Olympic College opened in 1946 and sent their men’s basketball team to the national finals in their third season. Phil Pesco took over the job for the 1948-49 season. The roster included nearly all Kitsap County athletes. Freshmen Hal Sherbeck and Bill Guttormsen were from Montana and Wisconsin respectively.
The team only lost one game in the regular season, an away match with the University of Washington Husky Pups (freshmen squad) though they reversed the result when the Pups traveled to Bremerton. During conference play, the Rangers were the first team in school history to go undefeated. That record was the first of many they would set. They finished the season 29-1; 32-2 including post-season games. This still stands as the best record in school history. They won 16 games in as many starts, also a record that still stands. The team had one of the largest scoring margins in Washington State collegiate history, putting up 1,937 points versus their opponent’s 1,362. They defeated Centralia 104-41, the most points scored by one team. Ted Tappe set the individual scoring record, scoring 534 points over the regular season with 315 of them in conference play, eclipsing the old total by 32 points.
After winning the regional championship over Everett, 62-52, the team were invited to the National Junior College Championships. There they defeated Webster City (Iowa) 72-48 in the first round before losing to Compton (CA) 62-61. They then topped Brainard (MN) 71-65 and Dodge City (KS) 61-53 to bring home the 4th place trophy.
Tappe led all players in scoring with 81 points over 4 games. Both Tappe and Gilchrist were named Junior College All-Americans.
The team was inducted into the Bremerton Athletic Roundtable Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
From Olympic, many players went on to four-year universities and many coached in their later years.
Ed Brown coached and served as Athletic Director in the Franklin Pierce School District.
Bob Fredericks played tennis at the University of Washington and helped establish the Bremerton Tennis and Athletic Club.
Darwin Gilchrist went onto play basketball at Long Island University for one year before an injury lost him his scholarships. He finished his collegiate career at the College (now University) of Puget Sound. He played for two years in the Northwest AAU League. He currently lives in Manchester with his wife of 34 years.
Bill Guttormsen played basketball at the University of San Francisco. From there, he went on to play internationally with a semi-pro basketball team. Once he retired from playing, he went on to teach until 1986. He finished teaching at Woodside High School in Redwood City, CA, and helped developed the athletic programs there. The gym at Woodside High is named for him. He was also inducted into the Kenosha Hall of Fame for his high school basketball exploits in his hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin. He passed in 2004 in California.
Larry O’Neal went on to graduate from Central Washington University. He taught math, coached, and later became the Highline School District Athletic Director. He went on to work for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, planning many state tournaments. He created the “Mat Classic,” the current format for the state high school wrestling championships. He settled in Cathlamet, WA, with his wife of 63 years, Joyce. He passed in 2014.
Sidney Ryen went on to play basketball at Denver University. He was named to the All-Skyline 2nd team in 1950. In 1951, he was drafted by the New York Knicks of the NBA in the 7th round. He dreamed of playing on the US Olympic team and his Air Force team made it to the quarterfinals of the Olympic trials. He passed in 2009.
Hal Sherbeck played football, basketball, and baseball at Montana. He lettered in all three sports both years he was at UM. He was inducted into the Grizzly Basketball Hall of Fame in 1957 and the Grizzly Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005. After he was done playing, Sherbeck coached. He coached football at Missoula High School from 1952-55, winning three state titles. He went on to coach all three sports at Montana from 1956-61. He then moved to California where he coached football for 32 years at Fullerton Junior College in California. He won three national titles with the Hornets: 1965 (10-0), 1967 (12-0), and 1983 (10-0-1). He had a career coaching record of 241-70-8 (.768). His JC teams won 16 conference titles, had a 47-game unbeaten streak from 1964-1968, and made 13 bowl appearances. He was voted to the Commission on Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001 and Fullerton College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Ted Tappe was the youngest player to play in the national tournament in 1949. He would go on to play basketball and baseball at Washington State College (now University). He was drafted into the MLB by the Cincinnati Reds and hit his first major league home run in 1950 during his first at bat. Tappe played a total of 19 games in the majors for the Reds and the Chicago Cubs. Injuries cut his MLB career short and he lived in Wenatchee until his death in 2004.
Art Waaga was an engineer and public works director for Kitsap County until his death in 1982. The county honored his service by naming a road after him.