Sports

Mentink is a man of many titles, including Beamer coach

I don’t know if you would call Jarrett Mentink a Renaissance man — mainly because I really don’t know what exactly a Renaissance man is.

So let’s just call Mentink a man of many talents.

The new head coach of the Todd Beamer High School boy’s basketball team authors childrens books, has a PhD from Washington State University in higher education, has worked as a college professor at Seattle Pacific University and is married to one of the most recognizable faces in Seattle sports broadcasting.

“He is quite an interesting person,” said Beamer athletic director Jerry Peterson in a classic understatement.

The 1987 graduate of Decatur is obviously not your typical “basketball is life, the rest is just details” high school coach.

“It was just a great opportunity (at Beamer) to start a new program,” Mentink said. “And now there is a lot of responsibility to do it the right way.”

Using Mentink’s other life experiences, doing it the right way shouldn’t be a problem at Todd Beamer.

He has been a success at pretty much everything he has touched.

Mentink’s venture into the children book authoring business actually started inside a small apartment in Pullman, where he was taking graduate classes.

“I was kind of putting off writing my dissertation,” he said. “So I started writing some poetry.”

The poetry took a little turn after Mentink discovered a band of alley cats outside the apartment one night.

“I wrote a little story about them and one thing led to another and I self-published a book and people liked it, I guess,” Mentink said. “It is a longer story than that, but it would take a few pots of coffee to tell.”

The little story, which he titled “Alley the Cat,” chronicles Miss Alley rescuing Wheels the Rat.

“Miss Alley saved Wheels so that he could run free, she had taken a stand for all creatures to see. Miss Alley had shown them, in spite of the rule, a strange looking creature can even be cool.”

“Alley the Cat,” eventually developed into a business. Kids In The Clouds recently opened its doors and has been an instant success. Since starting the publishing company, Mentink has signed contracts with Horizon and Alaska Airlines to put childrens reading material onto their planes. Mentink’s books can currently be found on Horizon flights and will be available on Alaska later this month.

“There is just not a lot of things for kids to read when they are flying,” said Mentink, who will be doing a reading of some of his material at Seattle’s Museum of Flight next Saturday.

“It’s kind of fun.”

Even with his burgeoning career as an author and as a longtime basketball coach, the Mentink name became even more famous in August. That is when Mentink married Angie Arlati of Fox Sports Northwest fame and she suddenly appeared on the Northwest Sports Report as Angie Mentink.

“She’s great,” he said.

The two met at a celebrity golf tournament while he was coaching at Seattle Pacific. Mentink’s boss at the time, head coach Jeff Hironaka, was the one that actually got her phone number.

“I guess I owe coach Hiro pretty big,” he said. “But I still waited a week to call her.”

But Mentink’s love of writing and “famous” wife have grown to co-exist with his first love — coaching basketball.

Following his graduation from the University of Washington with an undergraduate degree, Mentink assisted Ed Boyce at Decatur from 1991 to ‘94. He then moved on to Tacoma Community College, where he stayed for two seasons before taking an assistant position at Seattle Pacific University from 1995-97. Following his time at Wazzu, Mentink returned to SPU as an assistant physical education professor and coach in 2002. He took last year off from basketball to concentrate on his getting Kids in the Clouds business up and running.

But the basketball itch returned.

“To be honest with you, I was looking at the college level,” Mentink said. “But this job just sparked my interest. I knew Jerry (Peterson) was a good person. He had the misfortune of coaching my two brothers in junior high baseball and came through it okay.

“I just had to talk my wife into it.”

Remember, Mentink is a man of many talents.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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