SVSJ commentary: Coach of the Year award for Kinnune more about your support of Wildcat football as a community than it is about him

Mount Si High School head football coach Charlie Kinnune (right) instructs his players during last November's Wildcat football playoff game against Oak Harbor. Kinnune received the WIAA/WSCA  high school football Coach of the Year Award for the Sea-King District, or District 2, last week. (Photo courtesy Calder Productions)

Mount Si High School head football coach Charlie Kinnune (right) instructs his players during last November’s Wildcat football playoff game against Oak Harbor. Kinnune received the WIAA/WSCA high school football Coach of the Year Award for the Sea-King District, or District 2, last week. (Photo courtesy Calder Productions)

The announcement last Friday of Mount Si High School head football coach Charlie Kinnune being named the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association/Washington State Coaches’ Association’s SeaKing District football Coach of the Year is very welcome news for Wildcat football, and news which we believe the community should be, and is, happy with hearing. But, the coach is right about one thing: This award is not about him, it’s about the program, and what the Valley has done to support it.

Kinnune, in over 20 years of coaching at Mount Si, has built a program that this community can be proud of. Each of the past six seasons, the Wildcats have made it to the state playoffs, with of course an appearance in the state semifinals in 2012. His record of 20-4 the past two seasons is among the best in the state, and the program has grown both at the high school and youth levels, with over 120 players on average that turn out annually for the high school program, and around 250-300 players at the youth levels within Wildcat Junior Football. But it’s not just about the wins and losses on the field.

To have a solid program the community can get behind, not only do you have to win on the field, but show that you can win in the classroom as well, and that’s exactly what this Mount Si football program is doing. MSHS football booster club president Jeff Mitchell earlier this week sent us some facts about the program’s student-athlete academic performance, and they speak for themselves.

-Mount Si’s football team grade point average was over 3.0 for the 2013 season, meaning that players were passing their classes, many of them with “A” or “B” grades.

-The Wildcat program has not lost a starting player to an academic-related suspension in over two seasons.

-With the success both on the field and in the classroom, MSHS football had 21 graduates playing college football this past fall, running across the landscape. From MIT to Minnesota-Duluth, from the University of Washington to Berry College in Georgia, Mount Si football graduates were hitting the gridiron and receiving college educations.

With those statistics, it is no wonder why Mount Si parents, and the business community at large, have made such a large commitment over the years, both financially and in time, to help support this football program.

Mount Si football under Kinnune is a model that we feel a lot of high school coaches around Washington state would love to copy, but for various reasons, aren’t able to. To have a program as well-run and as strong as the Wildcat program is at all levels, a number of things have to come together and mix just right. They include:

-Strong player turnout: As noted, this program usually draws over 120 players each fall, and with the youth program bursting at the seams, those high numbers are likely to continue. And with no cuts, every player is able to participate at the high school level.

-Excellent facilities: MSHS’ facilities are viewed as among the best in the entire Kingco Conference, and the Mount Si High School stadium is seen as one of the top five stadiums to attend and/or play a game at the high school level in Washington. Further, the medical care and facilities the high school provides for that are also considered to be among the best for athletes in the league.

-Supportive administration: Kinnune touched on this in his comments Monday to us, and he is right about that, with excellent support from all levels of administration, including Snoqualmie Valley School District superintendent Joel Aune, Mount Si High School principal John Belcher, and associate principals Cindy Wilson and Greg Hart.

-Great parent support: Many MSHS football parents volunteer their time or make significant financial donations to help the program.

-A passionate fan base: Mount Si’s fan base is Valley-centric, but as evidenced from when games were on the web both this season and back in 2012 for the semifinal game, extends nationwide; the Wildcat fan base also historically travels well, and that was the case yet again for both the Oak Harbor and O’Dea road playoff games last November.

-Strong support from the local business community: A number of local businesses this season helped sponsor the football team, and others also donated money as well. Businesses from around the Valley and as far as Issaquah donated to the Wildcat program this season.

-Media coverage: The media coverage for Mount Si’s football program is perhaps the best in the state. With two local weekly newspapers, this blog, and the Wildcat football website, and accompanying Facebook page, MSHS fans are covered 24/7 with all the important news they need to know about regarding Mount Si football. Not many programs in the state can say with authority they have as much media coverage as the Wildcat program receives on a regular basis.

To have all of these factors work just right for MSHS football requires a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice on a number of levels, from many people, whether it be players, coaches, school administrators, parents, local business owners, webmasters, media reporters/editors, and fans.

So, with all that said, this award isn’t about what Kinnune has done, it is about what we all, as a community, have done to help the coach build such a strong football program. So we, as a Valley, should share in this state recognition that Kinnune has received, and continue to work hard in 2014 to maintain that in the eyes of high school coaches in Washington.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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