A beloved teacher and legendary baseball coach at Sehome High School has been selected for induction into the state high school hall of fame.
Gary Hatch, known as "Mr. Mariner," is one of six being admitted into the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association's Hall of Fame in 2018.
He will be honored for his role as a coach at a May 2 ceremony at the Renton Pavilion Events Center.
It's the latest accolade in a storied career that spanned 42 years as a teacher and coach at Sehome High School.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
Colin Cushman, athletic director for Sehome, nominated Hatch, who he called his mentor.
"Coach Hatch is the best of the best. He exemplifies everything you want in a coach," Cushman said. "He was well-deserving of this honor."
Hatch, who retired June 2015, left behind a formidable record as a coach at the school that was his alma mater.
The head baseball coach at Sehome for 35 years, he retired with a 532-274 record — among the best in the state — and three state championships in 1983, 2007 and 2008.
Under Hatch, the Mariners played in the championship game six times and advanced to state 18 times.
He also served as coach for USA Baseball’s U-16 teams in 2006 and 2007, and those teams won gold.
His honors include being inducted into the Washington State Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1993 and being selected Washington State Coach of the Year in 1998.
"Those are secondary to the relationships that he's built with the kids," Cushman said of Hatch's success.
Cushman added: "He cares deeply for the kids. He connects with them, sharing a common passion of baseball. He's also a phenomenal P.E. teacher. He models to the kids what it's like to be an upstanding citizen and man, both in the classroom and on the baseball field."
Hatch also served as head coach of the Bellingham Bells for three seasons, beginning in 2011.
In retirement, Hatch has continued to work as a baseball coach and instructor at Inside Pitch in Bellingham, "where he teaches countless numbers of kids to play baseball, builds their confidence and teaches them the value of good sportsmanship," stated a write-up on the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association website.
Hatch couldn't immediately be reached for comment.