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Jason McFadyen, shooting during an alumni game, made an auspicious debut for CHS basketball during the 1988-89 season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was the season after THE season.

The 1987-1988 Coupeville High School boys basketball team finished 19-6, won 12 straight games at one point, and went to the state tourney.

Then, everyone graduated.

Well, not totally everyone, but close.

When the 1988-1989 hoops season rolled around, there were only three returning players from the 13 who had scored a season before.

Tony Ford, who was the #6 scorer for the state-bound team, was back for his senior year, while Chad Nixon and Jason Legat, who each banked home a single bucket in 87-88, were also still around.

While the latter duo only combined for 16 points in 88-89, Ford seized his opportunity and scored much of his team’s buckets during his final go-round.

In fact, his 276 points, which gave him 432 for his prep career, was more than the next three Wolves combined to score that season.

Sophomore Jason McFadyen rattled home his first 122 varsity points in 88-89, the start of a 654-point career which has him sitting at #24 all-time in Wolf boys history.

But he was the only other CHS player to top 70 points that season, as the new-look Wolves struggled at times on the offensive end of the floor.

So, why is this all important?

For several reasons — the biggest being I have the scorebook from that 88-89 season, followed by we’re in a pandemic that has shut down games for nine months, and I need stuff to write about.

Plus, in the middle of an otherwise so-so season, Ford delivered one of the great single-game performances in program history.

So, let’s flip open the book and go back to a time when Wolf coach Ron Bagby still prowled the sidelines.

 

Sultan 37, Coupeville 16

Game one didn’t get off to a great start, as the Wolves were blanked 12-0 through the first eight minutes.

Improbably, CHS actually was within striking distance after three quarters of play, using a defensive lockdown to carve the deficit (slightly) back to 19-10.

But it wasn’t to be, as Sultan nearly doubled its point total with an 18-point eruption in the final frame, with six players scoring.

Coupeville’s leading scorer on opening night? Dean Grasser with a fairly-quiet six points.

 

Lopez 51, Coupeville 34

An improvement, with the Wolves down just 19-16 at the half.

Lopez had three guys finish with double-digit scoring, though, and that trio combined to score 30 of their 45 after the break, busting things open.

Ford did his best to counter, dropping in 10 of his team-high 13 in the second half, but his teammates only combined for eight points during the same time frame.

 

La Conner 52, Coupeville 17

Yep, not much to say about this one.

 

Darrington 64, Coupeville 30

Well, Ford banged home 18 points, so there was that, but the Wolves fell to 0-4.

 

Coupeville 56, Concrete 44

Best game of the season, and the best half Ford played in a CHS uniform.

When the teams went to the break, Coupeville held a 22-15 advantage, with Jesse Smith and Wayne Hardie each having tallied four points.

After halftime, it was Ford time, as the lanky gunner went off for 22 of his 28 points down the stretch.

All of his scoring came off of old-school two-point buckets, as he missed the one and only free throw attempt he had that night, and Coupeville went without a three-point bomb for the fourth time in five games.

 

Orcas Island 54, Coupeville 38

This one was knotted 31-31 heading into the fourth quarter, then the roof caved in on the Wolves.

Seven different Orcas players scored during a 23-7 run across the final eight minutes, putting a damper on a 25-point performance from Ford.

Having ended the previous game on a tear, he picked right back up, notching 15 of those points in the first half.

 

Friday Harbor 57, Coupeville 39

Fun fact – McFadyen, who, remember, would finish as this team’s #2 scorer, didn’t get his first points until game #7 of the season.

This was his fourth appearance, and, like the other three games, the young gun played in just the fourth quarter.

But this time he went off, dropping a pair of three-balls en route to an eight-point quarter, making him Coupeville’s leading scorer for the night.

Entering this game, CHS had connected on just one three-point shot all season, but with McFadyen’s two-fer and a deep bomb by Frank Marti, things were changing.

At least a bit.

 

Coupeville 38, Crescent 36

McFadyen played in two quarters this time, but didn’t score.

Ford, after tallying nine points in the first quarter, was held to a single bucket over the next 24 minutes.

The Wolves went back to hitting no three-balls.

But, they still won, thanks to a 10-8 fourth-quarter edge in which Brandy Ambrose (4), Grasser (4), and John Zimmerman (2) came up big.

