Posts Tagged ‘Willie Smith’

   Day one of putting together the 1,000 pieces that comprise the new CHS grandstands, and the question on everyone’s mind is … “What do you mean you lost the instructions?!?!” (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

“No, no, it looks fine that way.”

   Later, when everything looks all fancy, people will forget about the lowly, but important piece which anchors everything. I shall call it … Thaddeus.

“I’m just saying, I could have lifted that without any machinery. No, really…”




And we’re .02% done.

It’s like a really big Ikea project.

The two-year wait for the new Coupeville High School football/soccer/track grandstands to arrive is over.

Now we just wait for all 10 million pieces to be put together.

Will the new stands debut during one of the three remaining Wolf home football games?

Or, more likely, will butts hit the seats for the first time this spring?

Only time will tell.

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   While we wait for a new grandstand to arrive, CHS football fans should expect to sit as close together as the Wolves are in this pic. (John Fisken photo)

Patience is a virtue.

While it’s true Coupeville High School will have a new football grandstand at some point in the near future, it won’t be in place for the home opener against La Conner this Friday.

And that means fans are going to be cozy for a bit.

Once in place, the new grandstand will sit in front of the apartments on what was previously the visitors side of the field.

The ground has been prepared, concrete supports have been laid, but thanks to delays by the grandstand manufacturer, the local guys are left twiddling their thumbs.

With everything in mid-construction, that side of the field will be roped off Friday and all fans, Coupeville and non-Coupeville, get to congregate together on the far side of the field.

If you attended a game last year, you know seating on that side of the field is limited.

When the old grandstand and (bee-infested, but deeply-missed) press box were ripped out prior to the 2016 football season, two smaller sections of bleachers were moved in to form what will one day officially be the visitors stands.

For now, those bleachers and the surrounding grass and track will provide one dumping ground for home and road fans alike.

So, either arrive early (kickoff is 7 PM), bring a lawn chair or get used to standing.

One thing that could help is Coupeville’s gridiron schedule begins with four of the first six games on the road.

After facing La Conner, the Wolves welcome Charles Wright Academy to town Sept. 22, then don’t play at home again until mid-Oct.

If we’re lucky, that shiny new grandstand will be in place in time for Coupeville’s late-season three-game home-stand (Oct. 13 vs Bellevue Christian, Oct. 20 vs. Klahowya, Oct. 27 vs. Chimacum).

Hey, miracles can happen.

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Teo Keilwitz (left) and Clay Reilly take down a Falcon. (John Fisken photos)

Hunter Smith dives for the end zone. Spoiler: he made it.

   Ignoring the man mountain headed his way, Wolf QB Joel Walstad prepares to fire a TD pass.

You can’t get away from Jacob Martin.

Every game matters, but one matters just a bit more.

Coupeville and South Whidbey were made to be arch-rivals, reasonably close in student body size and proximity, and their turf war has been a memorable one over the years, regardless of sport.

But when the Wolves and Falcons meet on the gridiron, there’s a little something extra at stake, as that clash is the only one which has a trophy.

“The Bucket” (literally a large bucket with each school’s logo on one side) is a fairly recent invention, a way to settle a feud which blossomed at a volleyball match about a decade back.

Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith hatched the idea and now, each fall, the victor claims the trophy and owns it for the next year.

Coupeville will carry The Bucket with it when it heads to Langley this year, kicking off a new school sports year Friday, Sept. 1, still basking in last year’s 41-10 rout of the Falcons.

With CHS coach Jon Atkins entering his second year at the helm, he’ll try and do something which evaded his recent predecessors — Jay Silver, Tony Maggio and Brett Smedley — and guide the Wolves to back-to-back wins in the grudge match.

After busting a five-year run of South Whidbey wins with an 18-13 victory in 2012, Coupeville fell 57-33 in 2013, won 35-28 in 2014, lost 27-14 in 2015 then romped to a win last year.

Silver (0-2) and Smedley (0-1) never beat the Falcons, while Maggio’s success (2-1) included him out-coaching former college coach Chris Tormey in 2014.

This time around, South Whidbey has turned to former long-time coach Mark Hodson, who was recruited to save a program in free-fall.

The Falcons, who lost their final seven games last season en route to a 1-8 mark, are taking a break from the 1A/2A Cascade Conference (at least for a season) and will play an independent football schedule this fall.

After opening with fellow 1A schools Coupeville and Chimacum, South Whidbey will face Valley View Secondary, a Canadian team.

Then it’s on to six straight games against 2B schools — Ocosta, Friday Harbor,  La Conner, Darrington, Concrete and Liberty Bell.

Not having to face Cascade Conference foes like ATM, Cedarcrest or King’s will give Hodson and Co. a chance to rebuild a roster which was severely depleted from previous seasons.

Regardless of record (Coupeville was 3-7 last season), the season-opening match-up of Wolves and Falcons is huge.

The winner gets bragging rights to go with possession of The Bucket, an undefeated record (for at least a week), an emotional boost and memories.

As we sit here, a mere 23 days away from this year’s clash, a handful of Coupeville players looked back at their own battles and what they remember:

JR Pendergrass:

My sophomore year, we were beating South Whidbey and we had the ball, running the clock down.

The player across from me on the line kept hitting me every time we took a knee to run the clock, because we were winning, and it took all the power in my being not to plant him in the ground.

Raymond Beiriger:

Junior year, it was my first year playing. And even though I was JV, we all went to watch the varsity play, and watching them fight for something that meant everything to them.

