Posts Tagged ‘Marie Grasser’

Marie Grasser held the CHS girls basketball individual career scoring title from 1978-1981. (Megan Hansen photo)

They are the magnificent seven.

In the history of the Coupeville High School girls basketball program, 229 players have scored at least one point in a varsity game.

From the larger group, there is an ultra-exclusive inner gathering, however.

Seven players have, at one point or another, held the individual career scoring title for the Wolf girls.

The shortest run atop the charts was for a single season, while the school’s current #1 (girls or boys) has held her spot for 18 seasons and counting.

Now, keep in mind the scoring stats for the first team in program history, the 1974-75 squad, have vanished into history, as the local newspapers and the school’s yearbook both whiffed when it came to recording those numbers.

But, that first season would only (maybe) affect the very start of this list, as scoring totals quickly shot up once the ’80s arrived.

So, with that small caveat out of the way, here we go, the semi-official CHS girls basketball individual career scoring record-holders:


1975-1976 — Jill Whitney (116 career points)
1976-1977 — Jill Whitney (116)
1977-1978 — Suzette Glover (159)
1978-1979 — Marie Grasser (243)
1979-1980 — Marie Grasser (321)
1980-1981 — Kristan Hurlburt (335)
1981-1982 — Kristan Hurlburt (598)
1982-1983 — Kristan Hurlburt (598)
1983-1984 — Kristan Hurlburt (598)
1984-1985 — Kristan Hurlburt (598)
1985-1986 — Kristan Hurlburt (598)
1986-1987 — Terry Perkins (673)
1987-1988 — Terry Perkins (673)
1988-1989 — Terry Perkins (673)
1989-1990 — Terry Perkins (673)
1990-1991 — Terry Perkins (673)
1991-1992 — Terry Perkins (673)
1992-1993 — Terry Perkins (673)
1993-1994 — Terry Perkins (673)
1994-1995 — Terry Perkins (673)
1995-1996 — Novi Barron (894)
1996-1997 — Novi Barron (1270)
1997-1998 — Novi Barron (1270)
1998-1999 — Novi Barron (1270)
1999-2000 — Novi Barron (1270)
2000-2001 — Novi Barron (1270)
2001-2002 — Novi Barron (1270)
2002-2003 — Brianne King (1549)
2003-2004 — Brianne King (1549)
2004-2005 — Brianne King (1549)
2005-2006 — Brianne King (1549)
2006-2007 — Brianne King (1549)
2007-2008 — Brianne King (1549)
2008-2009 — Brianne King (1549)
2009-2010 — Brianne King (1549)
2010-2011 — Brianne King (1549)
2011-2012 — Brianne King (1549)
2012-2013 — Brianne King (1549)
2013-2014 — Brianne King (1549)
2014-2015 — Brianne King (1549)
2015-2016 — Brianne King (1549)
2016-2017 — Brianne King (1549)
2017-2018 — Brianne King (1549)
2018-2019 — Brianne King (1549)
2019-2020 — Brianne King (1549)

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Modern players like Tucker Hall are one part of the giant mosaic that is Coupeville athletics. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The calendar turns, and everyone looks back.

Some reflect on the past 12 months. Others on a decade about to end.

But hey, here at Coupeville Sports headquarters, where we have a lot more time on our hands, we’re going back a half century!

That’s right, mixing hubris and naivety, I am here to declare my opinion on 50 things which have defined Cow Town athletics across the last 50 years.

Technically, that’s 1970-2019, but with no one to reign me in, I’m slightly stretching it out to include the last few months of 1969.

Get to the end of this story and you’ll see why.

Athletes. Teams. Coaches. Moments. Changes, in the rule book and in society.

They’re all fair game, and I’m stupid enough to make my list and parade it in front of the world.

So, everyone click over to ALL CAPS and get ready to open fire.

We each have our own thoughts, and some will say I have certain things too high, or too low, or I focused too much on the modern era, or I’m just an idiot in general.

