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North Central basketball coach Dave Hall directs his team while the student cheering section tries to raise the decibel level in the Spokane Arena on Jan. 26, 2001. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Goin’ fishing: Longtime North Central coach, athletic director Dave Hall retires

Dave Hall has worn many hats throughout his 39 years as an educator, coach and administrator. But the one he’s looking forward to wearing now is his fishing hat.

Hall, who is completing his third year as athletic director and 36th overall at North Central, announced his retirement recently. He submitted his paperwork to the district “a couple months ago” he said, and the school has been aware of his intentions since June.

“I get to work with some great people and worked with great kids,” Hall said. “I got to see some great things happen here. It has kept me kind of young and motivated. And I’m looking forward to the next journey, whatever that journey is.”

He said golf and fly fishing are in his future.

“I like to fly fish and I have, you know, the last three years I haven’t had a chance to do that much, so I’m looking forward to doing that.”

This isn’t the first time Hall, 62, has tried to retire.

“I was planning on retiring three years ago,” Hall said. “(NC principal) Steve Fisk approached me about doing the athletic director’s job, which, quite frankly, I had always had my eye on.”

Hall had applied for the job four years earlier but withdrew his name for consideration at that time.

“It’s interesting out how life takes its turns on the road you go down,” Hall said.

Hall has coached boys and girls basketball, golf, track and field and cross country at NC. He started his education career at Klamath Union (Oregon) High School, where he coached girls basketball, football, cross country and track and field.

Hall was a three-sport star at Wenatchee High School, lettering in football, basketball and track. He was an All-American half-miler at Eastern Washington and was part of the 1980 track team later enshrined in the EWU athletic hall of fame.

He wanted to be a football coach. As a student-teacher, he coached under Hall of Famer Dave Holmes at University High School. Hall told Holmes he wanted to coach defensive backs and Holmes replied, “Great. You’re my offensive line coach,” Hall said.

“I said, ‘What the heck?’ and he goes, ‘Well, I need you to learn the other side of the ball.’ ”

That led to his gig at Klamath Union, though there wasn’t an opening for football. He started with running sports and a spot opened, up on Al Keck’s girls basketball staff.

“I just kind of fell in love with coaching basketball,” Hall said. “I had a good background in it, but not in the coaching sense, and just really, really fell in love with doing it.”

Hall joked that during his third year in Klamath, Keck resigned in late October so school administrators would have no choice but to turn to Hall for the job.

“We didn’t have a coach, and he did it on purpose and he basically said, ‘Well, you’ve got the best coach in the building, so hire him.’ ”

Hall guided a team that was picked to finish sixth in league and instead finished sixth at state.

That led to NC reaching out, but Hall was reluctant.

“I turned them down at first,” he said, “because NC’s girls basketball team hadn’t won a ballgame in three years.

“We had everybody coming back (at Klamath). I wasn’t interested in the North Central job at all.”

But the administration was persistent, and meeting with another notable coach opened his eyes.

“I ran into another great coach here in the area – (Mead’s) Gary Baskett – and he kind of changed my mind in terms of my attitude going into the interview,” Hall said. “I don’t know, there was something about North Central during the conversation that I thought would be a great fit.”

He never left.

“I guess it all turned out pretty well in the end,” he said. “I’ve never done anything in my life where I’ve just sat and really reflected and said, ‘You know, I made a mistake.’ … This has been a good, good career here at North Central High School. I would never have guessed that I’ve been here 36 years, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.”