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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Coach Dave Robertson

Former Shadle Park Basketball Coach Dave Robertson. (File / The Spokesman-Review)
Former Shadle Park Basketball Coach Dave Robertson. (File / The Spokesman-Review)

Coach Dave Robertson’s basketball teams were a dominant force in the Greater Spokane League for 20 years.

A native of New Mexico, where he was an all-state player in high school, Robertson joined the Shadle Park staff in 1962. He took over the head coaching position in 1966.

Shadle Park had immediate success under his tutelage, winning the Spokane City League championship for four consecutive seasons from 1970 through 1973.

The Highlanders were co-champions with University in the first year of the Greater Spokane League and continued as the dominant program in the league’s early years, taking the crown four more times under his leadership.  Much of the success was due to his pioneering of summer basketball for players to hone their skills in the off-season.

In 1981, Shadle Park, led by seniors Mark Rypien, Scott Poole, Tom Peterson and Mark Anderson, rewarded Coach Robertson with the state championship, finishing 24-2. The final game at the Seattle Coliseum remains the most contentious finish in state tournament history.

Greg Schmidt hit a jump shot at the buzzer to give Shadle a 66-65 victory over Mercer Island. Although the shot was immediately ruled good by the officials on the court, many thought the release by Schmidt was late and the Mercer Island coaches, players and fans loudly refused to accept the loss.

In a melee after the game, Shadle Park cheerleaders had to be escorted off the court for their protection and the team had to accept the championship trophy in the locker room for safety purposes.

Coach Robertson stepped down as Shadle coach after the following season. In 1988 he took over the reins at Gonzaga Prep where his success continued with two more GSL championships.  His record at the two schools was 358-102, with 10 league titles and a very memorable state championship

Bill Pierce
Bill Pierce is a sports blogger who writes the weekly nwprepsnow prep sports almanac.

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