High school sports broadcaster, booster chosen as Grand Marshal of 2019 Tour de Terrace Parade
It’s hard to find anyone who gets more joy from promoting local high school sports and student athletes than Mountlake Terrace High School alumnus and broadcaster Steve Willits. Citing his work on behalf of his community, organizers of the annual Tour de Terrace parade have selected Willits as this year’s parade grand marshal.
Willits was “an obvious choice because of the amazing person he is and how he shares that with the community and beyond,” said Tour de Terrace’s Tisa Smith. “Steve’s personality is so magnetic and he’s amazing at what he does.”
Now living in Brier, Willits is a Mountlake Terrace native who grew up on 56th Avenue West, “just a few blocks north of the parade route,” he noted. He attended the former House At Pooh Corner Preschool on 228th, then Mountlake Terrace Elementary, Brier Terrace Middle and Mountlake Terrace High, where he graduated in 1991.
Known for his efforts to both mentor student sports broadcasters and recognize student athletes, since 2012 Willits has done play-by-play announcing of MTHS sports with the Hawk Broadcasting Network/Sound Live Sports Network. He has served since 2015 as co-host of the “This Week in High School Sports” YouTube broadcast — produced by the My Neighborhood News Network and appearing on MLTnews — which showcases Edmonds School District athletes, teams and coaches. During the school year, Willits can also be heard on the radio every Thursday night, where he is the co-host of the “Prep Sports Weekly” show which airs on 1380 KRKO in Everett and showcases high school sports throughout Snohomish County. He also hosts a high school sports podcast that can be found on the KRKO website.
In addition, for the past two years Willits has served as master of ceremonies for the Edmonds School District Scholar-Athlete and Coach/Community Recognition Banquet and for five years has emceed the MTHS Sports Booster Club Building Bridges Gala and Dinner Auction. And for seven years he has served as emcee of the Mountlake Terrace High School Jam Session Basketball Event.
He has also volunteered at numerous other MTHS functions, such as Grad Night Parties and fundraisers.
“This is not my first Tour de Terrace,” Willits said, adding that he marched in the Tour de Terrace parade as the Mariner Moose back in the late 1990s and also appeared in the parade as the MTHS play by play announcer in 2013 and 2014. “I’ve participated in the Tour de Terrace Parade in the past but never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to be asked to be the Grand Marshal.” Willits also talked about one Tour de Terrace parade that he went to specifically to observe the Grand Marshal. “I attended the parade in 2012 to support the Grand Marshal who happened to be my former high school basketball coach and friend Nalin Sood. I remember stepping out in front of the crowd to take Nalin’s picture as the parade car drove by, I was excited for him to have that moment, I was beaming with pride. I love this community and to see one of our own representing us as the Grand Marshal that year made my evening.”
Willits then commented on what this honor means to him. “I’m still wondering if they didn’t call the wrong number when I answered the phone as I’m convinced that there are other people out there more worthy of this honor,” he said. “However, I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone else who will treasure this moment as much as I will. It is a privilege that means the world to me.”
A long-time sports enthusiast who graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a communications degree, Willits worked for the Seattle Supersonics starting at the age of 13 in 1987 and was their Promotions Crew Manager from 1990 until the organization relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008. Other professional sports organizations that Willits has worked for in the past include: the Seattle Storm, Seattle SeaDogs, Tacoma Stars, Washington Stealth and Evergreen Speedway in Monroe. Willits has also spent time working in the corporate world and as an educator.
In addition, for the past eight years Willits has attended the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, where he has served as a stage manager/announcer at the Final Four Fan Fest. And he is currently the on-field emcee for the Everett Aquasox baseball team and stage manager/on-field emcee for the Major League Rugby Seattle Seawolves.
Grand Marshal Willits will be riding in a 1930 Model A Roaster named Tootsie, owned by Dave and Bonnie Mercer. The Tour de Terrace Parade begins at 6:45 p.m. Friday, July 26. You can learn more at tourdeterrace.org.