Thursday, April 24, 2014

Stromberg is one for the ages


Rick Stromberg gives the Blue Devils some advice during a time out. He coached the boys junior varsity and varsity teams from 1970 to 1992. Courtesy photo

From page A1 | August 30, 2013 | 1 Comment

Join the fun

What: Davis High School Hall of Fame 2013 induction ceremony

When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14

Where: Freeborn Hall, UC Davis

Tickets: $65 each; visit

* Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of stories profiling the 2013 inductees to the Davis High School Hall of Fame.
No coaching stipends, no assistant coaching positions and, comparatively, little to no budget to speak of.

Mentoring sports at Davis High in the ’60s and ’70s wasn’t — and still may not be — about the luxury. It’s the getting out there, the helping young athletes that motivated Rick Stromberg, former Blue Devil coach and athletic director.

But Stromberg has always been a hands-on guy, as evidenced by what it was that first brought him to DHS in 1965: impressing on a malleable cast of students the ways of architectural drawing, and later, woodworking and driving.

So began his 38-year-long Blue Devil career, which upon his retirement in June 2003 was the second longest of any teacher in the school system. In that time, he worked alongside ambitious coaches and, as he remembers most fondly, coached his son.

Not long after his initiation to a DHS teaching position, it was time for the selection of a mandatory “extra duty assignment,” which Stromberg chose to coach junior varsity football.

There was only one problem: He had, up to that point in his life, never picked up a football.

“In high school I was 130 pounds and 5 foot 7,” he admitted, laughing. “Since it was the beginning of football for most of these kids, it allowed me to learn the systems easier.”

That same year, 1965, he aided the coaching of the Blue Devil track and field squad. This was a sport he was familiar with, as he ran on his Arcata High School track team.

Stromberg continued until 1970, when he moved on to basketball mentoring. He served at the helm of the DHS junior varsity team under Les Curry for the next 14 years, and then took the reins as the varsity coach.

Among his most memorable experiences upon reflection of that time was coaching his son, Craig, as a Blue Devil.

“I still remember one game where we were playing against Valley (in 1988),” he said. “They left Craig alone out front, top of the key, and he ended up scoring 20 points.

“The coach at the time of Valley High School was a good friend. He came up to me at the end of the game and said, ‘Craig sure had the game of his life, didn’t he?’ ”

And along with the moments of pride were some memorable, but not so positive moments, of having to play diplomat with parents who claimed favoritism.

“There were some good things, but there were also some difficulties,” he said. “There were some who felt I gave him more attention, which I actively tried not to do.”

He also reminisced about 1989-90 and 1990-91, the two seasons in which he led his squad to Delta League championships.

The rewarding campaigns neared the terminus of the coaching portion of his DHS career, which came in 1992. He spent the remainder of his 38 years at the school acting as athletic director, a responsibility he accepted in 1983.

The passage of Title IX, which ensured equity for boys and girls in sports, came several years before. He spoke of its implementation being the most significant shift in the landscape of high school athletics:

“That was a big change, and a great one for girls athletics and so forth — to become competitive teams instead of just having to play in a recreational setting.”

He added that just sustaining on a small budget, and not dipping into the red, was an accomplishment in itself. A large part of that was facilitating fundraising activities.

And for his many years of ensuring that the Blue Devil athletics remained a strong part of the community, he will be inducted into the Davis High School Hall of Fame next month.

Stromberg is going to be honored, alongside four other inductees, for his individual efforts. But, as a modest soul, he preferred to speak more of the coaches who made strides under his reign as athletic director.

“Surely, if it weren’t for the talent of some of those coaches, we never would have brought the programs to the high level that they have risen to,” Stromberg said.

He’ll also be accepting the recognition during next month’s ceremony with the memory of the many students he taught and coached in mind.

“Still to this day I can remember many of them,” he said, “and how much fun it was to have them in class and on the team, and sometimes both.

“That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve missed in my retirement, not being with the students. I think they keep you young.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett


Discussion | 1 comment

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • bill TowneAugust 30, 2013 - 2:53 pm

    With as many great people who have come and gone through DHS, nobody has put in as much time and effort as my friend Rick Stromberg. 38 years of teaching drafting, 23 years of coaching basketball and lets not forget the 20 years of being the athletic director in times where for his efforts was given one period off as his stipend. Todays AD is payed a full teaching salary. I played for Rick, coached with him and Rick hired me as Varsity basketball coach for DHS. Coach Stromberg was the most organized person I have ever been around, teaching his classes but running one of the feared school athletic programs in the Sacramento area. He led the Blue Devils to Arco Arena twice during his tenure as basketball coach which has never been matched. Congrats again my friend to you and your family. Welcome to being a Lifetime Blue Devil, much deserved.

    Reply | Report abusive comment


Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12



Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8





Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11







Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6