For two decades, Ted Page’s Coeur d’Alene High baseball teams played their home games downtown at McEuen Field.
He retired from coaching following the 1994 season – two years before the Vikings started playing their home games on the south end of their campus.
Page, who turns 68 in June, returns Saturday afternoon when the field will be dedicated in his honor.
“I pinched myself,” Page said about initial reaction to finding out about plans to dedicate the field. “I thought you had to be dead first for a field to be named after you. So I wanted to make sure I was still alive.”
Page – or Pager as he is affectionately known by his peers and former players – moved back to his native Canada not long after he retired from teaching in 1999. He and his wife, Anna, moved to Nakusp, British Columbia, in 2002. Nakusp sits along the Columbia River about six hours from Vancouver to the west and six hours from Calgary, Alberta, to the east. About a year ago, they moved to Concrete, Wash., 30 miles east of Bellingham near the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
Before Page started coaching at CdA in the spring of 1974, he played 10 years in the Canadian Football League. He was a defensive back and started on two Grey Cup championship teams – the 1965 and ’67 Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Page spent almost as many years as the head American Legion coach as he did as the Vikings’ coach. He did both for a specific reason.
“I could have those kids for three months in the spring and three months in the summer,” he said. “The biggest charge I got out of it was seeing a number of them go on to get some help financially and play in college.”
Now some of his former players are watching their sons play in college. Dana Vucinich’s son, Shea, had an immediate impact last year as a freshman at Washington State. Former Lake City coach Cory Bridges’ son, Trent, is a freshman at Lewis-Clark State College.
“My brother and I are going to go watch those boys play when their teams play at the University of Washington,” Page said.
Six of Page’s teams captured trophies at state, including the 1979 team that lost to rival Lewiston in a sparsely attended state final in Boise.
“There was one person in the stands and it was Dwight Church’s (the late Lewiston coach) bus driver,” Page quipped.
Page enjoyed coaching against Church and former Central Valley coach Harry Amend, who retired last year as Coeur d’Alene School District superintendent.
“Those two guys knew the game so well,” Page said. “I respected them a lot. Their kids knew how to do things right. That’s why I got along so well with Dwight and Mr. Amend.”
Page and his wife will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in December.
“She’s the best thing that happened to me,” Page said. “When I married her I thought she had beautiful blue eyes. I found out later that she also had some brains. She (is) a very, very intelligent lady.”
Page spent his first year at CdA substitute teaching. He remembers teaching every day his first month.
“After the first month, I brought home my first check and it was for $200,” Page said. “(Anna) looked at it and looked at me and said, ‘This ain’t going to get it done, Shorty.’ She enrolled the next week in the nursing program at North Idaho College.”
She became a certified nurse and midwife.
“She delivered more than 2,000 babies in 10 years,” Page said. “I’ve been able to play a lot of golf, fish and ski. She’s made it easy for me.”
Anna never attended a game Page coached. “It made her too nervous,” he said.
I have it on good authority – my wife was a manager for Page – that he was a stickler on looking his best for every game. He ironed his uniform before each game.
“I wouldn’t admit to it,” Page said. “Let’s just say I don’t recall.”
The dedication ceremony will take place at 12:30, one-half hour before CdA takes on Lewiston in a doubleheader.