Oct
8
0

Scorekeeper Tallies Honor

Dan Stapleton is full of stories.

After being involved in youth sports for the past 30 years he has plenty to share, but on Oct. 16 he will become the story when he is inducted into the Lumberjack Hall of Fame.

Dan Stapleton is being inducted in the Lumberjack Hall of Fame at the annual Booster Club Athletic Auction Saturday, Oct. 16. He was chosen because of his decades-long involvement in youth sports.

Dan Stapleton is being inducted in the Lumberjack Hall of Fame at the annual Booster Club Athletic Auction Saturday, Oct. 16. He was chosen because of his decades-long involvement in youth sports.

Mr. Stapleton was chosen for the honor for his years of work with local baseball, softball and basketball programs. The award is presented to individuals who are involved with St. Maries youth in some form, whether it be through coaching or volunteering within a sports program, according to Lynn Masterson, president of the Lumberjack Booster Club.

“Dan’s been on our list for quite some time, and he fits it perfectly,” Mrs. Masterson said. “He was a no-brainer. He definitely deserves it.”

The awards ceremony serves as the club’s largest fundraiser, and all proceeds benefit athletic programs at St. Maries High School. This year’s event is Friday, Oct. 16, at the Elks Lodge. Social hour begins at 5 p.m. with dinner and an auction to follow.

Mr. Stapleton graduated from Lakeland Tech in 1966 and moved to St. Maries in 1970. He worked for the St. Maries River Railroad until his retirement in 2004. He became involved in the adult softball league in the late 1970s. He umpired, played and eventually ran the league and was instrumental in building additional fields to accommodate the growing interest.

As his son got older, Mr. Stapleton became involved in Little League and transitioned into the high school baseball program after being invited to serve as assistant coach. While working with the Little League program, he umpired, coached and served as both president and vice president on the board. He also helped build and maintain the ball fields at city park.

Known throughout the community as “Digger Dan,” Mr. Stapleton has remained involved in high school baseball, working with several coaches throughout the past two decades. But it was during the first few years, while working with Coach Scott Ramsay, that he earned his nickname.

“Oh, let me tell you that story,” he said. “When Scott was coaching and his oldest was two or three, the whole team would go up to Scott’s house to watch baseball, to study the game. One day, his son was playing in the sandbox with a toy bulldozer named Digger Dan. He pointed to me and said, ‘that should be Digger Dan,’ and the name stuck.”

As evidence of the longevity of Mr. Stapleton’s involvement with St. Maries athletics, that little boy from the sandbox is now the head baseball coach at Whitworth College.

Some of Mr. Stapleton’s fondest memories were collected when he coached one season of girls’ softball.

“That was the best thing I ever did; those were my girls,” he said. “I had been through all this, and along the way you learn how to do stuff, how to coach, but you get out there with a bunch of girls and – well, that was an experience.”

Of the many years he has dedicated to the sports programs in town, it’s the time that he has invested in high school basketball that might be most impressive, from a numbers standpoint. Mr. Stapleton has served as scorekeeper for the program for 29 consecutive years. He started with the boys’ program and eventually took over scorekeeping duties for the girls’ games as well.

But for him, it is simply what you do when investing in a community.

“I just did this stuff, it was no big deal,” Mr. Stapleton said. “That’s how my folks were; if there were games, they were there. It’s just what you do. It was nothing for me; it was for the kids.”

Oct
5
0

Amphitheater Fundraiser

Five local community groups hosted a dinner and auction Oct. 26 that raised more than $12,000 for the community amphitheater project. The dinner was hosted by St. Maries Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, St. Maries Community Band and Music Boosters and the St. Maries Art Council. Although organizers fell about $8,000 shy of their fundraising goals, they were pleased with the contributions made by the estimated 100 people who attended the benefit.

Wayne Foxworth and Mike Stroh chat at the fundraiser for the community amphitheater. The event netted more than $12,000 for the project.

Wayne Foxworth and Mike Stroh chat at the fundraiser for the community amphitheater. The event netted more than $12,000 for the project.

“We had a tremendous auction; everybody who showed up came because they wanted to support it,” Chris Renaldo, steering committee leader, said. “We are very, very thankful for the donations that were made.”

Mr. Renaldo said groundbreaking is planned for later this year, and the group continues to solicit donations through a letter writing campaign and that personal donations are tax-deductible and always welcome. Those can be made directly to the city of St. Maries into the dedicated amphitheater account at City Hall, 602 College Ave.

The amphitheater will be a site for events of all kinds, including outdoor concerts, plays and car shows. It will be built on the concrete slab adjacent to the baseball field and will have log columns and trusses and a cedar interior.

