Hansen goes from Mudcats to Cougars

Marc Hansen got a taste of professional baseball in the summer of 2000, when he worked as pitching coach for the Feather River Mudcats of the Western Baseball League.

“It was a great opportunity,” Hansen said of his stint with the Marysville, Calif.-based independent league team. “The fans went crazy. It was unbelievable. We’d go for lunch during the day and be looking for our bill. Someone would come up and say, ‘Just win tonight, that’s your bill.’ You had to leave big tips because you felt so guilty.”

Unfortunately for Hansen, the gig came to an unexpected end when the Mudcats, despite averaging 3,200 fans, folded during the following winter.

“Bad management,” Hansen said. “I think someone was taking some money under the table.”

Fortunately for Hansen, he’s been afforded what he calls “another great opportunity.”

Hansen, a 1988 Central Kitsap grad, has been hired as the head baseball coach at his alma mater.

Central Kitsap athletic director John Sitton announced on Wednesday, Dec. 26 that the Cougars also had hired Rob Cole to coach boys soccer and Murray Webb to be the school’s first girls golf coach.

Webb’s no stranger to Central’s athletic scene, having coached boys and girls basketball for more than 15 years. He returned to the sidelines this season as an assistant to boys basketball coach Al Gleich.

Central will field a full girls golf team for the first time this spring. Paul Stinson will continue to coach the CK boys golf team.

“Murray’s been a real successful coach and educator and he’ll do a great job,” Sitton said. “He’s a good golfer himself. He knows how to break things down and has great patience. Paul Stinson and Murray will be a nice combination.”

Webb, who’s taught at Central Kitsap since 1975, will build his team around blue-chip senior Carlee Hanson, who’s already signed a national letter of intent to play at Idaho.

“I’m sure she’ll be a leader for us,” Webb said, “but we’ll have to go out and recruit some other girls to go with her. I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be fun.”

Cole, a 34-year-old teacher at PineCrest Elementary School, is a graduate of Shelton High and played three years at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., and has coached at the youth level, as well as being involved with the Western Baptist College program as a goalie and conditioning coach. He also was an instructor with the Southern California Soccer Academy.

Cole replaces Jason Visintainer, who led the Cougars to an Olympic League championship and a spot in the Final Eight of the state 4A tournament last spring before leaving to pursue his masters degree.

“Rob had a real nice interview with the team of parents, student athletes, coaches and administrators,” Sitton said. “We were all very impressed with his experience and knowledge of all the various parts of program building.

“The parents are happy with his approach to the game. He’s going to do things the right way. It’s kind of a generic term, but he’s going to put a real classy program out on the field. Win or lose, it’ll be something to be proud of.”

Cole said it’s been a dream of his to coach at the high school varsity level.

“I want to really encourage guys to take advantage of the fact athletics in general really prepare them to be successful in life with the trials they go through,” said Cole.

Cole said he would encourage players who are gifted to play at the college level, and he would do all he can to help them get there.

It’ll be a transition year for Cole, who said he won’t come in and make wholesale changes.

“We’ll work hard at being successful,” he said. “I’m very competitive. I like to win and having a winning season would at least be a goal of mine. I’d like to carry my team on to a championship just like (Visintainer).”

Hansen, who was a 30th round pick of the Kansas City Royals after playing two years at Olympic College, brings a lot of experience to his first high school head coaching job.

Hansen, 31, was an assistant baseball coach from 1992-98 at Bainbridge and 1999 at Klahowya. He was to be the pitching coach at Aberdeen’s Grays Harbor Community College in 2000 but ended up running the team when the head man had to leave town because of a family medical emergency.

Hansen then found himself in the WBL, coaching against his older brother, Terrel Hansen, who was winding down his long minor-league career with the Yuma, Ariz. Bullfrogs.

Hansen, who works for Fred Hill Materials, replaces Ryan Rongcal at Central. Rongcal’s now an assistant at Olympic College.

“The student athletes are very excited about Marc,” Sitton said. “Marc has a real capability of relating to them. His communication skills came across really well in his interview.”

Hansen’s got a simple message for Central Kitsap’s prospective baseball players.

“I’m going to tell kids this is a great opportunity,” Hansen said. “I don’t know who’s been there and who hasn’t. If you’ve been cut, I don’t care. Everybody’s starting from ground zero. Basically show me what you can do today. I don’t care what you did yesterday.”

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