2005 Marv Scott Coaches Award

Bill Mullen

Bill Mullen, born March 28, 1902, in Tacoma, was not only a coaching legend at Lincoln High School, he was one of the most beloved coaches in the city.

Mullen played basketball for three years and baseball for two years before graduating from Lincoln High in 1920. He also played baseball (catcher) and basketball for a number teams in the City and Timber leagues, ranking as one of the league's best catchers despite never weighing more than 155 pounds. After moving on to Washington State, where he graduated from in 1930, Mullen played catcher for three seasons for Buck Bailey. He also had the distinction of playing in an exhibition game against barnstorming Yankee greats Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel at Stadium Bowl.

After leaving Washington State College, he spent the next 40 years of his life as a teacher and coach. He started in the little community of Thorp, and then coached all three major sports in Buckley and Sedro-Woolley. After coming to Lincoln, where he taught from 1945-67, he directed the baseball program for 16 seasons. Mullen, at one time a pretty good amateur boxer, also coached boxing while at Washington State and later Sedro-Woolley and Lincoln.

The great 1948 and 1949 Cross-State League baseball championship teams highlighted Mullen's years at Lincoln, and many of those players went on to star locally at Pacific Lutheran College and College of Puget Sound. Mullen's Lincoln teams seemingly always battled teams coached by Marv Scott, at either Stadium or Wilson, for city bragging rights.

Scott is quoted as saying in a 1976 article by Ed Honeywell in The News Tribune, "We took turns winning the city title for several years, probably winding up about even. He was an outstanding coach, one of the most dedicated I ever encountered.

"His kids were always well prepared, well-grounded in fundamentals. Through all the years our teams were meeting each other, I became aware of the thorough respect his players had for him." continued Scott.

Mullen talked for years about his so-called "Italian Team." Mullen had a strict rule against using profanity, but he long suspected that when certain players began conversing in Italian, they were getting away with something. Even though they didn't all actually play on the same team, he grouped them together in his memory: Giovanni Tomasi, Dick Colombini, Art Viafore, Dick Palamadessi, Jimmy Tallariti, and Joe Stortini.

Among the top players Mullen helped produce during his tenure at Lincoln High School was Steve Whitaker, who went on to play professional baseball. Beyond that, many of the boys who played for him went on to coaching careers of their own, including Stortini, Ron Billings, Ken Jones and Ken Schulz. Mullen's own son, Mike, coached boys basketball at Bethel High School, and now Mike's son, Pat, is the coach at Bethel, which won the 2005 Class 4A state title in March.

Mullen died in 1992 at the age of 90.