Donors include St. Maries Rotary Club, Potlatch Corp., Paul Bunyan Days Committee, Stimson Lumber, St. Maries Centennial Committee, St. Maries Timber Funds, St. Maries Music Dept., PEO, Eagles, Avista, Inland Forest Management, St. Maries Chamber of Commerce, Sexton Road Contractors, Denise Best, Lawrence Hurley, Lois Tuel, Randy Farrell, William Grendzinski, Priscilla Derry, James Nichols, Jeanne Robinson, Rick and Karen Thurston, Breezy Fraizer and Bob Stowell.

The 8th Annual Oktoberfest is Saturday, Oct. 3, in Harrison, rain or shine.

The event is from 1 to 7 p.m. in city park and offers activities for adults and children.

Teri Riberich has organized the event for the past eight years and said it continues to grow.

Once again, the city of Harrison on Lake Coeur d'Alene provides a beautiful backdrop for the Oktoberfest celebration. This is the eighth year Teri Riberich has organized the event.

Once again, the city of Harrison on Lake Coeur d’Alene provides a beautiful backdrop for the Oktoberfest celebration. This is the eighth year Teri Riberich has organized the event.

“The historic and quaint backdrop of downtown Harrison and the natural beauty of Lake Coeur d’Alene make for the idyllic Oktoberfest setting,” she said.

This year, six local breweries will attend. They are Wallace Brewing, Tricksters, Daft Badger, Summit Cider, Mad Bomber and Paradise Creek. A home brew club will also attend, as well as Sheppard Fruit Wines.

Mrs. Riberich said souvenir glasses to sample the beers cost $10. An I.D. will be required to obtain a wristband for purchasing beer.

Music will be provided by Riverboat Dave and Harmonica Jess playing a finger snapping and foot stomping acoustic blend. They will be followed by Down South’s energetic mix. Music is free for all ages.

Children’s activities will include bounce houses, contests, painting and more. Food will be available and served by the Kootenai reader board fundraising crew. Money will benefit the effort to install a reader board.

K102 will also be broadcasting live from the event and there will be raffle prizes drawn every hour. Vendors are welcome, and volunteers are needed. Call Mrs. Riberich at 582-2341 for more information.

The event is sponsored by the Harrison Chamber of Commerce and the city of Harrison.

Sep
23
0

Santos Honored

Although the topic of fishing dominates most of his conversations nowadays, it wasn’t too long ago that winning state volleyball championships was what Mitch Santos spent most of his time doing.

It is his achievements on the court that will earn him accolades next month when he is inducted into the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame during the Oct. 27 ceremony at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

Mitch Santos (right) is pictured with Steve Konkright who served as junior varsity coach throughout most of Mr. Santos's career. The pair collected 11 state titles, 10 of which were consecutive. Mr.  Santos is being honored next month at the Inland Northest Sports Hall of Fame. Mr. Konkright was instrumental in developing younger players and preparing them for varsity competition, Mr. Santos said.

Mitch Santos (right) is pictured with Steve Konkright who served as junior varsity coach throughout most of Mr. Santos’s career. The pair collected 11 state titles, 10 of which were consecutive. Mr. Santos is being honored next month at the Inland Northest Sports Hall of Fame. Mr. Konkright was instrumental in developing younger players and preparing them for varsity competition, Mr. Santos said.

Mr. Santos is being honored for his success as varsity volleyball coach at St. Maries High School, and his legacy will be enshrined in a cubicle at the arena alongside other area greats, including WSU Football coach Mike Price, NFL pro Mark Rypien and MLB star Ryne Sandberg.

During his 25-year tenure with St. Maries volleyball, Mr. Santos and his teams dominated the A2 state tournament for years, and he was awarded Idaho state coach of the year 11 times. He credits much of that success to a combination of his coaching style and the work ethic of his athletes.

“Either you desire to recreate or you desire to be competitive, and there’s something to be said about both. There’s nothing wrong with recreational play, that fulfills a purpose, but it’s really not for me,” he said of his coaching style. “I get too competitive, and I like to see the game played at the highest level.”

His teams not only played at the highest level, they dominated the highest level, claiming 11 A2 state titles – 10 of which were consecutive – and consistently defeating schools from higher classifications – most notably, A1 rival Sandpoint.

In fact, the Lumberjacks held a national record with the fifth-longest winning streak in the nation’s history with 145 consecutive matches won. That record was snapped in 1994 in front of a crowd of 1,100 fans at Sandpoint. That game, played in pre-rally scoring days, went five matches, 9-15, 12-15, 15-11, 15-7, 13-15. The Bulldogs went on to win the A1 state trophy that season.

Perhaps more impressive than the longevity of his success is the speed with which Mr. Santos was able to create a dominant program.

