Coaches from across the South Sound chimed in on The News Tribune’s survey — with more than 79 percent preferring a WIAA-approved committee or computerized ranking system over the WIAA’s current draw criteria.
Here’s what some had to say:
"Selfishly speaking, we were league champions and we had to travel for a Week 11 playoff game against Skyline. That doesn't seem to make much sense for a team that was ranked in the top three in the state."
Gig Harbor football coach Aaron Chantler (ranking)
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"The state tournament should not be about equal representation from around the state. It should be a tournament to have the best 16 teams compete for the championship, regardless of where those teams are located."
Puyallup boys basketball coach Scott Campbell (ranking)
"We have been the No. 1 seed out of the SPSL and/or the WCD several times and have had to play No. 1 seeds from other districts in the first round. Last year due to WCD seeding the undefeated PHS boys had to travel and play the undefeated Ingelmoor boys in the first round. Obtuse and lazy. Reseeding would require the WIAA to actually know something about each of the sports, instead of just creating a one-size-fits-all bracket."
Puyallup boys and girls soccer coach Matt White (ranking)
"Or have a straight 32 or 64 team tournament at the end of regular season that is completely seeded by ranking formula — so no districts."
Lincoln boys basketball coach Aubrey Shelton (ranking)
“(Ranking is) more fair and allows the best teams the best chance to advance.”
Curtis boys basketball coach Tim Kelly (ranking)
"I agree that to be the best you have to beat the best, but make them earn it. I do not think that you should have 2 undefeated football teams playing each other in the first round. Those two teams have proved that they should be able to have the best shot to go as far as possible."
Bonney Lake football coach Jason Silbaugh (ranking)
“Leaving it up to a committee that chances are haven’t seen any of the teams play leaves too much room for error.”
Auburn Riverside baseball coach Jon Aarstad (current)
"I'm OK with the way it works out. The best team in the state doesn't always end the season with a win. That's the way it goes. It works both ways, when we took second in state for hoops, I was on the bench. We benefited from a good draw at regionals, etc. So if I took that, I take the bad."
White River baseball coach Mike Williams (current)
"A few years ago, we were ranked No. 2 and Jackson was ranked No. 1 and we met in the first round of the state tournament of a loser out."
Tahoma baseball coach Russ Hayden (ranking)
"It works. … Seeding other ways would be highly subjective anyway. Also any seeding alternative would take time which would delay knowing who your next opponent is which limits preparation time during the weekend."
Auburn football coach Gordy Elliott (current)
"Because it works in other states. They already expanded the amount of teams who are eligible for playoffs over the past decades. Doing that allows a team who's been beaten multiple times the chance to get hot and eliminate better teams in the postseason. If we are going to allow for that, then I think it's only fair that we take the time to employ a better system that properly recognizes top teams and properly places them in this playoff system for their prior body of work."
Sumner baseball coach Casey Adcox (ranking)
"It seems like using strength of schedule only benefits leagues/districts with strong teams. The current system makes doing well at districts matter more."
Steilacoom volleyball coach Blair Suek (current)
“A committee and ranking teams is ridiculous. Those ranking teams will have no way to see all the teams and historic performance will be too big of a factor as well as committee bias.”
Kentwood softball coach Jason Wisor (current)
"I would love to be re-seeded based on a WIAA committee even if occasionally it did not benefit my school. In 2012 we were 3-6 (3rd in 3A SPSL) and lost to Mount Si in the district playoffs — I would have had no problem (if we had beat Mount Si) if we had become the 16 seed in to the state tourney. And this last season being 2nd in the 3A SPSL we probably would not have been paired up with No. 1 Eastside Catholic in the first round. We need to change the system."
Auburn Mountainview football coach Jared Gervais (ranking)
"I would rather see the 16 teams seeded like they were before. You have eight No. 1s and eight No. 2s. Separate the true number ones (district champions), then draw the rest for placement. Then you draw the No. 2s. Use the current criteria that the WIAA has for separation. The problem for me has never been the draw when you get to the domes, but the way the regionals were seeded. But if choosing (current or ranking) then I would take (ranking). The regional ‘draw’ process has made no sense to me."
White River girls basketball coach and athletic director Chris Gibson (neither)
"The best possible way to avoid Auburn Mountainview playing Ranier Beach or Zillah playing Lynden Christian is to have an approved committee that ranks/seeds the teams. There are so many qualified, willing, volunteers out there that would gladly do this for every sport. Of course there will still be some arguments about one school thinking they should be a No. 3 instead of a No. 5 but they sure won't be playing a No. 1 seed in the first round. This solution also fixes the reseeding problem once the tournament gets down to the final eight. The top 16 teams are already pre-ranked so after the first round the final eight are already seeded. This will help avoid a Zillah vs. Kings in the quarterfinals or a Garfield vs. Beach in the semis. If the WIAA is all about the money, they will fill the domes if they seed things this way. People will love to come watch the best eight teams battle in a true tournament format. On a positive note, all of the poor seeding this year has really shifted the focus on fixing this problem rather than continue to argue with the WIAA about going back to a 16 teams at the dome."
Auburn Mountainview boys basketball coach Thomas Ostrander (ranking)
"Without teams playing other leagues, districts, or similar competition throughout the state in a specific sport, why would a ranking system work better? And who would be doing the ranking? I would prefer doing a blind draw. I see too much human error and inconsistencies by ranking."
Tahoma softball coach Tom Milligan (current)
"More of a ‘real’ tournament feel. Takes into account your progress over the course of season and not a snap shot of your last few games. After this many games, kids are hurt, injured etc."
Wilson boys basketball coach Dave Alwert (ranking)
"I believe that from year to year leagues or districts could be stronger and they deserve a fair shot a advancing further in the playoffs."
Olympia football coach Bill Beattie (ranking)
"I'm observing that in many cases the best teams are playing each other before the state finals and it's frustrating to see teams with average records be chosen to play each other while the best are playing the best. Doesn't make sense."
Sumner girls basketball coach Jordan Moog (ranking)
"Each league is not created equal. Many teams from the same districts can play each other again in the first round or two of state. From a personal example we lost one game during league and playoffs, then had to go down to Camas for the first round of state. Rough draw for a team that was 14-1 at the time. A ranking would glance the field and give teams credit for a tough league and good season."
Tahoma boys and girls soccer coach Jason Johnson (ranking)
“I like the idea that every team is being considered on performance and not which community they live near.”
Fife boys and girls soccer coach Tony Crudo (ranking)
“In theory, it looks good, but the selection committee must do a good job. Perhaps assign subcommittee to each WIAA Level.”
Cascade Christian football coach Randy Davis (ranking)
“It makes sense, and it rewards the higher seeded teams as they should be.”
Capital girls basketball coach Colleen Wells (ranking)