If so, let me know. Comment often, and as loudly as possible.

And away we go…



The creation and installation of the giant mural in the CHS gym.

No one seems to know who made it, or when it went up, but it looks back at me every time I camp in the stands at a game.

And my first and last thought — why does it look more like a sad coyote than a Wolf?

Sad Coyote, why do you haunt me so?



The 2019 Coupeville High School football team breaks a 13-year dry spell, finishing 5-4 to claim the program’s first winning record since 2005.

It was the longest active losing streak for any CHS program, covering a time period when the Wolves went through six coaches, from the end of Ron Bagby’s 26-year run to year two of the current Marcus Carr era.

A new day dawns.



CHS grad, and five-time state champ, Kyle King qualifies for the US Team Trials in the marathon.

Feb. 29, 2020, the former Wolf steps to the line in Atlanta, Georgia, one good race away from heading to Tokyo and the Olympics.

If he makes it, King joins Eldon Jenne, a pole vaulter in 1920, as the only athletes with a Coupeville connection to make it to the world’s biggest sporting stage.



The hiring of Cory Whitmore as CHS volleyball coach prior to the 2016 season.

Taking over a program a year removed from a one-win season, he has led the Wolves to 49 wins, back-to-back Olympic League titles followed by back-to-back second-place finishes (behind state power King’s) in the North Sound Conference, and a trip to state in 2017, the program’s first in 13 seasons.



Coupeville softball beats Oak Harbor 8-3 March 16, 2019.

One of the few times the Wolves, repping a 2B-sized school masquerading as 1A, have faced their 3A rivals straight-up in a varsity contest in any sport.

Presto, the Cow Town mashers won on the road, behind a mammoth home run from senior Veronica Crownover and electrifying pitching from freshman Izzy Wells.



Jon Chittim wins three titles at the 2006 state track and field meet.

Several other Wolves have gone to the top of the podium twice in one year, but only one has made the trip three times.

Chittim won the 200 and 400, while running a leg on Coupeville’s title-winning 4 x 400 relay unit, where he was joined by Kyle King, Chris Hutchinson, and Steven McDonald.



Mindy Horr and Taniel Lamb come within a set of toppling the private school aristocracy and winning a state title in tennis in 2005.

The Wolf duo claimed the first set 7-5 against Aimee Silver and Erica Lawrence of The Bush School, but fell 6-2, 6-3 after that.

The Blazers tandem went on to repeat as state champs in 2006, before Lawrence won a third title with a different partner in 2007.

In a sport dominated by private school players with access to indoor courts and personal coaches, Horr and Lamb’s run of success stands as a win for public schools everywhere.

Mindy Horr (left) and Taniel Lamb



Coupeville spiffs up Mickey Clark Field, adding a new track oval in 2016, followed by covered stands a year later.

As the old track broke down during its 35-year run, CHS lost the ability to host home track meets around 2008, while Wolf fans endured countless years of being buffeted by rain and wind in a variety of open-air bleachers.

No more, I say, no more.



Mia Littlejohn and Derek Leyva set CHS soccer single-season scoring records.

The former netted 27 goals in 2016, the latter 24 during the 2018 season, and Littlejohn’s record truly towers above the competition.

While Abraham Leyva tallied 20 goals in 2016, only two other Wolf girls (Kalia Littlejohn – 10 in 2015 and 15 in ’17 and Genna Wright – 10 in ’17) have ever broken double-digits.



CHS boys basketball coach Mick Vivian relieved of duties during the 1979-1980 season, during a time period when he was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for an alleged incident with a female student.

He was found not guilty during a trial, but never reclaimed his job after considerable protests from both sides.

The man who led the Wolves to a Cascade League title and a state tourney appearance in ’78-’79 never coached again, working as a delivery truck driver and process server in Mount Vernon until his death in 2006.



Lauren Rose rips off a service run like none I’ve seen.

During a straight-sets sweep of visiting Chimacum, the Wolf junior wins 20 straight points on her serve to open the third set.

