Posts Tagged ‘1970s’

Coupeville’s homer-happy baseball sluggers rule the diamond in ’77. (Photos courtesy Sarah Lyngra)

It’s a lil’ slice of the “good ol’ days.”

The photos above and below, which come from a series of pics being digitized by Sarah (Powell) Lyngra, capture Coupeville’s hardball giants of 1977.

They were shot by her parents, David and Beatrice Powell.

And, thanks to former Wolf great David Ford, we can ID 10 of 12 players and half the coaching staff!

While the guy with the beard in photo one is one of our mysteries, the man in the cowboy hat is Bill Losey.

Back row (l to r):

Mystery Boy #1, Craig Anderson, Byron Fellstrom, Charlie Tessaro, Mark Smith, and Greg Fellstrom.

Front row:

Davin Bailey, Mystery Boy #2, John Beasley, Scott Losey, Rusty Bailey, and Caleb Powell.

Like a movie still from the “Bad News Bears.”

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The program for the first-ever game played at Coupeville’s Mickey Clark Field. (Program courtesy Randy Keefe)

You can know the name without knowing all the facts.

My family moved to The Rock in 1989 and I made my writing debut in the Whidbey News-Times in early 1990.

From the first time I stepped foot on Coupeville’s football field (it wasn’t used for soccer back then), I knew it was called Mickey Clark Field.

It was only later, though, as I learned more about the history of Cow Town sports, that I got a better image of who the man was, and how he impacted the town and its young athletes.

And yet, until this morning, when I stumbled upon a pristine program from 1975 while leafing through memorabilia which Wolf legend Randy Keefe needs to get back at some point, I could not have told you with any certainty when the field debuted.

But then boom, nestled inside basketball clippings and programs, there was the football program you see in the photo above.

Coupeville football opened the 1975 season with road games at Langley and Concrete, before making its home debut Sept. 19 against Chimacum.

It was that night, 43 years back, when the dream became a reality.

According to the program, a pre-game flag-raising ceremony was conducted by the honor guard of the Sea Explorer Ship Whidbey, while the band performed under the direction of Leonard Denham.

Once the game reached the halftime break, CHS Athletic Director Bob Barker acted as Master of Ceremonies, while John Weber, Chairman of the School Board, and Joanette Wells, President of the Coupeville High Associated Students, gave presentations.

Topping things off, the Wolfette Drill/Dance Team, under the direction of Michelle Peel, performed as well.

The program paid tribute to a number of groups and individuals who made the field a reality, from the Lion’s Club, Puget Power, Central Electric, Vaughn and Wilson Construction and Chuck Jamison to the school’s vocational shop class.

But the man of the hour was an unassuming, hard-working coach and volunteer, and there’s a page in the program devoted to answering the question “Why, Mickey Clark Field?”

It reads:

For a period of twenty-five years Mickey coached boy’s softball teams, transporting them up and down the island to their summer league games.

He, along with John Syreen, started the little league baseball programs in Coupeville.

Mickey coached the high school basketball team for a season when they found themselves without a coach.

For a period of ten years he was the official Island County referee.

As county referee he officiated all the league football and basketball games for the Island County League teams, consisting of the Coupeville, Langley and Oak Harbor High Schools.

Mickey was instrumental in initiating and has directed a program that has probably saved the life of many a community youth – the Lion’s Club Swim Program.

For eighteen years, two nights a week, he was busy directing a popular and successful Peewee Junior Basketball league, sponsored by the Lion’s Club.

Most recently, Mickey headed the football bleachers building program for the Lion’s Club.

For the thousands of hours and sincere interest in our children — this is why Mickey Clark Field.

So, now I know, and knowing is half the battle.

And, for the completists out there, we wrap up this trip down nostalgia lane with a look at the first Wolf athletes and coaches to ever play on the field:


Wolf football roster:

Larry Ankney
Mike Ankney
Randy Blindauer
Chris Ceci
Charlie Cook
Ray Cook
Mike Dunn
Foster Faris
Gary Faulconer
Mike Gordon
Kevin Haga
Chuck Hardee
Randy Keefe
Pat Leach
Frank Mueller
Tim Pool
Jeff Rhubottom
Marc Sem
Don Sherman
Bill Stone
David Suder
Lee Suder
Jeff Thomas
Charlie Toth
Wayne Trumbull
Ed Weber
Steve Whitney
Fred Wyatt



Pat Lippincott
Greg Simon



Teresa Coupe
Lisa Keeney
Sherri Knoll
Kathy McClane
Jan Sem
Jill Whitney

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   The ’79-’80 CHS cheerleaders, among the loudest ‘n proudest in all the land.

Getting some outdoor practice time in.

A trio of Wolves are ready for their close-up, Mr. DeMille.

We’re going back to the past again.

Today’s Throwback Thursday special features the 1979-1980 Coupeville High School cheerleaders hard at work.

The photos come to us courtesy Renae (Keefe) Mulholland, who continues to help us keep Wolf athletic history alive and vibrant.

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   The high-flying ’77-’78 CHS boys basketball squad. Jeff Rhubottom (44) scored 459 points that season, second-best in program history. (Photos courtesy Renae Mulholland and Brad Sherman)

   Ron Bagby and his ’87-’88 squad, the last Wolf boys hoops team to make it to the state tourney.

   Coupeville’s ’84-’85 hoops stars, back when high school basketball players (or some of them, at least) knew how to rock the ‘stache.

10 days and counting.

