They’re on opposite sides of the Valley, coaching different sports, but what father and son Paul and Brandon Savage share – besides a last name – is a passion for helping youth thrive.
Paul Savage started coaching the Mount Si High School girls tennis team six years ago, long after a successful amateur career at Federal Way High School and Western Washington University. He also became head coach of the boys program two years ago.
On the north end of the Valley, his son Brandon is a defensive line coach for the Cedarcrest High School football team and had been director of the Red Wolves junior football and cheer program. In the springtime, he also helps coach high school lacrosse.
Paul said he always had a passion for teaching and working with kids, something he said was spurred on by his own father.
“My dad was a big inspiration, always giving back to kids,” he said. “He taught bible study and was a baseball coach. There was always coaching in the family.”
His motivation to coach has only grown in recent years, he said. After witnessing the mental health impacts and isolation caused by COVID-19 pandemic, he wanted to help more kids build confidence and make good choices at “such a pivotal” time in their lives.
In just a short three-month tennis season, Paul said he sees many immediate impacts on his athletes.
“A freshman in just three months can go from this child that’s nervous and afraid to even try out to a completely different, confident kid,” he said.
Like his father, Brandon said getting to coach is an honor that he takes seriously. With the football season in the fall plus year-round training, there’s an opportunity to know his athletes more intimately, he said.
“I get a lot of empowerment seeing [my athletes] be the best version of themselves, especially in such a transformative period of their lives,” he said. “As a coach, you have a real opportunity to have an impact well beyond the sport.”
After playing football at Inglemoor High School and graduating from Gonzaga University, Brandon started his own coaching career with his son’s youth soccer team, when they were all “little munchkins running around” and “no strategy was involved.”
Over the years, he’s refined his skills and pulled double-duty, coaching both at the high school and youth level. He recently moved up to coaching the Cedarcrest High football team after his son, Jack, now 14, joined the team this year.
The rest of his family is also intertwined in Red Wolves football. His wife, Brooke, coaches their daughter, Aria, 11, on her Red Wolves cheer team and also works as a volunteer coordinator for the high school team.
His son, Jack, also recently started refereeing junior football games. While it’s not coaching, Brandon said it’s hard not to see the Savage family tradition being passed down.
“You could almost argue the [coaching] gene is present there as well,” he said.