Ray Ricks


Coach Ray Ricks was raised by Robert and Margrett Ricks in Wilbur, Washington. Ray first loved playing sports, particularly basketball, and turned out for every sport season he could. In high school, Ray attended Christian Heritage School in Edwall. He received All-League honors playing on the very first varsity basketball team at CHS. His time at CHS and basketball coach, Wes Evans, proved to be formative in his life. Coach Evans helped to encourage a vision for a future in teaching and coaching.

After graduation, Ray attended Portland Bible College and played basketball for

two years. He then transferred to Whitworth University where he met the love of his life, Shawna, in the teacher education program. Ray completed his BA in Elementary Education & English, and later a Master’s in Educational Administration. He was hired at Valley Christian School and spent four years teaching English and coaching boys JV basketball coach under Coach Steve Altmeyer, gaining tremendous knowledge and experience. Ray also served VCS as the athletic director.

In 1999, Ray was hired at Northwest Christian Schools to lead the middle school principal. In 2000 he became coach of the varsity boys basketball team. From 2001 to 2004, Ricks coached in the Panorama League and the NEA League. Friend and mentor, Danny Beard, provided much-needed basketball guidance during Ricks’ first years. In 2004, the program had a distinct turning point as NWC played in the 1A title game at the Yakima Sundome. NWC lost a tight state championship game to the Brewster Bears who Ricks believes was “the best Washington small school team that he has ever seen.” The next year, in 2005, NWC returned to the B classification and B tournament, taking 3rd place, losing in the semi-finals to Willapa Valley.

The next six years, from 2006 to 2011, proved to be unprecedented for Ricks and the Crusaders. NWC won the state title five of the next six years: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011. From 2012 to 2018, NWC garnered five more trophies at state, narrowly losing the state championship to Colfax in 2012. In 2016, NWC won the state title again. That year was particularly special for Coach Ricks as he got to enjoy the championship with his eldest son, Ryan.

In 2018, Ray formally retired from coaching in Washington to follow his son in college and take on additional administrative roles at NWC. Currently, Coach Ricks is a professor at Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon helping to develop and train pre-service teachers for a career in K-12 education.

Coach Ricks’ record (404-95) and achievements would certainly not be possible without an incredible supporting cast. He would like to thank his wife Shawna, his sons Ryan, Lucas, and Josiah, and his parents Bob and Margrett for their unconditional support. Ray would also like to thank the entire NWC community, booster club, administration, colleagues, the “best student section ever,” cheerleaders, pep band, and fans who were always amazing and encouraging. He gives a special thank you to all his assistant coaches over the years for working non-stop to create a healthy, winning atmosphere–especially Aaron Spuler, Mark Williams, and Dan Crisp who served with him the longest. He thanks the parents of his players who were the unsung heroes behind the scenes for their relentless approach to early program-building, team meals, and special support for the players. Most of all, Ray credits all his players for their dedication, self-sacrificial attitudes, and contributions to the team. Coach Ricks says: “It was truly a joy to coach these young men, and I cherish my time coaching at NWC!”