WALLA WALLA - After leading his team to a second-place finish for the second time in three years, Whitman College men's soccer coach Mike Washington has been named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year for men's soccer.
Washington, now in his 13th season at Whitman, garnered the award in a postseason vote among NWC coaches.
"Mike has been producing outstanding soccer teams for years now, and it's nice to see him be recognized by his peers in the coaching community," Whitman athletic director Dean Snider said. "Mike is well respected and well liked by his athletes and by is colleagues in our athletic department. He is a valued contributor in many ways to our department."
With Washington at the helm, the men's soccer team caught fire at midseason this fall and collected seven victories and one tie in its last eight games. The surge, which included a school record six straight wins, came within one game of giving the Missionaries a share of the NWC championship.
Whitman finished its NWC season with a 9-3-2 record and split its two-game season series with Pacific University, the team that edged the Missionaries for the conference crown.
The 2010 season completed a quick turn-around for a Whitman soccer program that finished in the runner-up spot two years ago but then graduated 11 seniors from that team. With its ranks depleted, the team slipped to seventh during the 2009 campaign.
Washington, a native of England, came to the U.S. in 1981 after having played and coached in the highly competitive British club ranks. Before coming to Whitman, he coached at Bellevue Community College and a handful of high schools in the Puget Sound area.
He also spent two years as director of coaching for the Northshore Youth Soccer Association (based in Woodinville, Wash.), which had responsibility at the time for 1,000 coaches and 6,000 players ranging in age from six to 18 years.
Washington has been active for years in the Olympic Development program. He has also coached local youth teams and has served as the boys coach at Wa-Hi for the past two spring seasons. Wa-Hi made the district playoffs in his first season and then captured its first-ever league championship in his second year at the helm.