Legendary coaches Sid Otton, Al Hairston, Don Freeman, and Cheryl (Byers) Schauble; pioneer Duke Washington and administrators Ron Jones and Dele Gunnerson will also be inducted.
Craig Smith, a breathing encyclopedia of sports knowledge, will be inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Hall of Fame. The former Seattle Times reporter produced the popular “Sideline Smitty” column about high-school sports where he’d provide trivia and answers to reader questions.
Smith retired in 2008, spending three decades covering everything from golf and hydroplanes to the Seahawks.
“As a sports writer, I have found prep sports to be fresher, more fun, often more interesting, and, in their own way, more important, than college or professional sports,” Smith wrote in his final column. “I remember what Washington State basketball coach Dick Bennett once said: ‘High-school coaches are most important because they can do the most good.’”
Three of those such coaches in Sid Otton (football), Al Hairston (basketball) and Don Freeman (baseball) are also part of the WIAA’s eight-member Class of 2017 Hall of Fame inductees.
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Otton retired last fall as the winningest football coach in Washington history. He coached at Colfax and Coupeville before spending 43 years at the helm of the Tumwater’s football program. Otton amassed a career record of 394-131, making 27 state playoff appearances and winning six state championships — five at Tumwater.
Hairston put together a career record of 389-132 and won five state titles while spending time at Garfield, Kent-Meridian and O’Dea. Meanwhile, Freeman won two baseball state championships while coaching at Prairie and Heritage. He was named Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1994 and was also named the United States Olympic Committee Coach of the Year in 2003.
Duke Washington will be honored posthumously with Cheryl (Byers) Schauble as athlete inductees. Washington was a pioneer as a black athlete in the state, the first to be named to the football All-State team when he played for Pasco in 1951. He went on to break barriers at Washington State University, inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2008.
Schauble was a five-time individual state champ for Pullman’s track and field team before going on to coach the Kamiakin girls track team. She led the Braves to six state titles.
Rounding out the list of inductees are Ron Jones in the fine arts category and Dele (pronounced as “deal”) Gunnerson as an administrator/contributor. Jones recently retired after leading the Port Angeles High School Orchestra since 1975. He was named the Washington Music Educator of the Year in 2002 and finished with nine top-three trophies while PAHS was one of nine international orchestras to be invited to the Midwest Clinic in 2002.
Gunnerson was the principal at Peninsula from 1974-92, coaching the football team from 1965-68. He later became a WIAA assistant executive director from 1997-2000 and still contributes to Washington high school athletics, now serving as a WIAA Eligibility Chair.
“These inductees are a great mix of individuals who have impacted the WIAA and high school athletics around the state in unique ways,” said WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese in a released statement. “The recognition is much deserved for each member of this class.”
The eight-member Hall of Fame class will be honored at an induction ceremony in the spring of 2018. Details will be posted on the WIAA website when they are finalized.