The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports editor 

Goldendale hoops coach Ted Wilkins steps down after nearly 30 years

 

December 6, 2017

John Longfellow

Ted Wilkins instructs a group of players after a time out during one of his many years of leading the Goldendale boys junior varsity squad.

There was something a little different about the Goldendale boys basketball team when it took the court against the Mabton Vikings on Saturday in Goldendale.

For as long as anyone can remember, years before anyone on the current Timberwolves hoops team was born, one man has paced the sidelines inside the Goldendale High School gym during the winter months. However, this will be the first time in over 25 years that Ted Wilkins won't be coaching any of the Goldendale boys basketball teams.

Earlier this year, Wilkins decided to hang up the clipboard and whistle, and won't be lacing up his purple and white British Knights for basketball practices anymore.

"That first game is going to be different," Wilkins said last week. "The first week of practice was different."

Every hoops season for the past 29 years, Wilkins has been coaching one way or another for the Timberwolves. But on Saturday during Goldendale's opening game against the Vikings, Wilkins wasn't dressed sharply in a tie and sitting at the front of the Goldendale bench, he was a spectator for the first time in almost three decades.

"The first game I'm not going to be there on the bench and it's going to be different," Wilkins said. "I'm sure I'll have some good feelings and I'll have some bad feelings."

Wilkins and a packed Goldendale Gym watched the Timberwolves crush the Vikings. It was the first Goldendale home basketball game in more than 250 contests in which Wilkins wasn't on the coaching staff.

A four sport athlete in high school (baseball, basketball, football, and track and field) Wilkins was coached in multiple sports by legendary Goldendale coach Herb Callan. He remembers running the hurdles and some longer relays, and was a four-year letterman in baseball, where the Timberwolves just couldn't get over the hump to reach state, finishing third place in the league a few years.

His first coaching job actually came in the early 80s when then Goldendale head coach Ron Rowe asked Wilkins to coach the middle school boys hoops team. He coached the eighth graders for two years before returning to Central and earning his degree.

Upon returning to Goldendale, he started out as the junior varsity coach during the 1988-89 season, a few years after he graduated from Central Washington University with a chemistry major and math minor. That was the year Dick Patzer replaced Ron Rowe as the Goldendale boys head coach.

A few years after he started coaching, Wilkins started teaching at the high school in 1990, teaching math and chemistry up until retiring in 2015.

Wilkins was the calm head on the Timberwolves bench throughout the Mike Carlquist era, which included five trips to state (1996, 97, 2000, 01, and 03) and seven total wins and three placings at state during that time.

"Going to state was always fun because you knew you were one of the top 16 teams in the state at your level," Wilkins said.

Wilkins remembers leading the 1995-96 junior varsity team, a team that included Ryan Berry, Robby Hassing, and Gabe Wilson among others, to a 19-1 record, only to see that group move up to varsity the next year and compete against the best of the best at state.

"And then to watch them go to state the next year, that made me feel like I could do this job, I can coach a varsity team," Wilkins said.

Jaryd Cline

Former Goldendale head coach Ted Wilkins talks over the game with Conner Doubravsky during a game last season.

Wilkins was with the team for handfuls of district tournament appearances, and was on the sidelines when the 2010-11 Timberwolves lost 58-52 to Cashmere in regionals.

After Lance Den Boer spent two years coaching the boys varsity, Wilkins was named the varsity head coach for the 2014-15 season and led the Wolves for three years before it was time to step away.

He was around long enough to see six different principals at GHS and four different head varsity boys coaches. But there was one thing you always could count on every year from late December to March, Wilkins in the gym screaming BACK-BOARD, trying to hammer home the importance of using the glass on shots underneath the basket.

 

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