Bellevue College’s first baseball coach and athletic director, Jim Harryman passed away on Thursday December 5, 2019 at the age of 86. The legacy that Harryman started on the baseball diamond is still alive today, as the baseball program is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this spring that Harryman started from scratch in 1970.
Right out of the gate, Harryman fielded a squad that not only went 15-2 in league play en route to a North Region title, but also finished third at the state tournament and produced Bellevue’s first professional baseball player in Gene Moser who was drafted by the New York Yankees. Moser would be the first of many Harryman-led players who turned pro as a total of 19 in his five years as Head Coach signed professionally with Major League Baseball teams. All of these inaugural campaign accomplishments were done without a field, as the squad traveled daily for practices and games at Hidden Valley Sports Park in downtown Bellevue.
Harryman’s Helmsmen baseball squads would go on to capture three more division titles in 1971, 1973, and 1974. In his five years, Harryman not only built a program from scratch, but also brought home four division titles, an NWAC title (1973), and an overall record of 82-13 in division play and 125-52 overall. His 71% win percentage remains the highest amongst all of the baseball coaches in Bellevue’s 50-year history.
In the middle of this five-year stretch as Baseball Coach and Athletic Director, Harryman’s tenacity that he showed on the baseball diamond also carried over in the growth of the department. Harryman’s dream field became a reality through his hard work as he was able to venture a joint partnership with the City of Bellevue to get a baseball field constructed on campus in 1972. The field, now known as Courter Field, is the same used by this year’s squad.
Long after his tenure as Bellevue College’s baseball coach and athletic director, Harryman’s contributions for the baseball program were evident as he spearheaded the funding for both the permanent bleacher project in 1985 and the LED scoreboard in 2001. It was the first ever LED inning-by-inning scoreboard in the entire Pacific Northwest.
Much of the success of Bellevue’s baseball program is built around the stability of the baseball program that all started with Harryman. There have been only six head coaches in the program’s history and the field that Harryman built is the epitome of the game in it’s purest sense, with a 100% natural playing field surface; the same way Harryman planned it 50 years ago.
Due to buildup over the years, the facility is undergoing a massive renovation project by this year’s team. Ironically, in the year of the program’s anniversary and the year of Jim’s passing, the field is being lowered 13 inches down to the original layer that Harryman coached on. “The exposure to all of the different dirt layers added throughout the decades was like a time capsule revealing the history of the program,” says current Head Coach Mark Yoshino. “This spring as we step foot onto the original level of Jim’s dream field, we’ll have an everyday reminder of the program tradition that Jim built. We’re going to do whatever it takes to bring home a title for Jim and all of the other alumni of this program,” added Yoshino.
A special ceremony honoring Harryman’s baseball contributions to Bellevue College will be later in the spring before the team’s final home games. All friends of BC baseball under the Harryman era and beyond are encouraged to contact Yoshino at email@example.com to receive updates on the event.
Last Updated December 9, 2019