A valuable lesson

September 27, 2007 11:00 pm

Like most who have participated in sports, you sometimes look back at the coaches that have been a part of your life.

As I looked back at the coaches I had while in Crescent City, the one that had the biggest impact on my own coaching career was not one of my high school coaches, but my eighth grade basketball coach.

He was one that old timers just refer to as "The Coach" and those in my age group refer to as Mr. Fraser.

Ed Fraser wasone of Del Norte High School's earliest coaches.I respect himas much as any person I was involved with in the sports field. (I will go into his high school career in a later article.)

I am going to explain a simple lesson that Mr. Fraser taught me that I feel helped me have success early in my career.

We were getting ready to go to Eureka to play Eureka Junior High School. In preparation for that trip, Coach Fraser told us that any player that got on the bus would be wearing a coat and tie.

At the time, this country boy wondered what that had to do with winning games. I later learned that feeling good about yourself and having pride in your team can be directly affected by your appearance.

I remember how proud I felt when we stepped off the bus in Eureka. I felt like I was part of a class outfit. When I look back at the start of my high school career, a little something was missing. The way you dressed was not important as long as you were clean.

When I went to college at Humboldt State, I remember coach Phil Sarboe telling us before our first road trip that everyone that gets on the bus will be wearing a sports coat and tie. This immediately brought back to me what Coach Fraser had insisted on years earlier. You have to feel good to be good.

Now on how Coach Fraser's lesson impacted my career. When I graduated from college, I was hired as a varsity assistant football coach at Twentynine Palms High School. As an assistant there I worked under three different head coaches during a four-year span. We had very limited success and were often beaten badly.

An important ingredient for success was missing, "Pride." The next year I was given the head coaching job. One of the first things I told my assistants was that we were going to develop pride in ourselves and in our team. The players would wear coats and ties, not only on trips, but also on game day at home.

The coaches would wear coats and ties during the game. I spoke to the staff about what coach Fraser's message had meant to me as a player. Good things started to happen. The first season was not a winning one but we played well. The next year we posted a winning record, finishing second in the league.

The next year I moved to Yucca Valley, where we had regular winning records. For this success, I have to look back and say thank you to the coach.

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 South Coast Storm semi-pro football team, formerly called the Siskiyou Savages.