By Mike Cane Herald Writer
Jack deKubber said he never spent much time pondering the number of wins and losses his teams accumulated over the years.
But the success of the boys basketball squads coached by deKubber was enviable, and it eventually earned him a coveted honor.
Tonight in Tacoma, deKubber will be inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The 72-year-old spent 18 years as a high school boys hoops coach: one at Granite Falls, two at Arlington and 15 at Snohomish.
During his career, deKubber tallied 236 victories, 13 winning seasons, four league titles and one state championship (at Snohomish in 1970).
Here is what deKubber said about the hall of fame honor, his coaching origins and the unforgettable 1970 season, among other topics.
Q. Where does the WIBCA Hall of Fame honor rank on the list of others you’ve received?
A.“It means a great deal, but it’s probably a step below the year we won the state championship, because we came back into town (and) it was just unbelievable,” said deKubber, who recalled the massive parade of cars that snaked through Snohomish and met at the high school for a celebration rally.
Q. You coached Snohomish for 15 of your 18 years as a head coach. Why did you stay so long?
A. “I never had any inkling of going on (to coach beyond) high school,” said deKubber, who was a longtime teacher and administrator in the Snohomish School District. “People asked me why I didn’t try to get into college coaching. Well, I just never had (the desire).”
Added deKubber, who since 1963 has lived in a Snohomish home he built with his dad, “This school has, and has had, so much tradition.”
Q. What was the 1969-70 championship season like?
A. “I felt we could get to the final four,” said deKubber, whose teams reached the round of 16 the previous three seasons.
After going 19-1 in the regular season, Snohomish got through districts and regionals, reaching the semifinals at the University of Washington. Part of a four-team field that entered the AAA (now called 4A) final four with a combined total of three losses, the Panthers edged West Seattle 63-62 in the semifinals and held off Pasco 53-51 in overtime in the championship.
Fueled by players like Doug Love, a 6-foot-8 center, and guards Evan Thomas and Ben Krause, Snohomish finished 25-2. Their state title is still the only one in program history.
Q. What was the strength of that championship squad?
A. “We had a good defensive team, and that’s what people probably didn’t realize,” deKubber said. “We changed defenses all the time: Man, zone. We just had certain little things that we did and we knew what we were doing.”
Q. Who or what inspired you to coach?
A. “I think from about the fifth grade on I had a basketball in my hand. Basketball was my love, and that’s the reason I got into coaching,” said deKubber, a smooth-shooting guard who grew up in Lynden. He got a basketball scholarship to the UW but said he didn’t play much. After transferring to Western Washington University, a leg injury sidelined him for most of his one season there.
Q. What were your main coaching philosophies?
A. “I felt the ball game broke down into three categories: Defense, rebounding and free throws,” deKubber said. “I didn’t even talk about offense because most kids, if you leave them open they can make the shots. And it wasn’t that much different in those days. So if you can play better defense than the other team and make it tough on them to get the shots they wanted, you win.”
Q. How did you get your first coaching job?
A. “I had taken a job as a ninth-grade coach in Mount Vernon but my wife told me there was a head job open at Granite Falls,” said deKubber. “So I called them up, interviewed and got the job. I was just out of college.”
Writer Mike Cane: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.