Terrace’s “Dream Team” enshrined in hall of fame

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Terrace’s “Dream Team” enshrined in hall of fame

Courtesy of the 1977 Tempo
Dan Caldwell steps to the line for a free-throw at home in the old Hawk Dome during the 1977 season. Mark Miller (24) prepares for the rebound. The Hawks lost just one game in troute to the WIAA 3A Championship.

Courtesy of the 1977 Tempo Dan Caldwell steps to the line for a free-throw at home in the old Hawk Dome during the 1977 season. Mark Miller (24) prepares for the rebound. The Hawks lost just one game in troute to the WIAA 3A Championship.

Courtesy of the 1977 Tempo Dan Caldwell steps to the line for a free-throw at home in the old Hawk Dome during the 1977 season. Mark Miller (24) prepares for the rebound. The Hawks lost just one game in troute to the WIAA 3A Championship.

Courtesy of the 1977 Tempo Dan Caldwell steps to the line for a free-throw at home in the old Hawk Dome during the 1977 season. Mark Miller (24) prepares for the rebound. The Hawks lost just one game in troute to the WIAA 3A Championship.

By Daniil Oliferovskiy, Feature Editor

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The Hec Edmundson Pavilion at the University of Washington is crowded as 10,000 people gathered to witness the 1976-77 state championship game between the Richland Bombers and the Mountlake Terrace Hawks.

The Bombers get an early jump on the Hawks, and at the end of the first half, the Bombers lead 32-29.

Courtesy of the 1977 Tempo
Dan Caldwell steps to the line for a free-throw at home in the old Hawk Dome during the 1977 season. Mark Miller (24) prepares for the rebound. The Hawks lost just one game in troute to the WIAA 3A Championship.

Unfortunately for the Bombers, the Hawks outperformed them in the second half, scoring eight unanswered points pulling away in the fourth quarter to beat them 48-33.

The MTHS fans explode.

“They stormed the court. People jumped on the hoop, they cut down the nets, and it’s just one of the greatest moments in history [for] Mountlake Terrace High School,” said Nalin Sood, who is currently the head coach of the MTHS men’s basketball team.

The 1977 basketball team had an exceptional year, and proved it with the state championship victory.

The team had a 25-1 record, four of which were state tournament wins.

Their only loss was against Mariner High School in a game that Sood describes as, “not have a very good game. They did not shoot very well.”

From that letdown, the men’s basketball team rebounded and opened the door for an opportunity at a state championship game, which is referred to today as one of the best teams in state history.

After 35 years, eight of the 12 original players were able to meet at the Everett Comcast Conference Center to be inducted into the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame [SCSHF].

Sadly, two players have died in the 35 years since the nets were cut. Scott Copan, the team leader of the ’77 team and AAA State Player of The Year,  lost his battle to lymphoma in 1985. Backup forward Jason Casteel died of a heart attack. In addition, two other members were unable to attend the festivities.

To put this enshrinement into perspective, there have been just four teams inducted into the SCHSF.

Sood remarked, “MTHS is in south Snohomish County and for the SCSHF to recognize Mountlake Terrace High School, compared to the traditional schools in the county, is a great accomplishment.”

The 1977 team had it all; the talent, build, and the work ethic. Four of the starters were taller than 6-foot-4; Scott Copan, Steve Murphy, Dan Caldwell, and John Greenquist, and all went on to play for a four year college.

But it was not only height and talent that laid the road for success, but their relationships played key roles in what they went on to achieve.

When asked about the success of the ’77 year, Dan Caldwell responded, “One thing about us is we were very close and we would hang out on weekends [and] had very [close] relationships. I think that our biggest strength [was our] friendship. We had talent but a lot of people didn’t realize how close we were.”

After dinner, Jim Lambright, head coach of the UW Huskies football team from 1993-98, and the keynote speaker of the evening, delivered a heartfelt speech about what leads an athlete to success.

It’s no big secret, he said. It’s simply hard work.

If you put time and effort into something you care about, you will be successful. So it did not come as a shock when the Hawks’ Rick Cummins stated, “Hard work gets you results.”

It seemed as if the athletes all had the same values when looking back on their achievements, whereas coaches, who had a chance, spoke of being able to give back to the community and share their love of basketball with others.

Caldwell has coached high school basketball for 14 years now. Cummins has taught elementary kids for 10 years. Mark Morelli expanded by saying, “I spent five or six years coaching kids, and what we learned we passed on.”

When Mark Miller was asked how he carried on his basketball legacy or how he promoted his love for the game,  he concisely answered, “Just [being] competitive, [with a] don’t back down type of attitude is [just] the best way to put it.”

The legacy of the ’77 basketball team will be permanently engraved in Hawks history and continues to inspire the community of Mountlake Terrace.

Coach Sood said, “Their legacy still lives on. I was talking to some of the current basketball players [about] the ghosts of the past, and those guys are the ghosts of the past. Every basketball function we do, those guys are watching [down on] us.”

Although it’s been 35 years since the championship at Hec Ed Pavillion, those men do not fail to awe people and inspire the residents of Mountlake Terrace. They represent a constant reminder of what Terrace thrives to be.

As the night drew to an end, ’77 guard Pat Squire commented, “The thing about winning the state championship, at the time, [is] you kind of realize why people want to win the championship, because it sticks with you forever.”

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