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Names and their Games, Family Matters


Names are used by writers to identify people and their families but they don’t even come close to telling the whole story about them. We’ll attempt that here, but mere words hardly do justice. Suffice to say, if there is a first family of sports in Tacoma and Pierce County, the Scott Names “18” is enough for a golf course or team rosters in football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, even ice skating.

Yes, the Names family name is synonymous with Tacoma sports and it has been since the 1920s, nearly nine decades ago. That family reference includes Scott, Sis, Sid, Paul, Tom, Clint, Paula, Erin, Beth, Monica, Rick, Kappy, Curtis, Kim, Aidan, Patrick, Kim and Trina. Did we leave any of them out?

Well, let’s go figure. You’ll probably get to meet them all at the Banquet of Champions when they receive the First Family of Sports Award from the Williams family (last year’s initial family award winners). The award promises to be an annual form of recognition at future TAC-produced events like this and, before long, it will become apparent there are many Tacoma area homes where sports are all in the family.

It began with Scott, long before he was a championship player for the 1931 Stadium Tigers who won the state basketball title. As a youngster he was always shooting “hoops” and he never stopped until he was age 68 and his knees needed rest. As a matter of fact, Scott and his sons Tom and Clint played together on the same team in their golden years, combining for 198 years worth. Clint stopped playing when he reached 60 but Tom refused to quit until age 70.

When the Names weren’t on a basketball court they were on a golf course. It is doubtful that any local family ever won more honors in golf than the Names. Mom (nobody calls her anything but “Sis”) was the very first Women’s Senior State Champion. Scott couldn’t match that championship but he was one of Fircrest’s finest players while sons Tom and Clint won more than their share of titles.

Tom was Elks Allenmore Champion in 1959 and Fircrest Club Champion in 1972. He was three-time runner-up at Fircrest, once to brother Clint in the 70s. In 1976 he became President of Fircrest, and one of his big thrills was caddying for Arnold Palmer in the 1960 Carling Open. Clint’s golf career was amazing. He started playing at 11 years of age and claimed the Conference Championship in 1961 at the University of Washington. He won 12 Fircrest Championships, including eight in a row. He holds the competitive course record for an amateur at Fircrest with a 63. He also won the Fircrest Amateur five times, three times in a row with two-round totals of 139. Pro golfer Ken Still assessed his ability by stating that he was the most natural athlete “I’ve ever been around”. Clint won the Pat Boone Celebrity Classic at Ocean Shores in 1969 and the Tacoma Golf Association Champion of Champions event in 1971.

The Names brothers grabbed even more recognition on the hardwood. Tom was the city scoring record-setter at Stadium before Clint broke that mark. He was a four-year letter winner at the University of Puget Sound. He was an all-Northwest AAU selection after college. Clint was captain and inspirational award winner at the UW where he and George Grant started at guards after doing the same at Stadium. He was a unanimous choice for All-State honors at Stadium where he scored 22 consecutive points for the Tigers in a 64-63 upset win at the state championships over #1 ranked Richland. The Seattle Times called his 39 points (18 for 28) the most outstanding performance in state tournament history at Hec Ed Pavilion. As a youngster Clint may have been headed for baseball glory but golf and basketball interfered. In one “little league” game he struckout the side on nine pitches and came to bat in the next inning with the bases loaded. You guessed it, a grand slam!

We could go on with story after story but the rest of the family deserves mention here as well. Scott’s brothers, Sid and Paul, once played with Tom, Clint and Scott on a team of Names, all by that name. Scott’s history was highlighted by a 42-point scoring spree for the Tacoma Y which beat Seattle in a Northwest YMCA League game as a youngster. It came in an era when most teams didn’t score 42 points.

Mustn’t leave out daughter Paula. She stayed close to sports in high school as a Wilson high cheerleader, and she has stayed active in slowpitch, volleyball, bicycling and kayaking. Most notable athletic achievement? Try a 19,340 foot climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro and three weeks of cycling the countryside in Vietnam. What about the Names kids? Erin is a Soccer Mom of four, participating in basketball, baseball and soccer. Beth is an accomplished Ice Skater. Monica played Soccer at Bellarmine Prep and the U. of Portland. Grandpa Tom and wife Meg are mighty proud. So is great Grandma Evelyn (Sis to you).

Clint’s kids are Rick, who was All-City in basketball and golf at Foss high school and played both at Tacoma Community College; Kappy, who earned 9 letters in high school in 6 different sports in three years, and then played Soccer at PLU; Curtis, who played basketball and golf at Bellarmine; Aidan, an All-Conference player in both volleyball and basketball at Life Christian Academy; and Patrick, All-Conference in basketball at Bellarmine and basketball at TCC.

You might say “it’s all in the family” but the Names certainly rank among the most athletically-involved ever to participate in Tacoma and Pierce County. Athletics have been good to them as well. Scott opened a “hole in the wall” sports supply store in Lakewood in 1959 and it was the first in the nation to retail Nike shoes. That led to meeting Phil Knight when he was a shoe salesman in Portland, and a 1971 investment in a company called Sports Tek, Inc. In 1980 those shares were converted to common stock in a company which went public. That company was Nike. In 1983 the Names Family Foundation donated $1,074,675 to Bellarmine Prep for Names Gymnasium. A year later it donated $450,000 to help finance the Names Physical Education Center at PLU. The Names have continued to “give back” to the community with contributions to the YMCA, UPS, and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Second and third-generation family members are now involved in the foundation, and contributions are certain to continue long into the future.

Name names in sports here and, if you do, be sure to capitalize the N. The Names we’re talking about are special indeed.