New coaches named at Wishkah

WISHKAH — Mike Mitchell and Katherine Carlisle have been named the varsity football and girls basketball coaches, respectively, at Wishkah High School.

Mitchell succeeds Brad Taylor Sr., who retired last winter, as Wishkah’s football coach. Carlisle replaces former head girls basketball coach Crystal Lawton, who is relocating to Wyoming with her family.

A 1991 Aberdeen High School graduate, Mitchell has never previously coached at the high school level. The Wishkah Valley resident, however, has coached Pop Warner football and Babe Ruth baseball and softball in Aberdeen. He works for the State Department of Transportation.

“There’s a good group of kids (at Wishkah) and Coach Taylor had a good program going,” Mitchell said. “I just want to keep it going.”

The 51-year-old Mitchell will specialize in defense and will be assisted by Eric Gariner, who will direct the offense and line. He said he plans few stylistic changes at Wishkah, which is coming off a succession of winning seasons.

“I’m just going to stay with the same rough-and-tumble Wishkah football, hard and fast,” he said.

Gardiner was a member of two Hazen High School teams that made the state semifinals in the early 1990s. He has also been an Aberdeen Youth Football coach. Two of his sons, Keigan and Jacob, will play for the Loggers next fall.

Carlisle has been a Wishkah girls basketball assistant for the past few years. A starting point guard for the Loggerettes prior to her 2004 graduation, she later played at Grays Harbor College and Chaminade University in Hawaii. She works as a financial planner in Montesano.

The 27-year-old Carlisle grew up watching some of Wishkah’s powerhouse girls basketball teams in the mid-1990s and said she hopes to eventually restore both the player commitment and community support that were evident in those years. She also sees basketball participation as providing life lessons.

“I hope the girls will see (basketball) as not something that will keep them busy but something they look forward to and something they can take something from,” she said.

She plans to have high school players take a more active role in the junior high and elementary school programs, either through occasional scrimmages or by offering instruction.