Former Washougal head coach and Prairie athletic director grateful to get blessing from his district in order to coach at River
Years ago, Travis Drake got out of coaching high school basketball in order to pursue a career in administration.
Today, Drake is still an administrator but he is also now a head coach again.
Drake, who works for Battle Ground Public Schools, has been named the boys basketball coach at Columbia River High School, taking over for David Long, who retired after 30 seasons.
Drake, 43, knows he has some shoes to fill. In fact, he is only the fourth boys basketball coach since the school opened in 1962. He cannot predict the future, but Drake said he hopes he is yet another coach to have a long tenure with the program.
“I didn’t take this job planning on only doing it for a few years,” Drake said.
Just being able to take the job is a noteworthy event. Drake is currently the principal of Laurin Middle School in the Battle Ground School District. Next academic year, he is changing jobs to become the director of secondary schools for Battle Ground.
“The unusual piece is you don’t see too many district-level administrators who coach,” Drake said. “I am confident I am going to be able to do both jobs and do both well.”
Drake and his wife live near Columbia River and have children who attend the school. In fact, Drake was a volunteer with the girls basketball program two years ago and was the JV girls basketball coach this past season.
He said he appreciates the support from Battle Ground in order to coach in Vancouver.
“I got the blessing from the Battle Ground School District to do this, and it worked out,” Drake said.
Nick Davies, the athletic director at Columbia River, said Drake understands education-based athletics as well as any coach he has known. Character development comes first.
“He understands we are about forming young men and women to go out in the world as good people,” Davies said. “After that, hopefully, make them good basketball players, too.”
Drake’s coaching odyssey has taken him from being on staff at Ridgefield, a year at a school in California, then two years as the JV coach at Battle Ground. From 2004 through 2008, he was the head coach at Washougal.
From there, he moved into administration, working as the athletic director at Prairie before becoming principal of the high school.
Throughout his time as an administrator, he has kept working basketball, helping out with an academy and at clinics. He also has coached his daughters in youth basketball.
“I felt I left Washougal for the right reasons,” he said of his career move. “I didn’t feel like I stayed there long enough to see everything through. Ever since then, my wife always said I was going to get back into coaching.”
Here he is, with the Columbia River Rapids.
“I’m looking forward to carrying on the legacy of Coach Long and Coach (Gene) Dettorre,” Drake said. “To be able to do it at a place like Columbia River … my kids are having a great experience at that school. It’s where we live. I’m part of that community.”