North Thurston's Olson chooses motherhood over coaching

PREP BASKETBALL: Expecting first child, girls basketball coach resigns after 6 years

March 16, 2011 

Next season will be the first time since third grade that Alana Olson won't be a part of a basketball team as a player or a coach.

Olson, a soon-to-be-mom, has resigned after six seasons coaching the North Thurston girls basketball team. She and her husband are expecting their first child in September.

“I decided I wanted to be a mom for the first couple of years,” Olson said. “It’s a big change for me. I love coaching; it’s extremely hard to give it up. I’ll miss it a lot. I feel really fortunate to have the opportunity to coach great kids.”

North Thurston was Olson’s first head coaching job. She was hired in 2005, two years removed from her four-year playing career at Saint Martin’s University.

In six seasons at North Thurston, Olson compiled a 44-78 record, but this past season was the program’s best in recent years. The Rams played their best basketball at the end of the season and were the surprise team of the Class 2A Southwest District IV tournament. North Thurston was one victory away from earning its first state berth since 1994 before losing to Chehalis, 46-31, in a winner-to-state game on Feb. 19.

Olson, a fifth-grade teacher at South Bay Elementary School, leaves the program in good hands for the 2011-12 season, with the entire roster returning, including second-team all-Evergreen Conference point guard Catie Mets.

“We were very, very pleased with what she’s given to the program,” North Thurston athletic director Dan Clark said of Olson. “She’s a great role model not only for the players on the team, but for the girls at the school. She was an outstanding coach for us.”

Clark said he hopes to have a new coach in place by mid- to late May.

In her playing days, Olson – then Alana Erickson – starred at Onalaska High School and later at Saint Martin’s University, where she scored 1,055 points from 1999-2003.

She had two years of junior-varsity coaching experience prior to being hired at North Thurston.

She said she isn’t closing the door on coaching.

“I’d love to get back into it someday,” Olson said.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473

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