Bombers Coach Blasts his Way Into the Record Books
We could all see it coming. A major milestone of achievement which was reached only through tenure, tenacity, and teamwork. Richland Bombers boys basketball coach Earl Streufert has notched win number 405. This eclipses the 404 that Art Daywald posted in his twenty years as the Bombers bench boss from 1949 through 1970.
Streufert played and coached at Walla Walla
Streufert began coaching at Walla Walla high school as an assistant for his former high school coach Jim Thacker in 1991. After applying at Eastmont and missing out on that position, Streufert would make the move to Big 9 foe Richland in 1999 after the Blue Devils claimed the state crown. That season, along with the 2006 - 2007 campaign, were the only years the Bombers did not finish above .500.
Season #24 at the helm
After success in the District playoffs, Streufert's Bombers would pick up their first State Tournament win in Tacoma in 2008. Richland would claim 8th place that year. Richland would really pick up the pace over a 6 season span beginning in 2013. During that stretch, 7 Mid Columbia Conference titles, 6 State Tournament berths, finishing 2nd to Garfield in 2014, and an overall record of 148 and 181. The Bombers would also bring home 4th and 5th place hardware from Tacoma during the run.
The burning question
So, milestone achieved. Mountain climbed. How long will the Streufert era continue at Richland High School? Earl said there is no set timetable. Many feel with his 4th son being in the program as a senior this year, it could be soon. Coach Streufert told me he will know when he feels it. He still wants to go to the gym. When he doesn't it'll be time to go. What many don't realize is the full year that basketball coaches put in for each season. There are an amazing amount of commitments in the off-season to keep building the program.
It was an honor to be honored
As the final buzzer sounded at Art Daywald gymnasium last night, a meaningful ceremony ensued. The Bombers had defeated Hanford and Coach Streufert's team helped him reach that Richland record. Streufert said, "It shines a light on how many people go into something like that. For me to stay here for that long and that many wins pile up, there's a lot of work by a lot of people". For Earl, It's all about teamwork.
*Special thanks to the Streufert family and friends for the photos
*Special thanks to Tait Meyer for team stats and background
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