I was sitting on the Mercer Island side - and talked with Scott Poole about this earlier in the fall - when Shadle Park’s buzzer beater at state sent the ‘burb into a decades long funk. Even the Islanders fans in the stands disagreed among themselves whether the basket was good or not. The resultant drama came on the court, as John Blanchette’s well-crafted story on the death of Highlanders coach Dave Robertson noted.
I believe that he and Central Valley’s Ray Thacker established coaching models in the 1960s for success that evolved into today’s year-around world of summer camps, off-season practice and leagues, plus travel games that have made basketball such a huge success.
Although I never covered Robertson personally, we became acquaintances over the past several years and talked as recently as last winter. He was effusive then in praise of both teams following the thrilling Gonzaga Prep at Shadle Park game (two schools he had an obvious interest in). If you’d have told me he was ill, I’d have been shocked. He seemed as vital as ever. As you can tell by the picture, he hadn’t changed much in appearance.
He was extremely confident, indeed. The best coaches are. They believe, the kids believe. He was also adaptive. Former Spokesman-Review sportswriter Bob Payne told me once he believed that Robertson’s success elevated to another level when he acquiesced and accepted multi-sport athletes. Poole, who played football and Montana, and Mark Rypien, WSU QB and Super Bowl MVP with Washington, were members on the state champs.
Dave Robertson will be missed.