A short time ago while substitute teaching at the high school a student asked me who was my “favorite coach to play for.” It was a really fun question for me to answer.
While I had three coaches at Del Norte that really inspired me to want to become a coach, Chuck DeAutremont was at the top of the list.
Chuck was my coach during my junior and senior years. Chuck had come to Del Norte after being an outstanding three-sport athlete at Southern Oregon College.
He coached football, basketball, baseball and track, and I had the privilege of playing all those sports under him. While playing football I dreamed of becoming a head football coach at Del Norte.
I was impressed that coach DeAutremont tried things that I had never seen done before. I remember his attempt at what he called the double T formation, where he had two quarterbacks with their hands under centers.
It didn’t work, but I was impressed that you did not have to do the same things everyone else was doing. He also treated everyone like he was special; you did not have to be a star.
The other two coaches who really impacted me were Mike Whalen and my Crescent Elk coach, Ed Fraser.
Ed had been the coach at Del Norte before retiring and going over to Crescent Elk for a year. He taught me things about being a player that became a part of my coaching philosophy my whole career. It is more important what you do outside the athletic arena that really counts.
After having played for a couple of coaches who were loud and critical, Mike Whalen, who had joined coach DeAutremont, showed by his actions that you could get more done by treating players with a positive, calm respectful approach than by loud criticism.
He made you feel like you wanted to do things right, not that you had to or be yelled at. Mike went on to become a long-time principal at the high school and because of the type of person he was, we now play our home ball games at Mike Whalen Field.
I really love being a Warrior and enjoy telling students to enjoy and appreciate the great experience they can have being a Del Norte High School student.
It is a time in their lives they will always remember.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High sports. He played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, later serving as the school’s football coach for a number of years.