In the spring of 1949, Del Norte High School hired a new head coach. Chuck DeAutremont, a recent graduate and three-sport standout athlete from Southern Oregon College, took charge of Warrior sports.
Chuck replaced Wallace “Brick” Bralick, who was only at Del Norte for one year.
When Coach DeAutremont arrived he recognized that the athletic equipment was in poor condition and needed to be replaced. In order to raise money to do everything that needed to be done, he started the Warriors Boxing Smoker program.
Two or three times a year boxing matches would be held in the school gym. Chuck would match Del Norte students of equal size and athletic ability and they would fight three one-minute rounds using heavy boxing gloves.
To make sure the matches were properly controlled he got two professional boxers from Klamath, Dale and Sandy Sanderson, to referee and judge the bouts. These two were great and old Warriors will always remember and be thankful for what they did for Warrior athletics.
These events became so popular that the gym would be totally packed for every event. Coach DeAutremont also would often have students with musical talent also perform one or two numbers.
The funds that were raised were enough that all-new, first-class red and white football uniforms were purchased, so when we took the field in the fall of 1949 we really felt special. That spring the colors changed from red and white to blue and gold so another set of uniforms were purchased with smoker funds.
Del Norte was also was in bad need of new helmets. The ones we were using were pre-World War II and were not good, so in 1950, my senior season, we had new fancy helmets to go with our new blue and gold uniforms.
The smoker funds also allowed the track team to attend the Hayward relays at the University of Oregon in my junior and senior years. Since the smoker funds went into the “D” club account, there was always enough money that the “D” club would hold a free dance where students were served all the free ice cream they could eat.
Those of us who had the privilege of playing for and working with Coach Chuck DeAutremont will always cherish the memories this warm, fun-loving coach left us with.
When Chuck left here he went on to a long, successful coaching career in the Eugene, Ore., area..
As an afterthought, many of you may want to know why these boxing matches were called smokers. Well, my daughter asked me this, and I didn’t know then and don’t know now, so if anyone does please let me know.
Wishing all you Warrior fans a happy and healthy 2013.
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 football head coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.