After seeing five head coaches come and go over the past seven seasons, student athletes, parents, fans and school administrators hope the latest hire to head Mountlake Terrace Hawks’ girls basketball will provide some much-needed stability and fervor.
Nick Sherrill, picked earlier this month to lead the Lady Hawks, knows it’s going to take plenty of work and heart to resuscitate the ailing program at Terrace.
“They’ve got to be able to trust someone, so I’m trying to build their trust and just show that I’m there for them,” Sherrill said.
The 2009 Edmonds-Woodway graduate takes over a Terrace girls basketball program that saw its varsity coach let go midway through last season and the subsequent interim coach decide not to continue in the position this coming year.
Sherrill is wasting no time jumping into the job, leading a couple dozen players through spring practices and tournaments with what he hopes is a new attitude for Terrace girls basketball.
“(I’m) just trying to be in the gym and be energetic for them and get them going,” Sherrill said.
WIAA rules allow for a limited number of coach-led practices and tournament appearances for high school basketball teams in June; Sherrill has worked on getting as much court time for his players as he can, including appearances in summer tournaments throughout the month of June.
Playing time in game conditions is crucial for this current crop of Terrace players, Sherrill said, as the team will try to turnaround a dismal recent past — a combined regular season record of 13-89 over the past five years.
“They’ve never learned how to win,” Sherrill explained, “… but we all just changed the program. Let them come into the gym and let everything else go that’s going on outside. (Let this) just be a sanctuary for them. So just get in here, get better and learn. My thing is get better every day and learn something every day.”
Sherrill also pushes players to have a positive outward attitude. “Today what I’m really big on is the three E’s: energy, effort, enthusiasm; that’s three things you can always control no matter what’s going on with you,” he said. “Now maybe sometimes you don’t have energy, but the enthusiasm can be there and the effort’s going to show.”
Though still under age 30, Sherrill already has a long history of coaching youth basketball in the area. After high school he started coaching various high school feeder teams (fourth- through eighth-graders) and has also been involved with local AAU and private development programs, including Rain City Basketball and NW Basketball Academy.
In addition to his youth coaching, Sherrill spent the past few high school seasons serving as an assistant coach under Robert Brown, Edmonds-Woodway Warriors’ boys basketball coach.
“Nick is going to be great; I’m so sorry I lost him,” Brown said.
Brown gave a glowing endorsement to Terrace’s decision to hire Sherrill for the Hawks girls basketball top job. “He loves to coach,” Brown said. “The kids are getting not just an X’s-and-O’s coach, but a really great skill-builder — that’s what he did for me. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Brown, knowing the importance of getting some consistency into the Terrace girls basketball program, feels Sherrill will serve the school well. “Nick is dedicated. He’s going to be in the area; he’s not going anywhere,” Brown said.
While concentrating on practices and summer tournaments this month, Sherrill said he will soon turn his attention to gaining support for the overall Hawks’ girls basketball program. He wants to see the Terrace feeder program grow stronger and pride in the girls’ basketball teams build among students, staff and alumni of Mountlake Terrace High School.
“It takes a village,” Sherrill concluded. “It takes the community coming out and helping, the parents, the teachers, the new AD (MTHS Athletic Director Sharalee Burr), it takes everyone jumping on board and helping.”
— By Doug Petrowski