Former Valley standout Matt Bannish takes over Vikings girls basketball

MENLO — Matt Bannish, a former Willapa Valley High School standout who has taught and coached in the school district for more than 20 years, has been named Valley’s head girls basketball coach, athletic director John Peterson reported.

Bannish succeeds Melissa Aust, who resigned recently due to family health concerns.

“While we were very, very sad to lose Melissa, we were glad to have someone of Matt’s caliber (apply),” Peterson said. “He’s obviously a very fine basketball coach.”

An outstanding all-around athlete who was the starting quarterback on Valley’s 1979 state B-11 championship football team, Bannish was a two-time all-state basketball player prior his 1981 graduation.

Bannish later excelled as a guard for Skagit Valley College and Seattle Pacific University. He once owned Seattle Pacific’s school single-season foul-shooting percentage record of 87 percent — a mark that stood for more than 15 years. His career .857 free throw mark ranks fourth on the school’s all-time list.

Following his graduation from SPU, Bannish successfully coached Adna boys basketball for several years, guiding the Pirates to several state berths. He returned to his alma mater as a teacher and junior high coach in 1992.

Bannish was one of Aust’s assistants last season.

Aust succeeded Tom Betrozoff as Willapa Valley’s varsity girls coach in 2009, directing the undersized Vikings to consecutive 12-10 records the past two seasons. Her career record was 41-45.