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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King, modern day. 

Heated rival to ardent supporter — Steve King has taken the complete journey when it comes to Wolf athletics.

These days, he’s Superintendent of the Coupeville School District, a position he’s held since 2018, and he’s often front and center when various CHS and CMS teams play.

But, back in the day, the 1987 Friday Harbor High School grad was a deeply-committed Wolverine, a young man who played four years of football, basketball, and golf for one of Coupeville’s biggest rivals.

The two schools reunited in the Northwest 2B/1B League this school year, with Coupeville’s move from 1A to 2B, bringing back memories of when King was in high school.

Back in the mid to late ’80s, the Wolves and Wolverines were also league mates, and regularly clashed.

Little did anyone know that Friday Harbor’s quarterback would one day be employed by Coupeville, and that the football coach on the other side of the field would still be a CHS teacher when it first happened.

“We always played them in football and basketball, so I got to know them well,” King said. “When I first came to Coupeville as superintendent, I met Ron Bagby, and we both figured out that he had coached against me.

“I think he remembered me, and I remembered him as the young Coupeville coach that always wore shorts no matter what the weather was,” he added.

“I think I thought he was a little crazy. Ha!”

Bagby is not the only ’80s Wolf King has reconnected with, however.

“I know multiple parents and community members who I competed against in high school,” King said. “Including one of our staff members, (Maintenance/Transportation Director) Scott Losey.”

None made as big an impact as the guy he routinely squared off with on the gridiron and hardwood.

“The one Coupeville athlete that always stood out for me was Mitch Aparicio,” King said. “I don’t think he and I liked each other very much while we were in high school.

“He was the star running back and linebacker for Coupeville, and he always seemed to guard me in basketball,” he added. “I hate to admit this, but I kind of found him annoying and a little cocky when we were in high school.

“But I think he kind of thought the same thing about me.”

Given a second chance to interact, however, the two quickly found common ground.

“When I first came to Coupeville, we played golf together and had a lot of fun and good laughs sharing memories from high school,” King said. “Interesting how old rivals from different schools can actually end up being friends who have a lot in common.”

In a time before cell phones swept the nation, the superintendent, like most children his age, spent much of his time outdoors, bouncing from season to season.

Just don’t ask him to single out one sport as his favorite.

“That is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child,” King said with a laugh. “I loved them all for different reasons.

“As a very young child my dad was the scorekeeper for basketball, so I played basketball all the time,” he added. “When I was about 10, I lived on the golf course and got my first set of golf clubs and became an avid golfer. In high school, I fell in love with playing football.

“During high school my favorite sport was always the one I was currently playing.”

King had great success as a prep athlete, long hours of effort turning into achievement.

While time has gone by, the memories never fade, from the time he poured in 31 points against Darrington during a basketball game his junior season, to his final moments in each uniform.

The hardwood scoring explosion, which came before the addition of the three-point line, was eerily unique in many ways.

King wore #31, it was his 31st varsity game, the contest was played January 31, and it was the 31st time a Friday Harbor hoops player had cracked the 30-point barrier.

Back in his days as a sweet-shooting basketball star.

His final basketball game actually came on Coupeville’s court, a district tournament loss when a victory would have sent Friday Harbor to the state tourney.

“I had one of the worst games of my career in that final game in the Coupeville gym,” King said. “I took my uniform off for the last time in that locker room and there were many tears shed.

“I love walking into that gym now, but in 1987, I did not view it as a very positive place.”

A far happier memory is of his final football game, a win against Orcas Island.

“We were not going to the playoffs, but it was nice to finish my career with a win on our home field,” King said. “I remember celebrating with all of my teammates, and then how sad we all were as we took off those uniforms for the last time.

“I remember celebrating with teammates that I would never have been friends with if I was not involved with sports,” he said. “Sports, and especially football for me, taught me to accept and be friends with people who were very different from me.”

The lessons he learned as a high school athlete helped shape King in the moment, but even more so as he went on to pursue a career in education, as a teacher, coach, and administrator.

“Playing sports had such a big impact on my character development,” he said. “While I always wanted to win, I can look back now and say I always learned more through adversity and losing.

“Sports certainly helped me grow up and gave me purpose while I was in high school.”

Learning to show leadership in the huddle helped King as he chased non-sports dreams, as well.

“It helped give me the confidence and courage to commit my life to education while being both a positive leader and a good teammate,” he said.

