High School Soccer

‘He’s the heart and soul of a lot of our programs,’ but now he’s stepping away from coaching

Bellingham goalie Hannah Jacobus is hugged by head coach Mark Wright after Bellingham beat Squalicum 2-1 in a 2013 state semifinal. Wright announced that he is stepping down from coaching the Red Raider soccer and girls basketball programs. Jared Fields takes over the soccer team.
Bellingham goalie Hannah Jacobus is hugged by head coach Mark Wright after Bellingham beat Squalicum 2-1 in a 2013 state semifinal. Wright announced that he is stepping down from coaching the Red Raider soccer and girls basketball programs. Jared Fields takes over the soccer team. The Bellingham Herald file

Mark Wright, who has led the Bellingham High girls’ soccer program since 2000 and the girls basketball team the past two seasons and nine seasons overall, informed Red Raiders athletic director Chad Larson earlier this month that he was stepping away from both programs, Larson said.

“Mark will still be a teacher here,” said Larson, who added that Wright sent a heart-felt letter to the families of the teams he left explaining that he plans to spend more time with his own young children. “We’re fortunate to have him walking the halls. He’s the heart and soul of a lot of our programs – boys and girls. We greatly appreciate the energy and passion he brought to our sidelines.”

Wright, who also had tenures coaching the Bellingham boys basketball program (2007-11) and the Squalicum girls basketball program (2011-15), led the Red Raiders girls soccer team to the state playoffs five times during his tenure, including trips to the state championship game in 2002 and 2013. Last year the team went 10-10-1 and came within one win of qualifying for state again.

Fortunately, Bellingham had another talented soccer coach waiting in the wings, as Larson announced that Jared Fields will take over the program. Fields has been an assistant on staff for 17 years and served as the head coach for the Bellingham boys for four years, including during their state championship run in 2010.

“We got real lucky having someone like Jared already here,” Larson said. “He’s already doing a fantastic job.”

Larson said the girls basketball position has been posted, but it will likely be a few weeks until he dives into that search.

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