Bellingham Athletic Director Chad Larsen and new girls' basketball coach Ed Wissing have a message they want to extend to younger area players they hope holds true.
"We want someone to build our program," Larsen explained in a phone interview. "We want kids in elementary schools to know who that coach is going to be when they come to games and to be excited to be a Red Raider."
Wissing will be Bellingham's third girls' basketball coach in as many years when the Red Raiders take the court this winter, but the new coach has vast experience, strong communication skills and all the skill set one can ask for, Larsen said, and Wissing is thrilled to bring stability to the program.
"I'm very excited to be coaching in a place where I'm also teaching," said Wissing, who works both at Sehome and Bellingham high schools, in a phone interview, "and I have big plans. I have been around this program, so I'm eager to get going."
Larsen announced Wissing's hiring Tuesday, June 4. He is taking over for new Bellingham boys' basketball coach Brad McKay. Randy Kaui coached the Red Raiders girls' team previous to McKay's one season.
Wissing's coaching stops haven't displayed a stable pattern, but it hasn't been by his choosing. He's fallen victim to Bellingham School District budget cuts, coaching two years at Sehome (2006-2008), then leaving to coach two years at Shorecrest (2008-2010) before returning to coach one year at Squalicum (2010-11). Wissing served as Sehome's JV coach last season.
He's hoping and planning his third stop at the only Bellingham high school he hasn't coached at will be his last.
"This community I absolutely love, and I've been trying to find that forever job, so I can put down my roots and settle in," Wissing said. "I know this is a place I can be around for a long time, and I feel like I can build something with the program. One of the hallmarks of a successful program is the kids who come out as freshmen and still come out and play as seniors. We want to make it an enjoyable and competitive experience. That is my dream."
Wissing is taking over a program McKay led to an 11-12 record while qualifying for the Class 2A Northwest District Tournament. The Red Raiders lost key front-court player Olivia Halverson to graduation but return a number of talented guards such as Alyssa Porter and Ashley Spink. Joelle Zamora also provided key minutes and is slated to return for her junior year.
As far as expected style of play, Wissing prefers an up-tempo feel, though the way the Red Raiders play is largely dependent on their personnel, he said.
"The administration and players and everybody has invited me in and has been very welcoming and supportive since I've been here," Wissing said.
He also wanted to thank Sehome's basketball staff, as well as the players, for letting him work with the team last year.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.