Coach is movin' on up

Willie Smith is no stranger to Coupeville athletics.

Since his arrival in 1994, the current varsity baseball coach has headed a combined five middle and high school teams.

After 11 years on the field and in the gym, Smith recently opted to delve deeper into Coupeville sports, accepting the district’s open athletic director position.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s a new challenge for me.

A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to do something different and stay in the same area and stay in the same job basically.”

Smith steps in for Ron Bagby, who quietly resigned earlier this summer after 13 years as Coupeville’s AD. Bagby will remain a teacher and head football coach, but decided to step down and spend more time with his family.

“I put a long time and a lot of long nights in,” Bagby said. “It was time to have somebody else take over that schedule.”

Having an experienced athletic director still at the school is something that eases Smith’s mind, especially since he was hired Aug. 18 — just a couple of weeks before the fall sports season.

“What’s nice is that he’s still here, so any questions that I have I can take them to Ron,” Smith said. “He’s very well informed and very well connected and he pretty much knows all the answers to any questions I might have.”

Although things are a bit hectic of late, Smith looks forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

In the fall of 2006 Coupeville High School will enter a new league as part of the major classification changes that will occur around the state. The Wolves will stay in the 1A classification, but will see a lot tougher competition step into their league with the likes of Meridian, Nooksack Valley and Kings.

“Those are some pretty strong programs,” Smith said. “I want to get our programs so they’re not only competitive at those levels, but we’re making some noise — and a lot of the programs are headed in that direction right now.”

Smith will also see some challenges this year as Coupeville will have some major changes done to its athletic fields.

Due to construction of the new high school, the old baseball field was recently demolished. A new field will be constructed on the Engle’s Park property on the corner of Engle and Terry roads along with practice soccer fields.

Smith said the first priority is to get the soccer fields set up then cut, level and seed the baseball field by the end of September.

Smith, who will remain the head baseball coach for the eighth straight season, said the baseball field will present the biggest challenge in that it needs to be done by the spring or the teams will have nowhere to play.

“It’s going to take the community to help us out,” Smith said. “With the Little League program and our community being pretty darn good about stepping in and helping I’m not too concerned about it not getting done.”

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