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Posts Tagged ‘new coach’

Basketball coach Alex Evans (red shirt) is making the jump from middle school to high school. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Alex Evans is movin’ on up.

After two seasons of coaching girls basketball for Coupeville Middle School, the former Wolf star is making the jump to join the staff of new Coupeville High School girls hoops coach Scott Fox.

Evans joins Megan Smith, already named as the JV coach.

Final approval will come from the school board.

“I’m real excited to add Alex to my coaching staff,” Fox said. “He brings a great passion for the game, along with the ability to connect and teach the athletes.

“Most of the tine you’ll see me sitting between Alex and Megan, using their knowledge about basketball and game strategy,” he added. “I’m really looking forward to all of us coaching together.”

During his playing days, Evans was a three-sport star for CHS, playing football, basketball, and baseball.

As a basketball coach, he worked with SWISH teams, then put in two highly-successful stints guiding middle school programs.

His 7th grade team went 8-2 in 2017-2018, then Evans moved up to run the 8th grade squad in 2018-2019, guiding that Wolf team to a 9-0 mark.

The trio of Fox, Smith, and Evans replace David and Amy King, who retired after a seven-year run in charge of the CHS girls hoops program.

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After seven seasons as a college coach, Luke Samford (left) takes over the Coupeville High School cross country program. (Photos property Kansas Wesleyan University Athletic Department)

Samford ran in college at the University of Idaho.

It could be kismet.

A year back in the game, the Coupeville High School cross country squad found itself without a coach this spring when Natasha Bamberger had to step aside to focus on her real-world job.

Following in the (fast) footsteps of the most-successful female athlete in school history, a five-time state champ in the ’80s, wasn’t going to be easy.

But then the Wolves lucked out a bit.

Luke Samford, a former D1 athlete with seven years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt, popped up on the radar unexpectedly, and Coupeville was back in business.

One second, you’re the head track and cross country coach at Kansas Wesleyan University, the next you’re headed to the prairie on the middle of a rock in the water in the Pacific Northwest.

“My wife and I decided we wanted to relocate,” Samford said. “Since I was raised in North Idaho, we decided to look at places in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

“She was offered a great opportunity, and I followed,” he added. “The coaching position at Coupeville coming open right before we packed up feels like fate. It’s exactly what I was looking for.”

Samford inherits a program which relaunched in 2018 after a two-decade absence.

Under Bamberger, the new-look Wolves fielded a six-man boys team, while Catherine Lhamon and Alana Mihill ran strongly on the girls side.

Five of eight runners from a season ago can return, and there could be a strong number of freshmen making the jump from middle school, where coach Elizabeth Bitting got things kick-started with a bang.

Samford is looking forward to jumping in and keeping the momentum going.

“It’s a new program, and I have experience taking over fresh programs,” he said. “I also went to a school not too much bigger than Coupeville, so I like that the school is a community in and of itself.

“Also, (CHS Athletic Director) Willie Smith really sold me on his vision for athletics in Coupeville in general,” Samford added. “It’s an exciting thing to be a part of.”

Samford began his own athletic career as a soccer player, eventually making an international squad based out of the Northwest as a 16-year old.

Looking for a way to stay active, stay in shape, and build speed, he picked up track in high school “and loved it,” eventually earning medalist honors at the 3A level in Idaho in the 800 and 1600.

After his high school days, he balanced soccer and track for a year at Southwestern Oregon Community College, before transferring to The University of Idaho as a runner.

Samford earned a Master’s in Education (he’d love to find a teaching job in the area), and jumped when the chance to coach came along.

Stints at Kennesaw State University, Sewanee: The University of the South, and Mercer University led to his gig at Kansas Wesleyan.

All of his stops were notable for the improvement the programs showed during his tenure, the number of records smashed, and the growth of his athletes. That’s something he wants to bring to the high school level.

“For this first year, our goal is going to be to set a standard and establish the running culture of the school,” Samford said. “It’s amazing to see how many runners the team had in its first year last year.

“It needs to be said that the middle school program has done a great job of this,” he added. “I can see they are running this summer doing a marathon relay!”

However his new crop of runners eventually breaks down between genders and age groups, Samford is excited to help them reach their full potential.

“I’m here to make sure every athlete on my teams have a great experience,” he said. “I know there is some talent on the team right now, and with the right mindset, I think the Wolf cross country programs this year are going to be exciting to watch.

“I can’t wait to meet everyone and get started!”

Just be ready to work, and the rest will come, is the mindset for Coupeville’s newest coach.

