Sedro-Woolley soccer coach Gary Warman

Sedro-Woolley soccer coach Gary Warman signals to his girls' team with his signature lollypop in his cheek during an Oct. 3 match against Burlington-Edison.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Coaching soccer is in Gary Warman’s DNA.

The 61-year-old Sedro-Woolley High School coach has been stalking, cheering and brooding along the boys’ sidelines — sucker secured in mouth — for the past 20 years.

There will be no 21st as Warman has decided to relinquish the reins of the program.

“Twenty years ago, I resigned from Mount Vernon,” Warman said, “I couldn’t have ended up at a better place. I came to Sedro-Woolley to make a difference. To give this program an identity, to make it competitive through a style of play that was conducive to all involved.

“I’ve been coaching 37 of the past 40 springs. It’s time to take a break.”

There have been plenty of people involved with Warman and the boys’ program over the years.

“Players, assistant coaches, the district, superintendents, athletic directors,” he said. “I have had a lot of great ones over the years. Again, I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.”

His reason for stepping down is to spend more time with his family.

Specifically, his first grandchild, who just so happened to be born during a 2015 boys’ soccer match in which Warman’s team celebrated an overtime victory that propelled it into the state tournament.

“My grandchild was literally born as the ball went into the back of the net,” Warman said. “We scored and my phone started going off. I mean seriously, at that point, who thought Sedro-Woolley would be hosting a district soccer game, let alone winning it in overtime?”

The Cubs had an impressive three-year state run, finishing third in 2013, fourth in 2014 and qualifying in 2015.

“Those back-to-back final four appearances (2013 and 2014) were special,” he said. “They were also tough. We lost both games to go to the finals on penalty kicks. We just couldn’t finish those games. Penalty kicks, not once, but twice. How does that happen?”

Warman’s coaching career spans about 40 years, 30 of which he spent as the girls’ coach at Mount Vernon High School, a position he left in 2013. He became the boys’ coach at Sedro-Woolley in 1999 and the school’s girls’ coach in 2014.

“I never had a boys’ team that won the conference title, but I had teams that beat the top team but lost to the bottom team,” Warman said. “We were always competitive.”

Early on, he had a gritty squad that certainly fit that description.

That team handed top-ranked Squalicum a costly district loss. Warman was so excited about the shocking victory, he offered to take his players to eat anywhere they wanted to go.

They ended up at Hooters. Years later, Warman still gets a chuckle out of that dining experience.

“My teams worked hard and did what was best for queen and country rather that what was best for individuals,” he said. “And thanks goes to all those players.”

Warman will continue to coach the girls’ team.

“I have a lot of great memories,” Warman said of coaching the boys. “I don’t keep track of wins and losses. But what I am proud of is when coaches said games against Woolley were unpredictable. That the program is in much better shape than when I got here and that we did things the right way, putting academics above all else and still we managed to make some noise here.”

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