SNOQUALMIE – A fixture in Mount Si girls athletics is moving on. Tina Washington, who has coached various teams in girls volleyball, basketball and softball for the past several years at Mount Si High School, has been named the new head girls basketball coach at Bellevue’s Eastside Catholic High School.
Eastside Catholic, which was a state runner-up in the 3A girls basketball tournament in 2002, has struggled since. The team has battled coaching turnover since the controversial departure of former coach Ray Willis following that season. Willis has since moved on to Metro rival Chief Sealth, and coached the Seahawks to the state title game last season.
Washington, who has coached the Wildcat junior varsity girls basketball team the last four years, is ready to come in and make a difference.
“I plan on starting from ground zero, working my way up, build some stability, some credibility and some reliability to the program. I think that’s something that the girls have been lacking the last couple of years,” Washington said, adding that the seniors there have had three coaches in four years.
In a news release, Eastside Catholic athletic director Bill Marsh praised Washington.
“Tina brings extremely positive energy and enthusiasm to the girls basketball program. We are very excited to have her here,” said Marsh.
One of the main elements behind the Willis controversy was the role parents may have played in that decision. Washington hopes to avoid similar trouble.
“You’ve got to be a good communicator. You’ve got to keep open lines between the kids, the parents and your staff,” said Washington.
To that end, she has scheduled a function later this month to allow all of the parents to meet her. She has already met the players and has apparently been well received.
It will be a tough rebuilding job. The Crusaders play in the Metro’s Mountain Division, with strong schools such as Bainbridge, Seattle Prep and Bishop Blanchet. The school also has to compete with the strength of Sealth and Rainier Beach in the Sound Division. Washington had a prediction, though.
“I think we’ll meet Mount Si at districts probably my third year there. If not next year, definitely my third year. We plan on meeting at districts, and we plan on going to state again,” Washington said.
Metro and Kingco 3A, Mount Si’s league, are both members of the Sea-King District. With only 450 students at the school, though, the road there may be much more difficult since the talent base is smaller than that of most schools. However, Washington is not worried.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said. “I like being the underdog.”
Eastside Catholic is not scheduled to play Mount Si this season. Washington will continue her employment on Mount Si’s staff as an instructional assistant for the remainder of this school year.