Don Schumacher spoke at length Tuesday evening about some of the events that brought him back to earth during his 21-year tenure as Kamiakin basketball coach.
Like the time he broke up the other team’s huddle to congratulate the coach and players on a great game ... until he realized the score was tied and the game was headed to overtime.
Or the time he returned from coaching the Braves in the 1992 state championship game, which was televised all over the state, only to have one of his math students approach him: “Mr. Schumacher, where have you been the last couple of days?”
Or, as the father of three sons, having to spend the day with his three granddaughters and get a little taste of what his wife, Susie, had to endure raising four boys — he counts himself among the boys.
“There are certain ways God checks you,” Schumacher said.
But the former Kamiakin basketball coach and recently retired educator could not help but be sky high after having his family, friends and peers take part in his induction into the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“Kamiakin is a great place to coach and teach and administrate, and the Tri-Cities is just a great place,” Schumacher said, fondly recalling battles with Richland’s Phil Neil, Pasco’s Mike Guajardo, Kennewick’s Don Meneely and Southridge’s Reid Preppernau.
“We were butting heads the whole time. They are great people and great coaches.”
Schumacher, who was introduced by longtime KONA play-by-play announcer Frank Murray, was 322-178 (.644) in his years at Kamiakin and had 457 wins including stints in Alaska and Oregon. He guided Kamiakin to 10 state tournaments, including the runner-up finish in ’92, along the way coaching all three of his sons — Lane, Todd and Tony.
He stepped down 12 years ago to become athletic director, and the Braves’ sports programs have flourished across the board in the last decade, culminating in finishing first and second the last two years in the All-Sports Championship.
“It really takes a supportive team to have a good program, and you see that at Kamiakin,” Schumacher said. “There’s that old saying: ‘You got to get the right people on the bus.’ ”
One of those “right people,” he pointed out, has always been Susie, his wife of 45 years.
“She lived with four boys,” he said. “She did a great job.”
Schumacher was joined in his induction by longtime Mead assistant coach Pat Clark. The rest of this year’s Hall of Fame class will have a ceremony Thursday on the westside — Auburn’s Tim Cummings, Port Angeles’ Leroy Sinnes, Sehome assistant Monte Walton and Curtis assistant Mark Williams.
Also, Cliff Gillies was posthumously awarded the Ed Pepple Service Award. Gillies, a longtime principal on the westside, was the WIAA executive director from 1982-93. Ironically, his most notable accomplishment was expanding the big-school state tournaments to 16 teams.
They have receded back to eight teams the last two years.