Basketball coaches frequently say their teams spend so much time together, they are like families.
For a few local players and coaches, that description is more than an analogy.
For example, Lynnwood girls head coach Everett Edwards has two daughters, Jasmin and Jordyn, on his team.
Everett Edwards said that when he leaves the gymnasium and heads home with his daughters, he tries to shift gears from basketball to school and the girls’ other activities.
“Once we’re out of the gym, we’re at home and we try to leave the basketball in the gym,” Everett said.
However, Jasmin and Jordyn say basketball is still prevalent in the Edwards house. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s really not separate,” Jasmin said. “After every game we come home and watch film together as a family. We talk strategy at home. It’s basketball at home and on the court. Which I like.”
Everett Edwards is one of a handful of local basketball coaches who have a child playing for them this season. The group includes Mike Washington, Sr. at Oak Harbor and Shannon Grandbois at Marysville Getchell.
“It’s great in terms of being able to spend quality times with my daughters in an environment with their friends,” Everett said. “… It’s just great to be able to spend time with them in an environment that few get to experience. A lot of parents get to coach teams and stuff but getting to spend time with my girls in high school has been a great experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
It can be a great family-bonding tool, but coaching a child “isn’t always rosy,” said Washington, Sr., who coaches his son Drew Washington — and previously coached his son Michael Washington, Jr., who went on to play at Princeton.
“In games, if I get too mad, dad might come out,” the elder Washington said. “I might go to one of my assistant coaches and say, ‘You coach my boys. I can’t right now.’ Sometimes I feel pressure, like if he takes a bad shot, should I take him out? Do fans want me to take him out? But does it give us the best chance to win?”
Drew Washington, who will play at the Air Force Academy next season, said that being the coach’s kid carries a lot of pressure, and that he’s heard kids around school mutter the dreaded f-word.
“It’s harder on us because everyone expects that we’re just plotting stuff behind the scenes,” Drew said. “It’s hard to be a coach’s son, honestly. When Mike played too, it was him and me and my dad. Everyone thought we were plotting.”
However, Drew said there are numerous positives to having his father lead his team. He credits his dad for helping both his brother and him land basketball scholarships.
“He’s been the biggest part in all of this. He’s been me and Mike’s biggest role model,” Drew said. “He brought us to AAU practice in Seattle, two hours from our house. He wanted to do it with us. He loved the game that much.
“It’s weird. He’s like one of my best friends. I think of him more as a best friend and a role model. So in a game it’s just like, ‘You’re my coach too.’ I understand him. I listen to him. I know when I’m wrong and he’s right.”
The Washingtons try to limit the amount of Oak Harbor basketball talk at home, with mom serving as the mediator.
“My mom’s good at keeping it separate,” Drew said. “She’s kind of the middle man. She probably has it harder than all of us.”
Logistically, being in the same house can be helpful. Shorecrest girls head coach Dori Monson coached his daughter Keegan before her graduation last season. Monson enjoyed being able to walk into the next room and ask his daughter, who was also a Scots’ captain, if she could get a message out to the team.
His team was so close, Monson said, it felt like the whole team was a family.
“It was such a great group of girls that I felt like I had a real good connection with all of them, whether my daughter played on the team or not,” Monson said.
Monson, who noted that “having three girls” is what got him into coaching in the first place, remembered one contest when Keegan didn’t get into the game. He said he knew at the time his daughter was not happy with her coach.
Or her father.
“I understood that,” Monson said. “But I never made decisions based on the fact that she was my daughter. She was one of 11 basketball players.”
At Stanwood, girls head coach Dennis Kloke coached his daughter Rachele her final three years as a Spartan. Now Rachele, who graduated in 2007 and went on to play at the University of Idaho, is back in Stanwood as an assistant coach while trying to heal an injury to her wrist and hand she sustained while playing professionally in Australia.
Her father is thrilled to have her back on the Spartans’ bench.
“It’s a pleasure,” Dennis Kloke said. “Daughter aside, she’s got a great basketball mind. She works with the young ladies exceptionally well. She’s brought a weight-training program, which is something we’ve never had before. … She knows the Xs and Os and has a good mind of what we want to get done. You couldn’t ask for any better coach than that.”
Like Rachele Kloke did from 2005-07, Jasmin and Jordan are shining while playing for their father. Jasmin, a senior who was first-team All-Wesco 4A South last season, and Jordyn, who was named to the second-team as a sophomore, have dispelled whispers of favoritism by excelling on the court.
“Fortunately, playing them is a no-brainer,” Everett said.
Jasmin, who will play at Central Washington next year, said she loves playing for her father and that he’s the same guy on the court as he is at home.
Jordyn said having her dad coach helps both communication and motivation.
“I guess just always knowing that he’s always going to be there and you can ask him anything,” Jordyn said. “It’s less nerve-wracking knowing it’s your dad and you can ask him anything. … For me I’m kind of the nervous sister, I guess. I get more nervous knowing if I do bad it might look bad and that my dad’s favoring me. I want to work harder and do good.”
Once Jordyn graduates, Everett Edwards will have had “10 years” in coaching and isn’t sure if he’ll continue.
“We’ll cross that bridge then,” Everett said. “I haven’t made up my mind.”
Edwards might consider some advice from Monson, who is committed to coaching Shorecrest for the foreseeable future.
“One great benefit, especially now that all my kids have graduated high school, I’m more aware than ever of how fast that part of life flies by,” Monson said. “We all had hundreds of hours in the gym and driving to games together. That’s time I wouldn’t trade for anything. And now that my kids have graduated and my wife and I are empty nesters, I don’t know what I’d do with my free time if I wasn’t coaching.”