Tim Thomsen
Having just recently retired, Tim Thomsen might tell you that it is a bit premature to receive the Doug McArthur Lifetime Achievement Award. He doesn’t need a job title to keep adding to his life’s achievements for many more years.
Most of this award is based on this 30+ years as a high school athletic director. No doubt, he has been among the most involved people there have ever been in the history of Pierce County high school athletics. But there is way more to Thomsen’s life story than coordinating thousands of high school athletes and managing hundreds of league, district, regional and state tournaments.
If you knew Thomsen as a young man, before he spent nearly 40 years with the Sumner School District, you would have thought he was highly accomplished based only on his own athletic resume. Thomsen was a cross country, track and basketball letterman at Curtis High School, graduating in 1975. He was a state meet competitor in the javelin and an all-Seamount League basketball player as a forward. He moved on to Pacific Lutheran University and continued to add basketball honors. He was the PLU team most valuable player in 1977 and captain for the 1978-79 season, leading the Lutes to the Northwest Conference championship.
If you didn’t know anything about Thomsen’s playing days or his athletic director contributions, you would still consider him a lifetime achiever knowing only that he has summitted Mount Rainier four times, run the Sound to Narrows more than a dozen times and cycled the Courage Classic (160+ miles over three days and three Cascade Mountains passes) the past 19 years raising funds for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. He has also been a long-time member, and past president, of the Sumner Rotary Club. The Rotary motto of Service Above Self is personified by Thomsen.
He became in service to others first as a PLU graduate assistant basketball coach. Then, in his early years at Sumner High he was an assistant for six years and then the head basketball coach for six years. Thomsen also was the head baseball coach at Sumner for 10 years, including trips to the WIAA state playoffs in 1984 and 1985.
Coaching gave way to administration and Thomsen became one of the most relied upon athletic directors in the state. He was the Sumner High School athletic director from 1987 to 1989 and then the school district athletic director, eventually adding Bonney Lake High School to Sumner High School in his district duties, from 1990 through 2021.
Spending most of his nights and weekends during the school year coordinating and supervising events, Thomsen’s list of accolades (beyond the regular athletic director job duties) is extensive. Here’s an abbreviated summary:
  • league commissioner for many different sports and seasons
  • member of the executive leadership of the West Central District for many years
  • state-level WIAA Board Member from 2014 to 2021, including a year as the board president
  • 15+ years as tournament director for the boys and girls B, 1A and 2A soccer state tournaments state golf tournament director for several years
  • Many other district and state committees
  • South Puget Sound League Athletic Director of the Year three times
  • West Central District Athletic Director of the Year twice
  • State of Washington Athletic Director of the Year (2008-09)
  • Washington Secondary Schools Athletic Administrators Association (WSSAAA) Athletic Director Service Award 2003 and 2014
  • WIAA Gareth Giles Memorial Recognition Award, 2014,
  • WCD Meritorious Service Award, 2015
  • Sumner-Bonney Lake School District Athletic Wall of Fame, 2021
It all represents an exceptional career of mostly behind-the-scenes work.
“Athletic Directors don’t typically get a lot of recognition. Their job is to serve the needs of others - coaches, administrators, school boards, leagues and other rule-making organizations, officials, fans, parents, and most importantly - student/athletes,” Thomsen said. “While the main responsibility is to organize the events and procedures that allow for smooth operations of the athletic programs they oversee, perhaps the most critical and impactful are the standards they set in regards to positive character, values, and behavior, as reflected by their coaches and athletes. These life lessons surpass the scoreboard in importance and priority. I was very fortunate to be able to serve as an Athletic Director.”
Thomsen’s decades-long demonstration of leadership and character will be hard to replace and wholly deserving of recognition for lifetime achievement, even if he has chapters left to add in retirement.
2022 Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients