Nor-Cal Retired Coaches Association
By Enjoy Magazine
Story by Aaron Williams
Photos by Beth Havsgaard
QUESTION: What happens when a group of Hornets, Wolves, Eagles, Cubs, Miners, Panthers, Cougars, Spartans, Patriots and Falcons get together for breakfast?
Answer: An organization that has awarded more than $140,000 in scholarships to North State student athletes and is poised to hand out an additional $30,000 at its annual scholarship luncheon.
The idea, borne from a weekly breakfast of friends and former high school coaches, became the Nor-Cal Retired Coaches Association and has been a boon to graduating high school student-athletes.
“All we wanted to do was raise a little money and it’s snowballed,” says former Enterprise coach Ron Wooley, who is still the commissioner of the Eastern Athletic/Sac River League that includes Shasta, Enterprise,
Foothill and Red Bluff. Last year, they gave nearly $20,000 to 16 recipients.
But, honestly, how can rival coaches co-exist after battling against one another for all those years?
“The camaraderie is there and I think, despite the different schools, we were all friends,” Wooley says. “The idea was to find a way to give back to something we’ve done for so many years.
“And, yes, we talked early on about putting our egos and rivalries in the back pocket and work as one group.”
The group’s origin began over a weekly breakfast in 2013 at the Snack Shack. While they had retired from coaching, many still felt they had something to give and wanted, as the organization’s motto claims, to be “still in the game.”
“When we originally thought of what we’d like to do, we were going to have a bowling tournament, of all things,” he says.
Wooley and former Shasta football coach Lon McCasland met, formed the organization and “I delegated the presidency to him,” Wooley joked.
A golf tournament was planned, but others, including Bob Johnson and Bob Smith, thought the group should solicit sponsorships to maximize the amount of scholarships they’d be able to offer.
“The feeling was ‘if we’re going to do this, let’s do it right,’” Wooley says.
The group’s biggest event is an annual golf tournament at Riverview Golf and Country Club that’s become one of the largest single-day tournaments north of Sacramento. But Cheryle Thurman, on the group’s communication and marketing committee, says most of the money comes from the business sponsors.
The Retired Coaches Association has between 35 and 40 dues-paying members, Wooley says, as folks come and go based on “whatever they’ve got going on in their lives.”
Last year, the golf tournament, slated annually for the last Friday in July, was forced back a few weeks because of the Carr Fire. In addition to the golf tournament and scholarships, the Nor-Cal Retired Coaches Association participates in holiday bell ringing, as well as helping out at the J.F. Shea fishing day for special needs children. And the group held a barbecue for KRCR employees to honor their tireless work during the Carr Fire.
Wooley says this year is significant in that many of the original group of scholarship recipients should be on track to graduate from college in the spring.
“It will be interesting to see how many of them graduate in that four-year window,” Wooley says.
The group’s focus is to continue ––≠hosting the tournament and scholarship ceremony, but the long-range goal is to create a foundation that sustains its vision.
“We’re retired by nature, so you’re older when you join,” he says. “It would be nice to raise enough to start a foundation or trust so that when we age out there will be money to continue this at some level.”
Nor-Cal Retired Coaches Association