Mark Schelbert


With a father who immigrated from Switzerland…a man who spent countless hours in the Alps…one would think a life on the ski slopes would be in Mark’s future. Mark, however, had other plans. He wanted to be a policeman.

Raising four boisterous sons in rural Graham was not an easy task for his parents, Joe and Laura. A rusty rim with no net nailed to the exterior of the barn on their 10 acre farm was where the Schelbert

brothers spent most of their free time expending energy and giving Mama Schelbert some peace. Mark and his brothers would spend hours on that court, but in typical sibling fashion, most games were never finished because a fight or argument would break out first. The competitive spirit and drive to win began here!

The desire to become a policeman was still mingling in Mark’s mind, but basketball was fast becoming a passion. Mark’s fundamentals and development were shaped by his Bethel High School coach Mike Mullen. Eventually Coach Mullen also became Mark’s father-in-law when Mark married Molly Mullen, a young woman who knew the trials and tribulations of having a coach for a parent, and from her mother’s perspective…a spouse. Mark and his high school teammates played in the state tournament twice and placed in the Top 8 in 1988, Mark’s senior year. Coach Mullen promoted that the team was more important than the individual and was proud when Mark led the team in steals and assists and earned individual honors including First Team All SPSL.

Mark attended Highline Community College where his passion for the sport put him back on the court. Once again, he was fortunate to be coached by two of the greats: Fred Harrison and Joe Callero.

As a two-year starter for the Highline Thunderbirds, Mark helped lead his team to the

playoffs both years with a Top 8 finish in the NWAAC Tournament his second year.

Continuing his education at WWU, Mark not only put his idea of becoming a policeman aside, but also retired his basketball shoes. Mark realized that basketball was his passion and spending more time in the library would help him earn a career in teaching. Teaching led to opportunities for coaching, and if he couldn’t make a career out of playing, he could instill the love of the game in a younger generation. In

Mark’s case, 28 younger generations! In 1994, he served as the JV Coach under John Ruby at Hazen High School. He remained in that role for three years with no ambition of becoming a head coach. However, when the head coach position opened in 1998, Mark stepped into the role realizing he could build a program that modeled his beliefs and molded young men. In the first year at the Hazen helm, Mark led the Hazen Highlanders to the State Tournament….their first trip in twenty-plus years!

Two seasons later, Mark applied for a job at Fife High School. The job provided many challenges of instability and turnover as Mark was the third coach the seniors had had in four years! Providing stability, guidance, and basketball savvy, Mark took the Fife Trojans to the State Tournament his third year coaching for them. This had not happened in Fife for 12 years! In his tenure at Fife, Mark helped lead the Trojans to nine State Tournaments (in 2018 the team included his son, Cooper, and the most recent in 2019), two district titles, and two Top 8 finishes (one finish would have been 4th place, but Coach Bakamus cheats).

Throughout his career, Mark has always looked at basketball as an avenue to teach players life lessons that extend beyond the court. He had the same expectations for his players as he did for his own children Macy and Cooper. His moral requirements modeled commitment, perseverance, and value of self and teammates. No matter the season record, his desire to stay true to these values provided a touchstone for his players. Even his fiery nature was his way to be a part of the game while advocating for his players. Mark may not be carrying a policeman’s badge, but his desire to “serve and protect” was evident every single day of his career….serving his players, protecting his players, and encouraging his players to stay on a positive course no matter the influences from the world outside the court.