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Reardan’s two-time state basketball champion coach Frank Teverbaugh dies

UPDATED: Mon., Sept. 3, 2018, 8:01 p.m.

He was an Idaho Vandal and a Washington state institution.

A four-sport letterman in high school and junior college in Idaho, he went on to become one of the most successful boys high school basketball coaches in Washington, taking on legendary status at Reardan in the 1960s and Richland in the ’70s.

Frank Teverbaugh, who died Aug. 28 at age 85, guided the Indians to two State B championships and a 165-29 record during seven seasons and the Bombers to the State AAA title in 1972 and a 155-23 record, also in seven seasons.

He had five state-placing teams at both Reardan and Richland, the Indians’ 1966 and ’67 titles highlighting undefeated seasons and encompassed in a 57-game winning streak. He won 86 percent of the 372 games he coached over a 14-year period. That’s the highest winning percentage for a coach in the state listed on the Washington State Coaches Association website that is updated through 2015-16.

During a 50-year reunion in Spokane of that 1966 championship team, Teverbaugh was quoted in The Spokesman-Review saying of winning his first state title, “It was the best feeling I’ve ever had, except when I got married.”

“It was just a fun time, oh, my gosh,” remembered Jack Soliday, who was a sophomore on that ’66 team, playing with his brothers Clay, Larry and Ron.

He said the combination of Teverbaugh and assistant Gene Smith, who would go on to have a Hall of Fame coaching career of his own, “was just amazing. We were very fortunate.

“They got things going and kept things going, and the communities of Reardan and Edwall really got behind us.”

He said Teverbaugh was a defensive mastermind.

“He invented the 1-2-2 zone in this area at the time,” Soliday said. “We loved to start with full-court pressure and could move it into the half-court. We lived or died with our defense. … We scored as much off our defense as we did our offense. We had the length and speed to pull it off.”

It didn’t come easy, though, he said. “We worked hard. Every practice was as close to game situations as it could be.”

The rise of Reardan, which had only five state appearances and no placings in 15 years before Teverbaugh arrived, helped kindle “some great rivalries in those days,” recalled Soliday, mentioning schools in the Bi-County and Southeast B leagues. “It was just a great time, and Frank was part of that foundation.”

Teverbaugh left Richland in 1978 to join the Columbia Basin College men’s coaching staff. In his first year as head coach, 1981, he led the Hawks to the NWAACC championship and a 26-3 record.

He is the only coach in the state to have won championships at three levels – State B, State AAA and community college.

And basketball wasn’t the only sport in which he had success. He was a pretty good football coach, too. With the kids who won the basketball titles, Reardan won State B football championships in ’66 and ’67, too.

Leon Rice, the Boise State men’s coach and former Gonzaga University assistant, is a 1982 Richland graduate who played freshman football under Teverbaugh but didn’t have the pleasure to play basketball for him; Teverbaugh was gone when Rice made the varsity. But the two formed a lifelong friendship.

“He is one of the best coaches I’ve been around,” Rice told the Tri-City Herald.

Born in Coldwater, Kansas, Teverbaugh went to high school in Mountain Home, Idaho, and then on to Boise Junior College, which is now Boise State University, lettering in football, basketball, baseball and track and field at both schools, not uncommon in those days but virtually unheard of now.

Following graduating in 1953 after two years at Boise JC, he went on to Idaho where he was a receiver in football for the Vandals and an outfielder in baseball.

The highlight of his football career likely came in 1954 when he scored the only touchdown in Idaho’s 10-0 win over Washington State, the Vandals’ first victory over the Cougars in 29 years. Two future NFL players, recently enshrined hall of famer Jerry Kramer and Wayne Walker, were freshmen on that ’54 team.

Teverbaugh’s successes have earned him recognition in the Boise State University Athletic Hall of Fame (1988), the Richland Bombers Boosters Wall of Fame (1988), the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (1992), the Tri-Cities Sports Hall of Fame (2005) and the Mountain Home High School Football Wall of Fame (2018).

Teverbaugh was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Roberta, who died in 2016. They had four children, sons Wayne and Blaine and daughters Lynnette and Kelly.


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