The veteran coach has won four state titles with the Eagles, and he has the talent to end his run with a fifth championship.
The only coach to lead the Issaquah High School girls soccer program to a state title plans to leave that position after the conclusion of the season.
Tom Bunnell, who guided the Eagles to four state championships, informed his team after Thursday’s 2-0 win over Skyline in a Kingco 4A regular-season finale that this — his 14th season — with the school would be his last as head coach. That ends his 20-year stint coaching the boys and girls soccer teams at Issaquah.
Under Bunnell, Issaquah won girls soccer state crowns in 2015 in Class 4A and 2004, 2006 and 2007 in Class 3A. The Eagles have made eight appearances in state-title matches and captured five KingCo crowns in Bunnell’s tenure, which began in 2004.
The coach, the longest-tenured KingCo 4A girls soccer coach along with Skyline’s Don Braman, would love nothing more than to go out on top and he just might have another championship-caliber team on his hands.
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“That would be wonderful (to win state) and we’ve got all the tools,” said Bunnell, who also coached the Issaquah boys soccer program from 1998 to 2003 and came back for one season in 2013. “We’re very good. Winning championships is an amazing thing at the high-school level, because it’s such a fun, passionate, family, community-type thing.”
Issaquah closed out a 15-1 regular season for first place in the Kingco 4A with the win over rival Skyline on Thursday. The Eagles, who have outscored opponents 73-4, will play for another Kingco title against Skyline on Thursday.
Bunnell owns a 215-38-16 record in 14 seasons leading the Eagles’ girls soccer teams. He has been coaching soccer for 34 years overall.
“It was just the right time,” he said. “You spend all that time with all those great kids, and it just comes down to time commitment and getting older. I don’t want to be the old guy bouncing around on the sidelines.
“You’ve got generation gaps. I have 15 seniors graduating this year that we’ve done something special with. You’re always looking for a clean break.”
Relating to kids hasn’t been a problem for Bunnell, but he did notice one thing as time moved on.
“Your jokes aren’t as funny anymore,” he said. “(Kids) don’t know things you are talking about when you’re trying to make (historical) references. And you just start feeling like you’re getting a little older.”
Bunnell, 52, will still remain heavily involved in girls and boys soccer, as both director of goalkeeping and college coordinator for Eastside FC Premier Soccer Club.
He will remain as a business and marketing teacher at Redmond High School and will be back for his third season an assistant boys soccer coach at Mercer Island High School in the spring.
“I won’t be taking another (head-coaching) job somewhere else,” Bunnell said. “I might help out somewhere.”
His daughter, Emily, is a redshirt junior at Western Washington University and Bunnell plans to see more of her games in the spring.
• Seattle Prep girls soccer coach Andy Hendricks won his 400th career game Friday night, beating Roosevelt 2-0 in the Metro League tournament semifinals. Seattle Prep will play Lakeside for the title on Thursday at the Southwest Athletic Complex at 7 p.m.