Eathorne joining Wills in Hall of Fame

Terry Mosher — Apr 14th, 1993

By Terry Mosher

Sun Staff

Les Eathorne and Ken Wills are together again. Or will be shortly.

In June, the retired Bremerton High basketball coach will be inducted into the Washington State Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The late Wills, Eathorne’s mentor at Bremerton in the early 1940s, was one of the early inductees into the hall.

“One of the reasons why I’m so honored is that Ken Wills is in there,” Eathorne said. “If he’s in ther`, I want to be in there.”

“Wills,” Eathorne said, “is the reason I started coaching. He set a pretty good example. I thought he was fair. He was stern, but he made you behave. And he knew the game and let you play.

“He was like a father to me. My father was injured in the Navy yard and suffered brain damage, so Wills kind of took over as a father figure in certain areas.”

Wills-coached and Eathorne-led Bremerton won the state high school basketball championship in 1941. The next season, Eathorne’s senior year, Bremerton took second.

Eathorne would later be a parttime starter at the University of Washington and in 1949 (he served several years in the service during World War II) started a high school coaching career at Camas that would stretch over 39 basketball seasons.

The last 32 years of his career were spent coaching Bremerton schools. His won-lost record stood at 486-360 when he retired from Bremerton in 1988.

Eathorne won state titles at East Bremerton in 1973 and ’74, finished second with the 1972 East squad and coached the 1958 East team to fifth place.

“The 1957 team might have been the best and most talented team I had,” Eathorne said. The team included Lyle Bakken, who later starred at Washington; Dan Stautz, who played for Seattle University; Ron Olson, Idaho State; and George Foutch, who played football on scholarship at the University of Oregon.

Eathorne, 69, will be inducted into the hall of fame during ceremonies at Seattle Pacific on June 23. Wayne Hohman, who won two state championships at St. John’s, and Ray Normile, who coached in Seattle, will also be inducted.

“This is one of the better honors,” Eathorne said, “because of the fact that you are elected by your peers and you’re going in with a group of people who you admire.

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