Former Star asks for support in naming track

Dear Dr. Atwater:

This letter is to formally ask for your support in naming the Soldotna High School track facility after the late Mark Devenney.

I will not list the accolades of the sports teams Mark Devenney coached during his time at Soldotna High. Rather, the purpose of this letter is to emphasize the impact he had on 14 years’ worth of student athletes and the lessons they have carried through their adult lives.

“All it takes is all you’ve got.”

“Tough times pass, tough people don’t.”

Those are my two favorite and cherished Devenney-isms. He was quick to identify potential and made it clear that through hard work, discipline, commitment, and attitude you could accomplish almost anything. He dedicated his life to that message and never turned away a student athlete who was willing to work hard to achieve their dreams.

Since his passing, I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the impact he had on my life and those of my fellow students during his tenure. He and I shared a special bond after the announcement of my acceptance to the US Naval Academy and he was immensely proud of my accomplishments. My return trips from college resulted in many stories of his time in the US Marine Corps and Vietnam. Although I didn’t know it at that time, his life lessons on perseverance set the foundation for my successful career as a Navy officer. To this day, I serve to honor his memory and investment in my young life — hoping that I can someday repay my debt to him by sharing the lessons he taught me to others.

Anyone can stand in the Soldotna High gymnasium and bear witness to the achievements of the teams coached by Mark Devenney. However, it’s not until you talk to one of his former athletes that you fully understand the true impact he had on the Kenai Peninsula. Coach D taught a generation of youth how to win not only in sports, but also at life. I’m proud to have known such a great man and hope we can immortalize his contributions to our community by naming the track facility in his honor.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


William “Billy” Moiles

Norfolk, Va.

Soldotna High Class of 2001