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Dee Sullivan was special

When you look back at girls sports at Del Norte High School there is one name that stands out at the top of the list.

Dee Sullivan was a woman that was giving girls a chance to achieve in sports before girls sports became a part of the regular interscholastic high school program. Dee herself was a standout athlete.

While she was still Dee Henders at Eureka High School she excelled in track, graduating from Eureka in 1931. As a 15- year-old sophomore she had one of the fastest 100 meter times in the world and qualified for the 1928 Olympics as a member of the 4x100 relay team.

However, as a young teenager, she got homesick and gave up her spot on the team and did not go to the Olympic games.

After graduating from high school she attended Humboldt State where she continued her athletic career. In 1977 Dee Henders Sullivan was the first woman elected into the Humboldt State Women's Athletic Hall of Fame.

After teaching at Eureka for a couple of years, Dee came to Del Norte High School, where she taught physical education and coached from 1956 until her retirement in 1973.

In 1955 Dee and her husband Leo moved to Crescent City, where Leo took over Baker and Stanton furniture store, which stayed in the family until the retirement of their son Bill.

Bill, who himself was an outstanding athlete, attended Oregon State on a football scholarship and was the backup quarterback to Terry Baker the year Terry won the Heisman Trophy.

Back to Dee, while in Crescent City, Dee ran an AAU age group program in track and field that gave our youth a chance to have success outside the school setting. This was something she did totally as a volunteer.

She was dedicated to giving to others the great opportunities she had been privilege to. During her years coaching track at the high school her teams regularly won the league championship.

During her time at Del Norte she organized the Redwood Rockettes drill team, a group that is successful to this day. She arranged for them to perform at San Francisco 49ers' football games, something they still look forward to.

The legacy of Dee's contributions to Warrior sports in general and particularly to the girls programs continue to this day. Each year the outstanding senior girl athlete receives the Dee Sullivan Outstanding Female Athlete Award.

The plaque bearing her name and the name of all the winners is in the trophy case by Thunen Gym at the high school.

Dee was one of those very special people that has affected the lives of more young people than we will ever be able to count. She may have passed away in 1990 but those in the Warrior family still have a very special place for her in our hearts.

Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors, 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. Currently, he is head coach of the Wild Rivers Storm semi-pro football team.

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