EHS Hall of Fame

Former Ellensburg High School girls basketball coach Craig Faire, in this undated photo, will be inducted in the Ellensburg High School Hall of Fame this fall.

After Craig Faire was notified he would have an interview with the Daily Record because of his induction into the Ellensburg High School Hall of Fame (HOF), he decided to pull out an enshrined photo album — 19 years-worth of photos of the girls basketball teams he coached at the varsity level at EHS.

Between him and his wife, Raelynn, they were able to name each girl — except for one. Faire couldn’t figure out who this former player was.

“God, who is this girl?” Faire asked Raelynn.

“That’s your daughter,” she responded.

“We got a big chuckle out of that,” Faire laughed.

After putting in 19 successful seasons at EHS, athletic director Cole Kanyer and the committee are returning the favor. This Sept. 21, Faire, along with five athletes, a team and a local fan will be inducted into the schools HOF.

Faire, the most successful girls basketball coach in school history, will also join two of his former players in the 2019 class (Kayla Standish and Erin Schnebly).

Faire accumulated 304 wins, 10 appearances to the state tournament, and seven state trophies. The Bulldog’s best finish was in 2008, falling by one point in the championship game to River Ridge High School for second place.

“He had such a run of successful seasons. In terms of his record, it was a pretty easy decision,” Kanyer said. “But also, there are a lot of people both on our committee and people who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame that were products of Craig Faire’s basketball system.”

Faire was quick to laud the great coaches and athletes who have gone through EHS in all athletics — and hopeful they, too, will be entered into the HOF in the years to come.

“It’s was an honor to get selected for the coach for this year’s class,” Faire said.

COACHING SUCCESS

The goal for Faire when he took the head coach job at EHS in 1991 was one thing — to build a program. And as expected, it took a few years to implement it.

While there was just one season where Ellensburg didn’t make it to the league playoffs in those 19 seasons, the last eight of them is when the Bulldogs were dominant, qualifying for state and placing in the final five of them.

A culture was created by Faire and his staff that carried over to his assistant Keri Fahey who took the head job after Faire’s resignation in 2010.

“I look back on the years, the Cle Elum’s, all these teams who had runs and had real successful seasons year after year after year — they had a system,” Faire said. “ … It took time to build that program, and have the kids get the confidence, buy into it, work hard, and go from there.”

One of Faire’s most important philosophies that were bequeathed from one team to the next — the importance of your teammate, and you were only as successful as the person next to you.

And he made sure basketball wasn’t the most important aspect of their lives. Family, religion, school — and then basketball.

“He had systems. And the only way the systems would work is if every piece of the system was functioning, which we as the players were all the pieces,” said former player Jackie Nethery (now Bergman) who graduated in 2006. “If we were all functioning properly, we were functioning as a system. We were a team.”

LEAVING EHS

Faire didn’t know the 2010 season would be his last. When the EHS girls team was on the road to a district playoff game, he received a call from his son Brody, who at the time was a junior shot putter at Eastern Washington University. Brody called to tell his dad that he placed in the Top 3 in his event at the Big Sky Conference Championship. At that moment Faire realized he didn’t want to miss out anymore.

But there were other factors, as well. He was a teacher at Kittitas Secondary School, and since it was on a trimester schedule, finals always overlapped with the state basketball tournament which made it challenging.

His two daughters were also married and he wanted to have more opportunities to spend time with them and his grandkids.

“I always said, both teaching and coaching, you got to be able to give 100 percent,” Faire said. “If you can’t, then you need to get out because you’re not going to do the kids any good, or yourself any good.”

He made everlasting memories in his 19 years with the teams under his helm. Standish (now Steindl), reminisced on one of her favorite moments.

On the bus coming back from a road trip during her sophomore year, both the boys and girls team rode together but were not allowed to sit with each other. Steindl sat with one of the boys, and the girls’ team paid the price.

“Monday at practice, coach Faire called us in and asked us if we broke the rules on the bus,” Steindl said. “I didn’t want to admit it, but obviously I was the only one, so I had to raise my hand. He pulled out a chair for me to sit on, and the rest of the group had to run lines.

“That always, always stuck in my mind. … I think he really instilled what a good teammate is. I wasn’t just detrimental to myself, I was detrimental to the whole team. Yeah, that sucked.”

Added Bergman: “I said we’re going to die that day, and I wanted to kill her on top of it.”

Bergman’s most memorable experience?

“One of my favorites that I still think about, is he would always come into the locker room either at half time or the end of the game, and he would have to close a locker or move a bag or something (before he spoke to the team),” she said. “So, one time at the end of the game — thankfully we won the game so we weren’t going to have a bad talking to — we decided that we were going to play a prank on him and open all the lockers and move all the bags in his way. He had about 15 lockers to close and 15 sets of bags that he needed to move around. Thankfully he laughed at it, so it was comical.”

TODAY

Faire spent 35 years teaching at Kittitas before moving over to Mount Vernon in 2014 to teach at the high school. He and Raelynn wanted to get over to the West Side to be closer to their three kids and six grandkids.

Now he’s got all the time in the world, recently retiring from teaching altogether. It hasn’t hit him yet since he’s used to having summer off.

“I think it will hit me probably this fall when teachers start going back to school and you start seeing the school buses and everything else,” he said. “I think it will be a little bit different.”

He still keeps tabs on EHS girls basketball.

“I was really pleased after when Keri decided to step down that somebody like Jeff (Whitney) was able to take over and got some of the same types of philosophies with the defense and stuff that we had to continue the program.

“We put Ellensburg girls basketball on the map, and I think it’s in good hands and they’re still successful and they still play hard. And that’s what you want to see.”

Comments

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.