Former Seattle Times reporter Craig Smith among Class of 2017 inductees for WIAA Hall of Fame

Legendary coaches Sid Otton, Al Hairston, Don Freeman, and Cheryl (Byers) Schauble; pioneer Duke Washington and administrators Ron Jones and Dele Gunnerson will also be inducted.

Craig Smith, a breathing encyclopedia of sports knowledge, will be inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Hall of Fame. The former Seattle Times reporter produced the popular “Sideline Smitty” column about high-school sports where he’d provide trivia and answers to reader questions.

Smith retired in 2008, spending three decades covering everything from golf and hydroplanes to the Seahawks.

“As a sports writer, I have found prep sports to be fresher, more fun, often more interesting, and, in their own way, more important, than college or professional sports,” Smith wrote in his final column. “I remember what Washington State basketball coach Dick Bennett once said: ‘High-school coaches are most important because they can do the most good.’”

Three of those such coaches in Sid Otton (football), Al Hairston (basketball) and Don Freeman (baseball) are also part of the WIAA’s eight-member Class of 2017 Hall of Fame inductees.

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Otton retired last fall as the winningest football coach in Washington history. He coached at Colfax and Coupeville before spending 43 years at the helm of the Tumwater’s football program. Otton amassed a career record of 394-131, making 27 state playoff appearances and winning six state championships — five at Tumwater.

Hairston put together a career record of 389-132 and won five state titles while spending time at Garfield, Kent-Meridian and O’Dea. Meanwhile, Freeman won two baseball state championships while coaching at Prairie and Heritage. He was named Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1994 and was also named the United States Olympic…

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