More than just coaches

Jason Evans guided the Kentlake baseball team to a historic finish this season. And did so despite the loss of his father, Dale Evans, in mid-April.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Friday, June 13, 2008 1:44pm
  • Sports

Jason Evans guided the Kentlake baseball team to a historic finish this season. And did so despite the loss of his father, Dale Evans, in mid-April.

But there were plenty of other impressive coaching performances throughout Covington and Maple Valley this past school year.

Below is a look at a handful of others who were in the running for The Reporter’s Coach of the Year honors.


If ever a coach gets the most from his players, it’s Russ Hayden.

Tahoma’s longtime leader graduated most of his top talent from a year ago, including five Division I signees. The Bears weren’t even selected in the preseason coaches’ poll to make the playoffs.

But Hayden has turned Tahoma High into a virtual baseball factory. As always, the veteran coach of 16 years churned out another winner, guiding the Bears to a share of the South Puget Sound League North Division title and a third straight state berth.

Tahoma went on to post a solid 16-7 overall record and help Hayden earn his 200th coaching victory, which he accomplished on April 18 with a 9-8 win against Kentridge.


Maybe they ought to pick Radford’s teams to finish somewhere other than first place every season. That’s what happened this school year. Last fall, perennial power Tahoma was the choice to win the SPSL North Division title. But after an early-season loss to the Bears, Kentwood went on an 8-0-1 streak to close out the league schedule, finishing at 10-1-3 and edging Tahoma by one point for the division title. The Conquerors went all the way to the Class 4A state quarterfinals before their season ended. This spring, all of the talk before the boys season kicked off was about Jefferson. But Kentwood beat the Raiders twice to win the division title with a 9-3-2 record and 29 points, two better than TJ. The Conquerors then scored a 3-1 victory against Tahoma in the district playoffs, their first win against the Bears in 10 games, dating back five years. In so doing, they punched their first ticket to state since 2002.


Though Kentlake’s girls basketball team didn’t advance to the state tournament, Simmons delivered what likely was his finest coaching performance.

Kentlake entered the season with heavy hearts as teammate and friend Carly Stowell passed away in the previous April from an acute cardiac arrhythmia while playing for her AAU team in North Carolina.

Simmons, who proved coaches do considerably more than teach X’s and O’s, organized the Carly Stowell Winter Classic tournament at Kentlake in late December. Before the Falcons were to play Foss in the second of two opening-night games, Simmons delivered an emotionally-stirring speech to a mostly-filled gymnasium. As the season progressed, he was as much a counselor and friend to his pupils as he was a coach.

Kentlake lost leading scorer Maggie Henley in early January to a season-ending injury, but Simmons still managed to guide this group to a 12-13 overall record along with berths in the league and district tournaments.


For 10 years, the last game of the regular season was always the last game of the season period for the Falcons’ boys soccer team.

That all changed this spring. With Jones in his first year at the coaching helm, the Falcons started quickly, survived some bumps along the way, and nailed down the program’s first-ever postseason berth. Kentlake wound up with a 7-4-3 record and 24 points in SPSL North Division play, enough to claim the fourth and final playoff spot.

The Falcons fell short in a shootout against Emerald Ridge in the SPSL playoffs, with the Jaguars winning the penalty-kick tiebreaker, 2-1 after the teams went scoreless through 80 minutes of regulation play and 10 minutes of overtime. That ended Kentlake’s season at 8-5-4. But Jones loses just four seniors off of this year’s team, which means his team likely will be counted among the playoff contenders when next spring arrives.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Richard Sherman takes plea deal on charges stemming from July 2021 incident

The former Seahawks player will not have to do any additional jail time.

Design rendering of future Sounders FC facility in Renton. (Courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC)
Seattle Sounders FC announce new HQ at Renton’s Longacres site

Facility is expected to open in 2024, before Seattle potentially hosts FIFA World Cup games in 2026.

WIAA launches bias reporting form in response to discriminatory incidents

Inappropriate behavior seen, heard or witnessed at any WIAA member school event can be reported.

file photo
Health department: COVID outbreaks linked to high school wrestling tournaments

At least 80 cases are tied to the events which included attendees from multiple counties and states.

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

(Photos courtesy of Praveen Raj)
Maple Valley Cricket Club hosts its first youth cricket league

The Maple Valley Cricket Club hosted its first youth cricket league the… Continue reading

A come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals gave the Vancouver Giants their second win in a row Tuesday night, March 30, in Kamloops (Allen Douglas/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Back to the ice: Vancouver Giants resume play Sunday

Langley-based team scheduled to play three games in four days, following COVID postponement

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.