Keeping the Linfield tradition in the family

This football season, Doug Hire’s 13th coaching the Linfield Wildcats, is a special year for him and his family.

Not long ago, his family would come to every game, even when he coached at Willamette, to watch him, including Willamette’s away game at Linfield. At that game, Doug’s wife Teresa was sitting with his two kids, Aaron and Miranda, when a man came up to them in Linfield gear.

He talked to Teresa for a time before bidding the family good luck.

As the man was leaving, Aaron stood up and said, “My daddy’s team is gonna beat your team.”

Little did Aaron know, that man was Ad Rutschman, the hall of fame coach that led Linfield to three national titles, two of which Doug was a part of, and who would one day be his coach.

As Doug now stands on the sideline as a coach for his alma mater, he can’t help but think how special this place is.

He looks down the sideline to see his son, Aaron, now a wide receiver for the Wildcats in his senior year. He looks to the stands to see his wife, an alumna just like him, and his daughter, who is now a freshman at Linfield, truly making this place a “Hire calling.”

Doug Hire is a household name for all those familiar with Linfield football. He has made an incredible impact on the program since he came to Linfield in the fall of ’93, recruited to play football.

“One of the best classrooms and the best classes I’ve taken is being a part of the football program,” Hire said. “Coming to Linfield gave me opportunities entirely, mentally and physically.”

Although Hire excelled at Linfield, playing college ball wasn’t always considered an option for him. When Hire was in high school, he was diagnosed with Leukemia, which limited his college offers.

Upon coming to Linfield, he still had three more years of chemotherapy treatment to complete.

“The coaches knew I had it when they recruited me,” Hire said. “I went and did regular blood work at OHSU in Portland and would have to head up to the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma for other treatment.”

But that didn’t stop Hire. He pushed through that to become one of the most respected athletes and coaches in Linfield history with three national championship rings to prove it.

With the hectic schedule of a football coach, Hire wasn’t always around during his kids’ childhood activities. Now, however, he loves getting to sneak away to see his daughter’s soccer games or take his kids out to lunch whenever he feels like it.

“It’s a sweet reward for the many hours and years he’s invested at Linfield,” Hire’s wife, Teresa, said. “It’s his turn.”

It was the fall of 1984 when Teresa Hire came to Linfield for a liberal arts education and to play soccer.

Back then, women athletes coming to college wasn’t as common as men, but Teresa is proud that her daughter has followed in her footsteps, becoming one of few female legacy athletes at Linfield.

With her special achievements and everything she has done for them, Teresa’s children describe her as a role model and the glue that keeps everything together.

“She’s the one who did the real hard work,” Aaron Hire said. “She worked and handled all the finances, rides, doctors visits and food, which was especially important during football season.”

Doug Hire agreed, saying she is the reason they made it through all the long hours and taught them what they know.

She even would practice with Aaron before big games when Doug was at work.

Aaron Hire was born into the Linfield football program.

With his dad a prestigious alumnus and his family attending every Linfield home game, always in the far corner of the south end zone, it was no wonder he ended up here.

Aaron always wanted to be like is dad. So, as a young child, his mom bought him a football helmet.

“I remember it was red with a blue strip,” Aaron Hire said, remembering the excitement of his first piece of football equipment. “But I was so mad that it was blue. I made my mom paint the stripe purple so it would be like Linfield.”

Linfield wasn’t always Aaron’s first choice of school, though. He first played football at Foothill Junior College in California.

Within his first year, however, he decided he wanted to transfer to Linfield. He grew up around the program and knew how much team, attitude and good, positive coaching was stressed.

“I’ve never felt any pressure from them to go here, they’ve always supported me in whatever my decision was going to be,” Aaron Hire said.

Even being the coach’s son, Aaron says he has never felt pressure or preferential treatment from his dad.

“I’ve earned whatever I’ve gotten,” he said. “I uphold what he’s taught me and never take the pressure from judgmental outside people to heart.”

Now with his sister here as well, Aaron believes that these family values, and this red and purple clad school, have brought their family closer.

“It’s a full Linfield house now,” he said.

Even though he wasn’t always supportive of Miranda completing the Hire-Linfield connection, he has taken it upon himself to be supportive, in some ways.

“I said a lot to Miranda when she decided to come here,” Aaron Hire said with a slight laugh. “But I made sure to let the football guys know that she is off limits.”

That was said with no laugh.

Miranda said that even with his protective nature, she likes having her brother here and being able to go up and talk to him whenever she’d like.

“It’s nice having someone to look up to and know that they’ve got my back,” Miranda Hire said. “Even if he is protective a little too much with boys.”

Miranda Hire, a freshman on the women’s soccer team, was valedictorian of her high school and had her choice of schools, one in particular in New York that really caught her attention.

“At one point, I was seriously considering going to RIT in New York,” she said. “I visited Rochester last spring, and I really liked it. It was a good fit, but I didn’t know if that was too far away for me.”

“When I came back to Oregon, I walked into my house and my dad had purchased a ton of Linfield gear. Glasses, mugs, sweatshirts, hats, sweatpants, shot glasses, stickers… I couldn’t help but crack a smile.”

Although he claimed it was all on sale, Miranda knew he wanted to keep her close.

“I never wanted to push her,” Doug Hire said. “But it’s pretty awesome getting to see my kids everyday.”

Teresa agreed.

“In a selfish way, I was pleased that she ended up choosing Linfield,” she said. “I am delighted that my daughter has the opportunity to compete, and to be a part of a winning program.”

Miranda knows she made the right decision. She says that their family has Wildcat blood running through its veins and she considers herself to be one of the biggest Linfield fans there is, especially when it comes to football.

“Pride is the first word that comes to mind,” Miranda Hire said. “I am proud to be a Linfield Wildcat. I’ve grown up with that mentality, and I know it will always stick with me.”

It was 1984 when the Hire parents met at Linfield. She was a young freshman with a boyfriend.  He was a sophomore football star in the making. Friends at first, they didn’t expect how their story would turn out.

Now, it’s 2012. A long way from when they met, a lot has changed for them, but more importantly, one thing remains the same.

Doug Hire stands on the sideline of the place that not only has become home for him, but for the rest of his family as well.

“It’s my hope that, to some small degree, people will also see the contributions we as a family have made to Linfield,” Teresa Hire said.  “That’s how families operate, give and take. The Hires and Linfield. We’re family.”

 

Sara Miller

For the Review

 

Sara Miller can be reached at

linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Hire

 

(Left to right) Teresa Hire, senior Aaron Hire, freshman Miranda Hire and Doug Hire all have or are attending
Linfield. Doug Hire serves as the assistant head coach for the football team, Aaron Hire plays wide receiver for the Wildcats and Miranda Hire plays for the women’s soccer team. Teresa Hire used to play soccer for the Wildcats as well.

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