Schaad family has longtime passion for sport
Wrestling has truly become a family affair at Del Norte High School.
Left to right: Chuck Schaad, a Del Norte High wrestling assistant coach; his son Aaron Schaad, the Warriors head coach; Chuck’s other son, Clinton Schaad, assistant coach for Del Norte; and Nick Watson, a member of the coaching staff, watch a match at home Tuesday night in Crescent City. For more photos, go to triplicate.com/photos Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Since the 2007–2008 season, Aaron Schaad has been the Warriors head coach, with his younger brother Clinton Schaad serving as assistant coach.
They are also assisted by their father Chuck Schaad, who coached for a number of years with the youth wrestling and football programs in Del Norte County.
And the next generation is already wrestling, with sophomore Jackson Evans, a starter at 138 pounds, who is the step-son of Aaron Schaad.
“It’s nice to be a part of your son’s life but also his peer group’s lives,” Aaron Schaad said. “I have enjoyed working with these kids.”
The team has been quite successful with the Schaad brothers at the helm, winning two Humboldt-Del Norte Conference titles and a second place finish last year. They also coached heavyweight Roger McCovey in his junior and senior years in 2008 and 2009 when he went undefeated and won two straight state titles.
“I’ve taught them well,” Chuck Schaad said with a chuckle. “We have a lot of fun with it ... I’m just really proud of them.”
Both brothers have been wrestling since they were kids and their dad was one of the coaches on the Del Norte Youth Wrestling team. Both of them were born and raised here in Del Norte County.
“We’ve been wrestling as far back as I can remember,” Clinton Schaad said.
“It’s something we’ve done since we were young. Some people, they hunt or fish. We coach wrestlers. This is my hobby,” Aaron Schaad said.
Chuck Schaad said that it was important for him to be coaching his kids and their peers when they were growing up.
“I was right there making sure they were on the straight and narrow,” Chuck Schaad said. “It was good because I was able to make sure they continued to be focused.”
Both brothers had distinguished wrestling careers at Del Norte High and wrestled at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. Aaron graduated from Del Norte in 1993 while Clinton is a 1997 Warrior graduate.
Aaron was part of the national title team at SOU in 1994 and Clinton was on the team when they won a title in 2001.
Chuck Schaad watches the wrestling meet on Tuesday along with his grandson Colton Schaad, who is the son of Clinton Schaad. Del Norte Triplicate/ Bryant Anderson
The experiences and techniques learned at SOU, a longtime wrestling power, have been valuable in teaching the kids back here in Del Norte County, Aaron Schaad said.
“I learned a lot there, and I’m glad I’ve been able to bring that to Del Norte,” he said.
Aaron considers Clinton his right-hand man and said when he is unable to make a practice or needs help with a player, talking to a parent or travel arrangements for a road trip, he knows that it will be done thanks to his brother. He trusts Clinton completely.
“I know he has the same vision and values I have,” Schaad said.
Even if they don’t agree on something, the criticism is constructive, the brothers said.
The close bond between the coaching staff, which includes Chuck Schaad and fellow assistant Nick Watson, has been crucial in having a cohesive wrestling program, Aaron Schaad said.
Clinton Schaad enjoys working with his big brother and said they are close. After all, they spend countless hours with each other during wrestling season.
“We’re both very competitive. We both work hard and want to win,” he said. “If they are willing to put in the effort then we work with them to make them the best they can be.”
For Chuck Schaad, it’s special working with these young wrestlers and teaching them this challenging but ultimately rewarding sport.
Wrestling helps these teens gain needed focus and is a positive outlet for them, he said.
“I enjoy watching the kids compete and see them move up the ranks,” Chuck Schaad said. “Watching them grow and develop is big for me. Wrestling makes you stronger not just physically. It helps you become stronger as a person mentally.”
Lending a hand
The entire family, from Clinton and Aaron’s wives to Chuck’s wife Patty, are active parts of the program behind the scenes.
For instance Aaron and Clinton’s mom Patty Schaad does a lot to make sure the annual Battle of the Border Tournament here in December runs smoothly. She is in charge of catered coaches’ meals and helping get donations for the event. And youngest brother Heath Schaad, who lives in town, is a constant presence around the team and lends his support as well.
“It’s great when the whole family helps,” Chuck Schaad said. “Wrestling has been great for us. It’s knitted the family and keeps it together.”
For all three of them the bonds they have formed with the wrestlers they have coached over the years have been priceless.
Aaron Schaad recalled that one former wrestler, Jake Young, a 2008 graduate who made state as a senior, visited him this past holiday season during a break from the Army.
“It’s nice to still be a part of their lives,” Aaron Schaad said. “It was good to see Jake. He’s doing great. I enjoy seeing what type of young men they have turned out to be.”
Chuck Schaad said that it’s always nice when former Warrior grapplers come back and visit.
“I’ve had kids come back, put their arms around me and say, ‘How are you doing?’” he said. “It’s great when they come by, drop in and say ‘hi’ to us. It’s good to see how they’re doing.”
The Schaads were on the road yet again on Friday, heading to a tournament at Windsor, all the way down in Sonoma County, that is set to take place today.
“I’ve never been to Windsor before,” Chuck Schaad said. “It will be something new for me. It’s a lot of fun, especially now that I’m retired and I can go to all these different tournaments and help.”