Class of 2009

Coaching Legends Among 2009 Hall of Fame Inductees

Five former Eastern Washington University student-athletes and the school's 1989 volleyball team comprised the ninth class of inductees into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame as they were honored in ceremonies that take place on Oct. 10, 2009, in Cheney, Wash.

The new inductees included a quartet of former Eastern student-athletes who went on to illustrious coaching careers -- Curt Byrnes, Ed Fisher, George Gablehouse and Tracy Walters. Combined, that foursome had already been inducted into seven halls of fame after winning numerous league, state and national championships as coaches.

The other individual inductee was national collegiate wrestling champion Mike Reed, who also won a State title at nearby West Valley High School in Spokane.

The 1989 volleyball team, led by previous individual inductees Pamela Parks (coach) and Juli Argotow (player), was inducted on the 20th anniversary of its 25-7 finish. The Eagles won Big Sky Conference (then Mountain West Conference) regular season and tournament titles, and made the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

In addition, the Hall of Fame Service and Contribution Award was presented to Jim Wasem Sr.

CURT BYRNES - Coach/Wrestling & Athlete/Football

Coached Eastern to the 1977 NAIA Wrestling championship to go along with a runner-up finish in 1976 when he was selected as NAIA National Coach of the Year. He also earned Inland Northwest Coach of the Year honors as selected by the Spokane Sportswriters and Broadcasters (SWABS) -- just one of four Eastern coaches to earn that honor since the award began in 1948. He was tournament director in 1977 when Eastern hosted the NAIA Championships and won it by scoring 90.75 points to edge runner-up Grand Valley with 89. Byrnes coached wrestlers Lanny Davidson and Mike Reed, who won five national titles between them and each were selected as the NAIA Tournament's outstanding wrestler (Davidson in 1975 and Reed in 1977). The 1977 Eastern wrestling team was inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. A 1965 graduate of Eastern, Byrnes played football for the Savages in 1963 and 1964. He was a first team All-Evergreen Conference linebacker in 1964. Prior to returning to Eastern to coach, Byrnes coached football and wrestling at Hoquiam and Quincy high schools, as well as Central Washington University. Byrnes left EWU in 1977 to become Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics for the Bellingham School District in Northwest Washington. He retired from the Bellingham School District in 1999, completing 31 years in education.  

Pictured at the 2007 Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony When the 1977 Team was Inducted (left to right): Manuel Brown, Mike Reed, Curt Byrnes, Lane Yonago.


ED FISHER - Athlete/Football-Track & Contributor

Fisher played football for Eastern from 1967-70, and then established a football powerhouse at South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard, Wash., in the 80's and 90's. A 1967 graduate of Shadle Park High School in Spokane, Fisher earned Little All-Northwest honors as a cornerback in 1969 and 1970, and both seasons was also honored on the All-Evergreen Conference and All-NAIA District 1 teams. He was an honorable mention All-District 1 selection as a sophomore and played as a freshman in 1967 when Eastern finished 11-1 and advanced to the championship game of the NAIA Playoffs. Also Eastern's punter, he still owns the school record with 78 punts in 1968, which at the time were also Evergreen Conference and NAIA records. His 219 career punts were a school record for nearly 30 years before it was broken in 1997. He also competed in track and field as a long/triple jumper at Eastern, and four times he advanced to the NAIA Championships -- outdoors in 1969 and 1970, and indoors in 1970 and 1971. His best finish was fifth outdoors in 1970 with a long jump effort of 24-3 3/4 after setting a school record earlier in the season of 24-5 1/2. That mark stood as a school record for nine years and currently ranks fourth in school history. He also had a career-best triple jump of 45-7 3/4. Hired as a high school head coach at the young age of 23, he spent 23 seasons at South Kitsap where he had a 197-48 record (.804 winning percentage) and ended his career with 17-straight playoff appearances. When he left South Kitsap, he ranked in the top 20 all-time in the State of Washington in wins, and his winning percentage was sixth among coaches with at least 150 victories. South Kitsap won the WIAA State AAA championship in 1994, and was runner-up in 1982 and 1984. In his last 15 seasons, the Wolves won 14 league titles. In his final season at the helm in 1996, South Kitsap was 12-0 before losing in the State AAA semifinals to Richland. He left South Kitsap and returned to Spokane as vice principal and activities coordinator at North Central High School, and later helped his son Adam coach at East Valley High School in Spokane. Fisher was inducted into the Washington State Football Coaches Association in 1996 and the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. In December 1999, the Seattle Times selected him as one of the top five coaches in this history of high school football in the state of Washington. Fisher was one of the 13 defensive backs on Eastern's "100 for 100" All-Time Football Team released in June 2008 by the EWU Athletic Department. The overall "100 for 100" squad consisted of 100 of the top players in school history to help commemorate the 100th year of football at Eastern. Players were honored on Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Day on Sept. 27, 2008, in conjunction with EWU's Big Sky Conference football game with Idaho State. Two of his players at South Kitsap -- Derek Strey and Kevin Peterson -- were also selected to that squad.


