In the fall of 1980 when my dream came true and I was able to return home and go to work at Del Norte High coaching football, there was a very talented young athlete wearing the blue and gold.
Joe Gutierrez, a 1981 Warrior graduate, was that athlete. Warrior fans may most remember Joe for his successes on the basketball court, which were many.
He played football during his junior and senior years under head coach Jerry Smith, and was an outstanding player both offensively and defensively. He was about 6-foot-4 with great hands and excellent speed, and these talents earned him all-league as a senior.
Joe started his Del Norte High School basketball career on the Warrior freshman team, where he led the team to a 15-4 record. He demonstrated early that he was a player that could put points on the board.
As a sophomore, Joe moved to the Warrior varsity squad and played for Hall of Fame coach Dale Thomas. At the end of his sophomore season Joe was selected to the Humboldt Del Norte All League Team.
He was also voted MVP. This is an honor that I have never seen go to a sophomore before but shows the great respect that his teammates had for him.
He continued his outstanding play as a junior and senior, and as a senior set a new Humboldt Del Norte League scoring record while earning all-league honors.
I can still see the warm, friendly smile that Joe always had on his face. What a treat it was to be one of his coaches. Joe is truly a class act.