Del Norte High School fans always get excited when basketball season starts.
This old Warrior really enjoys being in the warm gym where I can watch both our boys and girls teams compete. It is especially exciting for me to see two former Warrior varsity basketball coaches joining forces again to coach our freshman boys.
Kirk Burrows and Dale Thomas have paired up again to help the young Warriors. Last year this duo helped our freshmen to an undefeated season.
While Kirk still teaches at the high school, Dale has long since retired from a 30-plus-year teaching career at Del Norte. He came to Del Norte after graduating from Humboldt State in the mid-1950s.
I first got to know Dale in 1952, when he transferred from junior college in Washington and became an important part of the 1952 championship football team.
Since coming to Del Norte, he has worked in both the football and basketball programs, both as an assistant and head coach. As the JV football coach, he led the Warriors to their first undefeated season. As the varsity head basketball coach Dale led the Warriors to several Humboldt Del Norte league championships.
While Kirk Burrows was the head coach for the Warrior varsity team, Dale joined him as the assistant coach and the duo led the 2002 Warriors to their first and only North Coast Section basketball championship.
Coach Burrows, who many consider the most successful Warrior basketball coach as he has won 10 consecutive HDN championships, gives Dale a lot of credit for the Warrior success. These two coach where egos are not important; the kids are what the program is for.
Last football season when the 2012 Warrior Hall of Fame class was inducted, Dale Thomas was one of the first three coaches selected for this honor.
In doing these columns through the years I have interviewed numerous former Warriors who praise Dale for the impact he has had on their lives.
It is really great to see Kirk and Dale still sharing their experiences with our freshman boys. They will not only help them become better basketball players, but they will also help them become better people.
Dale may be in his 80s, but still has a sharp mind, a great attitude, wonderful respect for our youth, and a solid understanding of basketball fundamentals. He is a special Warrior and a great friend.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was football head coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.