He played four years of high school basketball for the Sultan Turks, two years of football and “one year I wish to forget of junior varsity golf.”
TJ Cotterill grew up in the three-stop-light town of Sultan in Snohomish County. He knows what high school sports mean, both to a community and a player.
“I was surrounded by coaches who taught me to push myself to limits I never believed I could reach,” he said. “Sports was where I learned the value of dedication and teamwork and lessons that go beyond the playing surface.”
Last week we named Cotterill The News Tribune’s prep sports coordinator. He brings the perspective, enthusiasm and storytelling skills needed to lead this important coverage area.
Cotterill is a graduate of Everett Community College and has a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University. He paid his way through school writing for the student newspaper and The Bellingham Herald, along with taking care of chickens at a feed store in Woodinville.
In a few short years with the TNT, he’s moved from reporting intern to sports freelancer to part-time copy editor, full-time copy editor and now the preps editor.
He has the work ethic needed to pull off this job. The TNT covers about 70 high schools — each with football, basketball, baseball and volleyball, and many with water polo, bowling and other sports.
Cotterill is excited about the opportunity.
“You have conversations with kids about their goals and dreams of playing in the NFL or NBA, even though most will never get close,” he said. “You cover them while they are in their own process of learning hard work, dedication and life lessons, and they are just as excited to speak to a newspaper reporter as you are to speak to them.
“You find genuine stories of grief, loss, joy and success that are far more difficult to find on the collegiate or professional level where players have been drilled by the public relations staff.”
Cotterill already has written dozens of preps features. He’s become skilled at shooting and producing videos of high school athletes. And he breaks news almost daily on Twitter using the handle @TJCotterill.
Cotterill learned the craft from the master, Todd Milles. For most of the past 15 years, Milles coordinated our coverage of South Sound high school athletics.
Milles moves to an equally important job, leading our coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament coming to Chambers Bay in June.
BUSINESS SECTION CHANGES
You’ll notice a slightly new look to today’s Business section.
The changes were prompted by The Wall Street Journal’s decision to stop producing the full pages we’ve run inside that section for years. We’re taking the opportunity to make some other changes as well.
First, the Sunday focus will be more local. Today’s cover features a centerpiece by C.R. Roberts about Selden’s furniture store and the four generations of Seldens who’ve run it.
Business editor Debbie Cockrell plans to alternate the Sunday cover between these local business profiles and a feature she calls “What you need to know.” The latter will offer small bites on a topic of local economic interest.
We’ll keep local columnist Bill Virgin on the cover, along with the Money Power feature, Kiplinger’s personal finance column. Our recent reader survey showed a lot of interest in personal finance topics.
Inside the section, we’ll run two pages from The Associated Press. The first page offers more personal finance information; the second provides market-oriented information from the previous week.
Our daily business pages will change a bit as well. With the additional market page running Sundays, we’ll pull back a bit from our daily market charts. We’ll keep the daily chart tracking stocks of local interest.
Also because of the Sunday reconfiguration, we’ll move the Money Rates, Key Rates and Money Watch features to Saturday. And Tom Philpott’s column aimed at military service members and retirees will appear on Fridays.
If you have questions or ideas for the section, you can contact Cockrell at debbie.cockrell@