Coupeville High School’s boys basketball anniversary shindig goes down Jan. 19, and we’re putting the call out for people to cram the stands.

The Wolves play Chimacum that night (3:30 JV, 5:15 varsity) and it’s the exact 101st anniversary of the first hoops game in school history (a 29-7 win over Langley in 1917).

Are you a former CHS player, coach, manager, stat keeper, ticket taker? Did you cheer at the games, either in an official capacity or as a fan?

Be there!

Whether you scored one point or 1,000, you are a part of the history of Wolf boys basketball, and this is your night.

There’ll be a special game program, honoring the first game, the immortal ’69-’70 team that still holds all the school records, and the Top 15 individual career scorers.

Toss in halftime festivities and an epic “team” photo after the game — when all former Wolves will be asked to take part — and things will be hoppin’.

There’s a few other things in the works, which will be announced in the next few days, and, as we count down, I am in the market for any and all Wolf basketball pics you might have.

Send them to me at davidsvien@hotmail.com, then rearrange your calendar and make sure you have Jan. 19 circled in red.

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Modern-day Bill Riley. (Photo courtesy Riley)

Modern-day Bill Riley. (Photo courtesy Riley)

“I hope that my teammates and coaches that are still alive today would say I was a good teammate.”

Bill Riley remains one of the most talented athletes to ever represent Coupeville High School, the second ever to be named CHS Athlete of the Year, but he was never concerned with being showy or drawing attention.

Instead, he was a highly successful three-sport athlete by focusing on what he could add to a team.

“Stay humble, let your performance on the court or field be all you need to say,” Riley said. “No need to bring any attention to yourself or celebrate excessively after a great play.

“People will know you did well without the theatrics.”

And the 1973 CHS grad did as well as any athlete to ever pull on the uniform, an All-League First-Team pick in basketball and football (on both sides of the ball) who also went to the state track and field meet as a long jumper.

On the hardwood he was on the 1969-1970 hoops squad that became the first in school history to go to state, then later compiled the second-best single-season scoring average in program history.

Put him on the gridiron and he was a monster, or, at the very least, played a position known as “monster,” which gave him the ability to follow the ball (“That was fun!”) at all times.

It worked, as league coaches honored him for his work as a safety and floating linebacker, as well as his offensive game as a running back and flanker.

So it came with little surprise when Riley was tabbed as his school’s Athlete of the Year in ’73, making him the successor to Corey Cross, who won the first two times the award was handed out.

Following in his teammate’s footsteps remains an honor for Riley.

“I had the deepest respect for Corey,” he said. “He was a natural leader.”

As an athlete, Riley soaked up lessons from those around him, and the men who were coaching him, lessons which have impacted him throughout the years.

“No question, Coach (Bob) Barker was a significant influence,” Riley said. “I looked up to the upperclassmen, Randy Duggan, Corey Cross of course, Jeff Stone, Pat O’Grady.

“On the coach front Craig Pedlar (track and JV BB). In football, Coach Steele, Lippincott, Hosek and legendary football coach Sid Otton were all important figures during those development years.”

With the passage of time, athletes of the ’70s, who put together a truly golden era in Coupeville, may not be as well-remembered as they once were, but the town remains largely the same.

“Those memories are long gone for most people that lived in Coupeville when I was playing sports,” Riley said. “What is irreplaceable, and I believe so special about Coupeville, is how the entire town would support the team.

“Small schools and their towns seem to have that closeness with their teams,” he added. “It felt like the movie Hoosiers at Coupeville during basketball season.”

Riley, who fondly remembers the run to state in ’70 (he was a last-minute selection as a freshman when another player was injured), tempers that with a bit of sadness over his highly-rated ’72 squad falling just short and being knocked out a step away from state by La Conner.

But through good times and bad, the sport remains his favorite, and one he is still active in today.

While he gave up playing in 2008 after a hip replacement, he has been involved in sponsoring teams at the 3A/4A state tourneys in Tacoma for many years.

“Basketball was the best sport because it has kindled a love for the game to this day,” Riley said. “I still believe that high school basketball is the purest form of the game.

“For the last 14 years I have been able to be with the players and coaches, at practices, in the locker room and meals when they come to the Tacoma Dome for three days.

“It’s penance for not making it in 1972, I suppose,” he said with a laugh. “In a sense I get to go every year to the state tourney, living it thru the teams I sponsor.”

The one-time prep sports star grew up to get an undergraduate degree in Business Finance and an MBA, and has been involved in real estate brokerage, investment, property management, construction and land development since 1978.

As he’s progressed through the business world, Riley has used sports lessons to shape modern-day decisions.

“So many lessons to be learned from playing sports — competition, leadership, working together for a common goal are all attributes that have helped me in business,” he said. “Having good mentors at an impressionable age was invaluable.

“I specifically remember Coach Barker using the term “we were a poised team” in 1972 after coming back and winning the Kings Garden game,” Riley added. “I believe we were down double digits late in the fourth quarter.

“Winning games, sometimes by small margins, provided a great lesson on remaining calm during times of stress and has helped me in business.”

Riley’s daughter, who followed her dad into the business world, is 30 now, and if he ends up with athletic grandchildren, the former Wolf ace will be quick to help the newest generation.

“I would help them aspire towards competitive sports because it taught me so much about life, but only if they initially show a liking.”

As he looks back on his own fond memories and surveys the modern-day sports scene, Riley has one very important lesson to pass on.

“Soak it in; it goes by fast,” he said. “Never feel that you’re great or good enough; there is always something you can work on to make you and your game better.”

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