The return of the wolves

January 2, 2013

By Lillian O'Rorke

Eastlake graduates return to alma mater to coach

For many of the Wolves basketball coaches, Eastlake High School is more than just a place where they hold practice and give locker-room speeches. It’s where they took math exams, ate lunch with friends and where they once donned the maroon jersey and hit the hardwood.

“We’ve got a pretty good contingent of alumni coming back and being involved in our program and trying to make it better,” said Eastlake’s Athletic Director Pat Bangasser. “It’s nice when people want to come back and say ‘I had a great experience and I want to continue that experience and make it better.’ It says a lot about the coaches that coached them.”

The coaching roster this year is laden with alumni and as an ex-Eastlake basketball coach, he remembers them all.

“They all played with a lot of heart,” said Bangasser.

Heading up the boys team is Brian Dailey. The 2001 Eastlake graduate played point guard in high school and was a part of the two basketball teams that made it to the state tournament in 1999 and 2001. Dailey returned to the Eastlake gym in 2010 to coach a new pack of Wolves.

Dailey brought with him another 2001 alum to the coaching staff, Blake Hawksworth. The major league baseball relief pitcher has known Daily since the two first attended fifth grade together, and he now spends his off-season from the Los Angeles Dodgers with the Eastlake Wolves.

Also assisting the boys varsity team is Pat Leahy. Voted “Most Inspirational” his senior year, the alum was a two-year letterman who now spends his days teaching at Margaret Mead Elementary and his afternoons and evenings coaching at Eastlake.

“I definitely think there is something to be said about the fact that I wore the same jersey,” said Sara Goldie. The 1997 Eastlake grad heads the girls varsity basketball team. “We talk to the kids about how it’s a privilege to wear that name across your chest…we took a lot of pride in it; it drew me back.”

When she was a junior and senior on the varsity team, the Wolves finished fifth and eighth in state. After graduation Goldie didn’t stay away for long. While studying economics at the University of Washington, she braved the traffic daily to help out her alma mater. A few years later she returned again and served as an assistant coach for the varsity team for three seasons, including 2008-2009 when the Eastlake girls made their first appearance at state since Goldie went as a player. Then in 2010, she took over the program as head coach.

“It meant a lot to be on the court now as the leader when I used to be a player…there has just been so much time spent in that gym,” she said. “It’s where I belong as a coach.”

When Goldie was still an assistant coach, she worked with Alex Zennan, who started playing at Eastlake in 2004. During her senior year, the 2007 graduate co-captained her team and was named second team All-League KingCo 4A. After graduating from Willamette University last year, where she played collegiate ball, Zennan, too, made the journey back to Eastlake. She now serves as an assistant coach.

“Probably one of the coolest feelings I’ve had as a coach is having Alex come back as an assistant coach,” said Goldie. “You give so much to a program and a team when you coach; there are such huge emotional ties and relationships that are built… I can use examples of Alex and what we did with her. That is really where you build rapport with kids. We’ve got the luxury of being able to do that being alumni.”

Catch both the girls and boys teams and their coaches in action Jan. 4 when they face off against the Redmond Mustangs. The two schools have been friendly rivals, explained Bangasser, since a portion of the Redmond student population was split in 1993 and sent to newly formed Eastlake. The girls team plays first at 6 p.m. The boys tip off at 7:30 p.m.

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