District will induct four into Athletic Hall of Fame Feb. 1

For the Mirror

Federal Way Public Schools will celebrate the induction of its fifth Athletic Hall of Fame class during halftime of the Federal Way at Todd Beamer girls’ basketball game at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1. The 2013 class includes Gary Baker, Sam Beesley, Wil Derrick and Dave Hunter, four coaches who have left a lasting mark on the district’s middle and high school programs.

The Hall of Fame honors district employees who have made a significant impact on the district’s athletic programs.

Baker started teaching math and physical education at Sacajawea Junior High in 1971. For the next 27 years, he was a math teacher and administrator at Decatur High School, retiring in 2005. Baker coached 22 teams at Sacajawea, Lakota and Illahee middle schoools.

At Decatur, he coached football for three years and was head girls basketball coach for 20 years. Under Baker’s coaching, the Gators made six district tournaments and appeared at state twice. The 1999 squad placed fifth in the state — the highest ever at Decatur.

Beesley retired from teaching social studies in 2003, but is still coaching track at Federal Way High School. Beesley started his career in Eastern Washington before migrating to Thomas Jefferson as the head football and track coach in 1983.

Quickly successful, he was named Washington State Football Coach of the Year in 1985. Beesley finally gave up his whistle last year as Federal Way’s defensive coordinator where the Eagles compiled the best defensive record in history, allowing only 64 yards rushing per game. As head track coach, the Eagles have not lost a dual meet for five years and placed second at state last spring. He has been named SPSL Track Coach of the Year at TJ (1990) and Federal Way the last five years in a row.

Derrick is still educating and coaching after 52 years. He began at Union Gap in 1959 and started at Illahee in 1979. Today, he is a district administrator and assistant gymnastics coach at Lakota.

Derrick is the grandfather of Federal Way district gymnastics. His teams (Illahee, Totem and Lakota) won 13 district championships and developed a foundation of success for the high school squads. Through Derrick’s mentorship, many of his protégées are now coaching gymnastics in the district.

Hunter retired from teaching math at Thomas Jefferson in 2011, but is still the Raider golf coach. Prior to that, Hunter coached at Sacajawea until 1992. At Sacajawea, he coached just about everything. He was the leader of the great Sacajawea teams during 1970s and 80s and became TJ’s head basketball and golf coach in 1992.

As a rival coach stated, “Dave’s teams were always well prepared, disciplined and awfully hard to beat.”

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