In 2009, two fierce, passionate and driven twin brothers graduated from MTHS.
Though admittedly not always the best academic students throughout their time in high school, Ryan and Jaykob Sells realized early on that they both loved sports.
The two boys were raised by a single mother, working each and every single day just to provide for them.
“We didn’t have a lot of things handed to us. Everything had to be earned,” Ryan said.
Without a father figure in their lives, however, they lacked a significant amount of guidance and support. With the exception of a couple of teachers at school, including business teacher and head men’s basketball coach Nalin Sood, the brothers had to rely solely on the support they were giving each other throughout their childhoods.
They were introduced to sports by their uncle and grandparents, and that love of sports would lead them both to a career of coaching after graduation.
Identical twins, Ryan and Jaykob never liked doing anything apart from one another, and that remains the case to this day.
“A lot of twins want to be different in a lot of different ways,” Jaykob said. “I think for us, we just looked at each other and we embraced the twin thing.”
Whether it be sports or what they were going to eat, the brothers seemed to always be in agreement.
“I didn’t care if he had the same number one [haircut] as I did, as long as we were both being successful and helping each other out as opposed to arguing,” Ryan said.
This close relationship, coupled with their love of sports, meant that they were constantly pushing each other and competing to achieve at even higher levels.
It wasn’t long until they were playing on the basketball court and baseball field in high school and showing that they each had something different to offer the sports programs.
“Although they are twins, they are their own unique individuals in many ways. I saw this on the basketball court when they played for us and [see it] now as coaches, teachers, husbands and a dad,” Sood said.
After playing baseball and basketball in high school, both brothers wanted to give back to the community. They each had a deep passion for sports, but they also had experienced school without having an adult guiding them through every step, and they knew that they could relate to kids who may be going through similar situations.
The two brothers also realized school is not just about sports, but also about being a student before an athlete.
“School is very important, and school is what you’re going to make your money off of once sports is done,” Jaykob said.
After high school, both brothers attended Southwestern Oregon Community College before going on separate paths for a couple of years.
For Jaykob, college led to an Associate in Arts degree from Everett Community College and four years playing baseball for and earning a public health degree from Central Washington University. He then went on to play independent professional baseball in the same league as his brother.
Similarly, Ryan attended Everett Community College and Lewis and Clark State College before rejoining Jaykob to play independent professional baseball.
Not being affiliated with a Major League Baseball team and playing independently, both brothers found the experience to be humbling.
“With our durability and skill set, we just weren’t given a chance,” Ryan said. “We didn’t really get a chance to prove or show what we brought to the table.”
That’s when they decided that they wanted to coach a team and give back to the community that nurtured them.
In the second half of 2015, Ryan came back to MTHS to work as a paraeducator, helping administrators with student suspensions and behavioral issues as well as working with students with special needs. He also coached Terrace’s junior varsity baseball team.
In 2016, Jaykob joined his brother at MTHS, helping coach the JV team while working on a master’s degree in secondary education for physical education.
Earlier this year, Ryan was named as the head coach for MTHS baseball following the retirement of Andrew Watters who had been their coach.
Sood said he is ecstatic that both of the brothers have returned to their alma mater to give back to the community that helped make them into who they are today.
“As a coach, to see two former student-athletes develop into the leaders that these two have become is what coaching and teaching is all about. To have them come back and share their wisdom and talents with current Hawks makes it even more rewarding for not only myself, but many others,” Sood said. “MTHS just hit a home run because we not only scored one great baseball coach, we got two!”