Gar-Pal’s First Family Of Basketball Tim Coles Reaches Crossroads While Son, Daughters Carry On
Tina Coles told her husband to pull over the first time they drove through this Whitman County hamlet of 610.
This is it, she told Tim Coles. This is where we belong.
Garfield school administrators needed little time to agree. Just that fast, Tim Coles went from being an unemployed teacher with three small children to a man with solid footing.
Now is a good time to revisit the Coles Odyssey because changes may occur for the first time since that August 1981 job interview.
The children are grown and a group to behold - talented, athletic, intelligent and attractive.
Tim has proven all there is to prove with the Garfield-Palouse boys basketball team: 10 State B tournament appearances in the last 12 years, top-eight trophies at every tourney but one, and the state title in 1990.
And there’s no urgent reason to continue coaching Gar-Pal’s boys after this season because son Logan is set to graduate.
Tim dropped hints in 1995 that he had considered quitting his post to eliminate the stress of grinding out 20-win seasons.
But every trip home to the house on Union, situated on a hill overlooking the city park, brought Tim face-to-face with a reason to continue - 18-year-old Logan.
“I couldn’t see stepping aside and having someone else coach my son,” Tim said.
For the first time in 17 years, Tim appears to have more options than another season of Whitman County League boys basketball.
A complete break from coaching is tempting, given the pressures that would be lifted. But Tim’s teaching career of 20-plus years has always included football, basketball or track and field coaching.
His options appear to be continuing as Gar-Pal’s coach; continuing as a history teacher at the Palouse school but dropping coaching assignments; looking for a teaching and/or coaching job elsewhere; or, as rumors have it, coaching daughter Katie, 16, during her junior and senior seasons.
“My friends were even asking me about that,” Katie said. … “I said, ‘Why would you think (current coach) Craig (Brantner) would quit? We seem to be getting better.”’
Tim has coached his daughters in summer leagues and enjoyed their eager-to-work traits, but has no plans to switch positions.
The family will meet after this basketball season to chart the future. Tim checked into a job at Eisenhower High in Yakima two years ago, but walked away shaking his head at the students’ “low standards.”
Tim Coles graduated from Post Falls High, where he set a state single-game scoring record, since broken, of 42 points.
He attended the University of Idaho on a football scholarship, graduating in 1977. His 89-yard touchdown reception was a school record until current Seattle Seahawks quarterback John Friesz hooked up with Lee Allen for a 98-yarder in ‘89.
Tim’s first two jobs, one-year stays, were at Elk River and Nezperce, Idaho A-4 schools. The Coles’ house in Elk River was nearly connected to the school. Tina likes to say that Tiffany, 21, learned to walk during halftimes.
Elk River won one basketball game during Tim’s watch, but that was one more than the townsfolk expected. Culdesac offered Tim its basketball job over the phone, merely because Elk River, in one season, had stopped rolling over to every opponent.
Instead, the Coleses ended up in Nezperce, a town that resembles Garfield and had a winning tradition. The Indians won the State A-4 football title with Tim at the helm and the state basketball title with him as assistant.
Nezperce, however, reduced its force, leading Tim to two miserable years at Kootenai in Harrison, Idaho.
“They had some good kids, but a lot of the kids at the time were smoking pot,” Tim said.
“A lot of the kids, their goals were: ‘I want to be a logger. I want to be a trapper.”’
In Garfield, the Coleses found their nirvana. Tiffany, an accomplished singer, played basketball at Wenatchee Valley CC for one year before injuries interceded. She transferred to Washington State and is Gar-Pal’s girls junior varsity coach.
Logan has averaged a team-best 17 points per game and is on student council. Katie was named one of the state’s top freshman players last year, placed fifth at state in the triple jump, and carries a 4.0 grade-point average.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:
WHITMAN COUNTY BASKETBALL
Defending champions: Boys - LaCrosse-Washtucna (eighth at state). Girls - Tekoa-Oakesdale (fifth at state); St. John-Endicott, second in league, was third at state.
Returning all-leaguers: Boys - First team - Brad Bischoff, Garfield-Palouse. Second team - Logan Coles, G-P; Grant Bafus, SJE. Girls - First team - Heather Cox, T-O. Second team - Christine Cronrath, L-W; Miranda Brown, T-O; Katie Coles, G-P.
Openers: Friday - G-P vs. SJE at St. John; L-W at Rosalia; Colton vs. T-O at Oakesdale.
This sidebar appeared with the story: WHITMAN COUNTY BASKETBALL Defending champions: Boys - LaCrosse-Washtucna (eighth at state). Girls - Tekoa-Oakesdale (fifth at state); St. John-Endicott, second in league, was third at state. Returning all-leaguers: Boys - First team - Brad Bischoff, Garfield-Palouse. Second team - Logan Coles, G-P; Grant Bafus, SJE. Girls - First team - Heather Cox, T-O. Second team - Christine Cronrath, L-W; Miranda Brown, T-O; Katie Coles, G-P. Openers: Friday - G-P vs. SJE at St. John; L-W at Rosalia; Colton vs. T-O at Oakesdale.