I have been asked many times, since I returned to Del Norte after leaving and spending 19 years coaching in Southern California on the Mojave Desert, how I got back here.
The return really started during the 1966 football season when I took over as head football coach at Twentynine Palms High School. It is really a story of how people are placed in your lives for a reason.
My dream of returning to Del Norte to coach football started in my junior year when I played for coach Chuck DeAutrement.
When I took over at Twentynine Palms I was looking for a good assistant coach. The school had just hired a new head track coach in Al Peyton. I did not know Al personally but I did know that he had been a successful head football coach at Elsinore High School outside of Riverside. I contacted Al and convinced him to return to football as my top assistant.
We worked together for the 1966 and 1967 seasons. In 1968 the district opened a new high school in Yucca Valley, and I had the opportunity to go there as the head football coach and athletic director. Al Peyton left Twentynine Palms and took an administrative position in the Beaumont, Calif., area.
Yucca Valley and Beaumont high schools ended up in the same league as Yucca Valley and had a lot of success against Beaumont. I continued coaching in Yucca Valley through the 1979 season. In the meantime I had lost contact with Mr. Peyton for several years.
One night in the spring of 1980 I received a phone call, and the caller said, “this is Al Peyton.” I said, “Hi, how are you and what are you doing now?” He said, “I am now the principal of a high school in Northern California, Del Norte High School up near the Oregon border.” He then said, “We are looking for an athletic director and someone to help in the football program, and I wondered if you might consider leaving Yucca Valley.”
My next reply was “Did you know that I am a Del Norte High School graduate?” His reply was, “You have to be kidding.” I said “No, Warrior class of 1951, and yes, my dream has always been to return to Del Norte.”
I was invited to interview during spring vacation and was offered the position, so when school started in September of 1980 my longtime dream had come true. Being able to come back to where I started meant a great deal to me.
Warrior blood will always flow through my veins, and I will always be grateful to Al Peyton for thinking of me when the position I always dreamed of opened. It is great to be back.
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.