Wolves add new coaches to mix

Some familiar faces are taking top coaching roles for the Sequim High Wolves in the fall 2010.

Susan Craig, a diving coach for Sequim's boys and girls programs, leads the girls' program this fall, taking over for Linda Moats.

Moats was the Wolves' first and only head swim coach since the girls' program started in 1998. Craig joined Moats that same year as Sequim's diving coach.

Molly McAleer takes the reins as Sequim High School's newest girls' soccer coach. She was an assistant last year for Enid Halewyn, who led the Wolves for the past three seasons.

Former Wolf Megan Thompson is Sequim's new junior varsity volleyball coach and serves as assistant for Jennie Webber Heilman, whom Thompson played for from 1999-2002.

"I think all of (the new coaches) are great hires," Sequim High athletic director Dave Ditlefsen said. "They are experienced people and well-liked."

Purpose on the pitch

McAleer, the Wolves' new soccer coach, spent five years as an assistant at Kennedy High School in Burien, where her JV team went undefeated each season. The varsity Lancers are perennial state contenders, winning four state 3A titles between 1990-2002.

After a year coaching Sequim's junior varsity squad, she gets her first varsity head coach position with a Wolves team that's won just three games in the past two seasons.

"It's extremely positive in different ways," McAleer says. "The level of commitment, enthusiasm and passion is beginning to bud in the girls. That, for me, was just so refreshing."

In the Seattle area, McAleer says, success in soccer is expected, particularly at Kennedy, where she also played for four seasons.

"(Winning in Seattle) is something you take for granted," she says. "That craze has missed the peninsula. We need to catch up. The girls are willing to do it, to work hard."

Although she can't coach the team the entire summer, McAleer has a number of volunteers - including new junior varsity coach John Porlier - helping a group of returning players prep for fall tryouts that start Aug. 23. That includes various practices, running workouts, soccer camps and more.

"It's been a soccer summer," McAleer says. "It's a program that needs some finessing (but) I just think it's thrilling."

Halewyn, the former varsity coach, took the head coaching position in 2007.

The physical therapist said that all the travel her squad did last season took its toll on her business.

"I just can't spend that much time away from my clinic," Halewyn says. "I will miss everything. I like working with that group of girls."

Coaching the swimmers, too

Craig joined the Wolves' swim staff in the inaugural fall 1998 season.

Teaching swimming for the first time, Craig may have a big adjustment, as Sequim might not have any girl divers this fall. The team didn't have any in 2009, either.

"It's going to be an interesting time," Craig says. "Hopefully (we'll be) rising to the challenge."

Craig, who works at Five Acre School with preschoolers, says she has interest from 15 student-athletes to swim for the purple and gold this fall. With three more athletes, she'll be able to hire an assistant. She says she has interest from Chuck Lamb, who has volunteered with the Wolves for more than a decade.

"The girls are excited and willing to work," Craig says.

Moats plans to retain the boy's team head coaching position come winter quarter.

Moats led the Wolves' girls to a 71-56 record in her dozen seasons as the Wolves' head coach. Sequim's top finishes were a sixth-place finish at the 3A finals in 2004 and a third-place finish at the 2A championship meet in 2006, where Moats was named the 2A Coach of the Year. She coached three state champions (including All-American Summer Jackson) while the Wolves won four consecutive league titles, from 2002-2005.

Craig was part of the Wolves' success those years too, coaching three state qualifiers and a state champion - Stacia Bibler in 2006.

The Wolves hit a rough patch last season, falling to 0-10.

Purple and gold again

Thompson earned four varsity letters and won three consecutive league Most Valuable Player awards at Sequim before heading to Gonzaga in 2003 on a volleyball scholarship.

Injuries nagged the

Sequim star at Gonzaga and she missed the entire 2004 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

This fall she reunites with Webber Heilman, her former coach.

Webber Heilman said Thompson is a great fit for her junior varsity team.

"It's going to be really good for the kids to have somebody that's played college volleyball," Webber Heilman says. "She was a very good athlete and worked for everything she got. It's going to be fun to have her around."

Thompson, also an all-league basketball player, led a senior-loaded Wolves squad to an eighth-place finish at the 3A state championships in 2002.

"When she was playing, she was always good helping other players," Webber Heilman says. "She always had that helping ... positive attitude. She set a very good example."

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@

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