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12/5/2012 2:30:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Photo by Kacie Thrift
Cashmere Head Baseball Coach Jeff Carlson was named the Washington State Coaches Association Coach of the Year for the small school classification 1B, 2B, 1A and 2A.He traveled to Safeco Field on Nov. 17 to take part in the Hall of Fame Luncheon.
CHS Baseball Coach Carlson wins 'Coach of the Year' award
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer

Coming off a state championship, Cashmere Head Baseball Coach Jeff Carlson received the Dave Johnson Coach of the Year award from the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association on Nov. 17 at Safeco Field in Seattle.

"I didn't know anything about this award until the president of the Coaches Association called and said we want to honor you," Carlson said. "This is coming off the success from last year. It was a special year and everything has seemed to line up perfectly."

Carlson, a fifth grade teacher at Cashmere Middle School, has been coaching high school baseball, seventh grade boys basketball, and seventh grade football for the past five years. In that time, he has twice led the baseball team to state titles.

The award was presented to Carlson by the man who the award is named after, Dave Johnson. Johnson has been a friend and mentor to Carlson for quite some time. The two met when Carlson was playing sports for Chelan and his cousin was playing baseball in Ephrata for Coach Johnson.

When Carlson received the coaching and teaching job at Cashmere five years ago, he called up Johnson and asked if he could work for Johnson's summer camp. Over the years, Carlson has picked Johnson's brain to implement Johnson's strategies, philosophy, and tactic to his own program.

Carlson said his coaching style is not about winning games but building relationships with the students and helping them build character.

"I just really enjoy that connection outside of the classroom and getting to know them that way," he said. "They are there voluntarily. Sometimes kids feel like they are forced to be in the classroom, but on the field, you feel like you can connect with them on a different level. You can have a higher standard."

Growing up playing sports, Carlson gained great experiences and learned things about life and the game from coaches he wants to pass on to his athletes. To some, it is obvious the benefits students and athletes receive from Carlson, but he said he learns just as much from them. He said coaching has taught him how to deal with people in different situations. Throughout the years, he has learned through an ongoing process what it means to be a successful coach.

Carlson said he has his athletes and staff to thank for being named Baseball Coach of the Year in Washington state for small schools (1B, 2B, 1A, and 2A).

"You don't win any awards if you don't have the kids to do it out on the field. We have a real good attention to detail and what we do I think we work harder than anyone else our kids invest a lot of time in the summer where as some of the other teams in our league don't have summer programs," Carlson said. "I think hard work on our kids part and on our staff part we have been able to put together a program the kids, school, and community are proud of and we are continuing to get momentum."

The coaching style Carlson favors is preaching the fundamentals and always holding the athletes to a high standard. He said the coaches in his program try to be very disciplined but also focus on building relationships and trying to connect with the athletes. Carlson said, because each kid is different, he tries to figure out what makes them tick and find ways to motivate each athlete.

Carlson's plan wasn't always to be a coach but eventually it happened. After graduating from Chelan High School, he went to Wenatchee Valley College where he received his Associates of Arts degree while playing basketball and baseball. He then went to University of Puget Sound in Tacoma to play basketball for two more years. After spending some time working in sales, he decided to move back to Wenatchee and earn his teaching certificate through Central Washington University while assistant coaching for the WVC men's basketball team.

A little over five years ago, the teaching and coaching position opened up in Cashmere and everything fell in place for Carlson. He said he has greatly enjoyed the last five years as a coach and teacher.

Carlson is married to Megan Carlson, Cashmere Middle School eighth grade teacher, and they have two kids Mac and Ryder. Carlson said he has the perfect coaches wife. Megan is a great supporter of the team and the two have managed to work out a home life while dealing with Carlson's busy coaching schedule.

"I really just take coaching year by year. You never know what is going to happen but I thoroughly enjoy it right now," Carlson said. "We really like Cashmere. It's a great community to be a teacher and a coach and we have great support from the community. We really like it here."

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 782-3781 or

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