 

Foster 71, Coupeville 43

Ford tossed in 20, but the other team had four guys hit for double-digits.

 

Sultan 49, Coupeville 44

Not as close as it looks, as the Wolves needed a 17-6 run in the fourth to narrow things.

Finally given the chance to play a full four quarters at the varsity level, McFadyen tossed in a team-high 17 points, including a pair of three-balls, while Ford was the perfect complement, banking home 16.

 

Watson-Groen 52, Coupeville 30

Down 17-4 at the first break, things didn’t get much better for the Wolves, who were led by Ford’s 15.

 

La Conner 59, Coupeville 31

Close first half, not so close second half.

Clinging to a 24-21 advantage at the break, La Conner went on a 35-10 run after that, negating another solid night by Ford, who filled the scorebook with 18 points.

 

Darrington 73, Coupeville 52

Trailing by 30 after three, the Wolves closed strongly with a 22-13 advantage in the final quarter.

McFadyen hit for 17, Ford 16, and, after nailing just seven three-balls on the season, Coupeville netted six in one game here.

Five of them came off of the fingertips of their hot-shooting sophomore stud.

 

Coupeville 50, Concrete 43

Back in the win column in what must have been a wild one.

Up by seven heading into the fourth, the Wolves frittered the entire lead away, then redeemed themselves in overtime.

Tied 43-43 at the end of regulation, CHS held its hosts scoreless in the extra frame, making the long bus trip home with Bagby more pleasant than it might have been with a total collapse.

McFadyen, Marti, and Ford combined for Coupeville’s final seven points, with Ford topping all scorers on the night with 18.

 

Orcas Island 54, Coupeville 47

The first time these teams met, it was tied after three quarters. This time CHS was up by a bucket headed into the fourth.

But, once again, the Wolves fell short against Orcas, despite 18 (with four treys) from McFadyen.

 

Coupeville 49, Lopez 43

Revenge, as the Wolves avenged an earlier loss to Lopez by suddenly becoming fourth-quarter aces.

Down 35-34 on the road, CHS closed on a 15-8 tear, with McFadyen scoring seven of his game-high 18 in the final frame.

He got help from Hardie (4), Marti (2), and Ford (2) down the stretch, with Ford once again busting double digits with a 15-point night.

 

Friday Harbor 67, Coupeville 41

The visitors got points from all 11 players on their roster and pulled away early.

One bright spot for Coupeville came when Sean Dillon connected on his first varsity three-ball, a precursor of what was to come as he rattled home 469 career points as a Wolf, putting him #48 in program history.

 

Watson-Groen 67, Coupeville 54

Ford pumped in 24, his third-best total on the season, and McFadyen singed the nets for three more treys, but the visitors led from start to finish.

Leading the way for Watson-Groen was Brad Francisco, who torched the joint for 26, the most scored by any Wolf rival that season.

 

And thus the campaign ended, with 4-14 a step back after a trip to state.

But, the path for future success was set.

During the 89-90 season, six Wolves scored 100 or more points, the first time the program reached that mark in a decade.

The next season, the 90-91 team had four players top 200, with a fifth missing by just six points.

McFadyen led the Wolves in scoring both those seasons, while Marti, Dillon, and Ben Biskovich, who joined the varsity in 89-90, all topped 400 career points.

 

Varsity scoring totals for the 88-89 season:

Tony Ford – 276
Jason McFadyen – 122
Dean Grasser  68
Frank Marti – 64
Brandy Ambrose – 54
Wayne Hardie – 35
John Zimmerman – 34
Jesse Smith – 18
Chad Nixon – 14
Sean Dillon – 11
Ed Cook – 6
Duane Score – 6
Jason Legat – 2

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Wolf QB Jason McFadyen operates under center during a practice in 1990. (Photo courtesy Carmen McFadyen)

The past is present again.

Next Tuesday – November 10 – marks the 30th anniversary of arguably the second-biggest game in Coupeville High School athletic history.

It’s hard to top the 1970 boys basketball district title game, when the Wolves toppled Darrington in front of 2,000+ fans.

That was the game when Jeff Stone torched the nets for 48 points, without the benefit of the three-point bomb, a single-game CHS mark which hasn’t been matched in 50 years.

Even more importantly, by winning that game, Coupeville beat Oak Harbor and Langley to the promised land, becoming the first Whidbey Island hoops squad to win a district title.

