Tenino’s new sporting director is trying to keep the momentum going for Beavers

By Alec Dietz / For the Nisqually Valley News

After managing Winlock’s boys basketball team for the past seven years and managing their athletic department since 2020, Nick Bamer has come to Stone City to become Tenino’s full-time athletic director.

Bamer is no stranger to starting new jobs in new places and saw an opportunity for a new challenge close to home in another close-knit small town community and jumped at the opportunity.

“They have great coaches and they’ve made great hires,” he said. “Tenino is the right place. It’s an attractive position for a teacher, a coach, anything. Don’t sleep on Tenino. It is great. We have great facilities. I was really impressed with what they have.”

Although Bamer is excited about the opportunity, he almost didn’t apply.

The longtime Winlock Boys Hoops coach, who has transformed a difficult program in a short space of time, had to make a difficult decision to leave. Even as athletic director, the Cardinals’ football program was having one of its most successful years in decades, and the girls’ hoop team experienced successes not seen in recent memory.

But the opportunity to work closer to home and in Tenino was too great to pass up. Bamer applied for the job at Tenino a day before the deadline, and from there the process of interviews and a decision quickly picked up speed.

When Bamer accepted the job, several of his former players reached out to congratulate him.

“It was a difficult decision to even apply for it. I’m pretty loyal to Winlock,” Bamer said. “It’s difficult. We’ve had a great run here as a basketball program. But I have such a great relationship with these players and the community and I know they will keep things going here. Winlock has been great for me. “

At Tenino, Bamer will no longer coach, which he says will be an adjustment, but he will be able to focus on helping other coaches and keeping the momentum for the Beavers’ athletic programs.

The girls’ soccer program just ended its most successful three-year streak in program history, the soccer team won a state playoff game for the first time in three decades, and the baseball team gave Montesano its first league loss in over 50 tries.

Things are just beginning in Tenino.

“We’re all in this together,” Bamer said. “It’s still a small town. All coaches support each other. All your athletes are out and about during the season. I think that every year in every sport, our school has the chance to really make a difference. There’s no reason why we couldn’t.”

Bamer, an Aberdeen graduate, also said he’s looking forward to facing Hoquiam again and hopefully bringing some losses to the school in the years to come.

As full-time athletic director, Bamer said the focus will be on maintaining the positive momentum, giving his coaches everything they need to succeed and keeping turnout high.

“We’re trying to get as many kids out as possible and eliminate any excuse for not attending,” he said. “Athletics is a big part of the high school experience. On the field and on the pitch you can learn just as much about life and what it means to be a good person and a good citizen. So many lessons can come from athletics. We want to get as many kids out as possible and we want to have successful programs.”

In addition, Bamer also wants to compete for state bids and championships in all of Tenino’s sports.

“We want to win games and we want kids to have the best possible experience they can have,” he said. “We have great coaches. I hope to keep up the momentum they have already started.”

Bamer took up his new role on July 1.

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