The Keebler Elf abides.



Kyle Rockwell gets legendary.

The Wolf big man, who has been blind in one eye since childhood, caps his senior year by making huge, season-defining plays in football and basketball, before unleashing the throw heard cross the prairie to help CHS win the 2018 baseball pennant.

You can read about it here: https://coupevillesports.com/2018/04/23/magic-on-the-prairie/



CHS hits the jackpot with two foreign exchange winners.

There has been a long history of visiting students from other countries playing for the Wolves, but a pair of one-season wonders stand way above the crowd.

Linde Maertens set numerous game and season records during the 2008 volleyball season, and even made local refs review the rules book after she used her legs, and not just her arms, to propel the ball over the net for points.

Spoiler alert: it’s legal.

Jump forward to 2010 and move to the tennis court, and Julia Sierra Castaño, the “Hard Court Assassin of Oviedo” didn’t drop a set at #1 singles until sub-districts, then tacked on a long run at the state tourney.



CHS volleyball pulls off a “birthday win” against archrival South Whidbey on the Falcons home court in 2018.

After the five-set win, every statistical breakdown was virtually dead-even, but the match was decided by the length of Emma Smith’s fingertips, as the Wolf captain celebrated turning 18 with the best performance of her stellar career.

You can read about it at: https://coupevillesports.com/2018/09/26/there-can-only-be-one/

Wolf spikers (l to r) Maya Toomey-Stout, Emma Smith, and Hannah Davidson came up big in a rivalry win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)



After much back-and-forth, some of it quite bitter, a combined girls soccer program is instituted between Oak Harbor and Coupeville in mid-1993.

With the two best players — leading scorer Marnie Bartelson and goaltender Amanda Allmer — being from CHS, the Wildcats claim 4th place at the 3A state tourney in 1994.

Years later, who can lay claim to the legacy of the program is still in dispute, as OHHS officials of the time say Coupeville never paid its full share.

The Wolves response? You never would have won diddly without our stars.

Either way, CHS launches its own soccer program in 2004.



Ben Etzell tabbed as 1A/2A Cascade Conference MVP for the 2014 baseball season.

Coupeville’s time in the league, when it faced-off with private school juggernauts Archbishop Thomas Murphy and King’s, and much-larger foes such as Lakewood and Cedarcrest, was often rough.

But Etzell, a double threat as a fastball-snappin’ pitcher and big-game hitter, was the lone Wolf to earn the league’s top honor, in any sport.



Making King’s cry, twice.

With the exception of University Prep tennis and its free pastries, I live to see private schools toppled, so this spot is a bit of a cheat, honoring two shots taken nearly 30 years apart.

But, like I said, they both made King’s cry, so we’re good.

The first comes February 9, 1979, when Steve Whitney hits a soft 16-foot jumper, off a pass from Keith Jameson, to lift the CHS boys hoops squad to a 55-53 win.

The second is a buzzer-beating three-ball banked home at the end of overtime by Kassie Lawson January 18, 2008, ensuring a 33-32 win.

Whitney’s shot gave CHS a league title, while Lawson’s bomb clinched a #1 playoff seed.

Plus, King’s cried.



CJ Smith pitches the CHS baseball team to the 2016 Olympic League crown, the first title in 25 seasons for the program.

You can read about the pennant-clinching win here: https://coupevillesports.com/2016/04/29/destiny-called-wolves-answered/



“The Torpedo” goes viral on the gridiron in 2018, with a little help from a furry friend.

Fielding a punt against King’s, Sean Toomey-Stout takes it to the house, with a wayward deer leading his blockers the length of the field.

Next thing you know, video of the play is everywhere from ESPN to CNN to the BBC, and, for a moment, Cow Town is the talk of the sports world.



Unlike other schools, CHS doesn’t have a real Hall of Fame, and it’s never been especially big on holding milestone celebrations.

That changed, at least for a night, Jan. 20, 2018, when, in the biggest thing Coupeville Sports has accomplished, the Wolves celebrated the 101st anniversary of boys basketball at the school.

