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Ron Kunstal helped gets things started right

By Andy Martin

When I look back at the Warrior wrestling program and the successful history it has had, one person really stands out as the coach that got the program going in the right direction. That was the colorful character Ron Kunstal.

The Warrior wrestling program started in 1963 under then head coach Bob Wilmeth. Bob coached the team until 1965 when Ron took over the reins. Coach Kunstal led the team for eight years. During that time the team won two championships and finished second five times.

Ron coached the team by himself in 1965. In his second year an assistant was added. Loren Bosch, who was the wood shop teacher at the school took the position. The next year Ron was joined in the program by his former college teammate Darwin Schager. Those of us that knew both of these gentlemen might find it hard to believe that Darwin wrestled at 123 and Ron at 130. Both of them would have had trouble making weight during the later part of their coaching careers.

Those of us in the coaching profession along with the entire community were saddened by Darwin's sudden passing a couple of years ago. When Ron and Darwin were wrestling at Humboldt State they were teammates of former Warrior Matt Kelley, also on the same team.

One of the Warrior wrestlers put his name in the national record book when local businessman Ron Hendricks was a 98 pound freshman and he pinned an opponent in five seconds.

hen called about some of the names he remembers he immediately named several. John Pappas, a local contractor. Fritz Baldwin a 194 poundr that all Warrior football fans recognize as our outstanding defensive coordinator for the Warrior varsity. Rich Weir, (of Wier's Mortuary), an outstanding heavyweight that most of us are in no hurry to visit. Jerry Hemmingson, another 194 pounder that also became one of the best running backs in Warrior history. He now occupies a seat on the county board of supervisors.

Ron said the list could go on and on as he had so many outstanding young men to work with.

When Del Norte first started a freshman football program he and Darwin were the coaches. In this program Darwin was the head and Ron the assistant.

I had the privilege of working with Ron for several years at the high school. He is a person that was born to be a teacher and a coach. His real concern for young people was such that anyone that had him for a teacher was not going to forget him. His sense of humor and mischievous nature could keep the teacher faculty room from becoming to serious. He is a true professional in every respect.

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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