“To the athletes – I hope you like hills … because I love them,” Samford said with a smile.

“There’s a reason Washington state is known for runners,” he added. “I’m excited to show these athletes all of the great things they are going to learn about themselves this season!

“As a coach, I am always trying to research and learn new things; I think this sport is FASCINATING! Hopefully some of that can rub off on the athletes and they see, “Hey! Learning is actually pretty cool.”

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Erin Locke is Coupeville’s newest coach, joining the CMS volleyball program. (Photo courtesy Locke)

Erin Locke is up for every challenge.

The Coupeville Middle School PE teacher, and soon to be volleyball coach, has pursued excellence in sports ranging from wrestling to Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

A big fan of staying active – she was on her way out the door to start a backpacking trip, but stopped to answer some questions – Locke is beginning to translate her own sports experiences into a solid coaching career.

She worked as an assistant coach with the Oak Harbor High School wrestling team this past winter, and moved quickly when presented with the chance to pick up her first head coaching gig.

Locke, who joins returning coach Sarah Lyngra, replaces Casie Greve, who stepped down after last season.

The duo will share duties as CMS changes formats for its middle school spiker program.

Instead of playing with 7th and 8th grade teams, the Wolves will have three squads this fall, with players from both grades mixing to form essentially varsity, JV and C-Team units.

For Locke, the chance to expand her impact on her students was irresistible.

“The student/athletes are what (or who, rather) attracted me to the position,” she said. “I knew that I’d know many of the students, and I jumped at the opportunity to work with them in a different capacity and in a different role.”

Her hiring will be official when the school board approves it at its monthly meeting, which is set for Monday, July 22.

Locke, who graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2018, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, with certifications in K-12 Health and Physical Education, K-12 English as a Second Language, and Secondary Biology.

She’ll get a chance to branch out in the classroom as well this coming school year, adding English as a Second Language classes to her duties as a PE teacher.

While on the volleyball court, Locke hopes to achieve three primary goals.

“(I want to) appropriately prepare students for high school volleyball with Coach (Cory) Whitmore, (and) engage student/athletes with effective drilling and skills to grow our team,” she said. “(And, also) grow in my skills as a coach!”

Having seen the positive impact sports have had on her own life, Locke is eager to help her young athletes reach their own potential.

“I would like my players to take away an improved confidence and ability to work as an effective team,” she said.

“Overall, I’d like to work to make CMS volleyball like a family,” Locke added. “Somewhere where we can work hard together, but be supportive of one another, no matter the outcome.”

With both her teaching and coaching career beginning to truly blossom, the relative newcomer is soaking up everything her new life has to offer.

“If you catch me out “in the wild,” I probably will have a huge smile on my face,” Locke said. “I love living life on Whidbey Island, and am still becoming a part of our community.

“Please feel free to introduce yourself if you see me!”

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Scott Fox has been tabbed as the new Coupeville High School girls basketball varsity head coach. (Photos courtesy Fox)

A flashback to Fox during his playing days.

A new chapter begins.

Girls basketball has been one of the most successful sports programs at Coupeville High School over the past 45 years, and everyone involved is confident of a smooth transition as a new head coach arrives.

The new face of the program will be Scott Fox, who was tabbed this week to replace David King.

The hire will be official after the school board approves it.

King retired after seven seasons at the helm of the program, a run in which he won three Olympic League titles and took the Wolves to the state tourney in 2016.

His teams made the playoffs every season, continuing a run of success which stretches back to the mid-’90s, when Willie Smith arrived from Sequim.

The year before the current Coupeville Athletic Director became head coach, the Wolf girls went 1-19.

Smith transformed the program into a contender, leading it to its first-ever win at the state tourney in 2000.

After that came a run of state appearances, with the Wolves bringing home a 6th place banner and two 8th place banners between 2002-2005 under the guidance of Greg Oldham.

Now, with girls hoops firmly established as one of the school’s best, Fox will get a chance to continue the success.

Finding a coach with a plan for the future, a solid teaching style, and an ability to interact well with players, fellow coaches, and parents was important to the hiring board, which included CHS administrators, coaches, teachers, and student/athletes.

Smith released the following statement Friday afternoon:

CHS is pleased to announce the hiring of Scott Fox as our new high school girls basketball head coach.

Scott brings over 12 years of experience as a basketball coach, as well as being our boys C-Team basketball coach this past year.

He was a collegiate basketball player at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and is a recently retired Captain in the Anaheim City Fire Department.

His experience, leadership qualities, sense of community, and basketball knowledge were all attributes which made Scott stand out, and we are very excited to have him as part of our staff.

