Posts Tagged ‘coaches’

   Katelin McCormick, a freshman this year, got her start on the pitch thanks to the Central Whidbey Soccer Club, as this flashback pic proves. (Wendy McCormick photo)

Do it, for the kids.

Have a lot of soccer knowledge? Or just the basics, but you want to help shape the destiny of Central Whidbey’s young booters anyway?

Old pro or first timer, the Central Whidbey Soccer Club is in desperate need of coaches.

“If we don’t get coaches for our U-8 coed, U-10 boys, U-12 boys, and U-12 girls teams, there are going to be a lot of very disappointed young soccer players,” said Michelle Cernick.

The soccer club, which has been a vibrant part of Coupeville’s sports scene, almost shut down this year because of a lack of volunteers. But a small, but determined group of parents rallied to revive it.

Now the players are in place, and the first games kick off Saturday, Sept. 8.

But, with just two coaches currently in place, things are once again dicey.

If you’re interested in helping out, and want to get that nice, warm glow in your chest in return, drop an email to president@centralwhidbeysoccer.com.

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   CHS softball coach Kevin McGranahan will help run a clinic Mar. 18 for Central Whidbey Little League coaches. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

If you plan on coaching with Central Whidbey Little League this season, mark Mar. 18 on your calendar.

CWLL is holding a coach’s clinic at 2 PM that day (it’s a Sunday) at the Coupeville High School gym.

Wolf softball coach Kevin McGranahan and baseball coach Chris Smith will be on hand for training, skills and drills and additional paperwork and background check info will be handed out.

Attendance is expected for anyone who will be a head coach for CWLL, as well as any assistants or parents who will be used for on-field work with players.

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   Port Townsend girls basketball coach Scott Wilson, one of the real good guys in the business, is retiring. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sometimes it’s good to emerge from the Coupeville bubble and acknowledge players and coaches from some of our rival schools.

Port Townsend is losing a good one, as Scott Wilson is reportedly stepping down as girls basketball coach.

A former longtime newspaper man, with the Port Townsend Leader, Wilson has been a class act on and off the court.

During Coupeville’s four-year run in the Olympic League, it would be hard to find a rival coach, in any sport, who set a better example.

For three straight years, the Wolf girls basketball squads went 9-0 in conference play, before Wilson and the RedHawks finally got a bit of revenge in 2017-2018.

Port Townsend won two of three against Coupeville this season, unseated the Wolves as league champs and went on to beat Cascade Christian in the playoffs, advancing to the regional round of the state tourney.

Wilson deserves a lot of credit for the way his teams played, and the way the young women under his leadership handled themselves.

Whether they were being pounded on by the Wolves, or pulling off the big pay-back, the RedHawks handled themselves with class.

That comes down from their coach, who always struck me as a smart, caring man — one of the real good guys in the prep sports world.

With Coupeville jumping to the new North Sound Conference next school year, the Wolves and RedHawks will no longer be league rivals.

But, with the two schools sitting fairly close to each other and having a good working relationship, it’s very likely we’ll still see the two of them meet up for non-conference tilts.

If so, it’ll be odd not to see the sage Wilson patrolling the sidelines for Port Townsend.

As he exits, just a quick thank you and a fond farewell from Wolf Nation.

You might not have worn Coupeville’s colors, but you’ll always be welcome here, Coach.

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   Want to be a coach? Then emulate Gabe Wynn’s playing style and take your shot. (John Fisken photo)

Everyone secretly thinks they can coach.

Listen to enough chatter from the stands, and it quickly becomes apparent there are very few who don’t believe they possess that elusive secret to guiding a team to state championship glory.

And yet, I’ve also noticed, the bigger the talker, the less likely they are to actually step up and take on the job.

Easier to be a “genius” in the stands than prove you were full of hot air in the heat of battle, I guess.

After 27 years of writing about school sports on Whidbey Island, I have worked with many coaches, seeing them in good times and bad.

Some have been brilliant, many were competent, a few less so, and at least one was Hall of Fame worthy, if that award is for being a royal pain in the ass.

But they all accepted the challenge, whether it was for one cringe-inducing season or a stellar career, and did what most of us would not do.

Through endless road trips, on rickety school buses and ferries bouncing through winter storms, through back-and-forth with parents who believe their child is going D-1, despite averaging two points a game, through long hours and low pay, through endless second-guessing, through having to put up with my never-ending stream of inane questions, they persevered.

They did it because they love their sport, because they want to support their town and school, because that one kid you break through to makes it all worthwhile.

Some have helped fill up Coupeville’s Wall of Fame in the gym.

Others never quite got over the top, but they made an impact on the lives of their athletes and those player’s families, friends and neighbors.

I have great respect for those who have stepped up, and those who will do so in the future.

It takes guts. It takes commitment. It takes an ability to believe in yourself and your plan, even when the buzz around you becomes great.

I have never coached, cause I already know I don’t have the answers.

Jim Waller, the Sports Editor at the Whidbey News-Times, coached multiple sports for 30+ years and is in the state Hall of Fame for baseball coaches.

Willie Smith, the Coupeville High School AD, ignited the girls basketball program in the late ’90s, then went on to lead Wolf baseball through years of success, never once backing down from the richniks at King’s or ATM.

