Obituary: Bliss, Scott Laird
BLISS, Scott Laird (Age 56) Scott Laird Bliss passed away on December 12, 2013 in Othello, WA. Scott was well known as one of the great wrestlers produced by the state of Washington: National High School Champion (1975), 2nd in the 1980 NCAA Tournament, and a member of the 1981 USA World Team. Scott later had a distinguished coaching career at both the collegiate and high school levels. Born to Fred and Nancy Bliss in Moses Lake, Washington on July 26, 1957, Scott is survived by his beloved sons, Jacob Bliss and Nolan Bliss, and his former wife Cindy Richman, all living in Spokane. The greatest highlight of Scott’s life was being a father. He enjoyed supporting his sons in basketball, wrestling, and cross country at Mead High School. Scott’s favorite times were ski outings at the family cabin at Anthony Lakes, Oregon; large family reunions in Manzanita on the Oregon coast; and, backpacking trips with friends in Montana. Scott was part of a close family of siblings, in-laws, and nephews and nieces who loved him dearly: Kathryn Bliss (Joel, daughter Emily), Sandy, OR; David Bliss (Deborah, sons Richard and Mathew), Everett, WA; John Bliss (Maria, daughter Hannah, sons Sam and Andy), Mercer Island, WA. Scott grew up in Othello and attended the University of Oregon, where he met Cindy Wheeler; they married in 1980. Upon graduating from Oregon in 1980, he became the youngest collegiate head wrestling coach in the country at the University of Montana. While at Montana, Scott also continued to pursue his own wrestling career, with his eyes on the 1984 Olympic team. Scott made the 1981 USA World team and competed in the World Championships in Oslo, Norway. By 1984, the demands of coaching led Scott to retire from his own career and focus on developing the talents of those he coached. Scott’s collegiate coaching career spanned over ten years at the University of Montana, University of Wyoming and Oregon State University. He led his teams to numerous conference championships, and was named conference coach of the year in the Western Athletic Conference and Big Sky Conference. In the early 1990’s, Scott turned his attention to teaching and coaching at the high school level, where he lead Auburn High School to two state championships. Scott concluded his teaching and coaching career at Mead High School in Spokane. Scott was a leader and innovator in promoting the sport of amateur wrestling. He founded the Washington ‘Dream Duals’, pitting the top teams in a state championship dual meet format. Scott was also a leader in introducing women to the sport of wrestling, welcoming girls to his Auburn High School team. Today, there is a separate state championship for girls, the founding of which can be traced back to Scott and Auburn. More than anything he accomplished personally, Scott was proud of the athletes and teams he helped lead to unexpected wins, conference championships, berths in the NCAA championship tournament, and later high school state championships. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 21st at 11:00am at Othello First Presbyterian Church. You can honor the memory of Scott through your support of local amateur athletics and the participation of disadvantaged youth.