Washington coaches spotlight: 5 questions with Joe Kinch, Kelso boys basketball

Kelso’s Joe Kinch is one of the longest-tenured high school basketball coaches in the state of Washington. In his 19th season at the helm of the Kelso boys program, Kinch has the Scotties (18-2) in position for another deep playoff run. Last year they went 22-6 and finished sixth at the 3A state tournament, their best season in 59 years.

We recently caught up with Kinch to ask him six questions:

Why did you get into coaching?

I always enjoyed competing in sports and loved the idea of being part of a team. I also was blessed to have great high school coaches in Jeff Reinland and Ed Laulainen and played for Coach Roffler at Lower Columbia College. All three of these coaches made coaching a very appealing profession. They were all so good at what they did and how they handled players and running a program.

Who is your coaching mentor?

Joe Stewart, my uncle who coached and taught for 30 years at Kelso High school. He was a Hall of Fame track and cross country coach.

Bill Bakamus, who took me under his wing when I was a 19 years old, has been an unbelievable mentor.  He has always been available and has shared a ton of knowledge in running a high school basketball program.

Best coaching resource?

Fellow coaches who are willing to share and visit, as well as the internet.

Best coaches you’ve matches X’s and O’s with?

Kyle Brooks (Prairie), Nalin Sood (Mountlake Terrace), Blake Conley (Union), Bill Bakamus (Mark Morris).

Best player you’ve coached?

Shaw Anderson.

Editor’s note: Anderson, a 6-6 senior forward, was the co-MVP of the 3A Greater St. Helens League last season and has committed to play college basketball at Seattle Pacific University.

Kinch’s background

Hometown: Kelso, Washington

HS/College: Kelso HS; Lower Columbia CC; Eastern Oregon University

Athlete in HS/College: Played basketball at LCC for Coach Roffler and played football at EOU for Coach Christensen

Coaching career: Head Coach at Orting HS 1997-98; Head Coach at Kelso HS 1998 to present

(Photo by Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian)

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