By Jeremy McDonald
The Beacons have announced their nine-members of their 2023 class. Here’s the press release:
“The Beacons” – sponsored by the Salem-Keizer High School Sports Booster Club is proud to announce our 2023 “class”. Below are our nine Beacons – 6 “School Beacons” and 3 “Community Beacons”. Included is a bit of information – a “thumbnail sketch” if you will – explaining their choice. More complete biographies will be posted at skbeacons.com. Keep checking.
Put June 17th, 2023 on your calendar. We will again be at the Elsinore Theatre. In addition to the nine Beacons below, we will be honoring the Athlete of the Year for each OSAA-sponsored sport and Coach of the Year. Last year’s honorees are on skbeacons.com.
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McKay – Gus Envela
Gus Envela came to Salem in 1970 when his father – Gustavo Envela-Makongo, Sr. – resigned as Equatorial Guinea’s first ambassador to the United Nations. The family, including Gus, fled in exile and settled in Salem where Gus became a track star at McKay.
Gus attended Waldo Middle School prior to McKay. He set state records in the 100 (10.49 seconds), 200 (21.33) and the 400 meter dashes (46.78), and took first place in the state meet in each of those events from 1984 to 1986. He then attended and ran for Stanford University before becoming the first athlete to compete in the Olympic games for Equatorial Guinea in 1984. He went on to compete in the 1988, 1982, and 1996 Olympic Games.
McNary – Jerry Lane
Jerry Lane was McNary High School’s first wrestling coach after serving two years at North Salem as an assistant coach. He started building the program in 1965. By 1974 McNary had a season record of 21-0 and had their first state champion. In 1975 McNary became the one and only Salem-Keizer School District high school to win a state wrestling championship.
Over 30 years, Lane also led McNary to four conference championships, coached seven individual state champions, 58 district champions and 37 state placers. Lane was inducted into the Oregon chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1996.
North Salem – Steve Chambers
Steve Chambers graduated from North Salem High School in 1962 and won a state championship in the hurdles that same year. He taught at North Salem for 32 years and has coached at North Salem for over 50 years. His longest tenured coaching gig is in track and field but he also has coached cross country and swimming.
Chambers also served on the Salem-Keizer School District school board for 12 years, including 5 as the board chair.
South Salem – Scott McCormick
Scott McCormick has been coaching softball in the Salem-Keizer School District, both McNary and South Salem High Schools, for 41 years (not including the 2020 COVID year which was cancelled). He now has more wins – 714 – than any other Oregon high school softball coach. He has played for the state title five times, winning two – a shared title in ’90 while coaching McNary and in 2014 while coaching South Salem.
McCormick taught virtually his entire elementary school career at Highland Elementary in the SKSD. He has two SKSD facilities named after him – the gym at Highland and the softball complex at South Salem.
He currently remains the head coach at South Salem.
Sprague – Robin Hill
Robin Hill came to Sprague High School from the Seattle area as a teacher and head football coach in 1987. From 1987 to 2011 Hill took the Olympians to the playoffs 20 times in 25 years. The Olympians appeared twice in the state championship game, winning the 2004 state championship, the last state championship won by an SKSD high school.
Current SKSD head football coaches Jeff Flood and Shawn Stanley played for Hill at Sprague.
West Salem – Susi Armstrong
Susi Armstrong is in the Pacific University Hall of Fame for her standout career in volleyball and track and field. She came to West Salem High School from North Bend High School to help open West Salem in 2002 as both a physical education teacher and head volleyball coach. She was the head volleyball coach for a decade.
Armstrong built the program from scratch and guided the team to a sixth-place finish in 2005 and a fifth-place finish in 2006. She retired from teaching in 2021.
John Black was an outstanding athlete at North Salem High School and served his entire teaching career in the Salem-Keizer School District at Waldo Middle School and Englewood Elementary after attending both Chemeketa Community College and Western Oregon University (then Western Oregon State College). He played collegiate baseball at both CCC and WOU.
Black officiated high school sports until he recently retired from umpiring baseball after 50 years. He also officiated football for 25 years and basketball for 43 years.
Wes Ediger was a standout athlete at Dallas (Oregon) High School. An outstanding football player, he took those skills to Oregon State where he played from 1951-1954. After OSU he briefly pursued professional football.
When his football career came to an end, Ediger returned to Dallas where he was a science teacher and coach before turning to administration. He subsequently served as Principal of both South Salem (1972) and North Salem (1982) High Schools. Upon retirement he continued to serve high school athletics when he served as the Executive Director of the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) for 8 years.
Terry Williams was a very successful basketball and baseball player at the high school and college level.
He also coached basketball at West Salem High School for three years where he was 46-28. Prior to West Salem he coached 14 years at Corban University. He retired from Corban with 240 wins.
Williams also left a very long-lasting mark in support of our Salem-Keizer area high schools in his development of youth basketball programs and players. He founded Keizer Youth Basketball Association (KYBA) in the late 1980’s and assisted with the creation of Salem-Keizer Youth Basketball (SKYBall) in the early 1990’s. Following his retirement from Corban in the spring of 2013, Terry continued coaching basketball in KYBA, Upward, and the Mid-Valley Monarchs. Starting with the 2021-2022 season, Coach Williams took over the Crosshill Christian girls basketball program.