“You really want it for them more than you want it for yourself,” Mitch Dahlen said. “But yeah, a big shiny ring wouldn’t hurt either.”
On Monday night, Dahlen will be feeding information to Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr in college football’s national championship game. Dahlen is a senior offensive analyst for the Huskies, who will be taking on the Michigan Wolverines.
“He sees the whole field of 53 and a third yards. He can put the ball where he wants and he can see that spot,” Dahlen said of Penix.
Dahlen is experienced at the quarterback position. Thirteen years ago, he was starting under center for the Redmond Panthers.
“We’d be running the hills through like Sam Johnson Park and stuff all the time as a team,” he said.
As Dahlen fine-tunes the gameplan for college football’s holy grail, his high school friends, former teammates and family will cheer him on from the high desert.
“It’s definitely home and always will be home,” Dahlen said.
He’s a decade removed and hundreds of miles away, but stays in the loop for Redmond football and basketball.
“I keep up on the Panthers on that when they’re playing,” he said. “They just beat Mountain View the other night, so I was fired up for them!”
After playing for the Panthers, Dahlen pursued college ball in Utah and then a coaching path, eventually landing in Houston for Monday night’s matchup.
“The first time it hit me that we were playing in the national championship was when seeing the stadium and seeing all the national championship stuff in the end zones,” he said. “It kind of takes you back for a second.”
A Washington ring would make for some well-earned rest, and Dahlen knows just the place to unwind.
“When I get time off, honestly, my first priority is always trying to get back to Central Oregon,” he said. “I try to do it as much as I can. It’s a special place.”