Sports

Legends of the pack

While valid arguments are made about who the greatest athletes were to come out of South Kitsap, there is no dispute who owns the title of “Mr. South Kitsap”.

That unofficial title belongs to Maynard “Swede” Lundberg.

From the time he was a spitfire for the South Kitsap (Union) High School’s first football team in 1921 through his joy in seeing the SK football team win its first state championship in 1994, Lundberg epitomized sports in Port Orchard.

The late player, coach, teacher, father and proudest supporter of youth athletics instilled all the values that are good in sports.

Making it to his 90th year, Lundberg never missed an SK football game.

Eric Canton, a former three-sport star at South Kitsap in the mid-1980s, said Lundberg had a profound effect on every football player who had the opportunity to know him.

When legendary football coach Ed Fisher came on board in the late 1970s, Canton said Fisher made sure every player got to know Lundberg.

“That man was unbelievable,” Canton said. “Ed forced us to recognize Maynard and appreciate him. Football was his love.”

Canton said it didn’t take any effort to love the man.

“Maybe he didn’t coach the most successful teams, but he always had an incredible way of staying positive,” Canton said. “He never said a bad word about anybody.”

Dr. Bill Bloomquist, a star athlete at South Kitsap in the 1950s, commented two years ago how Lundberg shaped kids’ lives.

“When many of the kids’ dads were in the war, and when they came back to work one and two jobs, Maynard took a lot of kids under his arm,” Bloomquist said. “He’s the one that taught us how to put our socks on, how to put a jock on, how to tuck in your pants.”

Bloomquist said Lundberg wasn’t historically known as a successful coach record-wise, but he was a coach who was much loved.

“He was their mascot, buddy, father, adopted uncle,” Bloomquist said. “He was a disciplinarian, but he was fair and gave everybody a chance.”

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In a town that is dubbed a “football” town, there is no argument who the most successful football coach is to come out of South Kitsap.

Fisher holds that distinction as the football team’s head man from 1973 to 1996.

Fisher coached SK to 17 straight state playoff appearances before his retirement from coaching in 1996.

The football team’s playoff streak currently stands at 23 straight years.

Fisher, who is vice principal and activities director at Spokane’s North Central High School, was known for keeping the game simple to his players.

“We just lined up in one formation and ran four plays,” Fisher said. “You can have great athletes who have all the skills, but if your players don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to do, then they’ll worry about making a mistake. (The coaching staff) found the best way to do that was to be incredibly simple and focus on the basic fundamentals.”

That idealism has held true with current SK coach D.J. Sigurdson, who took over for Fisher in 1997.

Fisher said there was no way he could have run a successful program without his assistant coaches.

Assistants Lyle Ballew and Steve Reischman were in the trenches with Fisher for his entire tenure at South Kitsap.

Fisher was rewarded for his talent as a football coach by being inducted into the Washington State Coaches Association Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and finished with a 197-48 record in 23 seasons.

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If longevity and success are considered the building blocks of a legend, then South Kitsap baseball coach Elton Goodwin has to be included with the aforementioned.

This is the last spring Goodwin will don SK pinstripes, saying goodbye to a prep coaching career that spans 29 years — the last 27 as SK’s varsity coach.

What doesn’t seem right is Goodwin will retire just short of 500 wins.

As of last Saturday, he currently holds a 473-134 record, but even a run to the state title game wouldn’t give him enough wins.

Still young in his 50s, some say baseball is in his blood too much for him to just quit the game.

Canton said he thinks he’ll take a year off and take over another baseball program and get his 500th win.

But it’s hard to imagine someone else filling the third-base coach’s box.

While the younger coaches in baseball have taken a more laid back approach, Goodwin is as intense as they get.

His energy rubs off on his players during games, but it is his drive to prepare his players at practice that has led SK to win two state championships (1983, 1996).

At practice it’s all about fundamentals.

The drills are separated into stations and each player goes through these drills religiously.

Not all players, or parents for that matter, agreed or agree with Goodwin’s philosophy.

He’s been know to be too abrasive when mistakes are made. But Goodwin is also congratulatory when plays are made.

His passion for the game goes unnoticed, and there’s no argument he has gotten the best out of his players.

That’s all he has ever wanted.

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South Kitsap will soon say goodbye to another coaching legend.

Wrestling coach Ron Hudiburg is eligible to retire after next season.

While nothing would be more fitting than having the Wolves send him off with a team state title next year, Hudiburg’s teams will be forever linked to a streak that never seems to die.

But he has come close to a state title.

The 1995 team came closest to a title, with a second place finish. The team finished third the following year.

Hudiburg’s greatness won’t be defined by a lack of a state title, though.

A team can win a state title based on the performance of a few, whereas, the season leading up to the post-season is all about the team.

Dual meets are what take up the largest chunk of the wrestling season.

If the state every held a dual-meet state tournament, the Wolves would be contenders every year.

Hudiburg has tasted success at the state level, having crowned five champions to go along with 51 state placers.

He’s also had 62 sub-regional champions, 21 regional champions, and 11 academic state champions.

But his success will be forever defined by the consistency and preparedness his teams exuded annually.

That is what has led to SK’s current winning streak in the Narrows League.

Since 1992 the Wolves have won 105 consecutive league matches, and the streak isn’t showing any signs of ending in the near future.

Since his first year at SK in 1985, Hudiburg’s teams have a 143-12-2 dual-meet record in the Narrows League and a 193-34-2 overall record.

His overall coaching record (eight years previously at Port Angeles) is 253-65-3.

During his tenure at South Kitsap, Hudiburg’s Wolves have won 13 sub-regional tournaments, four regional tournaments, and four teams have placed in the top six at state.

It’s not a question of if he will be inducted into the Washington State Coaches Association Wrestling Hall of Fame, it’s a matter of when.

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