The seven-foot Coker, a 1990 graduate of Olympic High School, played for Boise State where he averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds during his four-year career while helping the Broncos to two Big Sky titles and two NIT tournaments. A broken foot late in his senior season kept him from being drafted, but he signed with the Phoenix Suns as a free agent. Coker lasted a year, then moved to Croatia to play in the top basketball division there for a year and led the division in scoring. He played in Spain’s first division the following year, then moved back to the States and signed with a variety of teams such as the Washington Wizards, the Golden State Warriors and the Quad City Thunder of the CBA before a hole in his heart and colon cancer eventually ended his playing career.
Sears first came to Bremerton in 1957 on U.S. Navy shore duty and bowled at Bay Bowl and PSNS Lanes. When he returned to Bremerton in 1970 it was to retire where he and Delores had their two children, Lori and Ron, and where he retired as a Master Chief in 1972. He succeeded Morrie Dawkins as the Kitsap County representative on the Washington State Bowling Assn. board in 1994 and held that position until the State Men and Women merged. In 1996 he was elected state president. With that came life membership in the ABC-USBC. He was inducted into the Kitsap County Bowling Assn. Hall of Fame in 1991. He competed in 20 consecutive ABC-USBC national tournaments, posting a composite average of 175. A native of Long Beach, Calif., his high numbers, all posted since retirement, have been a 792 series, 279 and 278 (11-in-a-row ABC awards) games and several high average and league championship awards.
Ryan has long been associated with distance running in Kitsap County and beyond. People who may have never known him have seen him running the roads and paths of the Kitsap Peninsula. Born to Norwegian immigrants in Evanston, Ill., he began running at age 11. In 1945 the family moved to Bremerton and he ran track for Ken Wills at the high school. He lettered four years in track and cross country at the University of Washington, working weekends in his father’s gas station. He and Ann married in 1954 and they were off to Arizona and flight training. Field was assigned to the German Air Force. He nervously flew the first German DC-7 into Britain, certainly not yet over the WW 2 sufferings inflicted by the Luftwaffe bombers. More UW studies led him to teaching math at South Kitsap in 1958, but he quickly moved to West High where he taught math and coached cross country and track, JV basketball and boys gymnastics. Field was a trailblazer for long distance running in this area and a founder of the Kitsap Track Club. He also competed with the Oregon Road Runners and the Snohomish Track Club. He was always an encourager, organizer and participant of running events. After completing an MBA from Pacific Lutheran in 1970 he became Director of Finance and Operations for the Bremerton School District. As a masters runner, he competed in seven world meets, including the Commonwealth Games marathon in Seattle and he ran the original Greek marathon course. Field was 70 when health issues cut short his competitive running.
Smith was a member of the first varsity wrestling team at Central Kitsap High School in 1967, started the program Fairview Junior High and was founder of the program at Olympic High, where his 24-year record was 263-101. His Trojans won 11 league titles. At least 90 of his wrestlers qualified for state tournaments, 36 placed, six won state titles, four became academic state champions, and nine achieved college all-American. Fourteen of his former wrestlers have become wrestling coaches. Smith also co-founded the Chief Kitsap and Noble Firs youth wrestling programs and the Kitsap Ironman Freestyle Wrestling Club. He has served as vice-president of the Washington State Wrestling Coaches Assn. He received the WSWCA Lifetime Achievement award, was inducted into the WSWCA Hall of Fame (2009), and in 1993 was both the WSWCA Class 3A and the Kitsap Sun coach of the year. Born in Hillsboro, Ore., he retired from teaching and coaching in 2004.
Regarded as one of the best athletes to come out of North Kitsap High School, Dunn was a three sport standout in football, basketball and baseball, appearing in state all-star games for football and basketball. He was best known for his play at wide receiver and tight end. Dunn moved on to play for the University of Idaho and was a three-time All-American and set numerous receiving records as he helped the Vandals to three Big Sky titles, which put him in the school’s Hall of Fame. At the time he graduated, his then Division I-AA career totals in receptions and receiving yards were second only to NFL legend Jerry Rice. He played for the BC Lions and Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL and the then Houston Oilers of the NFL before he returned to Idaho to start his coaching career. That has led to numerous stops at various colleges and universities along with time spent in the NFL coaching for the Seattle Seahawks.
Led by Dick Thompson, the Diamond Dusters made their name known in the early 90s. The 1992 team took fifth at the American Softball Association national tournament that year – at the time, the highest finish for a girls’ fastpitch team from Washington state. It got them an invite to the prestegious Colorado Fireworks showcase, where they placed fifth and won the sportsmanship trophy. The 1993 team won a regional championship and took ninth at nationals. The Dusters were 109-21 over those two seasons. Thompson went on to lead Central Kitsap to a state fastpitch title. Fifteen players from those teams went on to play college softball, with eight of them going Division I.
Garner was one of the most accomplished fastpitch players to come out of the area. As a sophomore at CK High she pitched 144 innings, struck out 161 batters, and hit .322. Her junior and senior years she won 33 games and batted .483. All three years the Cougars went to state, finishing fourth in 1998. By then she had signed a letter of intent to play at Tennessee-Chattanooga (UTC). Tara held CK records for doubles, triples and home runs and led the team in pitching, and for 2 years had been voted All-State All-American by Women’s Fastpitch World magazine. Her summer teams were age-group runner-up once and state champions twice. She had participated in eight consecutive ASA national tournaments. She started at UTC at third base where she was voted most inspirational. Garner was an honor (3.25) graduate.
The 1987 and 1988 Bainbridge girls’ basketball teams won back-to-back 2A state titles, the first time that had been done in school history. Led by Kitsap Hall of Famers Leigh Ann Charlston, Christina Marshall (the 1987 state tournament MVP) and Vanessa Jones (the 1988 tournament MVP) the Spartans were dominant, defeating Sehome of Bellingham in 1987 and defeating top-ranked Rainier Beach in 1988.
As a senior at East High, Gibler helped kick-start a legendary three-year romp. The Knights entered the playoffs 13-7, but rolled all the way to the Class 2A state title game where they were stopped by Ellensburg 67-59. Gibler was an all-tournament selection. The next two years would be coach Les Eathorne’s famous (51-2) two-year title run. Gibler played two years at Grays Harbor Junior College before joining coach Don Zech’s powerhouse at University of Puget Sound. At UPS he joined state tournament MVPs Rick Walker and Tim Evans of Blaine, and 7-footer Curt Peterson on the team Zech coached to the 1976 NCAA Division-II National championship. Gibler, a skilled shot-blocker and rebounder, was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers in the eighth round. He didn’t make the team and wound up playing in Geelong, Australia, until he hurt his back. Gibler’s son, Coby, went on to play for the Bainbridge Island Little League team that made the 2001 Little League World Series and the Bainbridge boys’ basketball team that made it to the 3A state final in 2007.
Since 1963 Al has coached high school, college and professional teams in Germany and the states of California, Ohio, South Dakota and Washington. A highlight was his three years as assistant to Howard Thoemke, including Olympic High’s 1982-83 state championship season. He later was the Oly boys’ head coach for 10 seasons and the Olympic girls coach for two. After assisting Rick Walker for four years at King’s West (now Crosspoint), he took a break and assisted Lynn Dunn with the Seattle Storm and Mike Frink with the Cincinnati Stuff. Always willing to fill a need, he coached the Olympic College men one year and was the North Kitsap athletic director two years. He was an assistant to the German Junior National team for six of his eight years in Germany. He also was the head coach at Webster (South Dakota) High School before becoming Thoemke’s assistant.