Eccles steps down as Hoquiam boys basketball coach after 14 years

Longtime Grizzlies head coach resigned on Monday

By Rick Anderson

For the Grays Harbor News Group

Curtis Eccles, who directed his teams to league and district championships during a 14-year career as Hoquiam High School’s head boys basketball coach, has submitted his resignation.

“I need to move on,” Eccles wrote in his resignation letter. “It’s time to turn a page and begin a new chapter in my career.”

The 49-year-old Eccles said he would continue as a high school English teacher at Hoquiam. While saying he looked forward to spending more time with his family, he left the door open on returning to the bench.

“If the right opportunity knocks, a return to the sidelines would not be out of the question,” he said.

The 2019-20 Hoquiam season ended with several underclassmen boycotting district tournament games in the aftermath of an incident at practice that resulted in the dismissal of an assistant coach.

Eccles said the incident did not directly factor in his decision to resign, adding that some of the players indicated to him their willingness to rejoin the Grizzlies next winter.

He declined comment, however, when asked if administration officials sought his resignation.

In an email to The Daily World, Hoquiam Athletic Director Annette Duvall stated the administration is behind Eccles’ decision.

“We are very appreciative of his 14 years at the helm of Grizzly boys basketball,” Duvall wrote. “(The Hoquiam School Disrict) respects and honors this decision. Curtis has our full support as he moves forward in his coaching journey.”

A native of Castle Rock, Eccles succeeded Brian Grun as the HHS coach in 2006 following a two-year stint as the head coach at Woodland High School.

He guided the Grizzlies to Evergreen 1A League titles in 2014, 2016 and 2017. His 2017 team captured the District IV 1A championship, while the 2016 squad placed sixth at state. Five of his clubs earned regional berths, with two qualifying for state.

His career record at Hoquiam was 183-102. With his two years at Woodland factoring into the equation, he surpassed the career 200-win mark last season.

A two-time recipient of the Evergreen 1A’s Coach of the Year award, Eccles was selected as The Daily World’s “Coach of the Year” for all sports in 2016.

Noted primarily for his up-tempo attack, Eccles coached four of the top five career scorers in school history (Jack Adams III, Joey Wayman, Jerod Steen and Jace Varner).

Eccles, who directed youth basketball camps since his first year at Hoquiam, was particularly gratified by seeing many of the campers eventually playing for him at the high school level. Coaching his son, Bryson, was another career highlight.

“The camaraderie with the players is something I’ll never forget,” he observed.

Eccles was also a baseball and football assistant at Hoquiam and spent one year as the head baseball coach at Grays Harbor College.

He expressed thanks to his players, assistant coaches Keith Reynvaan, Ed Dawson, Neal Fisher, Tracy Pelan, Jeff Niemi and Zac Reynvaan, former athletic directors Grun and Mark Maxfield and his players.

“There have been many great memories, great relationships with players and coaches during the past 14 years,” he concluded.