Even foes appreciate McDougall’s influence

MEG WOCHNICK; Staff writerMay 7, 2013 

Mike Williams has never met Olympia High baseball coach Todd McDougall.

But Williams, who has been White River’s baseball coach since 1995, is aware of McDougall’s impact in the sport and considers the Bears among the state’s elite programs.

In 20 seasons, McDougall has won nine league titles – all since 2001 – and posted a 157-45 record in the past nine years alone. The Bears’ best season was 2008, when they went 23-3 and finished third in the state tournament.

“Everyone measures their program to what (McDougall) has accomplished at Olympia,” Williams said.

So when Williams heard about McDougall’s brain cancer diagnosis, he decided to do something. He, along with Graham-Kapowsin coach Brian Jackson, spearheaded a statewide fundraiser in January to get every high school baseball program to pledge $100 for the McDougalls. Hours after launching, money came flooding in. More than $7,400 was raised with donations made by 50 programs.

Since December, there have been dozens of fundraisers to help offset the costs the McDougalls have incurred. Most recently, the “Miles for McDougall” 5-mile community run in mid-April drew more than 500 participants. And some of Olympia’s fiercest foes have delivered heartwarming support.

During the Bears’ 2-0 baseball victory over Gig Harbor on April 10, all the Gig Harbor players wore light blue McDougall fundraising T-shirts during warm-ups. The Tides coaching staff, led by longtime coach Pete Jansen, sported the same T-shirts throughout the game.

The outreach and support the past five months has put Julie McDougall, Todd’s wife, at a loss for words.

She thought she knew the impact her husband made on the players he has coached, the students he has taught and the people he has encountered.

But nothing like this.

“It’s been really wonderful for my kids (12-year-old daughter Marlee and 9-year-old sons Andrew and Dylan) to see how many people Todd touched,” she said.

“For me personally, there have been so many things people have told me, stories they’ve told and things he’s done for them that I didn’t know about.”

One of those stories came courtesy of Carter Schick.

Schick, a 2007 Olympia High graduate and one of McDougall’s students, wrote a letter to the McDougall family showing her appreciation. During Schick’s senior year, McDougall called the dean’s office at Gonzaga University to further Schick’s chances of being admitted.

Schick got into the school and played three seasons on Gonzaga’s women’s basketball team as a walk-on “playing for the school of my dreams,” she wrote.

“(Without) Mr. McD,” she wrote, “I would have never had the best experiences of my life. …

“Those three years don’t exist and all the memories I have from Gonzaga don’t exist (without) Mr. McDougall going out of his way to get me into that school. I am and will forever be in debt to him and your family.”

“I’m finding out what an amazing guy he is,” Julie McDougall said.

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