One of the really great things about coaching is the number of really special young people you get to work with.
When you are on the practice field day after day you really get to see the best of what our youth are made of and have the chance to watch a young athlete develop from his freshman year on.
Mike Sullivan, a 1988 Warrior graduate, is one of those former players I had the privilege of working with. Warrior fans have seen the Sullivan name associated with Del Norte sports going back to the ’50s when Mike’s grandmother Dee Sullivan came to Del Norte as a teacher and coach.
Dee was followed by son Bill, who became known as one of Del Norte’s all-time greats. Bill’s son Mike entered Del Norte High in the fall of 1984 and immediately became part of the Warriors junior varsity football team.
I remember the JV coach, Steve Shultz, telling me, “You need to watch Max Keyes and Mike Sullivan, they are really going to help the football program.” Max was a sophomore and Mike was a freshman. Mike was an excellent running back for the JV team during his freshman and sophomore years. In Mike’s junior year it was my turn to work with him.
The 1986 team was a fun group. Blaine Lopez was the quarterback and set a league record for passing. Max Keyes was the tailback and broke the league pass receiving record, and Mike was the fullback who had to help protect Blaine and also serve as a receiver out of the backfield. It was a job he did well.
After football season Mike would go to the basketball court and was a real help to that program, but football remained his favorite. Mike was also active in other student activities and served as class vice president during his sophomore year.
After graduation Mike went to college but did not continue his athletic career. After graduation Mike returned to Crescent City and opened a branch of Edward Jones Investments, a business he still operates. Mike also became involved in local politics. He ran and won a seat on the County Board of Supervisors, where he can serve the community he grew up in.
He still has his interest in Warrior sports as he is a regular fan at the Warrior athletic events. Mike’s brother, Joe, also was an excellent running back for the Warriors, helping to keep the Sullivan tradition alive.
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 head football coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.