Peninsula: College names athletic complex after former President Sigmar today

Start asking about Wally Sigmar and you begin to understand what he meant to the lives of so many.

“He was a mentor, a friend, a coach, a leader, a parent, all of these things,” says Gary Knutzen, athletic director at Skagit Valley Community College.

From Mount Vernon, where Sigmar began his career in college education as a counselor at Skagit Valley in 1971, to Port Angeles, where as president of Peninsula College from 1994-2000 he was credited for reversing a period of turmoil, and beyond, Sigmar is dearly remembered.

But for many, Sigmar's greatest achievements came on the soccer field.

As coach of the Skagit Valley men's team from 1974-1982, he won five Northwest championships including four in a row from 1977-1980.

He was named the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges' Coach of the Year in 1979 and 1980 and voted into the NWAACC Hall of Fame in 1995.

His final soccer championship came in 1982, the year he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

“I remember him crying before the championship game because he didn't know what the future was,” says Dennis Kain, a player on Sigmar's 1978 and 1979 teams and an assistant coach in 1982 who now lives in Sequim. “He went on for 18 more years and got a lot out of life.”

Sigmar was treated for his cancer, which went into remission but reoccurred in 1999.

He died on June 20 last year of complications from a stem-cell transplant. He was 53.

Today, almost a year after his death, his memory will be honored at Peninsula College with a noon dedication of the Wally Sigmar Memorial Athletic Complex.

More details are in today's Peninsula News, on sale throughout Clallam and Jefferson counties. Or click onto “Subscribe” to order your copy via U.S. mail.

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