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Mark Morris coach Bill Bakamus sees 41-year coaching career end

Monarchs fall 51-47 to Bremerton as coach retires after 32 years at helm

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: February 28, 2024, 7:16pm

Bill Bakamus knew his 41-year coaching career would end this week in Yakima.

But the face of Mark Morris boys basketball for the past 32 years wasn’t ready for that to happen Wednesday.

The 2A Greater St. Helens League champion Monarchs fell 51-47 in the round of 12 to Bremerton at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

Ahead for much of the game, No. 6 seed Mark Morris was held to six points in the fourth quarter by a No. 11 seed Bermerton team that scored the game’s last 10 points.

Brayden Olson scored 26 points, capping his career as the leading scorer in Mark Morris history.

One program record that’s unlikely to be touched is that of Bakamus. The Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame member finishes with a career record of 692-307.

“You always live in the moment and the moment right now is sad,” Bakamus said. “We wanted to continue on in the tournament and try to win the tournament. But the reality is this wasn’t one of our better performances.”

Since he replaced Dave Denny in the summer of 1992, Bakamus earned 27 league titles in 32 seasons and 13 state tournament trophies, including a runner-up finish last year.

“I’m just grateful for anybody and everybody who has been involved in our program,” Bakamus said. “My staff is so awesome. The administration is so supportive. The kids are fantastic. There was never an issue with parents. It’s the perfect place to coach high school basketball.”

Whoever follows in Bakamus’ footsteps will have high standards to meet.

“I’m leaving the program in a good spot,” Bakamus said. “The uniforms will be inventoried. The scorebooks will be in chronological order. There’ll be money in the coffers. The history will be in the top file cabinet.”