“The first year we weren’t very competitive, but that first group had the desire to be better and wanted to win. They were dedicated and one of the hardest working teams I had,” he said. “They were motivated to play, just didn’t know how to win.”

That changed quickly.

Mr. Santos was hired as a science teacher for St. Maries in 1976. He coached 7th and 8th grade football and served as an assistant high school wrestling coach at the start of his tenure with the district. It wasn’t until 1979 that he took the helm of the volleyball program. Only three seasons later, he won his first state title.

He had a knack for developing players who otherwise might not showcase obvious athletic talents. He credits that piece of his success to the fact that he wasn’t an exceptional athlete growing up.

“In my high school just to make the team was a big deal, so to get my playing time I had to really work for it,” he said. “And I think that background helped me and my coaching, I expected the same thing out of my athletes.”

Mr. Santos participated in football, wrestling, soccer and swim team in high school. Other than playing beach volleyball while studying at San Jose State, he had no experience with the sport.

But he knew how to coach.

“The way I coached it, that program was not for everybody,” he said of his style. “It took me three or four years for the ego thing to settle – it finally reached a little peak – and then it became time to look at the bigger picture, which was getting the girls out of town. I didn’t look at college scholarships as their ticket, but that sports were their vehicle.”

He believed that working toward a goal and achieving success helped change how his athletes approached their life. His goal was to help his players see that there was a bigger world available to them and that they should set their goals accordingly.

And it worked. Most of his athletes are successful businesswomen, teachers and even coaches themselves.

“Each team was different; each had its set of challenges,” he said. “I never took going to state for granted. I tried to treat each trip the same. I was thankful for the support I got from the town.”

Sep
10
0

Boosters Fund Huge Mural

With an annual budget of $20,000, the mission of the St. Maries Lumberjacks Booster Club is to enhance the high school sports program.

“We’re just here to help with the extra stuff the school cannot afford,” President Lynn Masterson said.

The Lumberjack Booster Club officers including Dennis Humphrey Kasey Borgman, Lynn Masterson and Brian McGregor pose with the mural that was painted on the back of the building that houses the concession and announcer stand at the St. Maries High School football field. This is just one project the group has tackled for the 2015-2016 school year. The mural was done by Jeremy Deming and his assistant Scott Lakey of Jerms Design. Other projects the group has tackled this year included buying new uniforms for the volleyball, football and girls basketball teams.

The Lumberjack Booster Club officers including Dennis Humphrey Kasey Borgman, Lynn Masterson and Brian McGregor pose with the mural that was painted on the back of the building that houses the concession and announcer stand at the St. Maries High School football field. This is just one project the group has tackled for the 2015-2016 school year. The mural was done by Jeremy Deming and his assistant Scott Lakey of Jerms Design. Other projects the group has tackled this year included buying new uniforms for the volleyball, football and girls basketball teams.

During the 2014-15 school year, the club continued its tradition of barbecuing at all home football games, helped with the homecoming tailgate party, sponsored senior nights and provided financial support to all the teams that earned a state berth. The club also hosted three sports award nights in conjunction with the high school.

Several other projects included buying a scoreboard for the gym, purchasing wrestling uniforms, new track equipment, new golf uniforms and funding two $500 scholarships to St. Maries athletes. A new iPad was purchased for the softball team to help in training and keeping stats. The club assisted in sending 10 coaches to a clinic in Seattle and paid for the HUDL program, which is used by football and basketball coaches.

“The HUDL program is software that allows coaches to take the film from a game and break it down play by play,” Mrs. Masterson said. “It also allows kids to make highlight films if they are pursuing a college.”

Mrs. Masterson said at the 2014 banquet around $20,000 was also raised to support sports programs for the 2015-16 school year.

“It couldn’t have been done without the generous support of our parents, community members, businesses and coaches and staff of St. Maries High School,” she added.

The club is in the process of updating its member log and seeks new members. Various sponsorship types are available: $25 for family or alumni; $50 for businesses; and $100 for century. Memberships run from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31. The club also needs help with its various activities throughout the year.

“The more volunteers the club has, the more we are able to provide for our high school programs,” Mrs. Masterson said.

Monthly meetings are at 6 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at the St. Maries Fire Station. This year’s Hall of Fame Banquet will be Oct. 16. Those who buy a sponsorship can get advanced tickets to the banquet at a discounted rate of $30 for two tickets, a savings of $10.

Other elected officers for the club include Dennis Humphrey, vice president; Brian McGregor, treasurer; and Kasey Borgmann, secretary.

For more information, or to request a sponsorship form, speak to any officer or call Mrs. Masterson at 568-1802 or email golumberjacks@gmail.com.

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