SPOKANE, Wash. — Pauline Flett Middle School is one of the two newest middle schools in Spokane.
On top of building the new school and facilities, coaches are needed for the new athletic teams.
Flett was lucky enough to have a former Gonzaga basketball player already on staff as a counselor. She was the key to enticing the new boy's basketball coach to the school.
Former Zag and Los Angeles Laker Robert Sacre was content coaching his daughter and his son's fifth-grade basketball team. Until, he had a conversation with an old friend from Gonzaga, who is coaching the girls' basketball team at Flett.
"We needed a boys basketball coach. I talked to Rob (Sacre) and said hey, how are you doing? We have some wonderful students at Flett and we need a guy to come in and love up on kids, be disciplined with them, help them grow in the sport and show them the love that we have for this game. I know he is just the perfect guy to do this," said Tatriana Muravez, the head girls' basketball coach at Flett.
Muravez used to back up Gonzaga icon Courtney Vandersloot in her playing days. She is now a middle school counselor at Flett, but she has stayed around the game of basketball and took the girl's basketball job at Flett. After his conversation with Muravez, Sacre said the dates lined up with his schedule and he decided to interview for the job.
"If we can give back any which way, I think that's what is important. A lot of people want to complain about this generation or that generation and do all that old school get off my yard stuff, but the only way it will get better is if you help the younger generations," Sacre said.
Flett Middle School Principal Matthew Henshaw received quite a shock when the seven-foot-tall Sacre folded himself into his office for their interview for the job.
"I did not know he was coming; my athletic director did not give me a heads up. It was pretty funny because most people would recognize him and at first, I did not. It was a little embarrassing for me, but the students knew right away. As soon as he walked out of my office, they were running around saying, 'Look, (Rob) Sacre, I think he might be our coach,'" Henshaw said.
Sacre took the job and has preached accountability to his team from day one.
"I personally put a lot of pressure on these guys because that's life. I think it's important to learn life lessons through the game of basketball, so for me it is important to hold these guys accountable and put pressure on them at a young age," Sacre said.
Sacre is a straightforward coach and has high expectations from his players, including running an up-tempo transition offense with similarities to the one run at his old college.
"I may have picked one or two things up from Coach (Mark) Few, I don't want to give those all away, but I definitely want to run and go and play at a high pace. These guys ran a lot in practice, it's not easy to play for me in certain ways because I want them to run and go and I think we are well-conditioned for that," Sacre said.
The students and administration believe Sacre was the right man to be a leader and role model for this team.
"I'm just so fortunate that my Zag community could step in and help the community and kids here at Flett. I think (Rob) is going to be just a wonderful mentor and role model. We need good role models for these kids and I think we have a good team here," Muravez said.
Sacre continues to coach his son's fifth-grade team and runs his own excavation business. He says he can't sit still and likes to keep it moving.
The basketball players and administration at Flett Middle School are thankful for that.
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