Athletic directors throughout the state of Washington annually honor a colleague who exemplifies their profession’s dedication, work ethic and professionalism.
Singled out this year was Jeff Baines from Sumner High School. He was in Spokane April 22-25 for the annual convention of the Washington Secondary School Athletic Administrators Association, where he was presented as the 2017-18 Athletic Director of the Year.
Baines landed in the field of finalists after being named South Puget Sound League 4A AD of the Year, then receiving the same honor for all of District 3, which includes eight leagues spread throughout the South Sound region, the Kitsap Peninsula and the northern portion of the Olympic Peninsula.
A product of Kent-Meridian High School and graduate of the University of Puget Sound, Baines started as a teacher and coach at Tahoma High. He moved to Sumner High 18 years ago and has been the Spartans’ athletic director for 14 years.
“I love the ability to be with the kids and see the positive aspects of athletics,” Baines said of his AD role, which he shares with assistant principal duties.
The WSSAAA employs a lofty set of criteria when measuring candidates for the AD of the Year award. Among those are a dedication to keeping athletics as an integral part of the total education program; involving as many students as possible; making full use of school and community resources; and using athletics “as a catalyst to achieve some demonstrable progress in the social and cultural environment of the school and/or community.”
This area’s last Athletic Director of the Year recipient also came from the Sumner district. Tim Thomsen took home the award in 2009; he continues to serve as the district AD, while both Sumner and Bonney Lake high schools have individual, in-building athletic directors. Prior to that, White River High’s Jim Meyerhoff was the 1998 recipient, Enumclaw High’s Shelly Thiel was honored in 1995 and Sumner’s John Anderson won in 1988.