Charles “Charlie” Mathews was a 1961 Del Norte High School graduate. He was one heck of a football player.
During the years that I coached in Southern California, one of the things I used to look forward to were my visits to Crescent City. One of the highlights was going to Gasquet and visiting with Del Norte former coach Tex Gatlin. Tex was always full of great stories.
I will always remember his tales about Charlie. He said Charlie Mathews was the toughest player he ever coached. When an opposing player had the ball Charlie didn’t care where the sidelines were, he would go into the stands to get the guy if he had to.
As tough as he was on the football field, it would be hard to find a more caring, compassionate person off the field. Charlie was also an excellent basketball player and track athlete. His long jump marks were some of Del Norte’s best until Brad Ames came along and set the league record in 1967, a mark that still stands.
After graduation from high school Charlie went to San Francisco State where he continued his football career. After graduation from San Francisco, Charlie returned to Crescent City and went to work for the Del Norte Unified School District.
When he came back he spent eight years working as an assistant football coach under Dale Thomas. When Dale left football and Jim Costello came on as Warrior head coach, Charlie worked several more years with the junior varsity program.
During his teaching career he spent 32 years at the high school as a special education teacher. I had the privilege of observing his work during my years at the high school. There are few people that impacted the lives in a positive way, of our special needs students more than Charles Mathews.
This on the field tough player has a kind, caring, firm, compassionate side that made him special to all his students. He is a very exceptional Warrior. Charlie and wife Carol still live here in Crescent City and are still great supporters of our youth.
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.