Fifteen Years of Motivation
Students work hard for Eric Hisaw, Walla Walla High’s Big 9 Track and Field Coach of the Year.
Written by Lisa Cummins
hen the Columbia Basin Big 9 track coaches voted to award the 2010 Big 9 Track and Field Coach of the Year, Walla Walla High School’s Eric Hisaw earned the honor. For his part, Hisaw saw the award as one that he would have liked to share with others. “I wish it was a staff award instead of an individual award because it’s a reflection of the staff and the students,” he said.
Football and track have been in the coach’s life since his freshman year of high school. He used to be a student, helping his team members in any way he could to make sure they reached their goal of being the best. He has now been standing on the sideline, coaching and giving inspiring words of encouragement to his students for the past 15 years.
He graduated from the University of Idaho where he majored in Physical Education and minored in Spanish. He now teaches and coaches, just like his parents did. “I always knew I wanted to teach,” Hisaw said. “The kids are great and I want to influence other people’s lives just as my parents did.”
His past coaches were truly inspirational in his eyes. He thanks his high school football coach Tom Oswald, his college track coach Mike Keller, his college quarterback coach Greg Olson, and his college head football coach John L. Smith for teaching him so much about life and giving him the desire to help others in his coaching career.
Hisaw displays his knowledge and love for sports out on the track. The Walla Walla High School track team has had a great run the last ten to twelve years with the girls receiving no less than third place in recent years. Hisaw is hoping to win titles on both sides this year. “We are reloaded and ready to go chase down that Big 9 league title for both boys and girls teams this year,” Hisaw said.
Some of the promising track members for this upcoming season are senior hurdler Kyle Jameson, junior long-jumper Jonah Hoe, junior thrower Logan Reardon, and senior distance runner John Paul Wolpert.
“I think he is an excellent coach. Kids work hard for him because they trust him and trust the program he has set up for them,” Jonah Hoe said. “I like having him as a coach because he is an energetic, positive role model who will build you as an athlete but also as a person.”
This is his eleventh year as head track and field coach and first year as head football coach. Though the Wa-Hi football team didn’t have a stellar season this year, he describes the team’s effort as incredible. “We made a lot of strides this year and had a lot of bridges to cross,” Hisaw said. “They had zero problems working together, and they got better throughout the year due to their hard work and trust in one another.” This year’s football team had more fun playing together than in previous years. They got along better and learned they needed that family bond to be successful.
Coach Hisaw runs a training camp set up on the Wa-Hi campus to help students stay in shape between sports. He opens the weight room up to anyone and everyone for an hour after school, four days a week. He says right now they have between 12 and 25 students attending, but he’s hoping a lot more will take advantage of the opportunity.
He started out as a football player and track member but has come a long way and is now an admirable physical education teacher, football coach and track coach. He likes making a positive impact on people’s lives as well as seeing confidence grow in his students. He is a truly inspirational coach.