2007 Marv Scott Award

John Heinrick

The Perfect Title for Both Scott and Heinrick - "Coach"

If Marv Scott could be here today, the Coaches Award that bears his name would be even more meaningful because he would be giving it out in memory of John Heinrick, a man he admired greatly and always called "Coach".

The admiration was mutual between Heinrick and Scott, two of the best ever to blow their whistle and give inspiration and guidance to the youth of our community. Baseball was just one of their passions but, from the 1930s to the 1970s, the dynamic duo spent every waking hour on the field or on the court. The youngsters of Tacoma and Pierce County, particularly those in Tacoma's north and west end neighborhoods, were blessed to have them as their coach.

Both were Stadium high grads. Both had connections with the College of Puget Sound and the Tacoma Tigers. Both were held in high esteem by their players and both enjoyed several championship seasons while coaching more than one sport. They are both in the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame.

Heinrick's fame may have been more attached to football and basketball but the genial Irishman loved baseball, coached it and umpired it during his off seasons of hoops and huddles. His most famous baseball team was the 1937 Johnson Paint nine from Tacoma, sweeping top honors in the Northwest and placing 5th in the powerful NBC (semi-pro) tournament at Wichita, Kansas.

On that team were future major league stars Fred Hutchinson and Earl Johnson and Tacoma Tiger standouts Cy Greenlaw and Morry Abbott. Joe Salatino and Jimmy Ennis, who both starred in college football at Santa Clara and CPS, also played key roles on one of the best Tacoma teams ever to compete nationally.

Heinrick coached Stadium high to the 1939 City and Cross State League titles and also managed Pacific Match teams in the Tacoma City League. In 1934-35 he coached the Tacoma Tigers of the Northwest League, and he later became the President of the City League when its games drew as many as 12,000 fans for a single night of baseball.

The Heinrick legend in football and basketball somewhat overshadowed his baseball, however, and there isn’t room here to tell that entire story. His induction into the Helms Collegiate Athletic Hall of Fame, the NAIA National Hall of Fame, the Washington State Sports Hall of Fame, and the UPS Sports Hall of Fame speaks volumes.

He coached football and basketball at CPS (now UPS) and won 88 grid games and 187 basketball battles in his 17 years there, capturing five Evergreen Conference football titles and twice taking his hoopsters to the national NAIA championships. Biggest victory in that stretch was a 48-41 decision over the Washington Huskies in the Tacoma Armory, a week after Washington swept a two-game series at the University of Illinois.

In high school his Stadium football teams were nearly unbeatable. He won 11 consecutive Thanksgiving Day games against arch-rival Lincoln, nine City League titles, three Cross-State League crowns and two state championships. Is it any wonder that he was named the first coach of the "State" team in the initial All-State game vs. Seattle at Husky Stadium in 1947.

Yes, the Heinrick coached state squad won that game, and he then went on to coach collegiately and become the Athletic Director at Puget Sound. Marv Scott would be so proud to have John Heinrick the recipient of our Marv Scott Coaches Award.

There may never be two better ones coaching the kids of tomorrow. Certainly they deserve to be remembered as two of the best of all time.

1934 Tacoma Tigers pickup team from Tacoma City League that played in the Northwest League. Back row l. to r.: Vern Votaw, Frank Ruffo, John Heinrick, Forrest Weingard, Joe Spadafore, and Vern Champagne. Front row l. to r.: Wes Lees, Hal Lennox, Hoefert, Joe Mlachnik, Cecil Erb, and Rudy Tollefson. Mascot: unidentified. Photo courtesy of Marc Blau collection.

1939 Stadium High City League Champions Back row l. to r.: Coach John Heinrick, John Horst, Matt Kapovich, Bob Schnecker, unknown, unknown, Ray Hagen, Bob Angeline, Lyman Anderson, unknown. Middle row l. to r.: Harold Schweinler, Rod Giske, Bill Turnbyll, Jim Philby, Jay Dahl, Gene Walters, Jim Diederich, Bill Demorest, Kergie Omori, and Roy Bronzovich. Front row l. to r: George Gunovich, Al Browne, Vince Gennam, Ray Montbroussous, John Batt, Bob Roley, Dave Molitor, Jim Darling, Jim Martin, and Floyd Marcusson (Photo courtesy of Dr. Marv Tommervik Jr., Family)