In His Glory Days: Richard Gonzales

Emily Wong, A&E Editor

Though Richard Gonzales is now on the sidelines supervising sports games, many do not know the Grade Level Coordinator was also a star player on the field.

Gonzales, a DBHS alumnus who was part of the second graduating class in 1985, made a name for himself in two of the biggest American sports: football and baseball.

On the football team, Gonzales played quarterback and was on varsity for three years at DBHS. He attended his freshman year at Walnut High School, where he also participated in football and even basketball, which was coached by retired GLC Jon Goode, who Gonzales replaced as the Class of 2015 GLC this year.

One special memory from his high school football career was winning the CIF Championship undefeated his senior year. A specific standout game was the CIF Finals, where the team beat Baldwin Park High School, who was also undefeated.

Yet, Gonzales’s talent didn’t stop at football. He also had an impressive record in baseball, which he had been playing since he was eight years old. In high school, he was varsity for three years, playing shortstop and pitcher. He perpetuated his baseball career playing as an outfielder in college, even making it to the College World Series, and was subsequently drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. He played for the Cardinal’s minor league system for two years.

“[Baseball’s] such a pure and true game. It’s not like any other sport,” Gonzales said.
His successful athletics career has not been without its obstacles. During his freshman year at Walnut High School, he injured his knee playing basketball and had to get surgery.
“It was a little bit of an obstacle for me in the sense that it took a long time to recover from the injury,” Gonzales said.

His efforts on both fields paid off as he was awarded the school’s Athlete of the Year his senior year.

“It was an honor. To be recognized was a great honor for myself and my family,” the GLC said.

In addition, he was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from Oregon State University, where he played football his first year before transferring to Santa Ana College. He eventually received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at Cal State Fullerton, where he played baseball his junior and senior year.

Although Gonzales was a P.E. teacher and football and baseball coach at DBHS for many years, he eventually went back to college to become a Grade Level Coordinator. In 2011, he received his Pupil Personnel Services Credential for counseling at Azusa Pacific University. After subbing for his now colleague Sonja Burns during her pregnancies, he permanently became a GLC in 2013.

“I’ve always been fond of GLCs. When I was a teacher, I always leaned on GLCs,” Gonzales said.

Watching high school sports games years after his successful sports career, Gonzales has noticed a few differences between the players now and the players when he was in high school.

“We didn’t know what we were putting in our bodies. We were eating Big Macs after football practice,” Gonzales said. “But now with our athletic trainers and our coaches that work with the kids in, they teach them how to eat correctly and fuel their body.”

Although Gonzales misses the companionship and high school as a whole, he has filled that void as a GLC.

“Sitting out there throwing passes on a Friday night is a great experience. Now, I get the joy of finding out that kids that get into Stanford or West Point and those types of things, which gives me the same kind of excitement,” Gonzales commented.