High School Sports

Olympia hires Salme away from Yelm

Luke Salme, who stressed fundamentals, defense and hustle in his two years as Yelm High School's boys basketball coach, has resigned to take the same position at Olympia High School.

Salme, who is 28 years old and a 2002 graduate of Western Washington University, got his first look at his new team Monday when he watched them practice.

"With Olympia's tradition in academics and athletics, it's an extremely exciting opportunity for me." Salme said. "I'm pumped."

Taking over a program that went 3-17 the year prior to his arrival as head coach, Salme compiled a 16-24 record in two years as head coach at Yelm. He went 9-11 during his first year and 7-13 last season, when the Tornados lost four games that they led going into the fourth quarter.

"Everything I've been doing at Yelm has been based on effort and fundamentals," Salme said. "If you're not solid with fundamentals, you're going to struggle."

Yelm athletic director Thad Nelson is sorry to see his young coach go.

"Luke is a very good coach, very organized, and relates well with the kids," Nelson said. "He does all the things you want a head coach to do. It doesn't surprise me that Olympia wanted him as their coach."

Salme replaces John Grosey, who resigned after coaching at Olympia for five years.

Olympia's lone returning starter off a team that finished 9-12 is Nick Longmire, a sophomore-to-be point guard. Eight seniors graduated.

"It's going to be a rebuilding year," Salme said. "But to have your starting point guard back is going to help."

Salme played shooting guard on his high school team at Willapa Valley, then played two years at Centralia Community College. He earned his teaching credentials at Western Washington University.

He was an assistant coach one year at Marysville and two years at Yelm before becoming the school's head coach.

Ryan Gerrits, a former Yelm boys basketball coach and an assistant for the Tornados girls team last season, will assist Salme at Olympia.

Nelson is now looking for two head coaches. He resigned as the baseball coach after six years. He finished his first year as athletic director.