By Frank MacDonald
Into Coaching Positions
Though its relatively brief history dates back less than six decades, varsity athletics at Seattle Pacific University is thick with tradition. Besides its many athletic accomplishments, the program's coaches are legendary. While coaches come and go all too often elsewhere, at SPU they stay, mentor students and have few regrets.
In the past year, however, the Falcons have experienced a major shake-up of sorts. Two icons for their respective sports, Ken Foreman and JoAnn Atwell-Scrivner, have hung up their whistles. Foreman, in track and field, and Atwell-Scrivner, in volleyball, dedicated a great deal of their lives to building champions, not just in the athletic arena but in the world-at-large.
Better than a gold watch, the two mentors say they walk away with the best retirement gift of all: peace of mind. Both feel rewarded by the fact that two of their prized pupils were chosen to succeed them.
Jack Hoyt, who first trained under Foreman at SPU before later becoming his assistant coach and protégé, could not have asked for a better situation. "When Coach Foreman told me, 'You're ready for this job,' I felt his total confidence," said Hoyt, a former All-America decathlete and Class of 1987 alum. "I had come from the best coaching 'school,' so when I took over, I didn't feel like a first-year coach at all."
In his initial year as head coach, Hoyt's team won the Pacific West Conference women's championship, and he was voted conference Coach of the Year. Foreman, who remained on the staff as his assistant along with longtime colleague Doris Heritage, was not surprised.
For 15 years Foreman had watched Hoyt mature and grow in experience. In recent years, Hoyt excelled when given additional responsibilities, such as recruiting and planning travel. "It was my own recognition that it was the right time to leave," Foreman said. "Jack is, in his professional life, where I was 50 years ago. Whatever legacy I leave will only be enhanced."
Kellie Ryan Radloff, who takes over as head volleyball coach in July, can only hope to fare as well in her first season this fall. Radloff returns to her alma mater after furthering her education and broadening her coaching portfolio at Syracuse University in New York. Like Hoyt, the 1992 graduate refers to Seattle Pacific as her "dream job."
Radloff and Hoyt not only want their athletes to achieve excellence but to grow as they did. "I have a genuine desire to give back to a program and a school that has given me so much," says Radloff.
When she arrived on SPU's campus as a freshman, Radloff was uncertain in the world of religion. Her volleyball teammates provided guidance and encouragement, and Radloff eventually became a Christian. "I want to recreate that challenge to grow spiritually, and because of my own experience, I want to leave my door open for girls of similar back- grounds," says Radloff. "It was a struggle for me; I had a lot of questions in developing a relationship with Jesus Christ. But it was a life-changing experience."
Hoyt's life changed forever when he was first recruited out of Moyer Hall by Heritage, and was later challenged by Foreman to reach for a dream.
"I come from a mold different than Ken and Doris. I was 'every person,' someone who just rolled along. But they got me to see what was possible," says Hoyt, who went on to qualify for the United States Olympic Trials in 1992. "I now have really high expectations of myself."
Under Hoyt and Radloff, present and future members of their respective teams can probably expect tales from time to time about the past. In fact, one of Radloff's first orders of business is to re-connect the program with her fellow alumnae. But Foreman, who began coaching track in 1950, and Atwell-Scrivner, who started the program from scratch in 1986, agree that the past is only a foundation.
"We've given Kellie a base," says Atwell-Scrivner, whose teams went 47-13 in her final two seasons. "But I expect her and the team to do even better. There's been success, but there's so much more to be done."