Archive for the ‘Everything changes’ Category

CHS legends Marie and Ron Bagby are both retiring. (Ashley Heilig photo)

2020 is turning into a farewell tour for longtime Wolves.

On the heels of Randy King announcing his retirement as a Coupeville High School teacher, Ron and Marie Bagby are joining him in exiting the building.

The retirements of the husband/wife duo, who have both worked for the school district for decades, are included on the agenda for the next school board meeting, set for Tuesday, May 26.

Ron Bagby, who coached football, basketball, and track and field at CHS, after arriving in Cow Town from the wilds of Forks, was currently a PE teacher at the school.

Marie Bagby, née Grasser, is a graduate of Coupeville who was the school’s first big-time female basketball star, starting a legacy continued by younger sister Marlene.

Playing for the Wolves between 1976-1980, she rang up 321 points, and still sits as the #34 scorer all-time in program history.

Marie operated as the registrar for her alma mater, while all four of her children – April, Ashley, Mike, and Jason – followed her path as Wolf athletic stars and CHS grads.

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Coupeville HS/MS Athletic Director Willie Smith uses his powers judiciously. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

With great power comes great responsibility.

As Coupeville High School transitions from 1A down to 2B, Athletic Director Willie Smith has new options at his fingertips, but will be careful in how he deploys these.

One rule which has caught the eyes of a lot of parents and athletes is the one which allows 2B schools to use 8th graders on high school teams.

It’s allowed in two situations.

In the first, if Coupeville Middle School doesn’t offer a specific sports program which the high school does, such as tennis, softball, or baseball, 8th graders can be allowed to play up.

In the second, if a high school program has a significantly low turnout, 8th graders may be used to “save” a varsity team or allow a school to field both full varsity and JV squads.


While it’s possible we may see 8th graders participate on a Coupeville High School sports team, it will only happen under the second set of circumstances.

This is largely because Smith is doing his due diligence, seeking to work hand-in-hand with his fellow AD’s in the Northwest 2B/1B League, while creating an equal playing field for all eight schools in that revamped league.

Even though there are some talented CMS athletes who will be 8th graders next school year, the Wolves will resist the temptation to supplement their high school rosters just because they can.

If there is not a genuine need to keep a high school program afloat, middle school remains middle school, and high school remains high school.

“The intent of the rule is to help 1B/2B schools who may have low turnout numbers be able to field a varsity or junior varsity team,” Smith said. “If the numbers of participants are above those set numbers we will not even consider moving an 8th grade student up to the high school level.

“If a program is close in numbers to be able to field a sub-varsity (JV) program then we would consider moving up an 8th grade athlete or athletes IF they were willing to do so and IF it allowed us to participate with two full varsity and sub-varsity programs.”

The WIAA has set guidelines for roster size in five sports, and allows 2B schools to use 8th graders if turnout is below these numbers.

They are:

Baseball (25)
Basketball (16)
Soccer (25)
Softball (25)
Volleyball (17)

During the 2019-2020 school year, when Coupeville was still a 1A school and could not have taken advantage of the rule, its baseball program was well under the set number.

In those other four sports, CHS was at, or well above, the cutoffs.

Tennis, cross country, and track are not included on the list, though a similar philosophy of “saving” programs would likely be in effect.

While the latter two of those sports continue to have strong turnouts, tennis has taken a hit in recent seasons, with longtime coach Ken Stange working with some of his thinnest rosters in years.

Football is not included, as it can NOT use 8th graders.

As Coupeville adjusts to a new classification and opportunities, a key will be working smoothly with its new league mates.

“In discussing this with our 2B/1B League schools, who have had this rule at their disposal for many years now, they were clear that the intent of the rule, as well as the implementation of the rule by our league members has always been based on numbers and the salvaging of a program,” Smith said.

“Philosophically, this makes full sense to both myself and our administration and follows the same philosophy as outlined by league members.”

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Logan Martin and other boys basketball players will have a shorter shot clock to work with next season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Change is coming.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Monday its Representative Assembly passed 18 amendments, covering a broad range of sports.

The first change which jumps out is the decision to allow 6th graders to participate in all WIAA sports with the exception of football.

That amendment passed by the absolute skin of its teeth, getting the minimum “yes” votes needed in a 32-21 thriller.

Track and cross country were used as test sports for the idea, with Coupeville Middle School among those who participated.

With WIAA approval, if just barely, now the decision lands in the hands of local administrators.

For 6th graders to compete, there has to be school (principal, superintendent, school board), league, and district approval.

It’s unknown at this time if CMS, which fields volleyball, boys soccer, cross country, girls and boys basketball, and track teams, will go all in on the new status quo.

Another amendment lowers the shot clock for high school boys basketball from 35 to 30 seconds, making it uniform with the girls game.

That decision didn’t seem to induce any panic in Coupeville High School coach Brad Sherman.

“I’m confident our guys can get a good look in 30 seconds,” he said with a big smile.

