Chehalis School Board votes to rename W.F. West tennis courts after Jack State


The W.F. West Tennis Courts are no more.

The facility where the late Jack State mentored generations of tennis players over the last 50 years has officially been renamed in his honor.

The Chehalis School Board voted on Tuesday, Feb. 20, to adopt the Chehalis School District Facility Naming Committee’s recommendation for the name change.

“Our recommendation was unanimous: Coach Jack State Tennis Courts,” Chehalis School District Superintendent Dr. Christine Moloney said of the Facility Naming Committee on Tuesday.

Committee members included W.F. West Coaches Hall of Fame member Denny Daniels, tennis player Em Weerasinghe, assistant tennis coach Denise Boulac, W.F. West teacher and sign-maker Don Bunker, Chehalis School District Athletic Director Tommy Elder, School Board Member J. Vander Stoep, and Green Hill Academic School/Lewis County Alternative School Principal Tim Touhey.

State, 80, a long-time teacher and coach at W.F. West, passed away on Jan. 6. He taught physical education at W.F. West from 1974 until his retirement in 2000. He coached basketball for many years at W.F. West and also served as assistant men’s basketball coach at Centralia College for 11 years. This fall was his 50th season coaching the W.F. West boys tennis team, and he would have marked his 48th season coaching girls tennis this spring.

“I’m so old that I happen to have had four tennis coaches in four years at W.F. West, and the fourth one was Jack State. And since then, almost 50 years of stability — and not just stability ‘he was there,’ but an outstanding teacher of life and tennis,” Vander Stoep said Tuesday.

The Chehalis School Board voted to activate the Facility Naming Committee on Jan. 16 to consider renaming the W.F. West Tennis Courts in State’s honor.

The last time the Chehalis School District’s facility naming committee was activated was for the naming of James Lintott Elementary and Orin Smith Elementary, which opened to students in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

“I was going through old files from a previous naming committee, and in some of the notes, I saw they had listed some different facilities … and Jack State’s name was next to W.F. West Tennis Courts,” Moloney said Tuesday. “So that was something that was on the minds of people for a number of years already, as he had made such a significant difference in the lives of students and staff and the community that people were starting to think along those lines of wanting to name that tennis court after him.”

New signs, made and donated by W.F. West High School teacher Don Bunker and his son, Cy, will go up along the tennis courts’ fence line in the coming weeks.

As of Tuesday evening, the plan was to place three 8-foot signs on the Main Street side of the courts and to put up an additional 6-foot-8-inch sign — the same height as State — alongside a biography plaque near the main entrance to the courts.

“It’s an honor for us to be making these signs, and we’re donating that completely to the district. No cost to the district whatsoever,” Bunker said Tuesday.