But the anniversary of that titanic hardwood tilt already passed earlier this year, and was talked about back then.

Today, in the time frame when football season would normally be wrapping up, we return to 1990.

Mariah Carey topped the musical charts with Love Takes Time as the morning of Saturday, Nov. 10 dawned.

George H.W. Bush was in the White House, and, at movie theaters, Child’s Play 2 was becoming the third-straight horror thriller to top the box office charts, following hot on the heels of Graveyard Shift and Jacob’s Ladder.

But Chucky’s reign would be a short one, at just one week, as a lil’ juggernaut called Home Alone was days away from release.

America so loved seeing Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern get abused, the film stayed #1 for 12 consecutive weeks, a feat matched by only four other films.

But, while they were home Nov. 10, 1990, the members of the CHS football team were not alone.

Instead, on an especially-gusty day, head coach Ron Bagby and his crew were surrounded by fans, as they took to the turf at Mickey Clark Field to host a WIAA state quarterfinal playoff game.

A win away from a trip to the Tacoma Dome (with a journey to the Kingdome on tap if they made the state final), the ’90 Wolves were, without argument, the most-successful team in program history.

Using a pounding ground attack and a feisty defense, Coupeville was 9-0, and had outscored opponents 258-107.

The Wolves had won a league title, their first on the gridiron since 1974, and the program was making its fourth state playoff appearance, and first at home.

Coupeville had shredded its rivals all year, but the defining win was likely a 10-0 whitewashing of Concrete, which was the reigning powerhouse in the Northwest B League.

Frank Marti capped a 122-yard rushing performance with a one-yard touchdown plunge in the fourth quarter, then Brad Haslam dropped the punctuation mark with a 34-yard field goal.

The stage was set for continued success as the playoffs kicked off, but, ultimately, Coupeville had to accept the role of Child’s Play 2, and not Home Alone, as it lost 34-14 to visiting Rainier.

The Mountaineers would go on to blank Adna 16-0 in the semifinals, before falling 13-3 to Reardan in the state title game.

While it wasn’t the end Coupeville coaches, players, and fans wanted, that 1990 team still towers above any other football squad to wear the red and black.

It’s final 9-1 record remains the best in program history, and, 30 years out, Wolf football has yet to win another league title or return to the state playoffs.

As we roll up on the anniversary of their quarterfinal clash, it would be nice if CHS could do an in-person event to commemorate those players and coaches.

Of course, the ongoing pandemic makes that impossible.

But, we can run through the roll call one more time, and give them an online tribute.

So, 30 years later, still the greatest football team in Coupeville High School history is:

 

Coaches:

Ron Bagby
Brian O’Hara
Tom Roehl (RIP)
Jon Prater

 

Manager:

Brent Fitzgerald

 

Seniors:

Brian Barr
Ben Biskovich
Sean Dillon
Chris Frey
Les Hall
Mark Lester
Frank Marti
Jason McFadyen
Ryan Samplawski
Aaron Williams

 

Juniors:

Danny Bonacci
Matt Cross
Brad Haslam
Van Kellems
Ben Russell
Todd Smith
Nate Steele
Tracy Wilson

 

Sophomores:

Troy Blouin
Todd Brown
Ted Clifton
Eric Lester
Craig McGregor
Gerald McIntosh
Jason McManigle
David McMillan

 

Freshmen:

Ross Buckner
Scott Gadbois
Scott Kirkwood
Kit Manzanares
Jerimiah Prater
Virgil Roehl
Joe Staples
Kevin Steiner

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CHS legends Marie and Ron Bagby are both retiring. (Ashley Heilig photo)

2020 is turning into a farewell tour for longtime Wolves.

On the heels of Randy King announcing his retirement as a Coupeville High School teacher, Ron and Marie Bagby are joining him in exiting the building.

The retirements of the husband/wife duo, who have both worked for the school district for decades, are included on the agenda for the next school board meeting, set for Tuesday, May 26.

Ron Bagby, who coached football, basketball, and track and field at CHS, after arriving in Cow Town from the wilds of Forks, was currently a PE teacher at the school.

Marie Bagby, née Grasser, is a graduate of Coupeville who was the school’s first big-time female basketball star, starting a legacy continued by younger sister Marlene.

Playing for the Wolves between 1976-1980, she rang up 321 points, and still sits as the #34 scorer all-time in program history.

