After 20 years as the head girls soccer coach at Cascade, Jamie Gay has stepped down from the position.
Gay has the most wins in Cascade soccer history. He also quickly points out, that he has the most losses.
“It’s like the Lenny Wilkens thing,” Gay said of the legendary Seattle SuperSonics player and coach. “I’ve got the most wins of any coach in Cascade soccer history. But I’ve coached twice as long as any other coach at Cascade, too.”
Gay had been mulling over stepping down for a while. Gay, who spent 15 years working at Kimberly Clark before going back to school to get a teaching certificate, was recently offered a full-time position teaching math in the Edmonds School District.
He has long believed that a coach of a high school team should be in the building, and the grind of commuting and stretching himself too thin ultimately led to him stepping down.
“The big deal is that I started teaching at Edmonds this year,” Gay said. “This fall I still coached the girls but it was pretty difficult — professionally and personally — to be teaching full time in a different district and coaching up in Everett. I just couldn’t put as much into it as the kids deserved.
“All my new students are Edmonds students and I want to fully commit to their growth as students.”
Gay said he agonized over the decision to leave Cascade, where he played soccer at 30 years ago.
“It was certainly not an easy thing for me to just turn around and do,” Gay said. “There was certainly a lot of contemplation over the winter before I made the decision. The last 30 years have been at Cascade. It was a pretty special opportunity for me to come back there and coach for so long.”
Looking back over his coaching career, Gay talked about the 2002 Cascade team that made it all the way to the state championship.
“That was a really cool, special opportunity,” Gay said.
Gay has completely ruled out a return to coaching. Working with the athletes was what he said he’ll remember most from his time at Cascade.
“Being the all-area coach of the year and records and wins and stuff is really secondary,” Gay said. “Even thinking back to my playing days it’s the kids I got to play with. Now it’s the kids I got to coach that are still in contact with me and letting me know what’s going on in their lives. Some of them still babysit my kids.”
Gay is excited to spend some of his newfound free time with his family. He was reached by phone Monday night while at his son’s Little League game.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to do this for the last few years,” Gay said. “I’m taking advantage of those opportunities.”