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Posts Tagged ‘Foster Faris’

Foster Faris, one of the best athletes in CHS history, and also a tough son of a gun.

Kids were just tougher in the ’70s.

Or, parents, coaches, and doctors weren’t as sensitive.

One of the two, but I’m going with a lot of the first, and a little of the second.

Case in point, Foster Faris, universally hailed as one of the best athletes to ever suit up for Coupeville High School.

I was leafing through old Whidbey News-Times clippings today when I stumbled across a story from June 16, 1977.

The piece hailed Faris for being named the 76-77 CHS Athlete of the Year, an honor he earned after playing football, basketball, and baseball.

During his days on the gridiron, he played quarterback, split end, cornerback, punter, and placekicker.

In basketball, Faris pumped in 668 points, and still stands as the 21st highest scorer after 102 seasons of Wolf boys hoops.

He was #10 when he graduated, long before the three-point line arrived.

And while Faris scored oodles of buckets, he also led the Wolves in assists and steals as a senior.

That season, Coupeville fell just short of state — denied by a two-point loss to Bellevue Christian — robbing Faris of a third-straight trip to the big dance.

Once spring sprung, the guy hailed as “Mr. Everything” hit .406 for the Wolf baseball squad, stole 32 bases, picked up 17 RBI’s and scored 35 runs as CHS romped to a fourth-straight league title.

The ’70s were a decade of excellence for Coupeville, probably the best run male athletes have ever had in Cow Town.

And Faris was as good an athlete as Wolf fans have ever witnessed.

But the point of this story, today, is to highlight two paragraphs from that ’77 story.

Paragraphs which caught my attention, paragraphs which will never be written in a modern-day story.

Here they are:

Although only 135 pounds (127 during football season), Faris has proved to be quite durable, with his only serious injuries coming during football season.

A broken finger, two brain concussions and a sprained ankle, all incurred while playing cornerback on defense, have never caused Faris to miss more than part of a game.

Gol-dang!

Now, I know what you’re going to say. Modern medicine is making people safer, yadda yadda yadda.

Stow it.

It was 1977, a time when a six-year-old me would ride around town (and on the freeway) sitting on the engine block of my dad’s work van.

Which meant every time my dad’s foot jammed through the brake pad, my head bounced off the wind-shield and then I flew into the back of the van, where all his jagged carpet cleaning tools and giant pump bottles of weird chemicals were waiting to break my fall.

I was six, Foster Faris was 17, and we were just tougher than these whippersnappers today. End of story.

Now get off my lawn!

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   Sean Dillon (22) goes airborne, but the basketball refuses to make the trip with him.

   Randy Keefe knows when you’re the #3 scorer in school history, somebody, somewhere, is always going to be taking your photo.

   The rough-and-tumble hoops legends of the early ’50s look ready to start a back alley brawl.

Wolf coach Bob Barker rocks legendary pants.

   Praying to the hardwood Gods. Oh wait, they could be just looking for Marc Bissett’s lost contacts lens…

Foster Faris cuts down the nets.

Trophy in hand, Keefe waits for his post-game radio interview.

Old-school or new-school. Short shorts or long shorts. Layups or three-balls. All-League or bench warmers.

Doesn’t matter what decade you played, what style you used or how much floor time you got.

If you wore the Wolf uniform, or coached, or kept stats, or managed, or cheered at any point during the 101 years Coupeville High School boys basketball has been active, this Friday is for you.

CHS is throwing an anniversary shindig centered around its home game with Chimacum (JV 3:30, varsity 5:15), and everyone is invited back.

The school, with a lot of help from tech whiz kid Katey Wilson, is producing a snazzy collectible game program, which will feature info on the first CHS hoops game in 1917, the immortal ’69-’70 team and the Top 15 career scorers.

There will be festivities at halftime, then every former Wolf in attendance can be part of an epic “team” photo after the game.

Finally, current Wolf basketball moms are providing refreshments (cake!!) for a post-game reception in the health room, which is right outside the entrance to the gym, inside the same building.

