CHS tennis guru Ken Stange (above) is joined by fellow inductees (l to r) Mike Duke, Julie (Swankie) Wheat, Jerry Helm and Will Butela.
In the athletic history of Coupeville, some have left a mark, while others have hit with such a force they left a crater.
The members of the 15th class to be inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame made, or are continuing to make, impressions that have lasted, and for that they join their brethren at the top of the blog, forever enshrined under the Legends tab.
Welcome to the podium, Jerry Helm, Julie (Swankie) Wheat, Ken Stange and the loud ‘n proud tag-team of Will Butela and Mike Duke.
We want a big opening, so we have to kick things off with Butela and Duke, the fastest-rising names in sports entertainment.
Both athletes themselves who have gone on to adult things like marriage, fatherhood and starring in professionally-made ads that tout their love of Major League Baseball (http://coupevillesports.com/2015/07/14/ermahgerd-i-know-these-dudes/) the duo are going in to our hall as Contributors.
The last couple of years have been an odd time for the student cheering section at Coupeville High School, as administrators, overly-restrictive league officials and the Wolf faithful have conducted an awkward dance.
But jump back just a few years, when Butela and Duke led that section, a time when the stands were jam-packed and ready to rock ‘n roll, and Wolf Nation was a force to be reckoned with.
They had more freedom than the current kids are being given, and they reveled in it, shaking the joint to its rafters. They made the floor rumble and other schools wilt.
They were then what you wish today’s Wolves would be allowed to once again be.
Spirit? Passion? Fun? It flowed from every pore of their bodies and, in our timid times now, they loom even bigger in our memories.
Next up is a guy, who, while being a little bit older than the Fun Brothers, still looks like he could pass for a high schooler.
Helm, the poster boy for Central Whidbey firefighting (he has the calendar to prove it) was a standout athlete in his days as a Wolf.
The 1998 grad used his speed to make a mark as a football, basketball and track star, while dabbling a bit in baseball.
Along the way, he went to state, won MVP awards and was part of a school record in the 4 x 400, before hanging up his track shoes and morphing into a dad and husband.
Whether zipping around the track oval or battling fires, Helm was a winner then, and remains one today.
His journey is a similar one to the trek taken by Wheat, who transitioned from life as a stellar athlete (volleyball, softball) into being a wife and mom, raising her children with husband Erik, himself a decorated former Wolf.
While she was rock-solid on the diamond, the volleyball court is where Julie holds school records.
The Assist Queen, the former setter still holds all three CHS records, for most assists in a game (40), season (309) and career (604 from 2008-2010).
A perpetual ray of sunshine when she was an athlete, the kind of warrior who dominated but never forgot to embrace the sheer joy of playing, Wheat has gone on to provide daily assists to her young sons.
Look at their smiles in the photos in which they appear with their mom, and you know she’s still winning, every day.
Our fifth inductee is a wily tennis guru who has impacted countless players during a decade-plus run at the helm of the Wolf boys and girls’ tennis programs.
Coupeville’s version of The Dude, a free spirit who bops to his own tune, Stange, who is now in his 11th year at CHS, imparts two kinds of lessons. Tennis ones, and life ones.
He’s had some very good players, taken several to state, but it’s the little things which make him worthy of induction.
The way he has pulled in countless kids from the fringes who had never played a sport and then given them a game they can play for a lifetime.
His Zen-like mixture of wild stories, hard truths and laser-like wisdom.
His Swayze-like dancing skills.
Plus, he’s one of the best in the biz when it comes to writing up info for the ink-stained wretches who cover his teams, and, he’s one of the few coaches who can still flat-out blast his players off the court if needed.
You come for the king, you better have a quick racket.