Friendships keep Skyview coaches together

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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photoJim Gray, Offensive coordinator

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The Skyview assistant coaches all have titles, of course.

Jim Gray is the offensive coordinator. Julian Williams is the defensive coordinator. There are guys in charge of the offensive linemen, the defensive linemen, the quarterbacks and so on.

So officially, yes, there is order. But they treat each other as equals.

“There is no hierarchy on this staff,” Gray said. “Everybody does their job, works hard, and lives and dies for the kids. That’s what drives our coaching and our passion.”

Gray has coordinated an offense that is scoring 42.8 points per game. Williams, meanwhile, has devised a strategy to slow down some of the most powerful offenses in the state in the past few weeks. Combined, they have helped get the Skyview Storm to the Class 4A state championship game.

Friendship also is a driving force for the staff.

“If you have ever thought of going to work with your best friends, that is exactly what I do at Skyview,” Williams said. “They were in my wedding. I was in their weddings. You really couldn’t ask for a better job.”

Head coach Steve Kizer said the relationships makes life easier for all involved.

“The wives are like sisters. When we go on vacation, we go together,” Kizer said. “After games, we all get together, win or lose. I’m like a way older brother.”

Gray has been on Skyview’s staff since 2001, three years before Kizer took over the program. Kizer said he has always been impressed with Gray and there was no way Kizer was going to let Gray go anywhere else. Williams, who played for Kizer at Eastern Washington University, was hired in 2004. Much of the rest of the assistants have been together for years, as well.

Gray noted that most of the coaches could be head coaches elsewhere.

“The reason guys don’t leave is we’re best friends,” Gray said.