GEORGE GABLEHOUSE - Athlete/Basketball & Contributor

Gablehouse was a standout basketball player on Eastern teams that advanced to the NAIA Tournament in each of his first three seasons. Included was the 1945-46 team, which was inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. He earned first team All-Washington Intercollegiate Conference honors in both 1946 and 1947. In both seasons, inaugural Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee Irv Leifer was also a first team All-Winco selection. Gablehouse also received Eastern's prestigious Scarlet Arrow Award in 1947.  Formerly from Selah High School, he was student body president at Eastern and graduated cum laude in 1948.  He coached at Omak and Marysville high schools before embarking upon a more than 20-year career at Centralia Community College. From 1957-78 he served as athletic director there, as well as director of physical education and director of intramural sports.  As a basketball coach from 1957-74, Gablehouse had a record of 228-147 with three league/division titles. In more than 20 years as a baseball coach at Centralia, he had a 364-162 record and won the Washington Athletic Association of Community Colleges title in 1965 with a final record of 25-3. His many honors include his induction in 1990 into the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Hall of Fame. He was also previously selected to the NWAACC Roll of Honor. He is also a member of the Centralia CC Hall of Fame and had his No. 26 baseball jersey retired by CCC. Gablehouse now splits his time between his homes in Olympia, Wash., and Packwood, Wash. 


MIKE REED - Athlete/Wrestling

Reed was selected as the Outstanding Wrestler at the 1977 NAIA Championships as he helped lead Eastern to the team title in front of a home crowd at the EWU Special Events Pavilion. With a pin in the second period of his title match, Reed successfully defended his 158-pound title. The 1977 wrestling team was inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. He helped lead Eastern to a runner-up finish in 1976 when he won the individual award for most falls en route to his first individual title. His career as a wrestler started as a 78-pound high school freshman, but he finished as a state champion as a senior at West Valley High School in Spokane. He won the 1971 State AAA title at 129 pounds before graduating that spring from WV, and went on to compete two seasons at North Idaho College. During his sophomore season in college, he finished third in the 163-pound weight class as an American at-large participant at the Canadian National Championships in Vancouver, B.C. 


TRACY WALTERS - Athlete/Track & Contributor

After a running career at North Central High School in Spokane and Eastern Washington, Walters became a huge contributor to the distance running legacy of Spokane. A 1949 graduate of North Central, Walters finished fifth in the mile at the 1952 NAIA Championships and had a career best mile of 4:17. He graduated from Eastern in 1953 and was called by legendary Eastern coach Red Reese as "one of my best milers ever." Walters went on to coach at Rogers High School in Spokane in the 1960's, and his track teams had a 48-4 dual meet record in 10 years. Rogers won seven Spokane City League titles and a pair of cross country state championships, and in 1964 he was the Spokane Sportswriters and Broadcasters (SWABS) Coach of the Year. One of his athletes, Gerry Lindgren, set numerous national high school records and qualified for the 1964 U.S. Olympic Team as a high school senior. Walters left Rogers to coach San Jose State to third place in the 1966 NCAA cross country meet, but he returned to Spokane after just one year away. He twice served as a coach for U.S. national teams and helped train Don Kardong for the 1976 Olympics (he finished fourth). Kardong founded the Bloomsday road race in Spokane in 1977, and for more than 30 years Walters was the popular finish line voice of the race. In 1993, Walters was inducted into the Bloomsday Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame in 1987, and in 1995 was an inaugural inductee in the Washington Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Leta ('69 Eastern grad), were married on March 27, 1951, and lived in "Trailerville" during their time in Cheney attending Eastern. For 34 years they owned and operated the Walters Fruit Ranch in Green Bluff near Spokane, and from 1968-72 ran nearby Camp Reed for the YMCA of the Inland Northwest. They had four children, including son Kelly, who became head track and cross country coach at North Central and has since developed his own distance running legacy at the school. Tracy has served as an assistant coach for his son at North Central, helping the school win three recent State 3A track titles (boys in 2008 and 2009, girls in 2006) and three State 3A cross country championships (boys in 2006, 2007 and 2008).


1989 VOLLEYBALL - 25-7; Coach Pamela Parks

Eastern won the Big Sky Conference Tournament (then called the Mountain West Conference) to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Led by Juli Argotow and coached by Pamela Parks, Eastern had what was then a school-record 25 victories before losing to Hawaii in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Argotow was selected as the MVP of the Big Sky Conference and MVP of the Big Sky Tournament as the Eagles finished the season 25-7 overall and 14-2 in the conference. She also earned second team All-Northwest Region honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Argotow was also a Big Sky All-Academic selection as a senior at Eastern, and she set 14 school records with career totals of 1,011 kills (3.42 per game), 2,588 hitting attempts and 972 digs (3.28 per game). In the 1989 season alone, she set school records with 525 kills and 1,354 attempts. Besides Argotow, setter Suzanne Vick was also a first team All-Big Sky selection and Angela Rogers earned honorable mention. Vick set a school record with 1,367 assists, and Janie Hogan had a school-record 80 aces. Besides Argotow and Vick, Tina Kaay also earned league all-academic honors. In addition, Argotow finished as EWU's team MVP, with Rogers earning Most Improved honors and Shannon Horn being selected as Most Inspirational. Parks was the league's coach of the year and Northwest Region coach of the year as well. Argotow was selected to the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001 and Parks followed in 2007.
Pictured - Front
Row (left to right): Erica Ziemer, Juli Argotow, Kelli Tennent. Middle Row: Margret Holmer, Tina Kaay, Suzanne Vick, Janie Hogan, Angela Rogers, Heather Wilson. Back Row: Angela Grant, Sharon King, Shannon Horn, Susie Heggenes, Kathy Oliver, Sandy Andersen, Lori Foland. Not Pictured: Tami Mason.


Service & Contribution Award Recipient


JIM WASEM SR. - Coach/Baseball

Jim Wasem Sr. coached in more than 900 collegiate baseball games in a 23-year career as a head baseball coach at three different schools from 1968-90. He spent nine of those seasons (1982-90) at Eastern Washington University, which competed as a member of the Pacific 10 Conference Northern Division. He was 230-251-1 overall with a 78-135 league record.

Prior to that, he spent nine seasons at Northwest Missouri State (1973-81) where he had a collective 226-119 record in nine seasons for a .644 winning percentage. He won 61 percent of his games in five seasons (1968-72) at Monmouth in Illinois, finishing with a 64-41-1 overall record.

In 23 seasons at the helm of collegiate programs, Wasem coached in 933 games. He won 56 percent of those outings, with a 520-411-2 record.

At Eastern, Wasem's 1988 team finished up strong by winning four of six games in the Pac-10 Northern Division Tournament to finish second behind champion Washington State. His best season, percentage-wise, came in 1985 when the Eagles had a collective 42-24 record (.636).

Wasem came to the EWU campus in Cheney, Wash., after nine seasons at Northwest Missouri State where his record included four Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles at the NCAA Division II level. His players included Gary Gaetti, who would go on to a 20-year career in Major League Baseball.

Wasem's first collegiate head coaching position was at Monmouth College, where he won divisional titles in each of his five seasons at the school. He also coached basketball, compiling a 65-33 record. Prior to that, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach in baseball and basketball at Illinois State.

