There aren't that many football coaches around anymore with the tough presence you expect from a football coach. Looks tough, speaks tough, and his presence embodies what the game is all about.
One of the last of those old-school football coaches has retired. Dave Hoskins will no longer head up the juggernaut that is Elk Grove Thundering Herd football. His team for the second year in a row lost in the City Championship game, but not without a great fight which ended on a badly thrown ball that became a turnover. We can all gripe about little things that should have and could have been over the past couple years that might have earned Hoskins another Section Title, yet how many other high schools can show the consistency over the past ten years in their football program?
Coach has helped many a kid become a young man. He always competed in every game. His teams came to play and if they lost it wasn't by much.
When Coach was upset over the direction the booster club was heading (the Board members wanting their kids to start, etc.) he told them to shove it and he was going to teach drivers' ed. Out of the history department came Bob Lee and that one year Elk Grove became an ordinary program, with extraordinary talent. They lost and lost badly to Laguna Creek, Florin, Nevada Union and a couple others, missing the playoffs. Lee spent the game in the booth, not on the sidelines and it was a mess.
The administration (and frankly alot of us Thundering Herd fans) said this wasn't acceptable and back came Hoskins. I remember the next year Elk Grove went back to the playoffs led by Tony Kays, whose now roaming the NFL (I think with the Bengals), after setting records at UC-Davis. Then, the next season the team started 0-4, playing Del Oro, Jesuit, Nevada Union. Then the Herd won seven in a row. The playoffs started in Vacaville against an undefeated team in the Bulldogs. We scored with about three seconds to go in the game and instead of kicking the extra point to tie, Hoskins said go for two. Joe Allen scored on a sweep to the left and the Herd won, 32-31. It was one of the gutzi-ish calls I've ever seen, but that was Hoskins.
More than that I personally appreciated how my son grew as a man under Hoskins. My son flourished as a football player under him. And there's hundreds of other young men that will always remember Coach fondly.
I know there's going to be a younger guy coming on to replace Hoskins. Likely, he's bring in one of these spread, finesse offenses that is so popular today, but I just hope the toughness and the mystisque that is Thundering Herd football, brought to Elk Grove doesn't leave with Dave Hoskins.