Ferris High School grad leads Oregon State on NCAA Tournament run

SPOKANE, Wash. — Everyone gets their start somewhere.

Coach Wayne Tinkle’s start happened to be at Ferris High School in Spokane, where a lot has changed over the years. But in many ways, Tinkle’s roots are still alive and well all across town as he tries to get Oregon State to a national championship.

Tinkle and the Beavs are crashing the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis and now they are picking up some more fans, like the fourth graders at Moran Prairie Elementary.

That is because one of Tinkle’s seven sisters is their teacher.

Jennifer Tinkle is using Oregon State’s Cinderella run to teach her class a few lessons about basketball and life. On Friday, they made posters and rocked some gear from their favorite schools.

“We want them thinking about ‘What am I going to be when I grew up? What college do I want to go to?’ and also know they can change their mind,” Jennifer said.

The Tinkles grew up loving basketball; the entire family has ties to the sport, even dating back to Coach Tinkle’s run at Ferris.

Wayne and Jennifer grew up on a different team, though – a team of 11 kids in the family. Wayne is the baby.

“You’re getting hand-me-down clothes, you’re playing football together, basketball together, you don’t want to come late to the dinner table right… so, if you can survive that, you can survive anything,” Jennifer said.

Coach and the Beavers are in fact surviving and advancing in the tournament. It’s a Cinderella team to many, but not to Jennifer.

“Even though it seems like they just came out of nowhere, he’s been building a program there for seven years,” she said. “I know they were picked to come in 12th and I didn’t really think that was accurate.”

Tinkle’s family also has strong ties to Oregon State’s opponent this weekend: Loyola Chicago. Their dad used to be Vice President of the school, but there is no question about who they will be cheering for Saturday.

The family hopes Coach Wayne’s seven sisters can bring some more magic than Sister Jean.

“It’s all Beavs,” Jennifer said. “All I can say is, Sister Jean, she’s had a blessed life and I wish her a continued blessed life, but this weekend it’s all about the Beavs.”