Former Shoreline High School football coach passes away

  • Charlie Laughtland<br>Enterprise writer
  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 10:31am

Tom Wiley had the power to draw people in like a magnet. Those who knew him best say once he had you in his grip, there was no chance of wriggling free.

He was outgoing, thoughtful and trustworthy. He loved to travel, go hiking and root for the Huskies.

But most of all, Wiley enjoyed the warm company of family and friends.

“He never let friends get away from him for very long,” said Lisa Faidley, who taught physical education alongside Wiley for 10 years.

Wiley, a longtime teacher, coach and event manager in the Shoreline School District, died of a heart attack Dec. 12 in Kingston. He was 57.

The news of Wiley’s sudden passing stunned ex-Bothell High School principal Al Haynes, who met Wiley for breakfast that morning, a weekly tradition between the former coaching cohorts since 1979.

“He was bigger than life,” Haynes said.

Haynes and Wiley struck up a friendship while coaching football together at Shoreline High School from 1968-79.

They ran the sophomore team for a few years before Wiley was named varsity coach in the early ’70s and Haynes took over as defensive coordinator.

In 1974, Wiley and Haynes guided the Shoreline Spartans to an undefeated season and a coveted Metro League championship.

Wiley returned to coaching a few years ago and worked with Shorewood High School’s freshmen squad. This year’s senior class went undefeated as freshmen with Wiley calling the shots.

“He was hands on and a great motivator,” Haynes said. “He was very animated on the sideline.”

Off the field, Wiley was just as dynamic. Friends remember his jovial, fun-loving personality.

“He could talk to a fence post,” Haynes said, “and probably get it to laugh.”

“He had a great sense of humor,” added Shorewood High School assistant principal Rich Gustafson, who knew Wiley ever since he was a student at Shoreline High.

Gustafson, a Washington State alum, and Wiley, a University of Washington graduate, had an ongoing Apple Cup wager. Each year, the booster whose team came up short in the grudge match had to treat the other to — what else — breakfast.

“We went round and round with the Cougars and Huskies,” Gustafson said. “He was a loyal Husky.”

He was also a pivotal figure in Shoreline athletics during his 30 years working for the school district.

Wiley served as an assistant district athletic director and stadium manager at Shoreline Stadium, overseeing track meets, state soccer tournaments and countless other high school sporting events.

Throughout the ’90s he was tournament director for the Class 3A and 4A boys and girls state basketball championships.

“He did a lot of things in the athletic arena,” Gustafson said. “He loved athletics.”

Wiley was an accomplished athlete himself at Shoreline High, winning a state wrestling championship at the heavyweight division in 1964.

“He was a real good wrestler,” said former Shoreline District athletic director Paul Smith. “He was short and round. That made it tough for other guys to pin him.”

After retiring, Wiley and his wife purchased a second home in Phoenix. The couple had returned to the area recently to spend the holidays with family.

Wiley’s final day was a typical Friday: breakfast with Haynes followed by a lunch date with Faidley and some other ladies he used to work with and a ferry ride home.

“He just had a passion for life,” Faidley said. “He surrounded himself with friends. That’s what was important to him.”

Wiley is survived by his wife Jan and two sons, Terry and Tommy. Services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21 at Spartan Gym at Shoreline Center (18560 First Ave. NE.).

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations are made to the Shoreline Public Schools Foundation’s student athletics fund.

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