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Del Oro to recognize standouts at first Hall of Fame event

Bonners among those to be inducted April 25
By: Eric J. Gourley, Gold Country News Service
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When Ed Bonner graduated from Del Oro High and accepted a track and field scholarship to UC Berkeley 40 years ago, in spirit he never left the Loomis campus. “Even at Cal, I was an Eagle,” Bonner said. The three-sport athlete beams with pride at any mention of the school where he played football and basketball and ran track. Later this month, Bonner and his late father will be among the athletes honored during Del Oro’s inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The April 25 event will celebrate sports during the 1960s and 70s, the first decades of the school’s operation. “This should have been done 25 years ago,” athletic director Monte White said. “We’re doing this for the greater Loomis area. There is a lot of history of Del Oro that if we don’t watch out we’re going to lose it forever.” The idea was put on the backburner when renovating the football field and track became the school’s top priority several years ago, White said. He and former principal Bob Christiansen eventually got the ball rolling again. A 15-member committee picked the inaugural inductees: Bob and Ed Bonner, Tom Cooper, Butch Enkjoi, Randy Hansen, David Johnson, Kurt Richter, Jun Takuma, Paul Yokote, the 1969 track team and the 1966 boys basketball team. “We wanted to start with the 60s and 70s, then we’ll bring in the 80s and include the 60s and 70s again,” White said. “We’re setting a pretty high standard the first time out of the box because we really believe it needs to be an honor. If we’re too generous the first time, it won’t be. “Each person I talked to was absolutely humbled by being recognized,” White added. “It can not make you feel any better than that for giving them the opportunity.” The Bonners are among the humblest to ever set foot on the campus. Bob, who passed away shortly after retiring in 1989, taught at Placer High before helping open Del Oro. He was the school’s first varsity football coach “Bob Bonner has set a standard that has seldom been reached by any coach at Del Oro High School, not from a win-loss record but from his ability to impact peoples’ lives,” White said. “He was a mentor to so many people and a mentor to me and I met him only once or twice. You’d like all your coaches to be able to emulate that type of person.” White calls Ed, a 1969 graduate, “a chip off the old block.” “Not only was he a great track athlete, his character speaks for itself,” White said. “We believe that’s a major part of people who get into the hall.” Bonner, the Placer County Sheriff, still lives in Loomis and actively supports Del Oro athletics. “This honor is very special for me, particularly to be in with my father,” he said. “That’s just a wonderful thing. It makes it really special. He was just an incredibly loving man for all his children. All the kids at Del Oro were his children.” Ed even played JV football under his father, a longtime coach at the school for whom the gymnasium was named in 2005. “It was a real pleasure being coached by my dad,” he said. “I just always enjoyed having him around. A lot of kids probably couldn’t get away with anything if their dad was on campus, but I enjoyed it.” The inaugural induction, which is open to all, will take place at Del Oro’s performing arts center. A reception will follow at the Blue Goose. Tickets are $15 per person through the school or $20 at the door. “We need the storytellers and the people that established Del Oro,” White said. “We have an obligation to continue making Del Oro what it is and even better.”