WINSTON — Carl Bone started teaching and coaching at Winston Middle School in 1969 and never thought he would stay very long.
But here he is, 46 years later, still in the Winston-Dillard School District. Bone, who turns 69 next month, says this will probably be his last year.
When Bone started at the middle school, they didn’t have a wrestling or football program, but he started both of them.
“Originally it was just going to be a first job, but I felt comfortable in the community, I like the people here, and this is my home now,” he said.
Bone graduated from Grants Pass High School, and was fresh out of Southern Oregon College (now Southern Oregon University). The job in Winston was the first he interviewed for. He worked with the Douglas High football and wrestling programs until 1976, when he moved to the high school and taught physical education, health, and weight training.
Bone became the assistant varsity wrestling coach under John Botz, and then took over as head coach in 1981. He held that position until 2000, a total of 31 years with the Douglas wrestling program.
Bone coached football until 1984, but got out due to the amount of time it required.
“I had three young daughters and wanted to spend more time with them,” he said.
The next year, Bruce Myers, who was the head volleyball coach, didn’t have a JV coach. Myers asked Bone if he would do it. He really didn’t want to but finally gave in, and eventually became the head coach in 1991.
“I said I’ll do it for one year, and one year only, and that was in 1986 and here it is 2016 and I’m still in it,” Bone said.
It never occurred to him that he would ever be a volleyball coach, because wrestling was his favorite coming out of college. He didn’t know much about volleyball when he started, but learned quickly.
Volleyball didn’t take as much time as football coaching, plus two of his three girls played so he had the opportunity to coach them.
Bone thought he would retire in 2013 and left coaching. But the next year, they were without a coach so he got right back in. He thinks this year will be his final one.
“I’m looking at probably retiring at the end of this season,” he said.
Bone left teaching in 2000 — the same year he quit coaching wrestling — but he and his wife still substitute teach two or three days a week.
When he finally does retire, Carl and his wife want to travel. They don’t plan to move, so, many of his relationships with coaches, teachers and athletes will continue.
Botz, the former Douglas athletic director, has stayed close to Bone over the years. He felt having Bone start the wrestling program at the middle school was big.
“It definitely was. We totally agreed on the style that our wrestlers should have, to put them into a winning mode,” said Botz. “Carl has got nothing but my admiration.”
Botz said he, Bone and Myers ran three marathons together.
“Carl and I have had a lot of good times together, and a lot of positive stuff, and he’s always been that way with kids. He always seems to find something good in just about any kid, and I really respect that,” said Botz.
Dan Withers, who coached and taught at Douglas and was an administrator, said Bone is one of the most dedicated and professional teacher/coaches that the district has ever had.
“The longevity and commitment to the students and athletes is, in a word, phenomenal,” said Withers. “He’s off the scale. I think the district and community have been very fortunate to have that kind of dedication.”
Former Roseburg city police officer and fire marshal Tony Dimare wrestled for six years for Bone in middle school and high school.
“He was a great coach. He ran our tails off, and we were in better shape than the cross country runners,” said Dimare.
Bone has seen some tremendous athletes go through the school.
“Dennis Boyd back in the early ’70s played for (Oregon State University and the Seattle) Seahawks, Josh Bidwell was a punter in pro football (and first at University of Oregon) and Troy Polamalu (with Southern California and Pittsburgh Steelers),” Bone said. “All three are just fantastic people.”
Bone said he really enjoys the intense competition of a close athletic event.
“You’d think after 46 years of coaching you wouldn’t get nervous, but I do,” he said. “I just really enjoy that thrill of competition and seeing young kids do well and perform well, and it doesn’t always have to be your star.”
Bone remembered one of his wrestlers who hadn’t won a match all season until the district meet. He won a match by a pin, and the four points he got were enough to give the Trojans the district championship by 3 1/2 points.
“I’m just so proud of kids like that,” Bone said. “He worked hard every day, and he didn’t even place at district, but those four points were the difference between us winning or losing the district meet. You gotta love those kinds of kids that just persevere.”
Bone was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and went through successful treatments. But the last few years he said his PSA has risen, so he recently had a biopsy done and is waiting for the results. He said he feels good and is keeping active.
“I’m relatively healthy for an old guy, I’ve got two artificial knees and that’s why I bicycle a lot and I enjoy life,” Bone said.
Bone still plans to support the Douglas teams whenever he can.
“I like to follow the kids, I’m kind of a sports nut. I always have been,” he said.
Meanwhile, he still has some business to take care of with a very good volleyball team that’s in second place in the Far West League heading into tonight’s match with Siuslaw at home. The Trojans (9-5, 6-2 FWL) sit one game behind the Vikings (10-6, 7-1).