Late this past spring, Jim Meyerhoff was faced with one of the toughest decisions of any person who enters the coaching world.
The athletic director position at Puyallup High opened up when Lisa Muznieks stepped down. Meyerhoff, then teaching at Emerald Ridge High, was offered the job but it left the longtime coach with his toughest choice yet.
In 25-plus years of coaching, Meyerhoff had never faced this choice. He never thought it would actually happen this soon.
It also meant he had to step down from coaching.
“I knew there was going to be a time to do it, but I didn’t think it would be this soon,” Meyerhoff said in a sitdown interview last week in his new office at Puyallup High. “Opportunities like this job don’t come around often.”
And neither do coaches like Meyerhoff, who became a stalwart in the Puyallup wrestling and golf communities.
Meyerhoff spent decades coaching both sports — over 25 years in wrestling and 12 years in golf — from the perspective of a lifetime competitor. It has always been about creating that great high school sports experience for his players.
It has always been about those who’ve put their blood and sweat into becoming the best version of themselves, never quitting when things got tough.
Those are some of the lessons Meyerhoff wanted to pass on to his athletes.
“I hope so,” said Meyerhoff about whether he’s seen his influence rub off on his players. “Well, that’s what you try to do as a coach — to connect with the kids under you.”
With just a couple months under his belt in his new position, it’s just beginning for Meyerhoff.
Currently, only fall sports coaches have met with Meyerhoff, as it’s all about getting acquainted and learning about the new culture he’s walking into.
“I’m just using my time now to figure out how they want to do things,” he admitted. “We did things one way at Emerald Ridge, and that doesn’t mean it will be done the same way here. I know as time goes by, I’ll get to meet with the rest of the coaches at the school.”
Late this past spring, the one decision Meyerhoff didn’t think he’d have to make happened. He chose to walk away from Emerald Ridge — as the school’s wrestling and golf coach, and the photography and yearbook teacher as well.
It was a tough decision to make.
“Walking away from yearbook duties was the hardest choice,” Meyerhoff said. “You get to spend so much time with the kids there, it’s hard to step away. I don’t know how I feel right now because I thought I was going to be at Emerald Ridge forever.”
Nothing lasts forever and tough choices come to all of us. Meyerhoff’s time for Emerald Ridge was at an end, as it was his time to return back to his alma mater.
It’s hard for a man who spends so much time serving others to sit down and discuss this new opportunity. Time will be needed for Meyerhoff to know whether this was the right choice for him.
“It’s hard to describe how I feel right now — maybe in about a year or at the end of this school year, it will all dawn upon me,” he said. “I’ll need some time to process stepping away from coaching.”
“All I’m focusing now is the world view here (at Puyallup), and how I can help better our athletes athletic and school life.”
Still the same man, just with much larger responsibilities.