Firebaugh mourns loss of beloved coach

The Firebaugh community is mourning the loss of a beloved coach who led the football program for almost two decades.

Players recall Chuck Norred as not only their coach but also as a father figure in many cases.

Norred worked at Firebaugh High as a football coach and later as athletic director between 1989 and 2008.

Norred was a no-nonsense coach with a great sense of humor.

Firebaugh Eagle football's the only game in town on Friday nights. Norred made sure the kids lean on each other like family.

Mike Daniel's a former quarterback who is now the school's Asst. Athletic Director.

"When I was a senior in high school my father actually passed away right before our last football game. There was two people I called and he was one of them. We played the very next day and he was just a person right after that I could always count on and be there for me as a father figure," he recalls.

When Daniel first saw Coach Norred on the field, he thought it was Hulk Hogan. A lot of kids did.

But parents raising their children in Firebaugh, a small town which faces many economic challenges, knew their kids would learn discipline while playing for Norred.

Brady Jenkins grew up to be a City Councilmember but coach had a term of endearment for all of his players even as they grew into adults.

"I'm sure everyone out there will agree his favorite saying was - 'Get over here, pencil neck'. Everyone was pencil neck," says Jenkins.

Former players say coach said it with love.

"He was a man of many words and influence and a coach you didn't say no to... he's a legend. He's a legend in Firebaugh," Jenkins adds.

Coach Norred battled several health issues including lupus.

He settled in Madera Ranchos. He was 67 years old.
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