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Tom Tri Named Sportsman of the Year
The Lake Stevens Vikings Head Coach receives the honor tonight in Everett
“Of the five applicants interviewed, Tom Tri best fit the needs of Lake Stevens High School and its students. He has experience as an assistant football coach at the school, where he was hired in 1998.”
And with that inspiring statement, released by the Lake Stevens School District in December of 2004, the reign of Lake Stevens Vikings Head Football Coach Tom Tri began.
Some twenty years later, that same man — Lake Stevens Vikings State Champion Head Coach Tom Tri — will be honored as Sportsman of the Year tonight in Everett at the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Sportsman of the Year banquet at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett.
“He’s the best coach I could have had in high school. Everything he does, you would think he’s playing with us with the way he rides with us.” - Jayden Limar, Oregon Duck running back, 2022 Washington State Gatorade Player of the Year at Lake Stevens
The Herald has a great article detailing Tri’s state championship run, which forms the basis for their award. And as someone who has covered Tri since 2006 (you ever check our archive tab??!) I totally agree that they’ve picked a very deserving man for the honor.
While the Herald’s (very good) column focuses on the 2022 title run, the reasons for honoring Coach Tri go back quite a bit further than just 2022.
So on the night that Tri is honored as the 2022-23 Herald Sportsman of the Year, it’s almost as interesting as celebrating his accomplishments…to look back two decades and note that none of this (points to surefire Hall of Fame-level career complete with a full decade of league dominance, 54 game league winning streak and, of course, Lake Stevens’ first state championship) was pre-ordained.
The work had yet to be done, the victories yet to pile up.
In fact, at the time Tri began his Lake Stevens head coaching career, most of the reporting on his promotion focused on the guy Tri was replacing - a certain former WSU Cougar and New England Patriots star-slash-certified local legend… who still serves as Tri’s boss. That’d be Lake Stevens School District Superintendent Dr. Ken Collins.
As The Herald put it:
Tri, who teaches social studies and physical education at the school, replaces Ken Collins, who resigned this year after 15 years as head coach to become assistant principal and spend more time with his family.
Collins, The Herald’s Man of the Year in Sports in 1995, led the Vikings to the 1994 Class 3A state championship game and six Western Conference North titles.
Tri takes over a Lake Stevens team that went 2-7 this year, including 1-7 in the Wesco North.
The dryness of the introductory press release and associated coverage notwithstanding, if you poll people today (and we have1) you’ll get a lot more inspiring responses than the aforementioned press release.
“He’s always willing to put in the work to make us better, whatever it takes. He’s just a great coach and he’s always there to listen to us.” - Aaron Parker, Class of 2023
Over the last year, J425 has interviewed or surveyed some 35+ players, coaches and administrators – including the aforementioned Dr. Collins – about Coach Tri beginning last October as part of a larger piece we’re working on.
“He’s the best coach I could have had in high school. Everything he does, you would think he’s playing with us with the way he rides with us,” said Jayden Limar, the Oregon Duck running back and 2022 Washington State Gatorade Player of the Year at Lake Stevens
Asked to sum up Coach Tri in a word, Class of 2023 lineman Aaron Parker chose determined
“His best attribute is that he’s always willing to put in the work to make us better, whatever it takes. He’s just a great coach and he’s always there to listen to us as players,” Parker said
Another term that comes up a lot is passion.
“Coach is passionate - that’s how I’d describe him,” said Class of 2022 team captain Dylan Slezak.
“His best attribute is his drive to push his players to be the best possible man and athlete they can be,” Slezak said.
Tom Tri receives the 2022-23 Sportsman of the Year award tonight in Everett at the The Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet tickets are on sale. The banquet will be held on Wednesday, September 27th, at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center at Angel of the Winds Arena. Congratulations to Coach Tri