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Warrior Memories: A history of Warrior football coaches

When Charles Thunen led the Del Norte High Warriors onto the football field on Sept. 20, 1924, at Arcata to play the Arcata Tigers, Warrior football was off and running.

Coach Thunen had just finish his college career playing for the Golden Bears of the University of California Berkeley. He got the program started right as the Warriors defeated Arcata 6-0.

This year the Warriors start their 85th season under new head coach Bob Hadfield tonight. Coach Hadfield is the 14th coach to head the Warrior program. Coach Hadfield brings a strong coaching background to the program, so Warrior fans look forward to another exciting season.

I feel very fortunate to have known personally all 14 of the men that have held this position. Charles Thunen was replaced before the 1926 season by Ed Fraser, who led the Warriors in all sports for the next 20 years.

Charles Thunen became the principal at the high school, and held that position while I was a student at Del Norte. When Coach Fraser left the high school he went over to Crescent Elk, where I had the privilege of playing for him. In 1946, Phil Crawford took over the Warrior reins for one year. The 1947 school year saw the Warriors’ fourth head coach, Telmud Kramer, take the lead for one year.

In 1948, the first year I got to put on football gear, Brick Bralich was the new leader. Following coach Kramer’s short career, Chuck DeAutrement came in. Chuck did a lot to change Warrior football. This included new uniforms that made the Warriors look as sharp as their opponents.

Chuck was the head coach for the 1948, ‘50 and ‘51 seasons. During the 1950 season he was able to hire Tex Gatlin and Mike Whalen as assistants. When Chuck left to coach in Eugene, Ore., Tex Gatlin became the Warriors  seventh head coach.

Tex had a long and successful career. He had many players that Warrior fans still talk about. They were young men that went on to  excellent college careers. Bill Sullivan, Drew Roberts, Dan Sousa, Matt Kelley, Charles Mathews and Rick Hintz,  just to  mention a few.

After 13 years Tex retired from coaching and in 1965 Dale Thomas became Warrior head number eight. Dale had been a long time assistant to Tex and led the Warriors for nine years. When Dale gave up the reins, Jim Costello, former Humboldt State Hall of Fame quarterback, took over as the Warriors  ninth leader.

In 1974 number 10 in the historical line of head coaches took over. Jerry Smith held the position through 1985. Jerry was the head coach when the Warriors were league champs and met Cardinal Newman High School at Santa Rosa JC. The Warriors came up on the short end of a 20-7 score. Next week I will look at numbers 11 through 14.

Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors, had an illustrious  career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was head football coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.


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