The current Wolves destroyed Chimacum, while the stands were crammed, as virtually every major star in program history reunited.

The 1969-1970 team, which still holds every school record, was the centerpiece of the celebration, and when coach Bob Barker stepped into the gym, wearing the same jacket he wore on the Wolf bench, it was the closest I will ever come to knowing what it was like when Elvis entered the arena.

Legendary CHS basketball coach Bob Barker embraces one of his best players, Foster Faris. (Renae Mulholland photo)



Washington state institutes pitch count rules for high school baseball in 2017, preaching player safety and 99.99% guaranteeing no Wolf will ever touch Bob Rea’s school strikeout record.

Hucking the ball back in the Wild West days of 1964, a guy who built his arm strength throwing rocks on Whidbey beaches whiffed 27 batters across 16 innings in a 2-1 win at Darrington.

Never say never, but yeah, no modern-day Wolf will ever topple the mark.



After a two-decade-plus absence, cross country returns to CHS.

Tyler King won a state title in 2010, running as a lone Wolf while training and traveling with Oak Harbor, but a program which was very successful in the ’70s and ’80s finally is reborn inside the school in 2018.

Now, in two short seasons, coaches Natasha Bamberger (a CHS harrier state champ in ’85) and Luke Samford have numbers cresting upward, and have already sent one runner, Catherine Lhamon, to state.



The Central Whidbey Soccer Club debuts in 1976.

Still going strong, it has produced hundreds (thousands?) of players, while fueling a love for the sport in those children.

As any long-time reader knows, I’m still a work in progress when it comes to soccer. But the more I learn about the sport’s intricacies, the greater my appreciation.

CWSC, your work is being rewarded.



The day the music died.

Oct. 23, 2012, the celebration ended, after CHS officials brought an end to Wolf cheerleaders leading fans and players in a post-football game dance set to the Cab Calloway-influenced rap song “Wobble” by Atlanta’s own V.I.C.

One fan complaint, over semi-suggestive lyrics, brought the good times to an end, and CHS clock operator Joel Norris has never been the same since.



Mikayla Elfrank is a beast.

She made a career out of pulling off big plays, but her biggest moment came in 2017 when she smashed out-of-the-park softball home runs on consecutive pitches against Sequim, in games eight days apart in different towns.

After launching a moon shot in Coupeville, right before lightning ended play, Elfrank picked things right back up on the road.

Jumping on the very first pitch she saw, the Wolf slugger launched a ball over the center field fence in Sequim, denting a carnival ride, and earning free ice cream from the rival coach in the process.



That time when we got to hire a genuine, Grade-A big-timer.

Paul Mendes never toots his own horn, but as his unsanctioned PR man, I can tell you, when CHS landed him as a Spanish teacher and boys soccer coach, man, did they score.

A Brazilian who played alongside Pele, he was a four-year letterman and three-time All-Conference booter at the University of Washington, before being drafted by the Seattle Sounders in 1977.

Complications from a broken leg sent him into coaching, where he was an assistant on two national title teams at Seattle Pacific University, before a 24-year run at Newport High School which included two state titles.

In his eight years in charge of the Wolves, which ended in 2013, Mendes led them to state three times and was the epitome of class.



Lexie Black blocks 10 shots March 4, 2005, as the CHS girls basketball team beats Zillah 45-41 at the state tourney.

It’s a 1A state record, and, little known fact, when I went to launch this blog in 2012, I almost called it “Lexie Black’s Block Party” in honor of my former Videoville co-worker.

Lexie agreed to the use of her name, but told me she didn’t think people would get it (she was probably right), so we settled on the more mainstream Coupeville Sports.

The woman, the myth, the legend … Lexie Black. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)



Maybe the biggest walk-off play in CHS history goes down in 2011, as Ian Smith banks in a buzzer-beater to send the Wolf boys basketball team to a win at South Whidbey.

