Pringle decides to leave as Panthers girls swim coach

John Pringle started and developed one of the most successful high school swimming programs in the history of the state [—] and then the roof fell in.

With Hal Moe Pool closed due to structural issues, Pringle’s position as the Snohomish School District’s aquatic supervisor no longer exists and he is leaving the district to seek another position in order to support his family. Pringle could have remained as the school’s girls swim coach but he didn’t think it would have been fair had he found another full-time job and been forced to leave the team during the upcoming season.

“Practice starts on the 20th,” Pringle said. “It’s not something I wanted to do but I need to be able to support my family.”

Snohomish athletic director Mark Albertine said an effort was made to find Pringle a new job in the district. “But his position is so unique.”

Pringle began the girls and boys programs at Snohomish in 1990, the year the then outdoor Hal Moe Pool was roofed over. He turned over the boys program to Rob Serviss in 2001. In 17 seasons as the girls coach, Pringle produced an overall dual-meet record of 135-39 with nine of those losses coming in the program’s first season. Under Pringle the Panther girls won 11 Western Conference and District 1 championships. They claimed three consecutive state titles from 1998-2000.

“He started that program and I started the girls basketball program,” Albertine said, “so I know how difficult it is to develop and maintain that kind of longevity and success and he did it through hard work.”

Pringle’s future with the district became problematic this spring when a roof tile fell during an inspection at the pool. Pringle said there is a design flaw in the way the ceiling wallboard connects to the roof.

“And the district does not have another position at my pay grade,” Pringle said.

Pringle, an outstanding high school swimmer himself at Mariner under legendary coach Dick Watson, said he has several “irons in the fire” when it comes to finding a new job. “I hope to remain in the area.”

“Certainly, if something came up in the swim area I’d take a look at it,” he said. “But I’m wide open.”

Should the district resolve its pool problem, Pringle would consider returning.

“I never say never,” he said, “but it’s time to move forward in life and see what happens.”

Pringle does plan to remain as the school’s public address announcer at home football games.

Pringle wouldn’t mind seeing Serviss add the girls team to his duties. Albertine said Serviss, who has applied for the job, will be the team’s interim coach while interviews are conducted.

“There are people here who are capable of taking over and carrying on with the program as I’d like to see it,” Pringle said. “I know he’s interested.”

With their pool closed, the Panthers will swim all away meets this season. The school district has contracted with Gold’s Gym in Woodinville for five lanes, two hours a day, six days a week for practices.

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