The shot clock vote passed at 50-3, while an amendment to allow contact at only one practice during two-a-day football workouts went through with a 27-7-1 tally.

That change won’t alter how CHS football approaches practice.

“Our normal two-a-day consists of offense in the morning and defense in the afternoon,” said Wolf head coach Marcus Carr. “We never tackle during offensive periods, that is install.

“During defensive practice we install the defense and we have a tackling progression circuit we conduct. So this will not impact us that much.”

In fact, the amendment just puts into words how many high school gridiron teams already operate.

“It’s about keeping the players as safe as possible by limiting contact and my staff and I are fully onboard with that,” Carr said. “We have the equipment necessary to teach safe proper techniques/tackling without beating ourselves up.”

While 18 amendments passed, five failed, and none crashed harder than a plea to allow high school basketball teams to schedule 24 regular-season games instead of 20.

That idea was snuffed out by a 31-4 vote.

The WIAA Representative Assembly is made up of 53 school administrators pulled from all nine of the state’s districts, with 35 from high schools and 18 from middle schools.

An amendment needed a 60% approval rate to pass, and most go into effect beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.


To see everything passed, and read more about each amendment, pop over to:


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Geoff Kappes

Coupeville High School does not plan to hire a replacement for Principal Duane Baumann when he departs at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

Instead, the plan is to promote Geoff Kappes, the Coupeville Middle School Principal, and have him cover both jobs, being responsible for grades 6-12.

That move was announced Monday night by Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King during an online school board meeting.

King said he will seek official school board approval at the board’s May 25 meeting.

As the district considers staffing cuts across the board, the decision to have Kappes inherit Baumann’s duties allows Coupeville to “reduce (administration) by attrition.”

“Mr. Kappes is an outstanding principal and he’s done a fantastic job at the middle school,” King said during the meeting. “He has a real heart for helping students as they transition from middle school all the way to graduation.”

While there will be one principal for two schools (which share a campus), the plan is to maintain each school’s distinct identities, while the two staffs work together.

“I want to thank Mr. Kappes for him being willing to take on that challenge,” King said.

This is the second go-round for Kappes in the Coupeville school district.

He was a teacher and girls basketball coach at CHS from 2004-2007, then returned in 2017 to become the CMS Principal.

Baumann, who had a 10-year run as an administrator in Coupeville, was an Assistant Principal and Athletic Director before becoming CHS Principal in 2016.

He announced his resignation in November, with plans for a family move to Port Orchard.

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Coupeville High School/Middle School Athletic Director Willie Smith (middle) and CHS Principal Duane Baumann (right) in happier times. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Washington is the 14th state to shut down in-person learning for the duration of the 2019-2020 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That decision ends any hope of spring sports being played.

Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith issued the following statement:


Wow, I don’t even know how to address the news that Governor Inslee just gave: the closing of our school year…

It goes without saying, and I’m actually entirely tired of saying or hearing this, that these are unprecedented times that we are living in right now.

My greatest concern, once school first got cancelled was would we come back, and if so, would we get to have any type of an athletic season.

And yes, I am a teacher and before any of you think why those would be my first thoughts, it’s because athletics is, and always has been part of my education.

It is a massive tool that teaches our students a myriad of lessons and I’m extremely proud to be an advocate of athletics and the role that athletics plays in our educational system.

Our league Athletic Directors, both at the middle and high school levels, began working on alternative seasons in case we came back and the WIAA was going to continue to try and have state championships.

As the second extension came out from Governor Inslee, we quickly moved to playing just within our league and not even considering the state-level competitions as time became our biggest obstacle.

And then today happened.

We had nearly 150 students out for high school spring sports and another 40-50 middle school students that were ready to begin track.

We were, literally, days away from our first contests when COVID-19 necessitated the closure of our schools.

I can’t even begin to express my sadness, disappointment, disbelief, and yes, anger at what has transpired.

Do I disagree with any of the closures? No, I do not.

It was the right thing to do and I think we are fortunate in our state to have a process in place that is forward looking and proactive rather than reactive.

But does it suck? Yes, yes it does, completely and without question.

To the underclassmen: you still have opportunities ahead of you.

Continue to work hard, stay active, get focused on what you can prepare for and not what you didn’t get to have this spring.

To the seniors: there’s nothing I can say that will make you feel good about any of this.

However, I do want to let you know that you have been one of my favorite classes of young men and women in my 25 years in Coupeville.

You are driven, funny, down to earth, high achievers, great friends to each other, and have represented our school in the highest manner.

I have no doubt about the successes you will have because I’ve witnessed the successes you’ve already had; this pandemic may have taken your spring seasons away, but it can’t take away your contributions to our athletic programs and our school culture.

It has truly been my pleasure and my honor to have been a small part of your school lives and I wish nothing but the greatest to all of you.

Mr. Willie Smith
Athletic Director, Coupeville Middle & High School

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