The Falcons were sitting atop the Cascade Conference at the time, carrying a 10-game winning streak, and looking invincible.

The video decrees otherwise:



Wolves on the big stage.

CHS girls basketball won six games at the state tourney in three appearances across four seasons between 2001-2005, returning home with three trophies.

All three teams won twice in their trek to the big dance, but the 2001-2002 squad advanced the furthest, reaching the state semifinals after beating Onalaska and Overlake in their first two games.

The joy ride ended with a loss to eventual state champ Colfax, then another to Brewster, but that 6th place finish remains the best in program history.



The impossible becomes possible.

Down eight points with 58 seconds to go December 13, 2014, the CHS girls basketball team pulls off a stunning rally.

A sensational defensive play by Makana Stone gives the Wolves an unexpected final chance, and Kacie Kiel converts, hitting a three-ball from the corner to force OT.

Once in the extra frame, the Wolves hold 2A Sequim scoreless for five minutes, winning 42-39.



The deaths of Tom Roehl (2003) and Kim Meche (2013), two of the most-influential coaches in Coupeville history.

The former was a longtime CHS football assistant coach who also ran a youth basketball program which produced the players who made the ’90s a stellar decade for Wolf hoops.

The latter was a super-successful high school volleyball coach at Oak Harbor and Coupeville who inspired many, both on the court and through her off-court fight with cancer.

Both live on through the countless lives they impacted.



Brianne King sets the school scoring record in basketball between 1999-2003.

Pouring in 1,549 points across four seasons, the Wolf gunner sits 279 points ahead of runner-up Novi Barron (1,270), and 412 up on the highest-scoring CHS boys (Jeff Stone and Mike Bagby, tied with 1,137).



Maddie Big Time at her best, during the 2013-2014 season.

CHS girls basketball star Madeline Strasburg steals the ball, whirls and banks in a three-pointer from the left side at half-court as the third quarter buzzer sounds.

Two weeks later, Wolves return from Christmas break, and she does the same thing.

Same spot, same moment, same shot, back-to-back games, 17 days apart.




A Homecoming miracle.

CHS football scores three fourth-quarter touchdowns, then picks off a Hail Mary in the end zone at the final buzzer, turning a 21-6 deficit into a 25-21 win over Foster October 30, 1992.



Joe Whitney wins a state basketball title, plays alongside John Stockton at Gonzaga, then averages 21 points and 11 rebounds a night across seven seasons in Germany’s top pro league.

After leaving Coupeville…

The man who could have been the best Wolf boys hoops scorer of all time tallied 213 points in ’78-79 (brother Steve went off for 337 as a senior), then dropped 388 in ’79-’80.

In ’80-’81, he landed in Lynden, leading the Lions to a 27-0 mark, while Coupeville struggled through a one-win season without him.



Birth of the bomb.

The three-point shot was added to high school basketball for the 1987-1988 season, and the sport has never been the same.

There was a mini-boom in the ’90s and early 2000’s, a time when current CHS boys hoops coach Brad Sherman was the King of the Trey, but now, thanks to the NBA’s love of the three-ball, every team shoots it with wild abandon.

When modern-day gunners like Hawthorne Wolfe or Mason Grove or former Wolf Kailey Kellner are droppin’ daggers, it’s exciting and game-changing.

It’s also created a generation of middle schoolers who can launch (but not always hit) treys all day, but can’t hit a layup or free throw to save their lives.



A landmark win.

Guided by coaches Willie and Cherie Smith, the 1999-2000 CHS girls basketball team rallies to beat Freeman 46-42 Mar. 2, 2000.

Jaime Rasmussen hits the game-sealing free throws, and it’s the first time a Wolf girls team, in any sport, wins a game at a state tourney.



The Field of Dreams debuts.

CHS football hosts Sultan September 19, 1975 in the very-first contest played at the school’s new athletic field, which is dedicated for Mickey Clark.

