Archbishop Murphy releases football coach Dave Ward
After two trips to the state-championship game and a 47-6 record in four seasons at the school, the Wildcats coach won't have his contract renewed.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Despite leading Archbishop Murphy to back-to-back Class 2A state title games, football coach Dave Ward's contract will not be renewed by the school.
New athletic director Jerry Zander made the announcement Thursday, shortly after informing Ward of the school's decision.
"We'll be hiring a brand new coach," Zander said. "He's been relieved of his head coaching duties."
Zander said the decision does not impact Ward's job as an English teacher at the Everett school.
"I like my teaching job and I want to keep it," said Ward, who was hired in 2008 to take over for the late Terry Ennis and had a 47-6 record in four seasons, including state runner-up finishes in 2011 and 2010.
"For now, I understand that I work, as a coach, from year-to-year. They could have replaced me, or any other coaches, any time they wanted. I'm not used to this situation," Ward said.
In January, the school placed Ward and assistant coach Jeff Schmidt on administrative leave and fired athletic director Rick Stubrud. When Zander was hired, he formed an athletic advisory committee of faculty, parents and coaches to look at the football program.
"The advisory panel review did not reveal any major problems, but it clearly showed there is confusion among the staff and the confusion affected both the athletes and their parents," Zander said.
"Based on the recommendations by that committee, I felt that we needed to change the leadership in the program.
"We appreciate everything our coaches have done for the school," he said.
Schmidt and other assistant football coaches can reapply for positions, but the new head coach will be allowed to fill out his staff.
Zander said he planned to form a search committee Friday and expected to post the job no later than Monday.
girls coach, Sugg
Heather Sugg will not return as Beamer's girls basketball coach.
Sugg, who recently completed her fourth season at the Federal Way school, said she was told this week by athletic director Jerry Peterson that administrators "decided to move in a different direction."
"Todd Beamer High School appreciates everything she has done for the girls basketball program," Peterson said.
Sugg has battled an inoperable brain tumor since 2010. Sugg, an assistant at Beamer for two seasons before being named head coach, called the decision "devastating."
"It kills me," she said. "It's one of the things that keeps me going, keeps me focused."
Sugg was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in January 2010. She handed over the majority of her coaching duties to an assistant the rest of that season, but was on the bench for games. She began radiation treatments to shrink the tumor the following February.
When the 2010-11 season started, Sugg was back as head coach. After winning just two games in 2009-10 and three the season before, the Titans qualified for the playoffs and finished 13-10.
This season, they went 8-12 with two senior starters and 17 freshmen in the program — which allowed Beamer to field three teams for the first time in Sugg's tenure. She said she believes the future of the program is bright.
Sugg said Peterson would give her no other explanation for the decision and that when she was given her evaluation to sign the same day, there were no areas of "needs improvement" listed.
"It takes time to build a program," Sugg said. "I feel I didn't get a chance to fix things that were wrong. ... If I wasn't a good coach, just tell me. All I'm asking is why, that's all I want to know. Then I can handle it. I can wrap my brain around it.
"I feel like I got slapped in the face and thrown under the bus," she said.
Times staff reporter Sandy Ringer contributed to this report.