Photo by Steve Shay
The Monogram Club, former WSHS lettered varsity athletes providing scholarships to new alumni there met at the West Seattle Golf Course Clubhouse. Featured speaker, pictured center, is Kim Depew, WSHS Athletic Director, and longtime math and chemistry professor there. Pictured left is longtime head coach Rich Alsleben. Pictured right, his replacement, Don Conner.

WSHS Athletic Director Kim Depew speaks at the Monogram Club

The Monogram Club, an organization of former West Seattle High School lettered varsity athletes providing scholarships to new alumni there met at the West Seattle Golf Course Clubhouse Thursday, Oct. 4, for their luncheon.

Jerry Costacos, WSHS Class of '44, told the West Seattle Herald that he once caddied for Arthur B. Langlie, who was then Seattle's mayor, in 1940 when the West Seattle Golf Course officially opened. Langlie then became governor, from 1941 to 1945, and 1949 to 1957.

"I was scared as hell," Costacos recalled. "I don't remember much about that day."

Kim Depew:

Guest speaker was Kim Depew, Athletic Director at West Seattle High School. She has taught math and chemistry at West Seattle High School for 15 years. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Western Washington University and her Master’s in Science Education from the University of Michigan. She also holds her Principal Certification, doing her course work at Central Washington University and City University.

Monogram members, all males, became enthusiastic when they realized Kim's daughter is Keri Depew, the first female football player to letter on the WSHS Wildcats Varsity team. Keri played lineman (line woman?) and long snapper.

"She was tough as nails," beamed Kim. "My other daughter is in her last year at Western on a softball scholarship.

"I grew up in Ferndale, then got my first big job out of college at the cement plant on the Duwamish as a chemist for a couple of years," she recalled. "I got transferred around with my husband and kids."

They landed in Michigan and she said she became tired of the harsh winters and missed her family in the Seattle area and they were able to return.

Her conversation turned to coaching. She has a full plate, coaching softball and coordinating other activities.

"You see my hair?" she asked with a frustrated tone. "It looks like crap." The guys snickered. She continued wryly, "You know why? Last night I was at the swimming pool four hours trying to get my lifeguard certification so I could coach the swim team today. So I decided this morning there was no point in doing my hair. I'm desperately looking for a swim coach if you know anybody."

A couple of the members who are retired coaches remarked that they admired that she dove in, so to speak, and got the job done rather than let the student swimmers flounder.

"It takes a lot of adults doing some good things to keep the programs running and to keep the kids off the streets," she said. "What would those kids be doing if they weren't in athletics? You've got to wonder about that. A lot of their parents are working and aren't there. I think athletics really provides a great service for the community as it helps kids do the right thing."

During Q&A, one member complained that West Seattle High School's basketball and football team members seldom apply for the Monogram Club's scholarship. Therefore, most awards go to those competing in golf, tennis, and track.

"I'll make every effort to encourage them to apply," she promised.

She was seated by two former WSHS head coaches, Rich Alsleben, now of White Center, and Don Conner of Burien. Conner coached basketball, soccer, and cross country. After Alsleben was head coach, Conner took his place.

Alsleben coached at the high school for 28 years, and 40 seasons of sports, from 1958 to 1985. That included 17 years in basketball, 15 years in tennis, seven in track and one in baseball, when he filled in. He taught biology at for 33 years.

Rich Alsleben

"I really enjoyed sports because you got an immediate reaction from the kids," he recalled. "In the classroom you'd never understand what your effect was upon them until 20 or 30 years later when they come back and say that they had me and appreciated what ever I did for them. So sports was special."

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