Here we are, 44 years later, and football (plus soccer and track and field) are still going strong, while the school keeps alive the memory of a man who gave decades of service to Coupeville athletics, as a coach, ref, volunteer, and administrator.



A gridiron career like no other.

His own teammates sometimes dreaded facing him in practice, as Ian Barron, who played from 1997-2000, “hit us so dang hard.”

Despite missing a full season’s worth of games due to injuries (three in one year, seven another), he holds every rushing record in CHS football history.

That’s 320 yards and six touchdowns in a single game, 1,753 and 16 in a season, and 4,713 and 37 in a (shortened) career.



The trio arrives.

Coaches have come and gone at CHS, some staying for a hot moment, others for decades, but I think you have to give special notice to three who came to town in the mid-’80s to mid-’90s and remain at the school.

Ron Bagby showed up first, leaving Forks behind, then Randy King departed Cashmere, before Willie Smith bid adieu to Sequim.

The first and third have been Athletic Directors at CHS, while the middle guy is the dean of area coaches.

All put in long, memorable runs as the head of key programs – football and boys basketball, boys basketball and track, and girls basketball and baseball, respectively.

All three gave the school multiple sons and daughters who have been among the best athletes in school history.

And all three remain deeply interwoven into Wolf sports in 2019.

That’s true whether it’s Smith as the AD, King guiding the track program, or Bagby enjoying being a laid-back living legend, doling out wisdom to young punks who probably have no idea their gym coach was on his way to being a professional football player when an injury redirected him to Whidbey Island.

They are the trinity, the cornerstone of Wolf Nation, three guys who probably never thought they’d wind up in Cow Town, but once here, helped transform it for the better.

Clockwise, from left, Willie Smith, Randy King and Ron Bagby.



Toni Crebbin is the boss.

As far as I can tell, only one CHS team, in any sport, has ever been ranked #1 by a major state-wide poll, and it’s Crebbin’s 2004 volleyball team.

Those Wolves opened 10-0, won the Lopez Island Tournament, toppled top-ranked Bush to win districts, and made a stirring run at the state tourney, finishing with a program-record 14 wins.

It was a very good year.

Toni Crebbin



The biggest, boldest run at a state tourney ever.

The 2002 CHS softball team, playing fast-pitch for the first time, went 24-3, including winning four of five at the big dance, claiming 3rd place.

Led by fastball flingin’ hurler Sarah Mouw, best pitcher in program history, and diamond legends like Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby, Tracy Taylor, and Erica Lamb, the Wolves only losses were to archrival ATM and eventual state champ Adna.

I’m missing stats from three games, but in the other 24, Coupeville outscored foes 247-80.



The team of destiny.

The 2010 Central Whidbey Little League Juniors (13-14) baseball squad overcame a gut-wrenching loss, then stormed from behind in the championship game to win a state title.

Three runs down with three outs to go, the Wolves made coach Chris Tumblin proud, rallying to force extra innings, before Aaron Trumbull plated Jake Tumblin with a title-winning RBI base-knock.

Facing teams which were true all-star squads, having combined multiple teams to form a roster, Coupeville went the distance with the same 13 players all season.

Eight of those Wolves would go on to play a full four years of baseball at CHS, and all 13 received a diploma from the school.

13 players. 1 dream. Forever the champs.



Jeff Fielding and Natasha Bamberger win the first state titles in CHS history.

Both do it as distance runners in track, with Fielding claiming the 3200 title in 1979, followed by Bamberger pulling off a double win in the 1600 and 3200 in 1984.

There have been nine state champs to wear the red and black, with Bamberger and Tyler King the only ones to achieve the feat in multiple sports, having won track and cross country crowns.



Makana Stone wins the first 28 races of her high school career.

No one else in CHS history has come remotely close to achieving what she did as a freshman in spring 2013 across a time period from March 21 to April 26.

Stone hit the tape first in the 100 (six times), 200 (five), 400 (four), 4 x 100 (three), 4 x 200 (five), and 4 x 400 (five), and it wasn’t until the epic Lake Washington Invitational that she trailed a high school rival.

