Our Staff

Che Dawson, Founder and President of Hoops4Life

Che Dawson's Bio:

  • Birthdate: April 26, 1970 
  • Birthplace: Portland, Oregon 
  • High School: Sunset HS, 1988 
  • College: Seattle University, 1993 Degree: B.A./Political Science/Criminal Justice 
  • Graduate School: University of Washington School of Law, 1997 Degree: J.D. (Juris Doctor)  

Coaching Experience:

  • 2003-present - Head Men's Coach, Highline College (Des Moines, WA) 
  • 1997-2003 - Head Boys Coach, Chief Sealth High School (Seattle, WA) 
  • 1995-1997 - Assistant Coach, Ingraham High School (Seattle, WA) 
  • 1999-2000 - Friends of Hoop Select

Ché Dawson is the Founder and President of Hoops4Life. He has spent the last 20 years coaching at the high school and college levels. 

Ché Dawson became the new Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Highline College on April 25, 2003 after eight seasons in the high school ranks. Since coming to Highline, Dawson’s teams are 240-163 overall and 142-78 in the tough West Division and the team has gone to the NWAC tournament nine out of fourteen years, including three Final Four appearances. In fourteen years at the helm, Highline has won three Division championships and one NWAC championship. His staff has been named the Coaching Staff of the Year (2008-2009) and the NWAC Coaching Staff of the Year (2005-2006).

The 2005-2006 season culminated in a run to the NWAC Championship. “What a special group of young men it was” stated Coach Dawson. “We had sophomores who bought into the necessary commitment, leadership and selflessness to have a winning team and the freshman made the same level of sacrifice for us to be collectively successful.” Dawson thought the keys to the Championship team’s success were its depth, balance and versatility. “The most telling statistic from the NWAACC tournament was the fact that we won the tournament without one player in the top 20 in scoring for the tournament. When young men buy into that kind of unselfishness, incredible things happen.”

Coach Dawson is no stranger to implementing high standards and expectations into a basketball program. Coach Dawson was the Head Boys Basketball Coach at Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle from 1997-2003. After Sealth finished 6-11 in its previous campaign, Dawson’s team went 15-7 in his first season qualifying for the Sea-King District Tournament. Over the next five seasons, Chief Sealth qualified for the playoffs four times, including two more District Tournament appearances and one State Tournament Appearance in 2000-2001. Chief Sealth had not participated in the State Tournament since winning the State Championship in 1989.”[The 2000-2001 season] was a great season that rewarded a lot of hard work by our players, parents, staff and administration” said Dawson.
More importantly to Coach Dawson, however, was the integrity with which he ran the program. “The reason I love coaching is the ultimate challenge of playing within the rules and still maximizing your potential against your competition. I learned a lot about life values as a player and hope that my players take the same lessons away from the game.”

Dawson is also a staunch proponent of basketball being a vehicle for education. While at Sealth, an increasing number of seniors went on to higher education every year. “My first year at Sealth, two of eight seniors went to college. My last year, all six seniors went to 2-year and 4-year schools. We always talked about how the lessons learned in basketball apply to the classroom. You must have an appreciation for the fundamentals, a dedication and consistency in your effort and an ability to deal with adversity.” That academic tradition has continued at Highline. In twelve years at Highline, 42 players from Highline’s program have committed to play at 4-year schools and several others have gone to 4 year schools without playing.

Dawson has lived by these values. Dawson had a very successful high school career at Sunset High School in Portland, Oregon. In two years as a Varsity player, Sunset compiled a 47-4 overall record including two Metro League titles and the 3A State Championship in 1987. He played for legendary Oregon coach Ken Harris who has twice been named the Oregon State Coach of the Year and once the National Coach of the Year. Dawson was a second-team All-Metro selection his senior year.

After graduating from Sunset in 1988, Dawson moved to Seattle and attended Seattle University. At Seattle University, Dawson was a four year letterman, playing his final season for legendary Garfield High School Coach Al Hairston. “The combination of integrity, discipline and a commitment to excellence that I received from my high school and college coaches transcended the basketball court and influenced me in the classroom,” said Dawson. While at Seattle University, Dawson initially majored in Criminal Justice, making the dean’s list on several occasions and earning “outstanding Student-Athlete” awards. After completing his playing career, Dawson decided to attend Seattle University for another year, allowing him to earn a second major in Political Science and to focus his efforts on qualifying for admission to law school.

After graduating from Seattle University in 1993, Dawson worked as a Juvenile Rehabilitation Counselor at Echo Glen Children’s Center, a juvenile correctional facility. After a year away from the classroom, Dawson was one of 170 students accepted into the University of Washington School of Law. He went on to graduate with his law degree in 1997.

During law school, Dawson began his coaching career as an assistant at Ingraham High School to Bill Sauvage, 1996 Metro League Coach of the Year. Dawson knew immediately that he had a passion for coaching. “I was able to combine my love for the game with my love for leading and working with young people.”

After two seasons at Ingraham, Dawson became the Head Boys Basketball Coach at Sealth. He concurrently passed the bar exam and began his legal career with Karr Tuttle Campbell, a downtown Seattle law firm. “I am eternally grateful that my employer allowed me to develop as a coach and to work with young people.” Dawson continues a relationship with the firm in an Of Counsel role and is a tenured faculty member of the Paralegal Department at Highline College.

Dawson and his wife, Kelly, live in West Seattle with their sons Miles and Malik.

Colin Slingsby, Camp Director of Hoops4Life Basketball/Life Skills Camp

The Camp Director is Chief Sealth Head Boys Basketball, Coach Colin Slingsby.

Coach Slingsby is entering his fifteenth season as head coach at Sealth and his seventeenth season on the staff at Sealth. He is an English teacher at Denny Middle School and lives in West Seattle. Coach Slingsby has twice been named Metro League Coach of the Year, was awarded the 2006-2007 ‘Statesman Award’ for the State by the PNBOA for sportsmanship, and was named the 2009-2010 Star Times Coach of the Year by The Seattle Times. Coach Slingsby has surpassed 100 wins as the Sealth coach. The Sealth Boys' team has qualified for the district tournament in six of the past nine seasons. The 2010-2011 Seahawk team qualified for the 3A State Tournament, winning two games and advancing to play in the quarterfinals in the Tacoma Dome.

Coach Slingsby is a committed and passionate teacher, coach and mentor of young people in the West Seattle community.