Coaches of yesteryear | Tom Camfield

Tom Camfield
Posted 3/24/21

IT’S NEVER BEEN THE SAME WITHOUT THEM, the Golden Era from about 1960 through the early 1980s. (For identification of above, see following.)

Other than our country correspondents, …

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Coaches of yesteryear | Tom Camfield


IT’S NEVER BEEN THE SAME WITHOUT THEM, the Golden Era from about 1960 through the early 1980s. (For identification of above, see following.)

Other than our country correspondents, publisher Dick McCurdy and I were the extent of this paper’s news (and ads and photo) department when I left to spend several years as editor-publisher and part owner of a newspaper in northern California — from early 1958 through most of 1960. Things were way simpler then. I had been spending press day (then Wednesday) mostly on the production side. Dick’s sports coverage (he himself a former “Redskin”) was basically the local high school’s football and basketball teams, with photos by Redding’s Studio.

Having disposed of a wartime Army hitch and finished school at UC Berkeley during my third non-Leader stint, I returned as publisher in September of 1960 — for a number of years as the McCurdys made their home on Mallorca. All that is recalled here is from memory going back some 66 years when all sports still were coached by Bruce Blevins, assisted by Kirby Sooy.

Serving as my assistant until McCurdy was back in harness was the late Jerry (“Peter” after he returned to the community in later years) Simpson, young arts patron and activist.

Coaches pictured above are (top from left) Doug Rickerson, football; Ralph Bohannon, basketball; Jim Kerns, boys’ basketball tennis, golf; Jim Parker, football; (second row) Chuck McClurken girls’ basketball, boys’ baseball; Don Rosbach, football line coach; Ken Brink, track and field, cross country. Kerns and Brink are still with us and active in the community.

Highlighting PTHS football a bit less than 60 years ago was “Mr. Harvey” as the Port Angeles Evening News called Redskin fullback and defensive linebacker Phil Harvey. P.T. played the Roughriders twice that year, winning handily both times in the home-and-home series.

Even some of these sports of my own Leader hey-day (I left in mid-December 1988 as the bloom already was fading from the rose) did not make their appearance until my later years, and I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of volleyball coach Jean Purdy. Girls’ softball, wrestling, volleyball, golf all made their appearance during my later years. There remained insufficient personnel to give even closeup attention to these sports at PTHS, let alone high school coverage at Chimacum and Quilcene.

Details of the departure of some coaches purposely are not dealt with here. One succumbed to simple over-parenting despite an outstanding record. One of my books later was limited to 11 copies in 2015, largely because of this nature of its content. Some day, perhaps . . .

As I recall mainly, coach Parker’s Redskins (now “Redhawks”) went two seasons with a single loss around the early 1970s, including one of only two unbeaten football sessions in school history. Despite such sports legends as Blevins, the late Parker (a 1948 Chimacum High grad) still ranks as the winningest coach in PTHS football history. A late-game broken-field kick return beat the Redskins at Sequim in the single loss of the two seasons.

The other unbeaten record by Townsend was 1951 under Blevins — when I was with the Army during the Korean war.

Brink had some great meets in both boys’ and girls’ track and field — notably with the girls’ trio of Sarah Level, Kim Seelye and Irene Griffith. But his state championship was with a cross-country team.

It was 1961 under Rickerson that was one of Townsend’s greatest football years. North Kitsap won the season’s opener 7-6 — with a breakaway run down the right sideline. P.T. then went on to decisively clean up the other Kitsaps, Port Angeles, etc. — and dominate the post-season All-Olympic League selections.

It was 40 or 50 years or so missing from the scene that girls’ basketball returned to the scene around 1977 under coach McClurken. I believe he went winless the first season and won maybe one or two the next time around — but it wasn’t long before he put together a team headed by Kristelle Arthur that won the Class A state championship. It was PTHS’s first state championship in any major sport.

Kerns’ teams were no strangers to the boys’ state basketball tournaments — a lot of good years, but he never had a Tom Delaney. I could recall a couple of these seasons if I had papers from the old days at hand.

Sorry; once again we’re about out of available space . . . and I’ve undoubtedly made mistakes or omissions. Please make additions or additions via “comments.” I’ve saved precious little during my 92 years in Port Townsend and my memory has its limits.