It really inspired me to play my senior year and try harder.

Watching them win The Bucket was amazing and I was super happy.

Uriel Liquidano:

Best memory was last year when South Whidbey was talking all this smack about how they where going to beat us and take The Bucket, that was pretty funny.

Good times, gonna miss playing on a Friday night. #OurBucket.

Jacob Martin:

Breaking a 70-yard TD and scoring the first TD of the game!

Korbin Korzan:

Sophomore year, varsity OLB, we won The Bucket. One of my best high school memories of all time.

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Nuff said.

Well, I guess we could just call it a vacation.

I know, I know, I haven’t even been gone long enough to grow a luxurious “retirement” beard like David Letterman.

But, while my 10-day sabbatical only allowed me enough time to seed the facial growth, it did give me ample opportunity to reflect on life itself.

I watched some movies — quality stuff like “Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman” and “Bear Force One” — talked to my landlord’s feral cats, avoided looking for a “real” job and scrolled back through most of the history of Coupeville Sports.

As I did so, a couple of things became clearer.

No one delivers a solid-gold quote like Willie Smith and I used to really enjoy giving South Whidbey verbal wedgies.

Oh, the olden days…

Also, and this probably matters more — there are parts of my life which fuel the depression I fight on an on-again, off-again basis.

Things I need to work on, deal with or walk away from.

Writing is not one of those things.

In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

Writing is the one thing in my life which makes me soar. That gives me an outlet.

As I went back through Coupeville Sports — 5,141 articles stretching over the past four years and eight months — I was reminded of what a unique opportunity I have been given with this blog.

I have a chance to tell the world a multitude of stories.

To give folks from rural Pennsylvania to big city Brazil and everywhere in between a window into the wonder that takes place every day on a prairie in the middle of a rock stuck out here in the waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Along the way I can write about whatever I want, whenever I want, in whatever style I want.

How can I throw that away?

I can’t.

To everyone who talked to me over the past 10 days, in public or private, your support has meant, and will continue to mean, a lot.

To those who have purchased ads or made donations in the past (or those who might now do so), you are the lifeblood of Coupeville Sports.

But so are the moms who leave brownies in my mailbox or the people who share my stories on Facebook or the teen titan who autographs my scorecard after blasting a game-winning double off a two-time league MVP.

Lookin’ at you, Jae LeVine. That’s gonna be worth money some day soon.

We all need a purpose in life. Something to tell the feral cats about as they try and ignore you and concentrate on the tuna you’re bribing them with.

The last 10 days have given me a chance to reflect, to reconsider, to relight the fire.

I’m a writer.

Today, tomorrow, always.

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Coupeville HS/MS Athletic Director Willie Smith. (John Fisken photo)

The man in the head office has a few words for you.

Willie Smith has spent two decades-plus at Coupeville High School, working as a teacher, coach and Athletic Director.

This is his second time around as AD, having re-assumed the post at the start of the 2016-2017 school year. He previously held the position for five years, stepping away in 2009.

Today’s column marks the launch of “ADD: Athletic Director Directives,” which will give Smith a chance to impart the “thoughts and musings of a small-town AD with big-time dreams.”

Is this mic on?

Whenever a new leader, supervisor, head man, big cheese, whatever you want to call it, takes over, there is a period of transition and philosophical change that occurs and that is what we are in currently.

My goal, in writing this, as well as follow-up articles, is to give all of you insight into what the goals are for our athletic program and to let you in on how those goals came to be; however, fair warning that entering into my world, especially my head, may not always be advisable.

First, my role as I see it, is to be an advocate in all aspects of our athletic program: student athletes, coaches, parents, and administration.

I have coached for over 20 years, been part of building two different programs from the elementary level up, am unafraid to ask questions and speak up, am extremely competitive, and am fiercely loyal to our schools, kids, and coaches.

I am not political, nor always politically correct, whatever that means, but I am never demeaning, nor crass in my opinions or decisions.

I am what you see and what you hear (well, depending on the person telling you what I am) but I am not going to tell you one thing and do another.

In forming who I was as a coach and a player, I had some very good coaches, and some very poor coaches; I played at the state level, and went win-less for an entire season.

As a coach, I stressed the fundamentals, had high expectations of myself, players, and coaches; I even yelled every now and then, but always tried to be the first to congratulate when kids did it right.

I have no idea what my overall win/loss record is but am super proud that my teams improved from the beginning of the year to the end, had high character, didn’t make excuses, outworked most other teams, and got to experience a lot of successes, both at league level and state level.

I believe that middle and high school athletics can be the most rewarding experience in a student’s life.

There is no book, quiz, or state test in the education system that can teach you so many different lessons and put you in so many life experiences.

In any given game or contest you can rise to euphoria and in the next instant, be brought to your knees.

You have to work as a team, experience a wide array of personalities, deal with adversity and conflict, confront your emotions, and ultimately, be able to talk with and come to tenable solutions with those that are in charge of you.

Those that say, “Winning isn’t everything” are correct (though it is a lot of fun); there are many other successes that kids, coaches, and communities can embrace: high character, work ethic, teamwork, commitment, service, accountability.

I truly believe that if our students, coaches, parents, and community embrace these things winning takes care of itself, and even if it doesn’t, these are values that we should all aspire to.

This is the vision of the Athletic Department, it is at the bottom of each of the Athletic Director emails:


These are the values, the basis of all decisions, and the vision moving forward.

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