There will be a King patrolling the sidelines at Coupeville High School basketball games once again.
Less than two years after longtime boys’ basketball guru Randy King retired, David King (no relation) has been named as the news head girls’ hoops coach at CHS. He replaces Jackie Bykonen, who left the school after two years in the first chair to seek employment off the Island.
King is the third recent hire by the Wolves, who have also tabbed Tony Maggio as football coach (replacing Jay Silver) and Dan d’ Almeida as girls’ soccer coach (replacing Mike Thornton). All three moves elevated men who had previously worked in the programs as assistant coaches.
The promotion to the top job caps a coaching career that began in the early ’90s for King. He and wife Amy (Coupeville’s JV coach from 2001-2009) have coached both high school and youth teams, while also attaining notice as the go-to people when your shot needs to be tweaked.
“Your comment about Amy and I being shooting coaches made me smile,” King said. “I’ve always worked with the girls on fine-tuning their shots by suggesting adjustments and fine-tuning what they are already doing. They are the ones that deserve the credit for working on it and improving.”
A love of basketball has been burned deep in King since his days as a player. Making the jump from taking the ball to the hoop himself to teaching others has been a natural progression.
“I have played basketball since elementary school and after all these years I still have the passion to teach and coach the sport,” King said. “I love teaching the game of basketball, seeing the players grow as individual players along with seeing the team come together as one.
“I have had lots of support from the girls in the program, along with the support of the families and community to apply for the job,” he added. This is something Amy and I have talked about me doing for at least seven years and this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
His familiarity with the Wolf players should make the transition an easy one, though he will also bring his own style to his new job.
“I’m going to challenge each and every player to dedicate themselves to raise their game on the defensive end,” he said. “Defense and rebounding is about hard work and wanting it more than your opponent. We will mix it up on the defensive end with man and zone, but we are going to play pressure defense either way.”
While Coupeville lost some offensive pop with the graduation of Katie Smith, Cassidi Rosenkrance, Grace LaPoint, Shelby Kulz and Taya Boonstra, King should have a solid core of returning players he can call upon. Senior Bessie Walstad has been a star since day one, and she could be joined by fellow seniors Jai’Lysa Hoskins, Lauren Escalle and Haley Marx, as well as juniors Amanda Fabrizi and Breeanna Messner and sophomore Hailey Hammer, who all saw varsity playing time under Bykonen.
“This is their time to step up and lead the team,” King said. “Our practices will be competitive and we will push each other to get better. The girls will know from the beginning that roster spots are not a given and they will be earned.”
From fine-tuning the high school squad to continuing to build local youth programs, King and his helpers have one goal in mind — to bring CHS girls’ basketball back to the heights it enjoyed in the early-2000s, when the Wolves advanced to state on what seemed like a yearly basis.
With the right attitude and a lot of hard work, King sees no reason Walstad, Hammer and company can’t replicate what players like Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby, Tina Lyness and the Black sisters (Lexie and Brittany) once accomplished.
“We need to improve our mental toughness, believe in our abilities as players and trust our basketball instincts. They need to get to a point that they don’t have to think, but play within the flow of the game and make adjustments throughout,” King said. “We need to play with an aggressive edge. Yes, we are a small school in a 2A league, but that doesn’t mean we are going to concede and let the other teams roll over us.”