Wilson / Central Washington University
Track & Field
Fifty years after he was a league champion two-miler at Wilson High School, Sam Ring was named the Pierce County League cross country coach of the year in 2017. The combination of recent success and exceptional longevity on the local distance running scene, are part of the reason Ring is being recognized with the Frosty Westering Award for Excellence in Coaching. Ring has influenced the lives of hundreds of student athletes at the high school and college level in the Tacoma area. Born in Tacoma in 1948, Ring was a standout runner at Wilson and then had his greatest individual success during his collegiate years. While competing for the Wildcats, he won eight league and regional championships in cross country and track & field. He set three CWU records. Sam qualified for seven national meets and earned NAIA All-America honors in 1968 and 1969. While still at Central, he participated in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the 1968 Olympic Trials. Ring continued to compete following his graduation in 1970 and won the first Sound to Narrows race in 1973. He began his teaching and coaching career at Mason Junior High in 1970. He started the cross country program at the school that attracted large numbers of kids to running for the first time. As Bellarmine Prep cross country coach from 1976-80, Ring produced girls teams that won three consecutive state championships. One of his boys teams finished third in state. The Washington state cross country Coach of the Year in 1978, Ring led Bellarmine to a total of nine league championships. During the spring months Ring helped Jim Daulley guide the Wilson High boys track team to four state titles, then took over in 1982 and led the Rams to two more state championships and four league crowns. In 1982 he coached Darrell Robinson, who ran 44.69 in the 400 meters to set the national high school record, also at the time the world junior record. In 1986, Ring started a 15-year run at the University of Puget Sound where the women’s cross country teams won national championships four consecutive years from 1992 to 1995 and three more placed in the top three. A nine-time regional cross country coach of the year and the 1993 NAIA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year, Ring coached 31 cross country All-Americans, 36 track All-Americans, and four individual event national champions. He returned to Wilson High in 2001 as the boys cross country and track coach. Ring was inducted in the Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January 2013 and the University of Puget Sound Hall of Fame in 2006. He is also a member of the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame.