High School Sports

Nick Mullen steps down as Timberline’s football coach, named school’s athletic director

Nick Mullen’s career ambitions in high school education always included going into administration.

At age 39, Mullen has his wish as he will be Timberline High School’s new athletic director effective July 1, but it comes at a price. He’s no longer the Blazers’ football coach.

Mullen’s eight-year tenure as the Blazers’ coach is over, following his resignation, as he will replace the soon-to-be retired Pat Geiger. Geiger is retiring after 40 years in North Thurston Public Schools and the past 33 years at Timberline. Mullen also will continue to teach English at the school.

It’s Mullen’s first athletic director job. Hired by Timberline in 2007 after three seasons as a defensive coordinator at Franklin Pierce, Mullen went 53-31 in his first head-coaching job.

Mullen said the decision to step away from coaching football was one of the hardest decisions he’s made, but while not closing the door on coaching again, becoming an administrator was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. After impacting more than 100 football players annually, he’ll now impact close to 800 student athletes.

“I’m in a leadership position I’ve wanted to try to have,” Mullen said. “I love working with kids and it’s a different role. It’s another way to be a coach.”

Given that spring practices begin in two weeks, Geiger said school officials looked at possibly keeping Mullen as football coach for 2015 and opening up the football coaching job in 2016, but concerns were addressed given the immediate learning curve for Mullen as a first-time athletic director trying to juggle coaching, teaching and administrative duties.

“If he coached a sport in the spring, then that might have been more of a possibility,” Geiger said.

Another option, Geiger said, is naming an interim coach for the fall. In-building teaching also positions are available, Geiger added.

Mullen said a couple of assistant coaches on his staff have expressed interest in applying for the head-coaching vacancy.

WIAA APPROVES 9 AMENDMENTS

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Representative Assembly approved nine amendments May 8, namely increasing the classification cycle from two years to four after the 2015-16 school year. A school may appeal its classification after two years. ... Capital High School named Brian Vandiver its new boys basketball coach. Vandiver was a former assistant coach under former coach Doug Galloway.

POSTSEASON THIS WEEK

District fastpitch tournaments run Wednesday through Saturday at various locations. The 1A District 4 tournament begins Wednesday at Centralia’s Fort Borst Park, featuring Elma vs. Kalama at 10 a.m. and Tenino-La Center at noon (opening-round games); the 2A District 4 tournament at Fort Borst Park, begins Thursday with (opening-round games: Tumwater vs. Hockinson, Black Hills vs. R.A. Long and W.F. West vs. Ridgefield, all at 4 p.m.; Woodland will play Tuesday’s winner of Centralia vs. Rochester at 4 p.m. ... The 4A and 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament are Friday and Saturday The 4A is at Kent Service Club Ballfields (opening-round games): Olympia-Curtis, 11 a.m.; Yelm-Emerald Ridge, 11 a.m; the 3A is at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway (opening-round games): Capital-Hazen, noon; North Thurston-Peninsula, noon; Shelton-Prairie, 2 p.m. ... Olympia boys soccer is in the 4A state soccer playoffs for the first time since 2008 and faces Narrows League rival Gig Harbor at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Peninsula High School’s Roy Anderson Field. ... Four South Sound baseball teams are playing regional games Saturday: In 4A baseball regionals, Timberline plays Newport at 1 p.m. at Kent’s Art Wright Field; in 2A, Black Hills plays Anacortes at 1 p.m. at Bellingham’s Joe Martin Stadium; Tumwater-Liberty at 1 p.m. at Centralia’s Ed Wheeler Field; and Centralia-Archbishop Murphy at 10 a.m. at Franklin Pierce. ... Capitol City Tennis and Athletic Center in Tumwater hosts the 2A District 4 girls tennis tournament Wednesday and Thursday and the 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament Friday and Saturday. Spanaway’s Sprinker Center is the site for the 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament Friday and Saturday. ... Track and field district meets are at the following locations this weekend: Kent-Meridian (4A West Central III, Thursday and Saturday), Sumner (3A West Central III, Friday and Saturday), North Mason (2A, 1A West Central District III, Friday and Saturday), Ridgefield (2A District IV, Friday), Vancouver’s McKenzie Stadium, hosted by Seton Catholic (1A District IV, Friday), Raymond (2B District IV, Thursday). ... The final day of the 2A District IV girls golf tournament concludes Tuesday at Tumwater Valley Golf Club.

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