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Wally Loe: Mentor, Coach, Friend

Letter to the Editor

 


We held a memorial last week for my friend, Wally Loe. I would like to share a few thoughts about him. First, I would like the family to please accept my dear and sincere condolences. His legacy started a long time ago. He was our basketball coach at Coulee Dam High School.

In 1963, our first year of being a “Class A” school, we took our school to the state tournament in Tacoma. It was also the time our gymnasium turned north and south. All of our school and community remember the season, the players, and the circumstances leading up to the district tournament in Chelan. We finished third in league play, but were confident in our ability to go to state. We lost our first game and had to come through the “backdoor” by playing an extra game on Saturday. Omak, who was the league’s regular season champion, and odds-on favorite to go to Tacoma, lost, and we had to play them for the second berth to state. In that game, Omak took a huge lead and we trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter. With less than three minutes left in the game, we mounted a comeback that is still remembered by this author. We put on a full-court press and outscored our opponent the rest of the way and won the second berth to state! We had upset the league and became a “dark horse” at state. Although we didn’t win as many games as we wanted, going to that tournament was the highlight of my days in high school.

I recall this story because Wally Loe was our coach, and there was a lesson that he taught us that year: Never give up and always do your best! He was a mentor to me in the classroom, also. After high school we always remained good friends, but one thing was sure, respect was always there. I will always remember our high school years and the experience associated with the teachers, coaches and students. We held our 50th class reunion last year. We had always invited Wally and other teachers to our reunions. Last year he was there with us and now will remain in spirit.

Soy Redthunder

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