Bulletin staff report

Sisters High School has hired Linfield assistant Gary Thorson as its new head football coach beginning with the 2014 season, Thorson confirmed on Friday.

The 46-year-old Thorson has spent a total of six years over several stints as an assistant football coach at Linfield College, including the 2013 season. He replaces Gary Hedin at the helm of the Outlaws and comes to Central Oregon three years after leading Dayton High to the Class 3A state final.

“I’m excited,” Thorson said. “I think it’s a program that’s got recent tradition. And I can tell there’s a hunger in the community to kind of get going again and get back to where (the Outlaws) were at.”

Sisters won back-to-back Class 3A state titles in 1998-99 and was a regular in the state playoffs for years thereafter. But the Outlaws have missed out on the postseason every year since consecutive 4A state runner-up finishes in 2006-07. Last season, Sisters finished 1-4 in the Sky-Em League, 1-8 overall.

Thorson, who played football for four years at Linfield before graduating in 1990, has not yet relocated to Sisters, but he said he has traveled to Sisters three or four days a week this summer to work with Outlaws players.

“I really want to hammer into them and our assistant coaches to focus on the character and the work ethic of our team,” Thorson said. “I think if we do that, the wins and losses kind of take care of themselves in time, whether it’s down the road or immediately. The sooner they buy in and focus more on themselves than their opponents, that means the most to me.”