It certainly didn’t take long for Sehome athletic director Colin Cushman to find what he wanted.
Just two weeks after AJ Labree resigned as the Sehome boys’ basketball coach, Cushman told The Bellingham Herald over the phone on Monday, July 20, that Steve Call will be the next coach of the Mariners.
“It’s very helpful (we found a coach so quickly),” Cushman said. “We’re extremely lucky. It’s typically not this easy to find a quality candidate. ... If you wait too long, everyone gets a little uneasy and it can make for a difficult transition.”
Call boasts a resume that includes stints at Juanita, Shoreline Christian and most recently, Edmonds-Woodway, where he led the Warriors to a 45-28 record over his three years with the school.
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“He has a great track record and a lot of experience as head coach with different kinds of programs. That’s something that drew my attention to him immediately,” Cushman said. “He’s got a unique background that’s not typical for what we have as high school coaches.”
Call resigned from his post at Edmonds-Woodway in the spring of 2014 and took a year off from coaching last season to “re-energize and get the batteries charged,” Call said in a phone interview.
When the Sehome job opened, it was a perfect fit for Call, whose daughter goes to Western Washington University. Aside from the proximity to his family, the tradition of Sehome was a big draw.
“I was attracted to the competitive atmosphere it’s been in. I love that league (the Northwest Conference),” Call said. “Edmonds-Woodway played Sehome in the Lynden Christian tournament a few years back and I remember noticing the community and parental support Sehome had. ... It’s a real privilege.”
Outside of coaching, Call teaches at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and works part-time with his own psychology practice, which works with adolescents and families. The integration of his teaching, and psychology practice into coaching is what Call enjoys about leading a basketball team.
“I love to teach and what I love about basketball is there is still a teaching element to it,” Call said. “A significant part of basketball is mental.”
Call hopes to keep the success of Sehome basketball alive, despite the Mariners losing nine seniors from last season’s squad that placed fourth in the Class 2A State Tournament.
With talented players such as Leighton Kingma, Logan Deboo and Marcus Montag returning, though, there’s a strong belief Sehome can stay competitive, said Call, who labeled his brand of basketball as having teams that “always compete.”
“I think one of the things I bring is our teams play with a real high level of intensity. We take care of the basketball traditionally and are very defensively-oriented,” Call said. “We play with a disruptive style of defense at times, but if someone walked in the gym and watched us play they would say our teams always compete. We’re relentless in the way we compete ... and we try to outwork the other team.”