Guetlin resigns from South Whidbey baseball team

Dave Guetlin has stepped down as the coach of the Falcon baseball team. - Ben Watanabe / Record file
Dave Guetlin has stepped down as the coach of the Falcon baseball team.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / Record file

Dave Guetlin has resigned as head coach of the South Whidbey High School baseball team.

“It was just time,” Guetlin said. “I needed to spend a little more time seeing my sons as they’re going their way and be able to travel a little bit.”

He coached the Falcon baseball program for 11 years since the 2000-2001 school year. He was a high school baseball coach for almost 36 years, in total.

“It was just kind of wear and tear and stress,” Guetlin said. “I think it’s time to move on to a different chapter in my life.”

The past few years had some of the worst records in Guetlin’s tenure. The Falcon baseball team finished the 2011 season 3-13 in Cascade Conference games and

3-15 overall. South Whidbey’s record put it in sixth place, out of seven schools with baseball programs.

“I think the game’s changed, the players changed, and I changed with it,” Guetlin said.

The team’s goal was to improve its 2010 record of 4-13. At 3-15, the Falcons didn’t reach that goal.

“He had a good run,” said Ben Jacobson-Ross, who played second base for the Falcons. “It’s unfortunate that his last season didn’t work out too well. It’s too bad he couldn’t end his career with a better season.”

“I think the school will be sorry to see him go,” Jacobson-Ross added.

South Whidbey won its first game almost a month into the season. The Falcons staved off a one-win season with two wins in the final two games against Coupeville. The Wolves were the only team worse than South Whidbey with a 1-12 conference record and 2-15 overall. In the 2011 season, South Whidbey was outscored 83-58 in 18 games. The Falcons averaged 3.22 runs per game and allowed 4.61 runs per game. They lost 12 games by five runs or more, including five losses by 10 or more runs.

“Nobody likes to lose, but I didn’t get into coaching — I’m not a win-at-all costs type of guy,” Guetlin said.

Jacobson-Ross, one of the Falcons’ three seniors, said Guetlin addressed the team’s pessimistic attitude early in the season. The team wasn’t responsive. Ross took the team to the benches several times and implored his teammates to change.

“In the end, we didn’t really change anything,” said Jacobson-Ross, the team’s player of the year and offensive MVP.

The Falcons did not qualify for the district playoffs. South Whidbey last qualified for the playoffs in 2008, but the Falcons play in the toughest leagues in the state.

The team was too young and inexperienced to be effective in Guetlin’s system, Jacobson-Ross said.

“He definitely had us do things his way,” he said. “We weren’t a very mature team and did things our own way. And it didn’t work out.”

Guetlin said working with the students and teaching baseball to them were the most rewarding experiences in his 11 years.

After a season mired in rain, mud, rainouts, makeups, doubleheaders and losses, Guetlin called it a career.

“He’s a great guy, I’m really going to miss him,” Jacobson-Ross said.

Guetlin officially stepped down on June 10. Despite resigning from South Whidbey, he wasn’t ready to say he would never coach again.

“If somebody asked me if I wanted to help, I’d consider it,” Guetlin said. “I’m just trying to relax and enjoy a stress-free life.”


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