MOSES LAKE — Liz Bigger knew softball wasn’t going to be her sport when, as a child, she elected to pick a crown of daises in the outfield rather than prepare to catch a fly ball.
Bigger knew one thing — she liked to run. She ran cross country her first two years at Tumwater High School before joining the soccer team her junior year.
Bigger had a simple edict on the pitch.
“Go score goals,” she said.
Bigger described herself as “lucky” to receive a scholarship to play for Washington State University. Soccer was indeed a global game as Bigger continued to travel to international tournaments, continuing to play into her adult life.
But that adult life became a little too full.
Bigger, for a time, commuted to the Tri-Cities to play, spending more time in the car driving than she did playing.
“Coaching was by default,” she said. “There just wasn’t soccer to play.”
That shift to the sideline paid off in the spring when Bigger was announced as the new head girls soccer coach at Moses Lake High School.
“I was a little surprised,” she said. “I know there were some really well-qualified coaches that applied.”
Bigger is no stranger to the Chiefs’ program. She began volunteering for former head coach Ric Char in 2011 and was selected to coach the junior varsity program the last five years. Bigger has seen the program grow into a Columbia Basin Big Nine champion, District 6 champion and state tournament qualifier. Most recently, the Chiefs won the 2018 league championship.
“He (Char) worked hard and built it to what it is and getting more coaches in there,” Bigger said.
Bigger’s journey to Moses Lake, and the head girls soccer gig, was a meandering one. Originally, she received a business administration degree from Washington State University, however, law enforcement turned into an unlikely passion.
Bigger met some state troopers through her job as an insurance agent and was convinced to apply; she went on some ride alongs, applied and was offered a position two months later.
“I honestly did not know what I was walking into... It was an eye-opening experience when i went to the academy,” she said.
Bigger did know one thing, though — no desk jobs.
Bigger spent five years in Hoquiam working for the Grays Harbor County Sheriff. She expanded her skill and became a K9 explosive technician in 2004 before training to be an instructor in Texas.
“I just really didn’t know what to expect,” Bigger said. “I had an idea what the job entailed, but I certainly underestimated it, for sure.”
Eventually, Bigger transferred to Moses Lake where she has — uncharacteristically — stayed put.
“My mom kind of jokes that this is the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place,” she said.
One of Bigger’s coworkers helped her link with Char, who also works in law enforcement for the Grant County Sheriff, and the two have coached together ever since. Char even began to “put the bug in her ear” when it came time for Char to step down to spend more time with his family.
“(She’s) extremely organized and structured,” he said. “She’s got the experience at the Division I level playing at WSU. She’s already in a supervisor position in her full-time job so she’s got leadership and management capabilities.”
Now, it is Bigger’s turn to continue the steady play of Chiefs’ girls soccer. She is excited to coach the returning players and was optimistic about the strength of the incoming freshmen class.
The duo of Bigger and Char won’t separate just yet. Char will be back to volunteer with the program in the fall.
“I’m just excited to see what this first season will hold,” Bigger said.