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Mercer Island Mourns Loss of Soccer Coach Steve Newman

Islanders Boys Head Soccer Coach Steve Newman passed away on Oct. 12. Details of a memorial service are pending.

Mercer Island High School announced Monday the death of Islanders boys’ soccer head coach Steve Newman, who passed away over the weekend on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.

Newman, a coach at MIHS for 17 years, touched the lives of hundreds of boys who participated in the MIHS soccer program. He was 58 years old, according to the Seattle Times.

According to the high school's website, school counselors available to meet with players today, Oct. 15 in the Counseling Center.

A notice in the Mercer Island Reporter said that Newman coached the Islanders to two state championship games, including one last spring, falling to Bainbridge Island 2-3. The second appearance was in 2001.

Information on a memorial service is pending and will be posted on the Mercer Island High School website.

Here's an excerpt of MIHS's obituary, which is signed by the high school administrators Jamie Prescott, Jeff D’Ambrosio, Craig Olson, and school principal Vicki Puckett:

"His style was gruff, his heart was huge. There is story after story of him reaching out to players, taking them under his wing, and giving second and third chances to players who otherwise might not have been a part of the soccer program. He took a holistic view of the MIHS soccer program; winning was important, but the boys were more important. Former players have been coming back year after year for pre-season, during season, and post-season practices and games to kick the ball around, sit on the sidelines, and just be a part of the community that Steve created. Steve watched the boys play in their club games, summer leagues, and anytime he could. He gave so much of his life outside of the "required" coach time to make MIHS Boys’ Soccer a fantastic and wonderful program which flourished under his leadership.

The MIHS community and the Mercer Island soccer community are stunned and saddened by Steve’s passing and are working to organize an event to celebrate his coaching career that we can all honor the love and commitment that Steve had for his program."

Mercer Island High School freshmen football coach Dan Bean reached out to Class of 2012 graduate Alex Wood (enrolled at USC and on the football team), who wrote the following that was shared with the football community and subsequently Steve's family this morning:

“Steve was like no other coach I've ever had. He had unique coaching techniques, he was honest with every player, and he always knew how to put a smile on his players' faces. Every player that had Steve as a coach will undoubtedly say he changed their life in a positive way, on the field and off. He was always there for his players and after every practice said, "And remember, be nice to your folks. They deserve it. They do more for you than you can imagine". Basically, he wasn't just a soccer coach to us. He was a mentor, and a close friend. I will miss his sly looks, ridiculous jokes, willing hugs, and constant friendship more than anything. We all will.”

What do you best remember about Coach Newman? Share a favorite memory with us in the comments.

William E. Harris October 16, 2012 at 02:58 AM
I rarely drove sports trips but I did for Coach Newman because he was so caring towards his players and truely cared about them as student athlets. They were students first and athlets second. He was an asset to the Mercer Island athletic department and the community. He will be missed. Bill Harris, bus driver. MISD
John Harrison October 16, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Steve Newman is the "gold standard" for high school coaches, High expecations for his players, but their character is what really mattered to Steve. Steve's humanity is what I will always remember about him. A kind word, a quick joke, a perceptive comment, and a constant smile. What a man, what a legacy. John Harrison, MIHS Principal 2005-2011
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA October 16, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Steve could lift a 5 gallon bucket of tar to me on the roof as if it were a feather. A strong, gentle guy who washed our many windows for many years. Patty & Jerry
Bruce Biermann October 16, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Steve swam at Edgebrook, probably from the time he was six until he graduated from Newport. It didn't matter if the sport was swimming, water polo, volleyball, soccer, or tiddlywinks - he was a fierce competitor. He was a great teammate and I'm glad he influenced so many in a positive way.
Adrienne Wieder-Finch October 18, 2012 at 07:01 AM
Steve was an incredible soul. As the Varsity Boys soccer manager for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, I spent a lot of time on the sidelines with him talking tactics and life in general. He was so wise and cared so much about each one of his players on and off of the field. I will miss him and I know that he has touched so many people's lives in an incredibly positive way.

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