Krug's only season as SK mentor a magical one

Michael Krug, who coached both the boys and girls soccer teams at South Kitsap this season, won a state title in what will be his only season at the high school level. - File photo
Michael Krug, who coached both the boys and girls soccer teams at South Kitsap this season, won a state title in what will be his only season at the high school level.
— image credit: File photo

Michael Krug approached the regular season with a cavalier attitude.

Winning was nice, but nothing really mattered until the postseason. Or, more specifically, until South Kitsap’s boys soccer team won a state championship.

The Wolves accomplished that with a 2-1 win May 30 against Pasco at Lakewood’s Harry E. Lang Stadium.

South became the first boys soccer program in Kitsap County to win a state champion and Krug is only the second coach at the school to win a title in his first year. Ty Stephens also accomplished that feat in boys basketball in 1950.

For those reasons, along with him guiding the Wolves’ girls soccer team to their first state-playoff appearance during the fall since 2005, Krug is the Port Orchard Independent’s coach of the year.

“All I did was implement style of play,” Krug said. “Every position has roles and responsibilities. I explained that to the players and it all worked out.”

Justin Moore, who also played for Krug’s Westsound FC ’90 club team, said his coach deserves more credit than that.

“He prepared us well,” he said. “Technically and physically, we worked on everything. We were prepared for what we had to do.”

The Wolves, who finished with a 15-3-1 record, always seemed to respond well to adversity. They lost by one goal each against Bellarmine Prep and Stadium — two teams that finished ahead of South in the Narrows League — and also tied Lincoln, which won only one league match, during the regular season.

“Everyone is going to get to the tournament with the way the Narrows League is,” Krug said. “You have to have adversity and you have to be able to learn from it. At times, they need to refocus and sacrifice.”

But after a 2-1 setback May 9 against Bellarmine Prep in the league playoffs, the Wolves never lost again. Three of their next five victories came in shootouts, including the semifinal against Marysville-Pilchuck. They converted 13 of 14 kicks in those contests.

South didn’t need overtime to beat Pasco, which was undefeated and ranked second in one national poll entering the match. It was the sixth consecutive match decided by no more than one goal.

Moore said the team felt comfortable in those situations because Krug sought out just about every player to work on penalty kicks during practice and focused on the technical aspects of shootouts.

Krug, who works as an engineer out of Fox Island, won’t coach either the boys or girls teams at South next year. As much as he would like to continue, he said his career and club soccer commitments are more than enough work.

“I’ve got to take a break,” Krug said. “Pull back a little bit.”

He also said the lack of lit fields in Port Orchard played a role in his decision. Krug, who said he often started work at 5:30 a.m. and had 7 p.m. soccer practices, felt the entire team — not just varsity — should be able to train together.

But Krug said he was thankful that athletic director Ed Santos gave him the opportunity to coach both programs and he would consider a return to South in the future.

His performance might have been just as impressive with the girls program, which graduated a dozen players from a team that finished one win away from state in 2007.

He credited the mentality of the returning players, who he said compensated for a lack of experience and talent with effort.

“These girls would run through a wall for me,” he said.

Krug jokes that the price for success on the boys side was much higher. He received a speeding ticket after returning to Port Orchard.

“I guess I should’ve put the trophy in the backseat,” Krug said. “If every championship costs me $150, I’ll buy three or four more before I’m done.”

For now, he’ll happily accept this trophy.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the players,” said Krug, who played for South in 1987 before his family moved to Portland. “It’s a real honor.”

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