Fisher’s thoughts never far from SK

Former South Kitsap football coach Ed Fisher on the putting green last week in the golf tournament that bears his and Benji Olson’s name. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Former South Kitsap football coach Ed Fisher on the putting green last week in the golf tournament that bears his and Benji Olson’s name.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

Hall of Fame football coach comes home for charity golf tournament

Ed Fisher and his family packed up their belongings and left Port Orchard for Spokane more than 11 years ago.

But he never has forgotten the community where he became a Hall of Fame football coach at South Kitsap High School.

Fisher, 59, returned to the West Sound for the annual Benji Olson/Ed Fisher Scholarships Golf Classic on Saturday at Trophy Lake Golf & Casting. Proceeds from the tournament are donated toward a college scholarship for a South football player.

Fisher, who isn’t involved in the selection process, said the scholarship is based on a player’s work ethic and dedication to the program and his teammates.

“I was so blessed to be able to have a job here,” said Fisher, who guided the Wolves to their only state championship in 1994. “With the great people in this community, I feel indebted forever and I’m glad to be able to give back some money so some kids can go to school.”

Fisher, who guided South to a 196-49 record from 1974-96, also was excited to reunite with former players who range from their late 20s to early 50s, their families and the current Wolves’ coaching staff, which had several participants.

Both of Fisher’s sons, Adam and Casey, also were present. Adam Fisher, who played from 1991 to ’93 at South, has been the coach at East Valley High School in Spokane since 2000. He has guided the Knights to two state playoff appearances during his tenure.

His father is an assistant on his staff and serves as executive director for National Athletic Reconditioners Association.

Fisher said he is responsible for reconditioning football helmets for about 1.7 million players from the NFL to peewee leagues.

“I spend a fair amount of time in a plane and going to visit people,” said Fisher, who named Florida, Hawaii and Maine as destinations.

Fisher’s role at East Valley will expand this year. At South, he coached offensive linemen Andrew Peterson, Tony Coats and Olson, who signed with the University of Washington in the 1990s, and will coach that position along with linebackers this fall.

“I’ve always loved kids,” he said. “I think our youth is obviously our country’s greatest natural resource. The more that we can do for them, the better off we’re going to be.”

His residence and roles prevent Fisher from watching South, but he remains close with coach D.J. Sigurdson, who took over in 1997.

“I’m very in tune with what’s going on at South Kitsap,” Fisher said. “I’m very proud of what he’s been able to do.”

The golf tournament started because of a former player’s pride in the program. Brett Ballew, a 1988 South graduate, wanted to honor Fisher, and decided to start a scholarship in his name.

“I felt very honored,” Fisher said. “I said, ‘If it makes it for 10 years and they still haven’t forgot about me, I’m going to do everything I can to help out.’”

He asked Olson and Seattle Mariners utility player Willie Bloomquist, who quarterbacked the 1994 team, to help out and they supplied autographs and other memorabilia.

Olson, who retired after 10 seasons with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans after last season, flew out to participate.

“Just to get back and see the kids is good for me,” he said. “It’s fabulous for me.”

Fisher graduated from Shadle Park High School in Spokane and played at Eastern Washington University. And even though he lives there now, it’s clear where home is.

“This is where our family was grown,” he said. “This is home right here.”

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