Coupeville AD Willie Smith retiring

Willie Smith, the last of a “trinity” of longtime school coaches/teachers/admins, is retiring.


Special to the News-Times

One more year in the gym, but with a lot less stress.

Willie Smith, the last of a “trinity” of longtime Coupeville High School/Middle School coaches/teachers/admins, is moving towards joining former compatriots Ron Bagby and Randy King on the sidelines.

He plans to teach one more year of PE but will step down as Athletic Director at the end of this school year.

That will put a cap on Smith’s second run as Coupeville’s AD, which began in 2016. He previously held the position from 2005-2010.

After arriving from Sequim in 1994, Smith has been actively involved in Wolf athletics at every level for the past three decades.

As a coach, he led the girls’ varsity basketball program from 1994-2000, advancing to state twice and earning the school’s first-ever big dance win for a girls’ team in any sport.

Smith also was a CHS football assistant coach from 1995-2011, ran the middle school program for three years, and put in 19 years at the helm of the Wolf varsity baseball team.

During his AD stints, he set a high standard for his coaches and programs, with both high school and middle school teams collecting a wide range of awards, trophies, honors, and praise from rivals.

He has led CHS through life in both the 1A and 2B classifications, guided transitions through numerous leagues, and was a resolute leader during the pandemic.

Currently the Northwest 2B/1B League president, Smith is known and respected throughout the state.

Last year, right after CHS sports teams earned three academic state titles, on the heels of football and baseball advancing to state for the first time in decades, the AD position was put in jeopardy.

A list of proposed budget cuts included taking Smith’s admin duties away and giving them to an already overworked assistant principal.

The uproar was deafening.

In a very short time, school district officials were hammered from all sides, with numerous AD’s, coaches, fans, parents, and athletes – former and current – speaking out on his behalf.

The proposed cut was removed long before the final budget was approved by school board members.

Without skipping a beat, Smith continued to merrily chug along, doing what he has always done for three decades plus — put his athletes, coaches, and students first.

The Wazzu super fan has never been about the glitz and glamour or tooting his own horn.

Few realize how much time and effort he has put in, or how complicated the AD job is, especially in the modern world where cell phones make sure you can always be reached.

Taking a real vacation, or simply spending time with wife Cherie, is hard, as everyone with a question — including yours truly — is always looking for his calm answer.

There’s a rumor he once sat on a tree stump during a hunting trip, watching elk wander by and stick their tongues out at him, while he talked everyone through a football-related meltdown back at home.

Which goes a long way to explaining why now is the time for Smith to step aside and let a new generation live and die by the email tsunami.

“I’ve got five grandchildren I need to see,” he said.

“I’ve been coaching or involved on a direct basis with sports for 30 years here in Coupeville, and before that in Sequim.

“I have truly enjoyed it, but I’ve got other things to do.

“Need to figure out what that it is,” he chuckled. “But it’s time.”