“When I got here, I realized it was about the player journey, not mine. The student-athletes at Whitman are gifted academically and passionate about the sport. It was a time to build relationships with players and alumni and leave something they’d be proud of.”
— Mike Washington
by Ben Zimmerman for Whitman Athletics
Mike Washington is slowly packing up the remnants of his 17-year stint as head coach of men’s soccer at Whitman College. His tenure here was a lived-in masterpiece of generosity, wit, toughness and warmth, built win by hard-fought win, conversation by deep conversation, quip by salty quip.
His office is not yet bare, but it’s getting emptier by increment. Since announcing his retirement, Washington has painstakingly balanced his desire to help the program transition to the next regime against his desire to, as he puts it dryly, “get out of the way.”
“It’s hard,” Washington said, “to get it out of your blood.”
Another struggle is unfolding in every other office in the athletic department hallway of Sherwood Center, where Washington’s colleagues are accepting this monumentally difficult goodbye, as sad as they are grateful.
“Just a wonderful person to be around,” said Skip Molitor, assistant athletic director and head coach of women’s golf. “Departmental meetings will never be the same. We were very fortunate to have Mike as long as we did. His accreditations, his contacts, his national recognition…he was mobile. He didn’t need to stay at Whitman. We were really fortunate.”
“Mike is a beautiful human being that shares himself with people,” added Whitman athletic director Dean Snider. “He’s always finding a way to give of himself. You can’t replace that. We were fortunate to have him share his life with us. Hopefully, others will carry on his generous spirit and emulate it.”
Best wishes, Mike!
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