Kevin Eager: Head Coach
Kevin Eager enters his 32nd season of track and field coaching this spring, 15th as the head coach at Gig Harbor.
His career started as an assistant at Washington High School, where he coached three individual state champions and the team won two AA Boys State Championships. In 1995 Eager moved on to coach the jumps at Pacific Lutheran University. While there he became decathlon/heptathlon coordinator in addition to his duties in the jumps. During this time, Pacific Lutheran won four men’s and three women’s Northwest Conference team titles and had several top five finishes in NAIA competition. In 1999, Pacific Lutheran became an NCAA Division III school, and both the men’s and women’s teams had their best showing nationally, finishing second and third respectively in the NCAA III national meet. Individually, Eager worked with 13 men’s and women’s Northwest Conference event champions, and 14 men’s and women’s All-Americans.
Eager came to Gig Harbor as head coach for the 2004 season, and in the 14 years since Eager's girls and boys teams have won four state titles, been runner-up another three times, and had three other top-4 podium finishes. Most recently the Gig Harbor girls were 3A runners-up while the boys were 3rd in 2017. At the league level, Gig Harbor has earned 15 team championships under Eager and he has been voted league boys or girls Coach of the Year 14 times. In 2007 he was voted Washington State Boys Coach of the Year and was also one of eight finalists for National Coach of the Year. Gig Harbor athletes have won 20 state individual titles, and been runner-up another 28 times during Eager's tenure, with over 60 athletes going on to compete at various levels of college.
Eager has also served as assistant coach since 2003 with the Gig Harbor cross-country program. The Gig Harbor girls teams won three consecutive state 4A titles from 2005-2007 under Hall of Fame head coach Patty Ley, while adding runner-up finishes in ’04 and '08. The Tides boys got into the act in 2007, finishing second in the one of the closest team races in years. Under head coach Mark Wieczorek, they became the first west-side 4A team to win in 24 years in 2011. The 2013 boys XC team topped that with not only another state title, but a national championship at the Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) event. The 2014 team followed that up with yet another state title.
Eager has spoken at multiple Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association clinics as well as the Northwest All-Sports Clinic, and numerous smaller clinics at Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound. He has also volunteered as an official at the high school and collegiate level. He is USATF Level I and II (jumps) certified and is has completed both the track and field technical certification program and the sprint/hurdle/relay specialist certification provided by the USTFCCCA Coaching Academy. Seventeen of his former athletes have become track and field coaches. Since 2010, Eager has served as vice-president for the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association since 2010, and in 2017 ascended to the presidency of that organization.
Aside from track and field, coach Eager is a Pacific Lutheran graduate in his 19th year having taught history, English, math, PE, and AP Psychology at Gig Harbor High School. His wife, Kristi, is a former web designer and created this web site. They reside in Tacoma and enjoy mountain and road biking, sea kayaking, hiking, snow sports, watching sports, and boating.
Kristi Eager: Hurdles
Kristi Eager is a Peninsula High School product who came to track as a sophomore in high school after playing slowpitch softball as a freshman and becoming bored with it because Peninsula didn’t have fastpitch in those days. A three sport athlete at Peninsula, she was named All-Pierce County League as a forward in soccer while also playing goalkeeper, and her basketball team earned academic state champion honors in 1993.
In track and field, Kristi did many events, but came to focus on the triple jump and 4x100 and 4x200 relays. She ran on several of Peninsula’s fine state placing relays, but the highlight of her high school career was winning the AA state triple jump title on her last attempt in 1995, her senior year, with a leap of 37’ 3¾”.
Upon graduating, Kristi enrolled at Pacific Lutheran University and began using her ability to do a variety of events. Over four years of hard work and dedication, she ended up scoring very high in the heptathlon with PR’s of 14.31 in the 100 hurdles, 5’ 1¼” in the high jump, 35’ 10” in the shot put, 26.11 in the 200 meters, 18’ 8½” in the long jump, 117’ 11½” in the javelin, and 2:23.63 in the 800. She still holds the Northwest Conference meet record in the heptathlon of 4725 points, and her runner-up score of 4824 at the NCAA Division III National Meet that year was for years the highest non-winning score in the history of NCAA III. It remains a PLU school record. Her senior year, in addition to being named NCAA III All-American in the heptathlon, she also earned NCAA III All-American honors in the 100 hurdles, the long jump, and ran on a 4x100 squad that set a school record of 46.96 in the finals of the national meet, getting second.
Kristi is still the only four event All-American in PLU history, and contributed 17 points to the team effort that resulted in a 3rd place finish for PLU nationally. She was named Northwest Conference Athlete of the Meet for her six event, 39.5 point performance at the Northwest Conference Meet, and was also named PLU’s senior athlete of the year for 1999. The PLU women won three Northwest Conference championships during Kristi’s time there. She also found time to play goalkeeper and forward for three seasons for the PLU soccer team.
Kristi is in her 14th year of coaching hurdles at Gig Harbor, and her knowledge and experience has led the hurdlers to be strong contributors to the Tides’ team effort. She has coached all school record holders in the hurdle events at Gig Harbor, including 2008 state 4A champion Bree LeRoy and 2012 state boys championship contributor Peter Seifert, who also holds the 300 hurdle school record. In 2017 she coached school 300 meter hurdler record holder Leahi Manthei to the state championship in that event. She has demonstrated for track and field clinics at both Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound Universities, the Northwest All-Sports Clinic, and the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association, whose website was originally designed by her. Kristi also completed the USTFCCCA Coaching Academy's Track and Field Technical Certification course in 2011 and 2014.
