Veteran softball coaches change schools
Veteran Wesco softball coaches Mike Moran and Kyle Peacocke have taken over new programs. Moran moved from Jackson to Marysville Getchell, and Peacocke moved from Everett to Jackson.
Michael O'Leary/The Herald
Marysville Getchell softball coach Mike Moran, who spent 10 years at Jackson, pitches during batting practice at a Chargers' workout last week.
Michael O'Leary/The Herald
Former Jackson coach Mike Moran takes over a brand new program at Marysville Getchell.
Michael O'Leary/The Herald
Marysville Getchell softball coach Mike Moran looks on during a practice last week.
He also likes working closer to home.
Moran, who set off a softball coaching carousel this offseason, left a very successful Jackson program to become the first coach in Marysville Getchell's history. And the first-year coach is excited to get things going up on Getchell hill.
"It's kind of a thrill," Moran said. "... It's kind of exciting to be able to keep the record books from Day One."
The coach at Jackson for the last 10 years, Moran took the job at Getchell for a couple reasons. He liked the idea of starting a new program, and working at a school that was about five minutes from his home. Moran emphasizes that there was nothing wrong at Jackson, and this was mostly a move of convenience.
"'Convenience' is more of the word just because of the commute," Moran said. "And there was a lot of intrigue in starting a brand new program. I mean, brand new. We've started putting together a budget and an equipment list and everything else. That's been a lot of fun.
"And it's a lot easier when I'm five minutes from the school than 50."
It still wasn't an easy decision for Moran to leave Jackson. The Timberwolves have won eight straight Wesco South titles, and Moran even coached at Heatherwood Middle School, where he could meet future Timberwolves. By the time many players in Mill Creek graduated, they had been coached by Moran for upwards of six years.
"At Jackson I knew everybody coming in by name, the very first day," Moran said. "So we could eliminate some of the feeling out process."
Now, Moran is adjusting to a new school with a very new system.
Marysville Getchell employs small-learning communities, meaning the high school is essentially made up of four smaller high schools. A Getchell student in one community -- such as the International School of Communications -- might never meet a student if he or she is in another community, like the Bio-Med Academy.
"We've got four schools on one campus," Moran said. "(Students) might be standing in the same line at Safeway and not know one another."
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The newness extends to the softball field. Some of the players may have never laid eyes on other players -- who might soon be their new teammates -- before. And they definitely haven't met Moran, a worker in the maintenance department for the Everett School District.
However, Moran is embracing the change. Like he did at Jackson, Moran has some goals for his team. He wants his players to constantly improve, understand what it takes to play softball at the varsity level and work their way up in the program.
"As far as team goals, our girls will decide that," Moran said. "They're a new team. They'll get to figure that out. I'm kind of along for the ride."
Moran admits it was hard to leave Jackson, and the friends he made there. He said he wasn't actively looking to leave the school, but the right opportunity came along and Moran jumped at it.
"Change is sometimes difficult," Moran said. "It was tough. It was just a move ... .I don't even know if I could call it time for a change. It just worked out."
The thing Moran will miss the most at Jackson, is also what he is looking forward to the most at his new job.
"I was fortunate enough to build some good relationships with those kids and I'll miss that a lot," Moran said. "But it's not like I won't be able to do that with the kids at Getchell."
When practices started on Feb. 27 Moran said there were 30 students at the first tryout. About three of those had played at least junior varsity softball. Many others had played on recreational teams.
Even though they lack experience, Moran promises that Getchell will not just roll over against some fierce competition.
"We are not without some athletes," he said. "We are not without 30 kids that won't give it everything they've got. ... I think it's gonna be exciting. It's gonna be fun. I'm just really, really excited to see these kids take the field."
In a lucky break for the Chargers, Marysville Getchell does not face Jackson this season -- or cross town rival and recurring Wesco North power Marysville Pilchuck. The Timberwolves, who have been to the past two state tournaments, are going through an acclimation period of their own, with new head coach Kyle Peacocke, who comes over after coaching another successful program at Everett High School.
Peacocke's reason for coming to Jackson sounded very similar to Moran's reason going to Getchell.
"The driving force for my decision to apply for the Jackson job was my family," said Peacocke, who has a daughter in third grade and a son in kindergarten. "We live basically two minutes away from Jackson High School. It was kind of a matter of being closer to home and more directly connected to the community my kids are growing up in."
If he was going to leave Everett, Peacocke said "the situation had to be the right one." The new Timberwolves coach helped establish a strong program in his 12 years coaching the Seagulls, with Everett finishing in the top eight four of the last five state tournaments.
Casey Chaffee takes over for Peacocke at Everett.
"I was the head coach of Everett for 12 years and I'm very proud of the program we established there and I had the time of my life. It's something that will always be special for me," Peacocke said.
Peacocke isn't going to be the only new face on the Jackson field this year. Unlike his old Everett team -- which lost three seniors -- Jackson had eight players graduate after last season. And those eight players were a key part of the Timberwolves' success.
"Jackson lost eight seniors from last year's team. So there's actually going to be a lot of new faces on the Jackson team this year," Peacocke said. "... Basically those eight kids have been the nucleus from what Jackson had been the last few years."
Like Moran, Peacocke will not face his former team this year.
And that's just fine with him.
"I'm actually relieved," Peacocke said. "I think it would have been an awkward situation for me and the Everett players and everybody involved. It kind of worked out."
Peacocke hopes that the tradition of good players at Jackson continues under his tutelage, while Moran hopes to expand and elevate the "softball community" in Marysville.
One day, he hopes, it might even rival the one in Mill Creek.
"There are some awesome girls that came through those doors the last 10 years and that's what made Jackson a good program," Moran said. "And Marysville's a good softball community and you gotta start somewhere. So why not start brand new? These kids will be able to start their own traditions, just like we did at Jackson."
If all goes well, Moran hopes that maybe one day he'll have another dynasty on his hands.
And this time, he won't have to commute for nearly an hour to be a part of it.