As we head towards anniversary day, we’ve been dropping vintage photos left and right here on Coupeville Sports, and today’s come to us courtesy Renae (Keefe) Mulholland and Kimberly (Stuurmans) Bepler.

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Foster Faris, April Ellsworth-Bagby (top right in Arizona shirt) and Clay Hughes headline today's Hall of Fame class.

   Foster Faris, April Ellsworth-Bagby (top, on left) and Clay Hughes headline today’s Hall of Fame class.

They can stand with anyone.

The three athletes and one basketball team headed into the Coupeville Sports Hall of Fame on this sunny Sunday are among the best to ever grace the hallways at CHS.

Two Athlete of the Year winners, one of the most underrated running backs in program history and the last Wolf boys’ hoops team to make the trip to state, they join together to form a potent group.

So, with that, we open the doors to these hallowed digital walls for the 63rd time and welcome April Ellsworth-Bagby, Clay Hughes, Foster Faris and the 1987-88 CHS boys’ basketball team.

After this, you’ll find them atop the blog, under the Legends tab.

Our first inductee, Ellsworth-Bagby, was a two-sport star (volleyball, softball) who capped her senior season by being named the school’s Female Athlete of the Year.

On the court, she helped lead the Wolf spikers through some of their best seasons, while on the diamond she was a standout pitcher on teams which finally brought respectability to the softball program.

After high school, April went on to compete in college rugby, served 15 months in Iraq and was honored as a Pat Tillman Military Scholar while seeking her law degree.

Part of a highly-successful sports-orientated family, many of whom welcome her to the Hall, Ellsworth-Bagby graduated right on the cusp of the golden years for Wolf female athletics in the early-to-mid 2000s, but it was athletes like her who set the stage for what was to come.

She may not have gotten the trips to state little sister Ashley did, but April is a star in her own right, as an athlete, a soldier and a lawyer.

Our second inductee, Hughes, was one of the most inspired gridiron runners to ever suit up in the red and black.

Churning away next to fellow Hall o’ Famer Casey Larson, Hughes racked up 1,582 yards and 15 touchdowns in his two years on the Wolf varsity.

He broke the 100-yard barrier eight times in 17 games, three times busting 150 yards, with a high of 164 against always-brutal Concrete.

Clay was a busy bee, also returning kickoffs and punts, hauling in passes and lighting up fools on the defensive side of the ball, playing through pain at times against a stretch of the toughest foes Coupeville has faced.

Off the field, he was (and is) a walking-talking grin machine come to life, but strap on the helmet and pads, and Hughes was a rough and tumble bruiser. Never forget.

Now, if this was a real Hall o’ Fame, our third inductee, Faris, would probably have been one of the first in the doors.

But I’ve struggled to find a photo of him (until, one day, I looked up at the school’s display of Athlete of the Year photos and a light bulb went off…) and finding anyone who kept stat sheets from the ’70s?

Yeah, good luck on that.

But if you go off of nothing more than the memories of those he played with, or for, Foster is truly one of the best athletes to ever pull on a Wolf jersey.

Esteemed long-time CHS coach Bob Barker picked him as one of the five best athletes he had ever seen at the school, and the athletes who followed in his footsteps, such as David Ford, tell glowing tales of his accomplishments.

So let’s welcome Faris into the Hall, while still continuing the search for clippings and stat sheets from his prep days.

Clean out your attics, your basements, and help me really honor his athletic legacy.

Rounding out our roster for today is one of the most talented teams in school history, in any sport, the ’87-’88 CHS boys’ hoops squad.

Led by remarkably balanced scoring (four guys averaged in double figures, led by Timm Orsborn at 13.9 a game), the Wolves went 19-6 and remain, 28+ years later, the last team in program history to make it to state.

Coupeville finished 10-2 in Northwest B League play that year, missing out on a share of a league title by a single game.

But one huge positive was giving league champ La Conner, which finished 5th at state, its only conference loss.

After running wild through the regular season, the Wolves split four games at districts (which they hosted), then absorbed two tough losses at state to top-level schools.

