was a basketball player. Dahlen grew up going to games and this year, with the rain pouring down and his family in attendance, he got to coach at Reser Stadium.

"There's like two moments the whole season, and one was at Oregon State, where I realized this is kind of full circle for me," Dahlen said.

The Huskies won the Pac-12 in the Sugar Bowl, but fell short in the National Championship.

Dahlen recalled, "But the National Championship, like the stands were packed and you walk on the field, they got the cameras, the crowds going crazy, and I was like, 'Okay!' The hair on the back of my neck stood up."

While Dahlen explained the loss as painful, not long after he was flying to Alabama to join head coach Kalen Deboer on the coaching staff.

"It had been a whirlwind, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else," he said. "It's probably a once in a lifetime deal. Then when you think about just all the success that Alabama's had, like as good as every year we had at Washington, and then first thing you do is you walk in the door here and you see three National Championship trophies just right in your face. It's been -- it's been awesome, honestly."

From guiding the Redmond High Panthers as their quarterback to coaching elite quarterbacks across the nation, Mitch Dahlen has had a remarkable journey, with much more to come.

Long-time friend Sawyer Gerdes is a football and basketball coach at Redmond High. He watches the games Dahlen coaches and couldn't be prouder at his accomplishments.

"They are down at USC, playing against him, and it keeps showing the booth -- and seeing him there, it kind of just sets you back a little bit." Gerdes said.

"Then watching the National Championship, and they flash to the booth and I'm like, 'That's -- that's my brother up there!' And so it's been it's been a wild, wild couple of seasons. But you know, I just couldn't be more proud of him, and I couldn't think of someone more deserving than him."

But no matter where Dahlen is, his home will always be in Redmond, where his family is, his friends are, and where his dreams began.

"It's like when I say 'home,' I say Redmond. There's not anywhere - South Dakota, Canada or Fresno, wherever coaching took me - home is Redmond, and always will be."

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Dylan Anderman

Dylan Anderman is sports reporter for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Dylan here.


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