Chuck Stark appointed Interim Softball Head Coach for Edmonds
LYNNWOOD -- Chuck Stark has been appointed as interim head coach of the softball program at Edmonds Community College. Stark takes over for Sheryl Gilmore, who was tabbed as the new head softball coach at Western Washington University last week.
Stark, who is retired, comes to Edmonds after coaching five years at Olympic College. He assisted at OC from 2013-15 and was the head coach in 2016 and 2017. In his five years there, the Rangers qualified for the NWAC playoffs four times. He played men’s fastpitch as a catcher and third baseman for 22 years at a high level, serving as player-coach for several years for teams that competed at the regional and national levels. In 2000, Stark was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame for his softball exploits. He earned numerous all-tournament honors and was an ASA All-American in 1992 when he helped Bremerton’s Pop’s Inn to a third place finish at the 64-team national tournament.
While at Olympic, he helped many players move on to four-year schools, including Bethany Balucan-Batangan (Central Washington University), Greta Coleman (Bloomfield College), Mariah Frazier (Bloomfield College), Alyssa Espiritu (Concordia University Portland), Samantha Gorman (Central Washington University), and Kelsey Lucostic (University of Montana). Stark also coached youth baseball for over a decade and has high school baseball coaching experience. He prepped at West Bremerton High School where he was a three-sport athlete. Stark played baseball and basketball at Olympic College in 1972, and baseball in 1975. His college years were interrupted by a three-year stint in the Army.
“In our current situation with Coach Gilmore being hired so late in the summer, it became obvious that Chuck was the best fit to stabilize the program and allow us to accomplish our long-term objective of hiring an outstanding head coach for the future. His success and experience -- especially in the NWAC – will help to make this transition period seamless for the players. It will also allow us to conduct the proper search for our next head coach. With these types of decisions, what’s best for our student-athletes is paramount,” athletic director Spencer Stark said. “It’s no secret that a majority of the 2019 team hails from Hawaii, and Stark’s past experience with coaching players from out of the area, including Hawaii, will be positive for this team and its transition.”
Gilmore moved on after four years at the helm for the Tritons. She guided the team to its first North Region title since 1999 this past spring. Edmonds took 3rd place at the NWAC Tournament in 2018 and went 106-60 under Gilmore’s leadership. A former Triton player, Gilmore helped the program ascend into the upper echelon of NWAC teams. Gilmore also served as the women’s commissioner for athletics.
“I am so thankful to Sheryl for developing our softball student-athletes. We appreciate everything she’s done here at Edmonds and can’t wait to watch her do great things at Western. It’s a very exciting opportunity for her to return to her alma mater,” said Stark.
Gilmore will officially start her new position on September 1 in Bellingham. The Vikings are members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) and participate at the NCAA DII level. Gilmore returns to her former home where she taught upper division kinesiology classes and helped with strength and conditioning for the softball team in her previous time there. “I can’t thank Edmonds enough for the opportunity they gave me to lead the program the past four years. They supported me, my staff, and our players every single day. I’m grateful to all the players for everything they have given me and taught me these last four years. They are the reason I coach and they created the greatest thing I have ever been a part of. I am confident the ladies that currently make up Team 41 are in the best hands, and I will be here every step of the way during this transition period,” said Gilmore.
Gilmore coached against Stark while he was at Olympic and is very familiar with his coaching style. “Chuck is an amazing coach and an even better person. He’s a positive leader, knows the game, and is consistent. I really think he’s the perfect fit to take over right now. I am happy to know these ladies will be in good hands,” Gilmore added.
“Sheryl elevated Edmonds softball to new heights in a short amount of time, and I’m honored to be part of it while the college searches for the next leader of the program,” Stark said. “It’s a championship caliber program and I’ll do all I can to keep it that way during this transition period. I’m very excited about the coming season. Softball’s a fun game. We’ll work hard, keep it simple, and have fun. If we can channel Sheryl’s leadership and spirit, we’re all going to have a good time.”
Ex-Triton Arista Honey (’14) will join the program as a part-time assistant this season. Honey went on to play at NCAA DII Dixie State University and is currently coaching and training youth softball players in the area. More assistants will be added in the coming weeks.
The Tritons return eight playoff-tested sophomores, and have 11 incoming freshmen. Edmonds begins fall ball on September 4 and will play in the NWAC Fall Classic on September 22 at Portland’s Delta Park. More fall ball games will be added. The revamped NWAC softball showcase will take place at Centralia’s Northwest Sports Hub on October 20.