Back row (l-r): Tyler Jensen

Orcas basketball: Viking boys taking care of business

The new boys’ coach is an old hand at coaxing Orcas athletes into shape.

Dan Drake has worked as an Orcas Elementary School PE teacher since he and his son Chase, now a junior, moved to the island from Bellingham 13 years ago.

“It’s just pure excitement, the anticipation of the coming season,” Dan said.

As middle school boys basketball coach for the past three years, he’s already coached some of this team’s freshmen.

About a third of the team has never played before.

“They’re really energetic and have great ambition,” he said. “What we’re going to try to do it harness that, teach some basics and try to grow from there.”

Dan said his focus will be on helping the team and players set goals for themselves  – not just to win, but to build character through wins and losses, and to push themselves to become better basketball players.

Bobby Curtis will continue assistant coaching this year. Dan said he’s a great motivator for the kids.

Orcas Schools’ athletic director Sandi Harris said, “Dan has been coaching at the middle school level for a few years and we are excited to have him move up to the high school level. His knowledge of the game along with his connection with the school and Orcas Island kids are a great combination for a great season.”

It’s already clear that Dan knows his priorities.

“I tell the kids: Family’s first, school’s second, and basketball’s third,” he said. “We take care of business, then we play basketball.”