Veteran Healdsburg football coach Tom Kirkpatrick gets Windsor job

By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Longtime high school football coach Tom Kirkpatrick has retired — twice — but is back in the game again, taking the helm as Windsor High School head football coach.

Kirkpatrick, 62, coached Healdsburg High from 1987 to 2000 before stepping back from coaching, while remaining a math teacher. He returned in 2007 and retired in 2011, having never had a losing season with the Greyhounds.

He retired as a teacher last year, but said Friday he found it difficult to stop working completely.

“I’ve missed it,” he said. “Things kind of just fell into place. I was asked whether I would be interested in applying. I thought about it and of course things had to be just right.”

That included a buy-in from his wife, Becky, and an agreement that he could bring along his longtime assistant coaches Gale Bach, Mike Ruiz, Bob Besancon, Pat McDowell, Joe Passalacqua and Pete Thomas.

Kirkpatrick replaces Vic Amick, who coached the Jaguars for three years, but was let go at the end of last year. He said at the time that school administrators told him that he was “not building enough character off field.”

Kirkpatrick was chosen by a committee from four finalists for the job, Athletic Director Jeff Hardie said in an email Friday.

“We were looking for a coach who could strengthen an established program so that when people think of and talk about Windsor High football, they think of student athletes with integrity, family, sportsmanship, loyalty and a desire to make their school and community proud,” he wrote.

Principal Marc Elin described Kirkpatrick as “the complete package we were hoping to find – a well-respected coach with a long history of developing both skills and character in the students he coached.”

The new coach said he and his staff look forward to working with young student-athletes again.

“It kind of puts you in the right frame of mind,” he said. “We’re competitive people, but the perspective we bring is ‘it’s always for the kids.’ We want the kids to have a good experience – not just the first 11 kids, but everyone in the program.”

Kirkpatrick and his wife recently moved to Windsor from Healdsburg and are enjoying becoming more active in the community.

He said he plans to meet with the team next week.

You can reach Lori A. Carter at 521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.