King, who was one of the longest-tenured coaches in program history, praised his successor and looks forward to seeing what he will accomplish.

“It was bittersweet with retiring, but hearing the news of Scott getting the job softens the blow,” he said. “You get attached to the players and it’s hard to let go; but knowing Scott will be at the helm eases any concerns on how a new coach will treat the players and program. They are in good hands.

Amy and I got to know Scott this past summer and season and we are excited to see what he can do with the program.” he added. “The players are going to like him and through his knowledge and preparation, he will get the most out of the players.”

Fox tore up the hardwood for Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA, back in the day, before moving on to play basketball at Long Beach City College, then on scholarship at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

While putting in 30 years with the Anaheim Fire Department, first as a paramedic, then 12 years as a Captain, he also worked as a hoops coach, first at his alma mater, then later at Orange Lutheran.

Upon retiring, Fox and wife Susan purchased a house in Coupeville, and he joined Brad Sherman’s CHS boys basketball staff this past season.

When I first interviewed him last year, the newest Wolf coach stressed the importance of helping his players on and off the floor, something he demonstrated as the season played out.

“Coaches have a huge impact on student’s lives and I would like to be part of their development into adulthood,” Fox said. “We prioritize in helping develop the total student, which includes being a responsible person first, student second, and athlete last.

“We hold our athletes accountable for their behavior and academic success prior to ever being allowed onto the basketball court,” he added. “We feel this will benefit them as they develop habits for success past high school.”

Being a winning program is huge, but having one which the community can look to proudly off the floor is the ultimate goal.

“Beyond the wins and losses I want to instill a work ethic of accountability, responsibility and teamwork in these athletes,” Fox said. “I would like to see us improve after every game and learn what it means to be part of a team.

“This is a truly special place and we are glad to be part of it.”

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Scott Fox has joined the CHS boys basketball coaching staff, working with veteran post players while also running the C-Team. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sometimes you get lucky.

Thanks to Coupeville making a top-notch retirement destination, the Wolf boys basketball program has added a valuable component to its coaching staff.

Scott Fox, a former All-City player in California who went on to play college ball in Alaska before becoming a coach, joined Brad Sherman’s staff this season to work with the varsity post players.

Now, thanks to an influx of Wolves turning out for boys basketball, he’ll also be calling the shots for the school’s C-Team.

That latter job has to be officially rubber-stamped by the school board at its next meeting, but hey, it’s happening and that’s a good thing.

In Fox, Coupeville inherits a man who tore up the court for Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA, before moving on to play basketball at Long Beach City College, then on scholarship at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

After that, he mixed coaching with a 30-year career with the Anaheim Fire Department, where he was a paramedic and put in 12 years as a Captain.

Fox has been both a head coach and an assistant while working at every level of high school ball, first at his alma mater, then later at Orange Lutheran.

While planning for retirement, he and wife Susan purchased a house in Coupeville, after finding they loved life in Cow Town.

“The amount of friendliness and true compassion for fellow neighbors is second to none,” Fox said. “We meet terrific people on a daily basis and are truly impressed with the amount of volunteerism and dedication to community that we experience.”

When the couple arrived on the Island for good, the longtime coach began to follow the CHS basketball program’s progress, eventually reaching out to Sherman.

“We found our coaching styles were very similar,” Fox said. “I specialize in working with the post players, which freed up coach Sherman to work with the guards and overall strategy of the team.

“I played back in the Jerry Tarkanian and Lute Olsen era, who both came from Long Beach, and I enjoy passing this knowledge on to today’s basketball player,” he added. “My passion is coaching basketball and this is my way of giving back to our community.”

Along with their past success as players, Fox shares a similar philosophy with Sherman and Wolf JV coach Chris Smith, allowing the trio to mesh well.

“Coaches have a huge impact on student’s lives and I would like to be part of their development into adulthood,” Fox said. “I/we prioritize in helping develop the total student, which includes being a responsible person first, student second, and athlete last.

“We hold our athletes accountable for their behavior and academic success prior to ever being allowed onto the basketball court,” he added. “We feel this will benefit them as they develop habits for success past high school.”

In his work, both with the younger C-Team players and with the varsity post players, Fox wants to help build a winning program, but also one the community can look to proudly off the floor as well.

“Beyond the wins and losses I want to instill a work ethic of accountability, responsibility and teamwork in these athletes,” he said. “I would like to see us improve after every game and learn what it means to be part of a team.

“This is a truly special place and we are glad to be part of it.”

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