When I talk to them, or other coaches, whether they be lifers like Randy King and Ron Bagby, seasoned vets like David and Amy King or fast-rising “youngsters” like Cory Whitmore, it reinforces two things.

One, I have no real freakin’ clue, so it’s a good thing I’ve always positioned myself as a hype man building legends and not an expert when it comes to writing about sports.

Yes, I want the Wolf basketball teams to dress all in black, emerge from the locker room in total darkness, then get hit with a spotlight as AC/DC nails the opening notes of “Thunderstruck” and a FULL student section bounces up and down, making the gym resemble the epicenter of an earthquake.

Again, hype, legends, not reality.

And two, I see why they are coaches.

The jobs are not easy, and there are times where every coach stares into the abyss and questions their choice in life, but there is great reward to be found.

Not just wins and titles, either.

Coaches change lives, often in ways teachers and counselors can’t.

They are parents, mentors, friends and drill sergeants mixed into one, and the best find a perfect balance between all those aspects.

So, why do I bring this all up?

Because, as of this morning, we’re sitting at a rare moment when multiple coaching opportunities are available here in Coupeville.

The search for a CHS football assistant and head girls soccer coach are ongoing, and now three basketball positions have posted — head and assistant gigs with CHS boys basketball and a head coaching job with CMS girls hoops.

This is your moment. Don’t let it pass by.

If you have ever thought about being a coach, or if you have prior experience, step up, make a run at a job.

Do it for yourself. For the town and school. For the kids.

Or just do it for me, so I have some new people to harass with endless questions. Yep, ultimately, think about me.


To see current CHS/CMS athletic job opportunities, pop over to:


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   Orson Christensen (left) and Tony Maggio, always discussing strategy, even in the stands. (John Fisken photo)

The Brain Trust.

Tony Maggio and Orson Christensen could probably finish each other’s sentences, and the two football coaches were a perfect match during their time stalking the sidelines at Coupeville High School.

With Maggio abusing his baseball cap as a fiery, but lovable head coach and gridiron lifer Christensen gliding by his side, providing a calm, cool voice of well-earned wisdom, the 2014 Wolves put together the best season in program history in more than a decade.

Utilizing the game-breaking running of Josh Bayne and the pinpoint passing of Joel Walstad, that CHS squad put up team offensive numbers never before seen in these parts.

It’s for that season, and a million other reasons, we welcome the ol’ ball coaches to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame today.

After this you’ll find the duo of Maggio and Christensen hanging out at the top of the blog under the Legends tab.

We’ll start with the whippersnapper, Maggio, who accomplished a ton in a three-year run as Wolf gridiron head coach.

After working his way up after stints as an assistant with Oak Harbor and his predecessor at CHS, Jay Silver, the man in the #00 jersey fired up a Wolf program in the doldrums.

Two wins over arch-rival South Whidbey put the spring back in Coupeville’s step, and Maggio got the roster numbers up while also increasing his team’s wins.

He brought out the best in players from stars like Jake Tumblin and Nick Streubel on down to the last guys on the end of the bench.

And he did it by genuinely caring about his guys in ways both visible to the public and private.

Since he didn’t teach at CHS, Maggio kept a regular presence at the school by attending nearly every home sporting event the Wolves played.

He showed considerable support for his guys when they played other sports, but he was also front and center, holding court in the stands, for a ton of sports that involved kids he never coached.

The man bled red and black (and still does, frequently popping in even during his “retirement” days) and lordy, he stormed a sideline like few others.

There was one game where the refs were particularly cruel to the Wolves, and the press box had great fun counting how many times the ball cap came off and hit the turf.

But then, in typical Maggio fashion, after slapping his cap against his chest 237 times on one play, shortly afterwards he was standing next to a ref, cracking wise and making the guy smile.

Wins and losses matter, but to really build a high school program you have to invest in the students and see them as more than just athletes, something Tony always did.

We may not have gotten decades out of him, but his impact will be felt for a long time in Coupeville.

The same can be said of Christensen, a ’57 Oak Harbor grad (he was a four-sport letter-man for the ‘Cats) who played both ways on the line for Pacific Lutheran University before starting a 50+ year coaching career.

CHS was the 16th stop on his journey, one on which he’s won eight titles and been named a Coach of the Year five times.

Splitting his time between college and high school coaching jobs, Christensen, an innovator and a people person in equal measures, has been successful everywhere he’s twirled a whistle.

Virtually every coaching position he accepted has had similar trappings — a program which hadn’t been successful for several years prior to his arrival, which then became a winning one while he was employed.

Christensen is a treasure trove of football knowledge and has never been shy about sharing what he’s learned with fellow coaches, players or idiots who write blogs.

He knows the game inside out and it has always been a pleasure to talk with him, or linger in the background and listen to him imparting wisdom.

Like Maggio, Christensen has always seen his athletes as people first, and the respect accorded to him by players, coaches and fans is remarkable, and justified.

Even take away the epic football achievements, and he’s just a truly nice guy, one of the best I’ve met in my sports writing career.

So, today, with a great deal of respect for both men, based on how they conduct themselves on and off the gridiron, I welcome the dynamic duo to my lil’ Hall o’ Fame.

You earned it, gentlemen. You earned it.

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