Posts Tagged ‘Noel Criscuola’

Lathom Kelley — A bad ass with the biggest heart in the game.

Each life has a story to tell, and each life is part of a bigger tapestry.

As we head towards the end of 2022, we’re taking a moment to look back and commemorate some of those we lost this year.

This is not a complete list by any means, and no disrespect is meant to anyone left out.

But 14 of these men and women had a sizable impact on Wolf Nation, and two others are included here for their personal impact on me.

We remember them for what they added to our world, both as individuals and as part of something all-encompassing.

Never forgotten. Always remembered.

Bill Baas — A vital part of the 106-year brotherhood of Coupeville High School boys’ basketball. Scored at the varsity level in three seasons, while sharing the court with program legends like Barry Brown and Jeff Stone.

Joe Beckley — Former Island County Health Department Director and coach of Libby’s Little Ladies, the first fastpitch softball team in Coupeville. A Wolf Dad through and through who avidly encouraged his own daughters, and their friends, in their sports pursuits.

Carol Byng — Award-winning journalist and poet who wrote about many of the biggest stories to touch Whidbey Island, from the eruption of Mt. St Helens to a fiery shootout on the South End. Also, one of the nicest customers I ever had at Videoville.

Noel Criscuola — A four-year varsity basketball player, he tallied 298 points and was part of the 32-student Class of ’61 — largest in school history at the time.

Ray Edwards — Coupeville grad who did it all. An avid hunter, a golfing fiend, and a bowler who rolled a pair of 300 games, they never built a car or truck he couldn’t fix.

Jack Elzinga — Rattled the rims for 770 points and is the #15 scorer in Wolf boys’ basketball history. Later served in the Peace Corps, was a college professor, and wrote me very nice emails after discovering my obsession with his hoops career.

Dr. Joyce Foxx — Former Oak Harbor High School Athletic Director, the first I worked with during my tentative early days as a sportswriter in the early ’90s.

Andrea Huff — A dedicated Wolf Mom whose children and grandchildren featured prominently in many of my sports stories. Plus, she was always in a great mood when she came to Videoville back in the day.

Esther Hummel — Hardworking, sweet-natured woman who brightened many a day during her time working at her family’s business, The County Deli.

Lanie Kiel — Wolf Mom who spread love to daughters Katie and Kacie, and all of their teammates and friends. Her presence lit up the stands.

Roy Marti — Stellar all-around athlete whose 551 points on the basketball court rank him #40 all-time among Coupeville boys, and #1 in his family, edging sister Judy, who tallied 545.

Jack McPherson — Mayor and town councilmember who played a key role in the movement to preserve Ebey’s Landing. A veteran of two wars who retired as a Naval Commander, and also a proud grandpa.

Matt Mikos — Husband to former Miriam’s Espresso superstar barista Wendy (Frost) Mikos, and devoted father to four amazing kids.

Steve Smith — Phenomenal athlete who went on to serve with great distinction in Vietnam, before launching a family which provided Coupeville with some of its biggest stars of the past three decades. Could tell a story like few others.

Teresa Terry — Longtime Prairie Center employee, a starter on the first CHS softball team in ’78, and a freakin’ ray of sunshine.

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Noel Criscuola, frozen in time, forever a Wolf hoops legend. (Photo courtesy Sharon Franzen)

The past, present, and future, all linked together.

Our ongoing efforts to track individual scoring totals for Coupeville High School basketball players pulls together multiple generations of Wolf hoops stars.

Once you’re in the fraternity, whether you played back in the program’s first season in 1917, or are suiting up for CHS this year, you’re part of something larger than yourself.

So, a day before the 2022-2023 season tips off, we pause to remember one of the greats.

Noel Criscuola, CHS Class of 1961, passed away at age 79 on Thanksgiving Day.

The younger brother of “Big” Mike Criscuola, the program’s first true superstar, Noel made his own strong impact for the Wolves.

He played, and scored, for the varsity team all four years of his high school run, compiling 298 career points in a Wolf uniform.

More than 60 years after his graduation, Noel still sits among the top 100 scorers all-time, currently residing at #97 among the 406 Wolf boys who I have been able to document rippling the nets at the varsity level.

After tossing in 20 points as a freshman, Noel added 46 as a sophomore, 70 as a junior, and 162 as a senior.

It’s very likely he would have scored more, except for playing alongside some of the program’s best bucket-makers.

Noel played three seasons with his brother Mike, #4 all-time in CHS boys history with 1,031 points, while also teaming with luminaries such as Denny Clark, Utz Conard, Gary Hammons, Denny Zylstra, and Sandy Roberts.

When he graduated in 1961, Noel was part of a 32-student group, the largest class to come through Coupeville High School in its first six decades.

In death, he will return to the prairie, and will be buried next to his father at Sunnyside Cemetary in a private ceremony.

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