“The other two things that come to mind is how sports gave me a strong work ethic and the ability to deal with adversity,” King added.

“Things don’t always go your way in sports, and it was good for me to learn at an early age to give my best and still be able to gracefully deal with the results even when they do not go my way.”

Those lessons were imparted by numerous coaches, with two, Ken Axelson and Burrell Osbourne, making a special impact on King’s life.

Axelson, who coached football, lit a spark in his young QB, both on and off the field.

“Coach Axelson and his wife, Mrs. (Diane) Axelson, were the two staff members who convinced me to pursue a career in education,” King said.

“Coach Axelson not only influenced me in high school, but also throughout my life as he became a high school principal, and later a superintendent. I sort of followed in his footsteps and he has provided me support and mentorship at various points in my life.”

Osbourne was King’s mentor on the golf course, with the duo coming together early in the young athlete’s life.

Burrell was a retired golfer in his 60’s and 70’s and he was actually one of my best friends growing up,” King said. “I often golfed 18 or 36 holes per day with him during the summer when I was in elementary and middle school. I loved him so much!

“I got to play on the golf team with him as coach for four years and I have great memories of many laughs and times together.

“Sadly, Burrell tragically died in a plane crash the year after I graduated from high school. I will never forget him.”

Ready for a round (or two, or three) of golf.

King followed both of his mentors into coaching, working with numerous programs in the Mount Baker school district during his time as a teacher.

He was girls golf coach for five seasons, leading the Mountaineer duffers to a state title in 2001, while also working with basketball, football, and baseball teams.

While he’s no longer coaching — being a superintendent, especially during the Age of Coronavirus, is a time-consuming profession — King remains an ardent supporter of the athletes and coaches in his district.

CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith, working with the support of King and other administrators, has been at the forefront of restarting athletics after the pandemic shutdown.

“I am sorry that so many of our students had to sacrifice so much of their sports seasons the last two years due to COVID,” King said. “They have sacrificed so much and I don’t think there is any way we can repay them.

“I am glad we are finally getting some athletic opportunities for our students this spring.”

In good times or bad, King hopes his students always realize the opportunities sports and activities offer, and that they take advantage.

“My advice, get off your devices and get active,” he said. “Be committed to your team before yourself.

“I hope that everyone will realize that 51% of our job is to make our teammates successful and 49% of our job is to make yourself successful,” King added. “Compete with all you have, and then do your best to gracefully accept the results.

“I hope that you are grateful for your coaches, teammates, referees, bus drivers, family members, etc., who support you.”

Whether you’re a superstar or role player, playing sports, especially at the middle and high school level, can positively affect every part of your life.

King would hold himself up as proof of that.

“Being involved and participating is a major part of a student’s overall well-being, growth, and development,” he said. “Also, students who participate always tend to have more academic success as well.

“There is really only one time in your life when you can participate in organized sports, so I hope our students will take advantage of it,” King added. “They can not only build character, but they gain friendships, resilience and overall health through participation as well.”

Looking back at his own high school sports career, three decades later, King has the benefit of time to help shape his perspective.

How does he hope Friday Harbor fans (and his one-time rivals) remember him?

“As someone who absolutely loved to compete and have fun,” King said.

“I think when I was in high school, I wanted everyone to think I was really talented,” he added. “Now, I hope they remember some positive qualities, such as being a hard worker, dedicated, a good teammate, being inspirational, and always giving it my best.

“I hope they remember my positive passion.”

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A golfer lines up a putt while helping raise money. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Coupeville’s embrace of Bennett Boyles and his family continues.

The former hoops star, who fought valiantly against brain cancer as a middle school student, remains a vital part of Wolf Nation, his memory held aloft by those who knew and loved him.

Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famer Bennett Boyles. (Photo courtesy Lucienne Rivera)

One of the best public tributes to Bennett is the annual memorial golf tourney named for him, now in its fourth year.

Spearheaded by CHS grads Mitch and Marc Aparicio, and sponsored by their business, Penn Cove Brewing Company, this year’s event raised $15,000.

Mitch Aparicio commands his ball to “get in the freakin’ hole!” (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

That’s up $6,000 from a year ago, and especially nice to see at a time when the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic made putting on the tourney considerably more difficult.

The money will go towards scholarships for the CHS Class of 2022, which Bennett would have been a member of, and to support patients and their families through the WhidbeyHealth Foundation.

Playing for Bennett are, l to r, Helen Taylor, Molly McPherson, Sarah Flay, and Aaron Wiley.

There were 84 golfers at this year’s event, with a team made up of Todd Melnick, Robert Tercero, Lucas Horrobin, and Jeremy Amundson claiming the team title.

They combined to shoot a 54, holding off two teams tied at 61 strokes.

The other big winner was Coupeville teacher Jackie Saia, who drilled a 75-footer to claim victory in the putting contest.

Jackie Saia, sharpshooter.

Todd Melnick, Brenden Hansen, Shawn Blouin, and John Fish claimed awards for being “closest to the hole,” while Maria Reyes, Melnick, and Lucas Horrobin smashed the longest drives of the day.

Konni Smith gets ready to crank it.

Many people contributed to make the tourney a success, led by the event’s sponsors:

 

Diamond:

Whidbey Island Business Consulting, LLC

 

Platinum:

Cascade Custom Homes
Penn Cove Brewing Company
Ron Telles

 

Gold:

Benito (Papa) Rivera
China City
Greenbank Cider Company
Windermere Property Management
Windermere Real Estate

 

Silver:

Ciao
Humphrey Sign Company
McPherson & McPherson Law
Penn Cove Taproom
Porter Whidbey Insurance
Salon Blue
Seaside Spa and Salon
Terra Firma Wealth Management
Whidbey Golf Club
WhidbeyHealth Foundation
Whidbey Weekly and Printing

 

Raffle Prizes:

Callen’s Restaurant
China City
Cozy’s Roadhouse
Ebey Academy
Fraser’s Gourmet Hideaway
Front Street Grill
Madrona Blossom
Orlando’s Bar and Southern BBQ
Penn Cove Brewing Company
Pizza Factory Coupeville
Prima Bistro
Seaside Spa and Salon
Tyee Restaurant
Union Tavern
Vail Wine Shop
Whidbey Golf Club
Willowood Farm
Wicked Teuton Brewing Company

Tim Grove (left) and Shawn Blouin enjoyed their day on the links.

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Local golfers are keeping the memory of Bennett Boyles (center) alive, while raising money for WhidbeyHealth. (Konni Smith photo)

Registration is open for the 4th annual Bennett Boyles Memorial Golf Tournament.

The tourney, which honors the memory of a young Coupeville athlete who fought valiantly against brain cancer, is staged by the Penn Cove Brewing Company, with proceeds benefiting WhidbeyHealth.

This year’s event, which will be staged using social distancing guidelines as the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is set for Saturday, Sept. 19.

Play begins at 1 PM at the Whidbey Golf Club in Oak Harbor.

The format calls for a four-person shotgun style of play, and you can register as a pre-made team or as a single player.

For more info, or to register, become a sponsor, or donate, pop over to:

GOLF REGISTRATION

 

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After 33 years, Island Greens in Clinton will no longer be available for local golfers.

It’s the final round for one of Whidbey Island’s unsung sports gems.

Island Greens, a nine-hole golf course which has operated in Clinton since 1987, has been sold, and the new owners are planning to close down operations.

The news came via an announcement on the business’s Facebook page Thursday:

We regret to inform our community that Island Greens has sold.

From what we know the new owners are not going to keep the golf course operational.

Island Greens will lock up the gate at the end of the day on the 23 of August.

We would like to thank the people who supported the golf course and we wish you all the best.

Any questions you might have call 360-579-6042.

Island Greens offers the only public driving range on South Whidbey, and the nine-hole course, a fun, and challenging series of par-threes, operates dawn to dusk, with payments taken on the honor system.

Back in my Videoville days, there were several of us who golfed, and I played the course numerous times, always enjoying it.

Their Facebook page put it best:

Huge majestic trees, winding hills, ponds, wet lands and wild life.

Island Greens is known for its challenging nature. Narrow fairways and small greens challenge the advanced golfer as well as the beginner.

Perfect for working on your short game or just coming out to enjoy nature at its finest.

Island Greens is about having fun.

It will be missed.

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Ben Vincent lines up a putt. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jacquie Vincent sends her ball towards the hole.

One shot to win the Masters, and save the world. Or at least liven up the day.

John Fisken has been let out of the house.

The intrepid photographer is back to his wandering ways, and Thursday his travels took him to the Whidbey Golf Club in Oak Harbor.

While there he captured some pics of duffers taking advantage of sunny weather, and slightly-relaxed pandemic restrictions.

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