Kristi majored in graphic arts with a minor in business while at PLU, and now works as a Technical Product Manager in customer training for the Boeing Company. She is also the designer of this website. As a photographer, and was credentialed by the Gig Harbor/Peninsula Gateway as an official press photographer for the 2004 4A State Cross Country Championships. Her competitive track and field days done, she is an avid volleyball and racquetball player who loves to mountain bike, road bike, hike, sea kayak, and hang out on their boat when she can drag her husband Kevin away from the track.
Ben Keith: Hammer Club, Shot Put and Discus Coach
Ben begins his 27th year of coaching track and field, with experience at both the high school and collegiate levels.
Ben started his coaching career in 1990 as an assistant football and track and field coach at Franklin Pierce High School in Parkland. While at FPHS, the boy’s team won one Pierce County League title in 1993 and was later crowned 1993 Boys 2A State Track and Field Champions. In 1992, Ben began a dual coaching role as he was hired at his alma mater, Pacific Lutheran University, as the Men’s and Women’s Hammer coach, as well as maintaining his duties at FPHS. At the conclusion of the 1993 season, Ben resigned at FPHS to be able to focus primarily on his responsibilities at PLU. In 1996, Ben took over coaching the Men’s and Women’s shot put and discus as well as the hammer throw. While on the staff at PLU, the Men’s and Women’s teams won a combined 7 Northwest Conference Track and Field Championships, along with numerous top 5 finishes at the NAIA National Championships. PLU joined the NCAA Division III ranks in 1999 and enjoyed the most successful season in program history as the Men’s team finished 2 nd place at the National Championships, with the Women’s team finishing 3rd at the same National Championship meet. While at PLU, athletes under Ben’s direction earned a total of 11 Northwest Conference Individual Championships, with 19 athletes earning All-American status (top 8 in the nation), including three throwers who were crowned National Champions in an individual event.
In 1999, Ben resigned from PLU and joined the coaching staff at Steilacoom High School. While Ben was a part of the Steilacoom coaching staff, the SHS Boy’s team achieved back to back State Championship titles in 2000 and 2001, while the Girl’s team won a State Championship title in 2002. In his near two decades coaching high school track and field, Ben has been fortunate to work with a large number of excellent athletes, including 7 individual high school state champions and 28 state placers.
Ben joined the coaching staff at Gig Harbor High School prior to the start of the 2005 track and field season, and is responsible for coaching the Shot Put and Discus. He had an immediate impact as his athletes scored crucial points in both Gig Harbor’s ‘05 state boys’ team title and ’06 team runner-up.
Taking a leave of absence from Gig Harbor following the 2009 season, Ben returned to Steilacoom High School for two years. While there he mentored Shreese Daniels to state titles in the shot put and discus in 2011, additionally teaching the future Wyoming All-American to throw the hammer and indoor weight. He returned to the Tides in 2012 just in time to coach scoring athletes on the boys state championship team and girls 4th place team. More reacently he has guided Connor Jost to a runner-up finish in state shot put and Hadassah Ward to a school record and two consecutive state titles in the shot.
While Ben's athletes own many of the top marks in both shot and discus in Gig Harbor history, his influence extends well outside those two events. As his record shows, Ben is committed to excellence. He provides a valuable voice for the direction of the Gig Harbor program and brings a level of energy to it that is unique and indispensible. He has spoken several times at both local clinics and the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association Convention, and can still throw the hammer if prodded. He works in Seattle and commutes to coach at Gig Harbor while living locally and enjoying his children, grandchild, and all things Seahawks.
Mike Dahlstrom: Javelin
Mike is a retired police officer who is on the all-time top ten list for high school javelin throwers in Montana. A graduate of the University of Montana, where his PR exceeded 260 feet, Mike has coached intermittently since then. Mike's patience and extensive event knowlege are an asset to the program, with Javelin becoming a popular event due to his influence.
Taylor Hacker: Shot Put and Discus
A 2005 Tides Track and Field Alumnus, Taylor returns to the Gig Harbor Track and Field program after four years at Pacific Lutheran University. While at PLU, she threw the shot over 40 feet before focusing on the hammer. As a senior, Taylor destroyed the PLU school record in the hammer by nearly 13 feet, tossing it 184'8" before moving on to a 4th place finish in the NCAA III National Meet. Her 4th place finish earned her NCAA III All-American status. Taylor is working as an team manager for Pacific Lutheran this spring in addition to coaching at Gig Harbor. She is USATF Level I Certified as of January of 2010, and completed USTFCCCA's Technical Certification course in 2014.
Lance Baumann: Sprints
Coach Baumann recently retired and moved to Gig Harbor from Sammamish where he coached track at both Skyline and Eastlake high schools. He attended Oceanside High school in NY and was a multiple county and state champion running sprints and hurdles. He later attended Bradley University on a track scholarship and medaled in the Missouri Valley Conference. Coach Baumann made an immediate impact in his first season, helping Gig Harbor sprinters and relay teams to nine podium finishes. In He is married and has two grown daughters who attended Gonzaga University and the University of Washington. In his spare time, he is a Professional Canine Trainer in the areas of obedience, E- collar and Nose Work detection training