In that mega-meet, facing off with runners from 2A, 3A, and 4A, to go along with her normal 1A rivals, Stone didn’t win, but still hit a season-best in the 400 and what would remain a PR in the 100.

Three years later, she would depart the Wolf track program as one of its most-decorated runners, with 84 wins and seven state meet medals.



One year of perfection.

The CHS football program only has two league titles to its credit, in 1974 and 1990, with the latter one going a flawless 9-0 under the guidance of Ron Bagby.

The Wolves were knocked out of the playoffs by Rainier, dropping a state quarterfinal bout at home on a very windy day, but the loss can’t dim the glow from that season.

Coupeville, with a stable full of big, battering running backs, and the steady arm of QB Jason McFadyen, outscored foes 258-107, achieving the kind of greatness the Wolf program hasn’t witnessed again over the next three decades.

Former Wolf QB Jason McFadyen works on plays during a practice in 1990.



Sylvia Arnold is the only coach in CHS history to bring home a team state title.

There are some who will argue over whether cheer is a sport or an activity, but I stand firmly on the side which decrees competitive cheer is a sport. So there.

Arnold’s 2006 squad emerged from the state meet with the biggest trophy, then she came dangerously close to going back-to-back in ’07, with the Wolves claiming 2nd place.

Even bigger than her state title? The impact she had over a 20-year run as Wolf coach, some of which I get across in this piece: https://coupevillesports.com/2013/10/31/miss-sylvia-walks-away-part-1-thank-you/



It’s the biggest what-if in Coupeville athletic history.

After beginning his high school coaching career with two years of football and baseball on Whidbey, Sid Otton left CHS after leading the Wolf baseball squad to a league crown in spring ’69.

Why is this important?

Because Otton, after taking a year off, moved on to coach Colfax football through four seasons and one state title, then Tumwater for 43 and five.

When he retired, he walked away with 394 gridiron wins, the most in state history, having taken Tumwater from an also-ran into one of the most-respected football programs in the country.

Otton was also my 9th grade health teacher at Tumwater (long before I knew what a Coupeville was), and I once whacked an overhead off of his son Brad’s face during tennis practice, the most-dramatic shot I hit in my middling prep net career.

So, what happens if he stays on Whidbey?

Does his system, full of NGUNNGU and GATA and ROTA, turn the Wolves into a state football power? Does CHS become the school which erects a statue to Otton out in front of their stadium, and not Tumwater?

And, if his sons don’t grow up as T-Birds, whose face is in Brad’s place that afternoon on the court, ready to catch the fury of my sizzlin’, if misdirected, overhead?!?

Darryl Pfaff, you could have been mine!



From rule changes to the length of shorts — basketball in 2019 isn’t the same it was in 1969.

And yet, all the three-balls in the world haven’t helped anyone match what the CHS boys hoops squad achieved 50 years ago.

Rampaging through a 20-4 season, the Wolves set three marks which haven’t been touched in five decades.

Jeff Stone, who would go on to be a college star before coming back around as a longtime teacher, coach, and administrator in Oak Harbor, tossed in 644 points during the 69-70 season, with a 48-point performance the night Coupeville won the district title.

He and his teammates toasted the nets for 1,836 points, outscoring their foes by an average of 76.5-48.1 that season.

The first Whidbey Island hoops team to win a district title, those 69-70 Wolves kick-started a basketball revolution, and the ’70s remains the best decade in program history.

Great stars like Randy Keefe, Jeff Rhubottom, and Bill Jarrell followed in the footsteps of Stone, Corey Cross and Co., with CHS making return visits to state in ’75, ’76, and ’79.

But here we are, 50 years later, and no one has matched the originals. That’s sort of amazing.

Jeff Stone torches the nets.



Title IX changed the playing field.

Whether we start in late ’69, or Jan. 1, 1970 for this story, one thing remains constant — Coupeville girls were denied the same opportunity as their male classmates for decades.

