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Patty Ley
Gig Harbor High School / Pacific Lutheran University
2019
Track & Field

      PATTY LEY
      By Gary Brooks

      With her induction tonight, Patty Ley completes a rare double-entry into the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame. In 2010, Ley was inducted for her own track & field and cross country performance. Now, she is recognized for a coaching resume that includes WIAA state championships for her Gig Harbor High School athletes and NCAA finals qualifiers at the Division III and Division I levels.

      After college coaching stints at Christopher Newport University (2010-11, Division III school in Virginia) and Gonzaga University (2012-2018), Ley is back at Gig Harbor High School leading Tides runners for a second time.

      In her first stint at Gig Harbor (1997-2009), Ley coached the girls cross country team to a dominant stretch of Class 4A state titles from 2005 through 2007. The 2004 team finished second on a tie-breaker technicality. The Tides girls were ranked in the top 5 of the Northwest region all four years. The 2005 Tides girls finished seventh at the NTN National Cross Country meet. Gig Harbor had nine top 10 team finishes under Ley. Eleven girls earned all-state placings.

      Gig Harbor’s boys cross country team had six top 10 team finishes at the state meet and Miles Unterreiner was the 4A state champion in 2007.

      On the track, Ley has coached 56 top eight finishers at the state meet – 34 girls and 22 boys – including individual event state champions Michelle Teodoro (800m in 1994, 1600m 1993 and 1994), Geoff Perry (3200m in 1996) and Tom Gaschk (1600m in 1997).

      In 2010 she moved to Christopher Newport University in Virginia as head cross country coach and assistant track coach. In 2011, Ley was named the NCAA Division III South Region Assistant Coach of Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

      The next step on the coaching carousel was Spokane and Gonzaga University as head women’s coach for cross country and track & field. Her 2015 team won the West Coast Conference title and Ley was named WCC Coach of the Year.

      “I've been fortunate as an athlete and coach to work with a number of talented people and athletes who have made me look awfully good,” Ley said.

      Her own talent translated well to coaching. In her competitive days, the 1983 Gig Harbor HS graduate was a two-time state cross country champion and won multiple state championships running on the track. Gig Harbor also won the team state titles in cross country and track during her Tides years.

      Her college career presented injury challenges and caused moves from the University of Oregon to Washington State and eventually a later return to running at PLU (where she graduated in 1993). She was an All-American in cross country and track at PLU and still holds the school records in the 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m. Her 1500m record of 4:15.61 qualified her for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1992.