Sports

Mulligan will lead Orcas' pod

"Robert Mulligan isn't a chef, but he'd like to borrow a catch-phrase from TV cookmeister Emeril Legasse as he takes over head coaching duties for the West Sound Orcas.Mulligan would like to take the second-year semiprofessional football team up another notch.The team announced earlier this week that Mulligan, the Orcas' offensive coordinator last year and a long-time fixture in local college and semipro football circles, will take the top job for the 2001 season, which begins in June.We want to have fun, but this year is going to set the standards for the rest of the Orcas' life, said Mulligan. I want to bring it up another notch. We've started some things, and this year we're going to follow through.Mulligan replaces Larry Bell, who coached the Orcas to a 4-3 record in their inaugural season last summer, when they played as a probationary entry in the Northwest Football League. Bell was not asked to return, and according to team president Jim Wootan, he did not contact the club about coming back.I didn't want to step over Larry, Mulligan said, but if he wasn't going to have (the job), I wanted it.Wootan said the team, which will play a full schedule of NWFL games this summer, beginning with a matchup against the ersatz national semipro champion Puget Sound Jets on June 9, is excited about Mulligan's appointment.He's got tons of experience with other semipro, pro and college teams, Wootan said. He added that there were other applicants, but said, Somebody was going to have to have a heck of a resume if we were going to look at them over Robert.Besides coaching and playing for semipro teams in the West Sound and elsewhere, Mulligan was an assistant coach at Olympic College until that program was dropped in 1987.Wootan intimated that both Mulligan and defensive coordinator John Corey were approached about the head coaching position, and that Corey deferred to Mulligan.He said he'd be real comfortable working with Robert, said Wootan, adding that he felt that either man would've been a good fit with the Orcas' players.Mulligan said the Orcas used a number of offensive sets last year, but would settle in with the West Coast-style scheme they finished last season with. He said that will give this year's team - which he estimates will have about an 80 percent return rate from the Y2K roster - a head start.Offensively, we'll be way ahead, he said. We won't have to work as hard at training everybody. The offense is already built.He said many of the Orcas players have been attending informal workouts on Sunday afternoons, and they've been joined by several talented newcomers. Mulligan said one of his main offseason goals will be to beef up his coaching staff and help the coaches prepare for the season.I'd like to train the coaches we had last season, see that they get trained in their specialties and get a scheme of what they want to do, Mulligan said.He said his ultimate goal is to build the Orcas into as close to a top-notch, NFL-style organization as possible.We want to build a real high-class group of guys, and we'd also like to see a few tryouts with the pros. That'd be nice.Wootan said the team is in negotiation with the Bremerton School District to return to Memorial Stadium for its games and to move to the high school practice field for its workouts. He also said Mulligan is seeking a classroom-sized venue to use as a chalk room to meet with the team in a more teaching-friendly atmosphere.Wootan said the team's preparations for the upcoming season are progressing. A bachelor auction fundraiser Feb. 10 at the Yacht Club Broiler in Silverdale raised about $2,000 to help defray operation and travel costs, he said. "

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