Jim Berry grew up in Spokane, Washington. He attended West Valley High School & graduated in 1948. During that time, he was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball & track). After high school, Berry attended the University of Washington for one year on a track scholarship. He then transferred to Eastern University where he earned an education degree in 1956. While at Eastern, he participated in track. His main event was the 2-mile.
Berry taught social studies & history for ten years. He got his start coaching cross country under Tracy Walters at Rogers High School (Spokane). When the cross country job opened up at Shadle Park High School, Jim applied. He coached for ten years eventually giving it up to start a business in the medical field. During his coaching career, Jim Berry had four state qualifying teams. They won two state titles, placed second & third.
Berry’s fondest memories include the many great kids he had the privilege of coaching. He and his wife have three children (Katherine, Bruce & Luanne) & six grandchildren. Recalling his coaching days, Jim Berry had this to say – “Life was simpler when I was a coach. We didn’t travel much, & when we did, it was usually to somewhere like Moses Lake. The biggest worry was whether of not the van would make it there & back!”
Mark Cullen was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Five weeks later, he moved. This set the tone for things to come. Cullen never went to the same school more than two years in a row. He attended a boarding school during high school & graduated from The Athenian School in Danville, California in 1970. After high school, Cullen attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Maine, for one year. He then transferred to the University of Oregon where he graduated with a degree in history in 1975.
Cullen began running in the fall of 1971 in Bill Bowerman’s “Hamburgers” beginning jogging class. He was a devoted runner for seven years until an injury brought his running career to an abrupt end. His two best performances included a 1:10:49 20K & 1:15:50 half marathon.
His professional career involved teaching history & geography for thirty-two years at Seattle’s University Prep. This included a twenty-one year stint as athletic director. Cullen coached cross country from 1981 to 2006. During that time, he had five state qualifying teams. His 1983 boys’ squad was the only “B” team to qualify for the A/B state meet. Cullen’s ’91 & ’92 teams placed 5th in the “B” boys’ state meet.
Cullen considers his most rewarding achievements as developing the cross country/track & field programs at University Prep. He also sights his relationship with his athletes & the profound long-term impact running has had on their lives, as well as his association & friendship with coaches across the state. Mark Cullen is the past president of the Washington State Cross Country Coaches’ Association (2000-2006).
Mike Evans grew up in Marysville, Washington. He graduated from Marysville High School in 1967. From 1967-1970, her served in the navy. Evans began his teaching career in the Lakewood School District in 1974. He spent his entire thirty year career at Lakewood. Evans started the cross country program in 1981. He held the head coaching position until his retirement in 2004. During his career, Evans’ teams claimed four state titles. The boys won in 1989 & the girls won state titles in ’91, ’93 & ’94. Second in 1984, the boys’ team earned their first state meet appearance at Spokane’s Hangman Valley Golf Course. Since then, the boys have been back to state every year.
Mike Evans most rewarding achievements include his great family (Cindy, Lance & Devony), who have always supported him through the good & bad times. He also sights his ability to surround himself with great people, such as current Lakewood cross country/track & field coach Jeff Sowards & his family. Finally, Evans treasures the relationship that he still has with many of his former athletes.
Reflecting on his coaching career, Evans had this to say – “Wins & losses have never been my ‘guiding light’ in coaching. I just knew that if I studied hard, taught to the best of my abilities, surrounded myself with self-motivated people, tried hard to give each young athlete the tools they needed to be successful on & off the field, &, as a result, the wins would fall in line with the program.”
Bob Matthews admits to growing up an “army brat”. He spent his early years jumping between California, Japan, Washington D.C., Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Bogota, Columbia, & Hong Kong. He graduated from Hong Kong’s LaSalle College (high school) in 1967. During that time, he participated in cross country, swimming & track & field.
Bob continued his running at the University of Tennessee (1967-1971) where he competed in the high hurdles. He was on winning relay teams at the Penn Relays & Florida Relays. His degree was in history.
After college, Bob taught history & coached cross country/track & field at Seattle Lutheran High School from 1981 to 2001. While the head coach of cross country/track & field, his teams claimed sixty-four league titles & three state championships (boys’ & girls’ cross country teams in 1992/boys’ track & field in 1989). After retirement, Bob came back and coached as a track and cross country assistant for Peninsula High School.