High-school sports: Chief Sealth seeks new football coach, recaps fall-season athletes’ accomplishments

Winter-sports season is about to begin at many high schools, including West Seattle’s Chief Sealth International HS, which announced some big news this past week: After five years, Sealth football coach Asosa Sailiai is out, according to an announcement by athletic director Sam Reed, who says that while he is looking for a new coach who can “take that next step toward competitive success,” he thanks Sailiai for “leaving a much stronger program than the one he inherited,” having been able to, with his staff, “more than triple participation numbers, eliminate significant academic achievement issues within the program and build a junior varsity team that had been absent for some time.” Also this week, Reed congratulated his school’s fall-sports athletes for their achievements – read on for the official recap he shared with the CSIHS community:

While the term “fall sports” somewhat misrepresents the time and energy that our student-athletes and coaches put into their efforts honing their craft, it’s the term we use when we talk about the collective efforts that our 188 student-athletes and 18 coaches undertake beginning in mid-August of this year.

This season Chief Sealth International High School has been able to enjoy many wins, great crowds and tremendous personal achievements. …

The top individual achievement of the season was turned in by sophomore Kenaia Neumann, who became the first female cross country runner to represent Chief Sealth in the state meet since 1988. Kenaia finished last Saturday’s race in Pasco with a time of 20:41 (5,000 meters) and for the season held the 9th-fastest time in the entire Metro League. Neumann helped pace a program that, under Jason Glover (9th year), had a great year. Strong overall numbers and veteran leadership from Captain Peter Broadstone helped propel the program toward the top of the standings in a number of races.

Another run to state fell just short, as the Volleyball team suffered a tough loss last week in the district tournament. The sting felt in that loss only goes to show you how far the program has come under Lorna Considine (2nd year). Just two years removed from a 1-11 finish in league, the girls reversed their fortunes, finishing 11-1 before losing a tough 5-set tiebreaker which determined the Metro Sound Division champion. The program was led by the outstanding all-around play of senior Lorraine Toilolo. Key contributions were made up and down a crowded bench as the competition for playing time reached a new level. Junior Katherine Kirk will be back next year to lead as many as five returning starters and a group that should have a trip to state well within their reach.

Staying with the females, it was another successful year of growth for a girls’ soccer program that has also seen tremendous improvement in the past three or four seasons. A new influx of young talent helped Ron Johnson (15th year) and senior leaders Alexa Lenning, Miranda Taylor, and Kerri Selk finish the season with a 5-2-3 record in the Metro Sound Division. The season ended with a loss to Bishop Blanchet in the first round of the league tournament, but it should be clear to anyone who watched a game that this is a program truly on the rise and should be at, or near the top of the league for years to come.

Moving to the links, head coach Davie Hendrix (13th year) was back at the helm of the golf program which saw sophomore Maleena Thach and senior Cody Horn compete in a difficult league tournament, with Cody missing the cut to advance by just one stroke. With everyone but Horn able to return next year, Hendrix is hopeful that the program can take another step forward next fall.

Finally, it is the Friday Night Lights that highlight the high school experience for many. It is on those nights that our football team, cheer squad, outstanding marching band and the enthusiastic “Hawk’s Nest” reign down on the Southwest Athletic Complex for an evening of school spirit and competition. Led by Asosa Sailiai (5th year), our football program put up a valiant fight, highlighted by a fun win at home over Rainier Beach. Outgoing senior leaders Motu Tupuola and Riki Iaulualo will leave the program stronger than when they entered it. Junior quarterback Max Sarver will lead a large returning group that will look to improve with a year of experience under their belt.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend some heartfelt thanks to those groups that help make the fall sports season so fun. In my humble opinion the Marcus Pimpleton-led marching band and Keiosha Williams’ cheer squad are simply the best around with both groups giving up countless hours to support all of our teams. Our alumni organization, Friends of Sealth, deserves recognition for all of their work in running the football concession stands and providing fundraising opportunities to many of our programs, while our outstanding PTSA is gracious enough to support our athletic programs through a variety of financial contributions. Finally, thank you to the students, CSIHS staff, passionate alumni and the families of our student-athletes who come out in droves and truly provide a “home-field advantage” filled with positive support and encouragement.

Personally this season has brought much satisfaction. I’ve enjoyed watching so many contests with my son at my side, I’ve enjoyed many office hours and lunches talking strategy and leadership with our student-athletes, and finally I’ve enjoyed getting to know so many of the supportive families who come out to root on their loved ones. With the sun setting earlier each day, the season has come to an obvious close; however, I am already excited to see these student-athletes back at it in 2012!

5 Replies to "High-school sports: Chief Sealth seeks new football coach, recaps fall-season athletes' accomplishments"

  • Dean November 13, 2011 (5:57 pm)

    Wow, sounds like Asosa brought the Sealth team back to respectability. Please post what the heck was the problem. Hey Sam this is high school, maybe you are getting too big for your britches.

    • WSB November 13, 2011 (6:10 pm)

      Here is the letter in its entirety. I should have included it in the text, but the excerpts were the key points, including the lack of “competitive success”:

      Dear Chief Sealth International staff, students, families and community at large,

      This e-mail is to inform you that I have made the decision to end the tenure of Asosa Sailiai as head football coach at Chief Sealth International High School.

      Coach Sailiai has been a pleasure to work with over the past five years, and he has accomplished much in repairing and building our football program. Under his tenure I was always confident that he and his staff were doing things the right way, teaching our young men to be strong citizens first, responsible student-athletes second and finally hard working and dedicated football players. Since 2007, Sailiai and his team have helped more than triple participation numbers, eliminate significant academic achievement issues within the program and build a junior varsity team that had been absent for some time. For all of those reasons and more, Sailiai is leaving a much stronger program than the one he inherited.

      I will be looking for many of those same characteristics in the next Seahawk football coach. With nearly fifty returning players, new uniforms, and a top-notch weight room and athletic facilities – I have high expectations for the football program moving forward. It is my responsibility as Athletic Director to do all I can to help our student-athletes succeed. Despite all of Coach Sailiai’s noted successes, it is my hope that a new coaching staff can come in and take that next step toward competitive success. That task will not be easy, as developing a competitive football program – and doing it the right way – is a difficult proposition in urban public high schools.

      On behalf of myself, the entire Chief Sealth International staff and all of the players that graduated under his watch, I want to extend final thanks for all that Asosa Sailiai and his staff has done for Chief Sealth football.

  • GenHillOne November 14, 2011 (6:51 am)

    Dean, have you met Sam Reed? That’s hardly a fair characterization. I may be wrong, but I think the football team won ONE game this year. That’s pretty tough on the players’ morale and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to believe they can improve, high school or not. Maybe some changes will energize them.

  • silverback November 14, 2011 (5:30 pm)

    Enrollment has driven the increase in participation not the competence of the coaching staff. This is true for all sports at the school, which is more of a credit to Sam Reed than any one coach. The students deserve the opportunity for a coaching change.

  • The ghost of Feagan November 15, 2011 (10:58 pm)

    Oh c’mon, lets cut the crap. At one point this season the Sealth football team had been outscored 226-45, and the last game or two did little to upset that ratio.

    The “increase in participation” may have been more a product of the admittedly very nice facility right across the street from school vs. how it was in the dark ages when so many of the “home” games were played at Memorial Stadium.

    Sealth can’t exactly trade any of its players, and, well, that recruiting experiment for the girls basketball team didn’t exactly pan out for the long term.

    John Boyd is gone, and there aren’t too many variables that are realistic. Too bad Dick Pangallo turned 81 two weeks ago.

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