Later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, in honor of the Congresswoman who made it a reality, Title IX passed in 1972, and the first CHS girls basketball team began play in 1974.

Even then, the Wolves were denied a chance to practice in the school’s gym like the boys, and were instead sent to Fort Casey for years.

Scoring stats for that 1974-1975 Wolf girls team?

I can’t tell you because Wallie Funk, the Whidbey News-Times Sports Editor of the day, wrote ONE PARAGRAPH about the squad all season.

Over time, things changed, in some areas quicker than others.

Jim Waller replaced Funk at the WNT sports desk, and reported on all the teams, early stars made names for themselves, such as Marie Grasser (now the same Mrs. Bagby current CHS students see each day), and the seeds were planted.

And how they have grown.

CHS boys have had athletic teams since the birth of the school in 1900, and yet, despite giving up 70+ years, it’s the Wolf girls who have the most league titles.


Look it up.

Title IX opened doors for Marie (Grasser) Bagby in the ’70s …

and her spiritual heirs, like Chelsea Prescott, continue to seize the day.

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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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   Long before she had four kids, all of whom became CHS athletic stars, Marie (Grasser) Bagby was a rebounding machine. (Megan Hansen photo)

Marie Bagby is one of the most genuinely nice people you will ever meet.

It’s a trait she shared with her sister, Marlene Grasser, and one which filtered down into all four of her children.

But we’re here to talk about the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, and we’re here to discuss not Marie’s sweet nature, but her fire and drive on the basketball court.

That’s what carried her to great success as the first true modern-day girls basketball superstar at CHS, and it’s why she is being inducted (finally) into our little digital mecca.

After this, if you pop up to the top of the blog and look under the Legends tab, you’ll find her, enshrined under her maiden name, Marie Grasser, which means she and Marlene will always be paired.

For students at CHS today, the ones who see Marie on a daily basis as she works at the school, they know she’s a warm and welcoming presence and that she’s married to the ol’ ball coach himself, Ron Bagby.

They may even know her four children, April, Ashley, Mike and Jason, were all multi-sport stars who blazed across the campus, winning Athlete of the Year honors, setting records and carrying teams to state.

But what they probably don’t know is Marie was just as big a star in her day as any of her relatives.

In the days after Title IX, Coupeville High School finally powered up a girls basketball program, but it took until the FOURTH season before the squad got to practice in its own gym.


Prior to the 1977-1978 season (Marie’s sophomore year), the Wolf girls trekked out to Camp Casey, put their work in, then trekked back to campus to take showers.

As the Coupeville girls fought for respect, equality and some newspaper coverage (it wasn’t until the ’80s that articles started to expand past a size where you no longer needed a microscope to see them…), Marie was the program’s rock.

Players like Suzette Glover, Pam Jampsa and Kristan Hurlburt were among the early leaders in scoring, but #15 was a true two-way terror, scoring and hauling down an astonishing number of rebounds.

As I plow through the newspaper archives, one thing surfaces again and again in the truncated stories of the day — if there was a loose ball or a carom, Marie felt it belonged to her.

She pulled down 20 or more rebounds in a single game numerous times across her four-year career, with one game her junior season a particular standout.

Facing off with rough and tumble Concrete, Marie went off for 26 points and 28 rebounds, almost holding her own on the boards with the Lions, who mustered 31 rebounds as a team.

There have been some top-grade rebounding machines in Wolf uniforms over the years, from Sarah Mouw to Lexie Black to Makana Stone, but that 28 stands tall.

It’s the largest number for one game I’ve seen in my journey through the archives.

The early years of girls basketball at CHS were a tough road.

It took a decade before the Wolves posted a winning record and went to the playoffs, and longer before they made their first inroads at the state tourney.

But when you look back at the start of the program, it’s obvious — Marie Grasser was the spark that started things.

So today, for her superior skills on the court, for the talented children she gave her alma mater, for the classy way she approaches everything she does, we are very happy to welcome her into our little digital shrine.

It’s well deserved.

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