Schools hire hoop, baseball coaches


Sports editor

Tacuma Williams knows about discipline and hard work.

The 29-year-old spent four years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1996 with a double degree in leadership psychology and systems engineering.

The Colorado native will be taking over the Thomas Jefferson High School boys basketball program next season. He has already got a running start on improving the Raiders from their sub-par season a year ago.

Williams, who was an assistant at Auburn High last season, is currently running open gyms at Jefferson, planning car washes and coaching the Raiders in a spring basketball league.

He succeeds Dave Reynolds, who resigned after five seasons as head coach at Jefferson. The Raiders finished 4-12 in the South Puget Sound League South Division this past season, 5-15 overall.

“He has gotten the kids excited,” Jefferson principal George Ilgenfritz said. “He has such a presence and is so groomed and polished. I liked everything I saw.”

Ilgenfritz was integral in bringing Williams to Jefferson.

Following the basketball season and Reynolds’ resignation, Ilgenfritz called Ryan Hanson, the coach at Auburn, and asked him who was out there, as far as basketball coaches go.

“I feel that you should go out and look for people and promote our program,” Ilgenfritz said.

Hanson suggested Williams for the job.

“He said the best guy you could ever hire was coach T,” Ilgenfritz said. “We just thought this guy is the right guy for the job.”

Ilgenfritz had a first-hand look at Williams last season. His son is a forward on the Auburn team.

“I just watched this guy coach and just loved how he interacted with kids,” he said.

Williams’ coaching career started as an assistant coach for three seasons while he was stationed in Texas. After moving to the Seattle area, he was hired as an assistant at Sumner in 2001-02 before taking the job at Auburn last year.

Williams, who works a graveyard shift for Weyerhaeuser in Olympia, played basketball for two years while at West Point, deciding not to play his junior and senior seasons to concentrate on school.

Decatur hires Murphy to take over baseball program

Decatur High School will be bringing back one of its own. Steve Murphy will be taking over the Gator baseball program next season, the school announced Wednesday.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to coach at the high school level,” Murphy said. “I love teaching the mental aspect of the game.”

Murphy brings an impressive baseball resume with him to his alma mater. After three straight state playoff appearances at Decatur from 1986-88, Murphy attended San Diego State University on a baseball scholarship. Following two seasons in California, Murphy transferred to the University of Washington.

“My true blood is as a Husky,” he said.

During his time with the Huskies, Murphy was named All-Pac 10 North Conference after his junior season and was named captain his senior year.

Murphy teaches at Kilo Junior High School and has coached the baseball team for the last seven seasons. During his tenure, his teams compiled a 42-28 record and won the district championship in 2001.

According to Gators athletic director Greg Flynn, Murphy will teach social studies at Decatur.

Murphy takes over for Jeff Housman. Housman resigned following the baseball season and will coach football at Todd Beamer High School next year.

“We always try to do things fundamentally correct,” Murphy said. “We are aggressive offensively, play sound defense and I like to think we are the smartest team on the field. We respect the game for what it is.”

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