Coach Davis to retire

Gymnastics coach Colleen Davis looks on as Lily Hatzenbeler vaults from the vault table.

Gymnastics coach Colleen Davis looks on as Lily Hatzenbeler vaults from the vault table.

Colleen Davis’ 37-year career as a gymnastics coach came to an end on February 19th at the Tacoma Dome, as junior gymnast Lily Hatzenbeler competed in vault. After all those years as a coach, and 22 years as a gym teacher, Davis has decided to retire.
Davis’ legacy at Hale, the Metro League, and the lives of many young students, will continue.
In the words of athletic director Darby Haskins, “She’s been a pillar in our league. You don’t just replace a Colleen Davis.”
Davis makes friends wherever she goes. Her connections all around the Metro League, are a testament to her all-around friendly personality.
Her impact on the Nathan Hale community was all the more visible during her interview, when time after time she talked to students as they passed by or stopped to speak with her.
While she’s coaching, Davis’ friendly and vibrant personality shines through.
“She comes to practice every day with a smile on her face and she’s always excited to coach us,” senior gymnast Muirenn James said.
Inclusiveness is very important to Davis as a coach. Ever since her first full-time teaching position as a special education teacher she has tried to create an inclusive atmosphere.
“She definitely leaves a team that’s very inclusive and wants a lot of people to compete no matter their level,” Hatzenbeler said.
“Getting through high school can be tough and when you’re involved in something that you can enjoy and you meet other people that enjoy it, it helps you get through school,” Davis said.This is one of the most important messages she wants to instill in her students.
Even with retirement in her immediate horizon and great success as a coach, she still tries to consistently improve in her coaching skills. She regularly attends clinics where she learns new drills and communication methods. Along with the values that defined her coaching and teaching styles, Davis has a history of team and personal success. Her list of accolades include multiple team Metro championships and countless gymnasts competing in state.
And these are just the team successes. Davis has also received awards recognizing her achievements as a coach, highlighted by her 2007 induction into the Washington State Gymnastics Coaching Hall of Fame and being named coach of the year in 2012 and 2016 by the same organization.
“I’m not retiring because I don’t enjoy what I do–I still enjoy what I do. I still enjoy coaching, I still enjoy teaching, and kids still make me laugh everyday. There are just other things I want to be doing and I have a couple of grandkids,” Davis said.


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