The Sherwood girls soccer coach retires after 21 years, 266 wins and two state titles

by: DAN BROOD - FIELD OF DREAMS -- Bill Brown smiles as he reflects on his 21 years coaching girls soccer at Sherwood High School. Brown guided the Lady Bowmen to two state championships and four other state title-match appearances.SHERWOOD — It’s all about the kids.

It’s been that way for a long time.

From August of 1992 up until Nov. 17, 2012, to be exact.

And, while the caring about the kids will continue, Bill Brown’s achievement-filled tenure as the head coach of the Sherwood High School varsity girls soccer team has come to an end.

Brown, 68, announced his retirement as the Lady Bowmen’s head coach back in late January.

“It’s been great,” Brown said recently as he sat near the turf field at Sherwood. “I’ve always liked to coach., The kids are special, and that’s why I coached.”

Brown, in his 21 years at Sherwood, has a coaching record of 266-62-25 — without ever having a losing season.

Brown’s Sherwood squads have won a pair of state championships, beating Bend 1-0 in the 2007 Class 5A state title game and then besting rival Wilsonville 1-0 in the 2011 Class 5A title tilt.

The Lady Bowmen teams have also played in four other state championship matches and they claimed nine league titles.

Brown had been named the state’s high school coach of the year in 1992, 2003, 2007 and 2011 and he’s earned league coach of the year honors eight times.

“I’m comfortable in my shoes with what I’ve done,” Brown said. “It’s all about the kids — from Day 1 to Nov. 17, 2012. I care deeply about the kids. They work hard and I never felt that a Sherwood team went out on the field and didn’t give it their all.”

And, according to Sherwood athletic director Randy Ramp, Brown gave it his all.

“He won a ton of games here,” Ramp said. “And he did it with integrity and he was always super organized. He loved what he did. He put in so much time for little money. His pay was the smiles on the kids’ faces.”

A lot of those Sherwood kids have gone on to play at the collegiate level.

“I think we’ve had 30 or 40 go on to play at all levels in college,” Brown said. “I’d like to think I had a little something to do with that.”

Recently, Sherwood graduates Michelle Hlasnik, Amanda Dutra and Daniela Solis have stared at Portland State University. Off the 2012 Sherwood squad, four players — Jessica Imbrie (St. Mary’s College), Meghan Schoen (Pepperdine University), Annie Govig (Oregon State University) and Mikayla Howes (Utah State University) — are going on to play at Division I schools.

“We’ve had a lot of good players go through here,” Brown said.

And there were plenty of highlights.

Such as the 2007 Lady Bowmen squad that went undefeated and won the state championship.

“Wilsonville was way loaded that year,” Brown said. “They were clearly the best in the state, and we beat them twice, once in overtime.”

Brown, who also coaches youth soccer in Sherwood, gets a smile on his face when he talks about some of the courageous performances by Lady Bowmen players throughout the years. Such as Sherwood’s quarterfinal game at Summit in 2007, where Hlasnik suffered an injury in pregame warm-ups, but she came back to get the winning goal in overtime. Or this past fall, where Imbrie suffered a painful first-half ankle injury before returning to action in the second half and scoring both goals in a 2-1 semifinal win at Willamette.

There’s also goalie Kassee Flint’s amazing foot save of a breakaway shot in a win at Summit.

“You look at that and say ‘what just happened?’” Brown said.

There’s the penalty-kick playoff wins over Mountain View and Wilsonville.

Brown seems like he can just go on and on.

“We’ve had a phenomenal group of kids here,” he said.

He also raves about the Sherwood High School administration and the community.

“The athletic director support we’ve had here has been outstanding,” Brown said about Rick Hassmann, Doug Hofmeister and Ramp. “They’re great individuals who support the coaches and they’re phenomenal people.

“The booster club is phenomenal. It’s a superb group of people. And the community here is special. The community really backs the team. And I’m proud of the work we’ve done in the community. We’ve done a lot with the soccer club.”

And then there are the relationships.

“I’ve worked with some awesome people,” he said. “And there have been players that have gone on to college, come home and give me a call. That’s special.”

Brown added that, while the job is rewarding, it’s not always been easy.

“There are challenges, and plenty of them,” he said. “But I’d say that more than 95 percent of the parents are awesome and very supportive. And it’s a challenge to make sure the kids have fun, but that they still respect you and work hard. I just really like to coach.”

But now, Brown says, it’s time to step down from his Sherwood coaching post.

“This seems like a good time for me,” said Brown, who will continue to work as an aid at the school, working with kids with disabilities. “And my family thinks it’s a good time. Thank God for my wife and daughters. They’re shared the highs and lows with me.

“If there’s one thing I tried to do is to treat people the way you want to be treated. I’ve tried to live that way in coaching and out of coaching. Sure, I’ve made mistakes, but you have to learn from your mistakes.”

“He’s one of a kind,” Ramp said.

While Brown is stepping down at Sherwood, it’s likely that his presence will be felt for a long time to come.

“They’ll continue to be good,” he said. “We have a tradition here. The T-shirt we had this fall had only one word on the back — tradition. And I don’t believe it will go away.”

If that’s the case, that means there will likely be plenty of smiles, hard work and victories in the future for the Lady Bowmen.

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