Marie operated as the registrar for her alma mater, while all four of her children – April, Ashley, Mike, and Jason – followed her path as Wolf athletic stars and CHS grads.

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Coupeville High School football hasn’t posted a winning record since 2005, the longest dry spell for any Wolf athletic program. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s an uphill battle.

As we hit three weeks and counting until the first official practice of a new fall high school sports season, the Wolf football squad — which opens things Aug. 21 — remains mired in a long dry spell.

It’s been 14 seasons since the Coupeville gridiron team posted a winning record, by far the longest skid for a CHS program.

That run, in which the Wolves have posted one .500 season and 12 losing marks, covers six coaches and four (or maybe five) leagues.

Coupeville is playing an independent, non-conference schedule this season as second-year coach Marcus Carr works on rebuilding the program.

New classification counts happen this year, and will go into effect with the 2020-2021 school year.

With new hard count rules, CHS is expected to finally be allowed to return to 2B at that point, after being one of the smallest 1A schools for many years.

During this year of limbo, the Wolf football program opted to break with the 1A North Sound Conference after one season. Coupeville went 3-6 overall, 0-5 in league play in 2018.

Since they’re not part of a league, the Wolves can only make the playoffs this fall if they go 9-0, something they last accomplished in 1990.

While perfection is the goal, posting a winning record would constitute a major step in the right direction.

You have to go back, through the North Sound Conference, through the 1A Olympic League, through the 1A/2A Cascade Conference, and land in Coupeville’s final year in the 1A Northwest League, to find the last Wolf gridiron team to break .500.

That covers four leagues, or, technically, five.

Coupeville was in the Olympic League from 2014-2018, but the final two seasons the conference linked up with the 1A Nisqually League for football only, creating an eight-team, two-league hybrid.

But four leagues, or five, the point is you have to go back fairly far to find a CHS football team with a positive win/loss record.

The last one was the 2005 edition, coached by longtime football guru Ron Bagby, who put in 26 seasons on the sidelines at Mickey Clark Field.

Those Wolves went 6-5, won four straight games at one point, had a winning record on the road, and finished third in a tough eight-team league.

The Northwest League champs, Friday Harbor, a team Coupeville would reunite with if it goes 2B, went 12-1 that year, losing in the state semifinals.

La Conner, the only other league team the Wolves lost to, were knocked out of the playoffs by Friday Harbor.

The 2005 Northwest League standings:

School League Overall
Friday Harbor 7-0 12-1
La Conner 6-1 8-3
Coupeville 5-2 6-5
CPC-Bothell 3-4 4-6
Orcas Island 3-4 7-5
Annie Wright 2-5 4-5
Concrete 2-5 3-7
Darrington 0-7 0-8

After opening the non-conference schedule with a pair of losses, Coupeville reeled off six wins in seven games, before closing with a pair of defeats.

The first stumble, against La Conner, came in a battle for second-place in the final conference standings, while the second loss came in the playoff opener.

Coupeville’s 2005 schedule:

Blaine — lost 46-20
@Granite Falls — lost 15-13
Tacoma Baptist — won 36-0
@Concrete — won 34-14
Friday Harbor — lost 61-22
@Orcas — won 33-18
Annie Wright — won 42-20
@Darrington — won 35-15
@CPC-Bothell — won 44-22
La Conner — lost 38-22
@Kalama — lost 26-0

After that, it was off to a 1A/2A league which featured private school powers Archbishop Thomas Murphy and King’s, and things haven’t been quite the same since.

How CHS football has done since 2005:

2006 — (4-6) — Ron Bagby
2007 — (5-6) — Ron Bagby
2008 — (0-10) — Ron Bagby
2009 — (4-6) — Ron Bagby
2010 — (2-8) — Jay Silver
2011 — (1-8) — Jay Silver
2012 — (2-9) — Tony Maggio
2013 — (4-5) — Tony Maggio
2014 — (5-5) — Tony Maggio
2015 — (1-9) — Brett Smedley
2016 — (3-7) — Jon Atkins
2017 — (3-7) — Jon Atkins
2018 — (3-6) — Marcus Carr

So, how does that compare with other athletic programs at CHS?

Well, the other nine Wolf teams which keep win/loss records (that excludes track and cross country) have all had a winning season in the 2010’s.

Volleyball and softball, which have both been to the state tourney recently, are the most-successful, with winning seasons three years running.