His resume also includes five years at high schools in Kinmundy and Roxana, Ill. Those teams won five baseball championships and two basketball titles. Wasem was also a successful American Legion baseball coach and a Central Illinois Collegiate Baseball League coach-business manager.

Wasem is a native of Vandalia, Ill., and was an honor student who earned four letters each in baseball, basketball and track at Vandalia and Patoka high schools. He was most valuable player three times each in baseball and basketball, and earned All-State honors in track.

Wasem won 11 college letters at Illinois Wesleyan, picking up four each in baseball and basketball. In baseball, he was a four-time All-College Conference of Illinois shortstop. He earned all-league honors three times in basketball and was a Sigma Chi All-American in both sports. He was the school's 1957 Athlete of the Year and Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year.

Wasem played professional baseball for three years in the Chicago White Sox organization at Holdredge (Nebraska State), Duluth (Northern) and Lincoln (Midwestern). He was the all-star shortstop in his first two seasons and he led the Nebraska State League with a .366 average in 1957 when he set a minor league record with 12-straight hits. He began coaching in the off-season.

Wasem earned his master's degree from Illinois State in 1963 and a doctorate in education at the same institution in 1981. He has written almost two dozen articles for professional baseball journals and is the author of two books: "Heads-Up Baseball" and "Winning Basketball With Multiple Offenses." He has been honored by three Halls of Fame (Illinois Wesleyan University, Clarinda A's and Northwest Missouri State University), with his 1975 baseball team inducted into the NMSU Hall of Fame in 1996. He was also recognized as a collegiate physical education teacher of the year in the state of Washington.

Wasem and his wife of more than 50 years, Jean, have two grown children and four grandchildren. Their son, Jim Jr., played minor league baseball after starring as EWU's shortstop from 1983-84. Jim Jr., was also an assistant coach for his father, and has gone on to a successful teaching and coaching career at Rogers High School in Spokane, Wash., where he coached Jim Wasem III.


More on Jim Wasem Jr. . . .

-- Played as a shortstop for his father, Jim Wasem Sr., at Eastern in the 1983 and 1984 seasons after transferring from Northwest Missouri State.

-- He hit .279 at Eastern with two home runs, 27 stolen bases, 29 RBI and 43 runs scored in 52 games as a senior in 1984. In 42 games as a junior, he hit .333 with a home run, nine stolen bases, 26 RBI and 21 runs scored. Eastern was 30-23 overall and 11-10 in the Pacific 10 Conference Northern Division in 1984, and 25-17 the year before with an 11-13 Pac 10 record.

-- As a senior in 1984, he was selected to the All-Pac 10 Northern Division team, becoming the first and only Eastern player to earn first team accolades.

-- Of the 90 hits he had in his career, 26 were doubles as he set the school record for both career doubles and doubles in a single season (16 in 1984). His 27 stolen bases (in 31 total attempts) as a senior was also a school record. At one point in his senior season, he went 22 games without an error (97 total chances).

-- In summer 1983, he earned All-America honors at the National Baseball Congress (NBC) Tournament in Wichita, Kan., while playing shortstop for the Clarinda A's in Iowa. He led the team to a fifth-place finish and 42-20 record on the season. He hit .381 in the series and drove in seven runs with four doubles and four singles. He had a .912 fielding percentage in the tournament and finished the season with 73 RBI.

-- He was drafted in the 25th round (627th selection overall) by the San Francisco Giants in the 1984 Major League Baseball draft. He played five seasons of minor league baseball as an infielder, including the last three for the San Diego Padres. He reached the AA level with the Wichita Pilots, and also played for the Everett Giants, Clinton Giants, Fresno Giants Charleston Rainbows, and the Reno Padres. He hit .257 in 1,634 career at bats with 420 hits, 55 doubles, four home runs, 146 RBI, 307 runs scored and 84 stolen bases.

-- He went on to play professionally in Europe for the Netherlands Neptunus, helping them win the Confederation of European Baseball Cup Winners championship in 1990 and the Holland Series title in 1991.

-- He has since gone on to a highly-successful coaching career at Rogers High School in Spokane. His son, Jim Wasem III, played for him there (senior in the 2009-10 school year).


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