No one has to tell Charlie Landgraf about the winning tradition of Marist Catholic football.
As a player at Oregon, he learned about Marist Catholic as a roommate of star quarterback Justin Herbert, whose grandfather, Rich Schwab, coached the Spartans to the first of their five state championships in 1973.
Now it will be up to Landgraf – hired to replace Frank Geske as coach – to lead the Spartans forward.
“It's not lost on me, the tradition of football at Marist,” Landgraf said. “The goal is to keep it going and elevate it to the next level.”
Landgraf was a standout offensive lineman at Jesuit before walking on at Oregon, where he was part of the 2019 Pac-12 champion and Rose Bowl team as a senior.
He was the assistant offensive line coach at UNLV under head coach Marcus Arroyo in 2020 before returning to the Portland area to work on his master's degree. He coached the offensive line at Central Catholic the last two seasons, helping lead the Rams to the 6A title in 2021.
He takes over at 4A Marist Catholic, where Geske went 120-46 in 15 seasons, including the Spartans' last state title in 2009.
"Charlie has an impressive football pedigree, having played or coached in several premier football programs," Marist Catholic principal Bob Fraley said. "His enthusiasm, and love for teaching and coaching, was immediately apparent to our hiring committee."
After playing at Jesuit and coaching at Central Catholic, Landgraf said he connects with the school's Catholic mission.
“They've had success on the field, but to be honest, it's more just the mission of the school, a great community,” he said. “And it's in Eugene, where I spent a lot of time as a college athlete. I grew to love the city of Eugene.”
Landgraf said he learned a lot from his coaches at Oregon – Mark Helfrich, Willie Taggart and Mario Cristobal. He said that Arroyo, Jesuit coach Ken Potter and Central Catholic coach Steve Pyne also have been strong influences on him.
“Ken is still a guy I talk to today frequently, and Steve Pyne has been great,” Landgraf said. “I feel super fortunate and blessed to have had some really good mentors. Now it's time for me to go run my own show.”
Pyne said of Landgraf: “I'm super excited for him and sorry for us. He will do a great job at Marist.”
Landgraf met the players and families on campus Monday. He is working on putting together a coaching staff and getting acquainted with the team's personnel.
“I'm spending time on Hudl, watching game film from last year, seeing what the roster looks like, and what we'll be good at,” he said. “I think you've got to be able to run the ball successfully in high school to have a chance. From there, kind of create your explosives through play-action. We're going to be balanced, and get our best players the ball and let them work.”
Marist Catholic earned the No. 3 seed to the 4A playoffs last season but fell to No. 14 Gladstone 21-20 in the first round to finish 8-2. The Spartans will graduate 21 players from the roster, including the starting quarterback, top three running backs and leading receiver.