Cory Whitmore is the only active CHS coach to have posted a plus-.500 mark in every season at the helm, having guided the spikers to 11-6, 13-5, and 11-5 marks since taking the job prior to the 2016-2017 season.

Softball coach Kevin McGranahan is hot on his heels, with winning seasons in three of four years on the job.

Under his guidance, the Wolf diamond sluggers have gone 19-5, 12-9, and 15-10 the past three springs.

Each CHS program’s last winning season, with ** indicating it came in that team’s most-recent campaign:

Softball (15-10) — spring 2019 — Kevin McGranahan **
Volleyball (11-5) — fall 2018 — Cory Whitmore **
Boys Tennis (8-6) — fall 2018 — Ken Stange **
Baseball (15-6) — spring 2018 — Chris Smith
Girls Tennis (6-3) — spring 2017 — Ken Stange
Girls Basketball (15-6) — winter 2017 — David King
Girls Soccer (8-7-1) — fall 2016 — Troy Cowan
Boys Soccer (10-8) — spring 2012 — Paul Mendes
Boys Basketball (16-5) — winter 2010 — Randy King
Football (6-5) — fall 2005 — Ron Bagby

So, in the end, what does this all mean?

It’s not meant to embarrass the CHS football program, which has had quality players and coaches during these lean years.

But history is history, and it can’t be ignored.

The teams of the past, whether they were highly-successful or struggled, give the current squads something to shoot for, to compare themselves against.

I have faith we’ll see another Wolf football team post a winning record.

So dig deep, 2019 squad. It’s time to get off the schneid.

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“So, anything else you want to tell us, coach?” “Nope.” (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Well, it hasn’t been a full five months…

I swear, the next time Ron Bagby tells me he won an award will be the first.

The former Coupeville High School coach still wanders the hallways and gyms at the school, fulfilling his teacherly duties, and I’ve run into him on numerous occasions as winter turned into spring.

Yet, in typical low-key Bags style, he never once mentioned he was inducted into another Hall of Fame back in January.

I mean, once you’re in the totally made-up Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, as he is, probably everything else kind of pales in comparison. I get it.

But, thanks to a tip from Carmen McFadyen, who got the news from her son Jason, who starred for football and basketball teams coached by Bags back in the day, who got the info from former teammate Dan Neider, I’m on top of things.

Five months late…

So, back in Jan., Bags snuck out of town, headed down the road to his former home, the far-flung outpost of Forks, and was inducted into the Spartan Basketball Hall of Fame.

And I’m gonna stop you right there.

Forks High School has a freakin’ REAL Hall of Fame for basketball and we here in Coupeville DO NOT.

Come on, people.

We have Jeff Stone, and Bill Riley, and Jeff Rhubottom, and the ’69-’70 Team o’ Death and Destruction, and 10,000 Keefe brothers, and Jack “The Zinger” Elzinga.

Then there’s Hawthorne Wolfe, the floppy-haired reincarnation of Pistol Pete, coming for all their scoring records, and on and on it goes.

And that’s only half the story, with the girls game giving us Makana Stone, and Novi Barron, and Marlene Grasser, with Maddie Big Time droppin’ half-court bombs and Julia Myers droppin’ forearm shivers.

I want a frickin’ real Hall of Fame!

But anyways.

Back in reality, or Forks at least, Bags was always kind of a big deal in the town long before the sparkly vampires brought in all the tourists.

In his younger days, he won a state track title in 1978, blistering the oval in the 100, and this on the heels of being a First-Team All-State running back for a team he helped propel deep into the playoffs.

So they know his name, and his game, in Forks.

During a doubleheader against Tenino this winter, the laconic one was immortalized again, this time for his play on the hardwood.

And for any of his students who watch him amble by, and think to themselves, “I could beat Bags,” no, you can’t, and yes, you’re an idiot.

Time may have (slightly) tamped down his hops, but he’d still annihilate you on the court … then never tell me about it.

Back when he was wearing the Forks shorty shorts, Bags tossed in 52 points against Tenino, setting a Far West League single-game record which stands to this day.

Just to put the cherry on top, his final bucket, coming in a game before the three-point line, came off of a steal, and the ensuing layup capped a 79-77 win for the Spartans.

At which point he exited the court, looked around at all the fans, and said, “Let us never speak of this again.”

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