(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)
Former Chewelah football coach Roy Albertson had planned on a few more years of coaching, but the COVID-19 pandemic is having the current Timberlake High School football coach in Spirit Lake, Idaho rethinking things. Albertson said with his age at 72 and pre-existing medical conditions that he is considered at high risk to become infected with the disease, so he made the decision to resign.
“I’m in the dangerous category. My family doesn’t want me to take a chance on getting this,” Albertson said Thursday afternoon to the Couer d’Alene Press. “Because when you’re in the school, you’re going to be around a lot of people, and they’re going to be around a lot of people. And I’ve been in the hospital enough times.”
Three years ago, Albertson had a heart attack during a Timberlake football practice and an assistant coach had to bring him back to life with a defibrillator. He then had to have a triple bypass. Two decades ago while coaching at Chewelah, he also got a staph infection in his knee and had to spend a month in the hospital.
“I thought it (the decision) over for quite a while. It was a tough decision to make, because I don’t feel 72. I thought I could keep going,” Albertson told the CDA Press.
In 29 seasons of being a head football coach, he has a 179-107-1 record, including a 57-20-1 stint with eight seasons for Chewelah. Albertson retired as a teacher in Washington in 2003 when he left Chewelah for the Timberlake job. He then retired as a teacher in Idaho in 2019. Alberton has coached football for 47 seasons.
If the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, Albertson said he would think about returning to the Timberlake program.