As we wait for the the boys’ hoops program to get back to the big dance (10,400+ days and counting), let’s give the ’87-’88 squad one more curtain call.

Inducted together, as a team:

Ron Bagby (head coach)
Sandy Roberts (assistant coach)
Cec Stuurmans (assistant coach)
Brandy Ambrose
Marc Aparicio
Andrew Bird
Brad Brown
Tom Conard
Tony Ford
Chad Gale
Dan Nieder
Timm Orsborn
Morgan Roehl
Joe Tessaro

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Barry Brown

  Wolf legends Barry Brown and Jeff Stone, with some of their ’67-’68 basketball teammates. (Photo courtesy Stone)

Bob Barker (Photo courtesy Sherry Roberts)

Bob Barker (Photo courtesy Sherry Roberts)

Bob Barker spent 31+ years at Coupeville High School, working as a teacher, coach and Athletic Director, affecting countless lives over the years.

A 1959 grad of what would become Western Washington University, he led baseball and basketball (both boys and girls) teams at CHS, taking three to state.

Hailed by his former players as “the best coach I ever had” and “one of the three or four people who shaped who I am today,” his impact lingers long after his retirement.

In this series, Barker responds to my questions as only he can, eloquently and passionately.

Today’s question: “Was Jeff Stone the greatest athlete you ever coached at CHS?”

David,

It is currently raining so I thought I would take some time and give my response to your third question.

Jeff was six-feet-four, but had very long arms.

He had soft hands and a very fine touch on the ball.

He had great athletic ability and while he played with his back to the basket for me, he learned to play facing the basket while in college.

He was recruited by Seattle Pacific, which was playing a very high level game at that time.

By his junior and senior college years he played on exceedingly fine teams and was one of their better scorers. 

Jeff’s skills fit very nicely in the sport of basketball,  and if I was to pick an all-star basketball team from the 30 years that I observed the sport at Coupeville, Jeff would be my first pick. 

Although Jeff didn’t play tennis, if he had had the interest, with his build and skills, I think that he would have made a tremendous tennis player, too.
 
Now having said that, it is my opinion that he was not the best all-around athlete competing in sports during that period of time.

I am going to list some special performers from some of my basketball teams. These were All-Conference Performers.
 
NAME                  TEAM              YEAR
Barry Brown     NWB 1st            1967
John O’Grady    NWB 2nd          1976
Barry Brown      NWB 1st           1968
John O’Grady    NWB 1st           1968
Jeff Stone          NWB 1st            1969
Jeff Stone          NWB 1st            1970
Pat O’Grady      NWB 2nd           1970
Corey Cross       NWN 1st            1971
Bill Riley             Cascade 1st       1972
Corey Cross         Cascade  2nd     1972
 
If I was to pick some of the most all-around athletes that I have observed during the 30 years at Coupeville they would be Barry Brown, Corey Cross, Bill Riley, Randy Keefe and Foster Faris.

Most of these individuals were outstanding in at least two and many three sports.

I believe that Randy Keefe lives in Coupeville but has changed his name to O’Keefe.
 
I am going to include a few individual season statistics which you may or may not find interesting. 

Best point average per game:

1. Jeff Stone  (27.0)  1969-70
2. Bill Riley  (23.9)  1972-73
3.  Bill Riley  (18.7)  1971-72
 
Most Rebounds:

1. Bill Riley  (310)  1971-72 (21 games)
2. Jeff Stone  (295)  1969-70 (24 games)
3. Bill Riley  (288)  1972-73 (20 game) 
4. Randy Duggan  (262)  1971-72 (21 games)
5. Barry Brown  (206)  1967-68
6. Pat Brown  (175)  1969-70
7. Jeff Stone  (159) 1968-69
8. John O’Grady (141) 1967-68
 
Here is another tidbit. The best season free throw percentage was Alan Hancock at 75.4%. 

Alan is now a judge on Whidbey Island.
 
I hope that this has been of some interest to you.
 
Sincerely,
 
Bob Barker

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