By Bruce Meadows
Tom Kirkpatrick, the highly successful football coach at Healdsburg High for 31years, has reportedly been named to take over the varsity football program at Windsor High.
Kirkpatrick said Thursday he was unable to comment on the situation at this time, although an official announcement was expected to be made Friday.
TK PicThe possibility of Kirkpatrick returning to the sidelines had been reported on in recent weeks.
Kirkpatrick takes over for Vic Amick, whose contract was not renewed after coaching the Jaguars for three seasons during which time the team was 20-16, including 8-4 this past year.
Amick, 27, was quoted as saying he felt “blindsided” by Windsor’s decision to let him go.
Kirkpatrick, 62, coached from 1987 through 2000, compiling a record of 127-38-1, including seven appearances in the North Coast Section playoffs, then returned to coach the Greyhounds in 2007, posting an 18-6 record the first two seasons, including winning an SCL championship and making the NCS playoffs.
In his second stint as head coach, Kirkpatrick posted a 41-20-0 record, giving him a career mark at Healdsburg of 168-58-1. He never had a losing record, the closest being 6-5-0 in 2009.
Kirkpatrick made the decision to step down just a month after guiding his team to the NCS semifinals in 2011. The Greyhounds finished that season with an overall record of 9-4.
During his first run as coach, his teams captured two NCS championships in 1991 and 1998 and claimed nine Sonoma County League titles.
Kirkpatrick, who also taught math and physical education at Healdsburg for many years before recently retiring, was quoted as saying “I will miss those Friday nights like crazy” when he stepped away for the second time in early 2012.
During the 1990s, Kirkpatrick took particular pleasure in being able to coach his son, Ryan Kirkpatrick, who starred at quarterback for Healdsburg.
In his 31 years with the program, Kirkpatrick served as head coach for 19 seasons (1987-2000, 2007-2011), posting a win-loss record of 168-58-1. In addition, he spent 12 seasons as both the head JV coach and varsity assistant, including several years as the team’s offensive coordinator.
When he stepped down for the second time, he was quoted as saying, “I’m one of those guys that was really lucky to do something that I had so much passion for . . . We’ve had great continuity with our coaching staff over the years and that was a big key to the success we’ve had. I’ve loved every second of it.”
Kirkpatrick credited the contributions of his coaching staff, which included long-time assistants Gale Bach, Bob Besancon, Mike Ruiz, Pete Thomas, and Pat McDowell, among others.
When he left coaching in 2012, Healdsburg principal Chris Vanden Heuvel praised Kirkpatrick, noting “Mr. Kirkpatrick was able to create and maintain a program that stressed character over winning. Healdsburg football has become synonymous with honor, respect, integrity and perseverance due to his coaching philosophy and approach. The entire Healdsburg High School community is indebted to him for the strong work he has done and for the lives he has changed through football. He will be sorely missed.”
“I talked to my wife (Becky) about it and this seemed crazy, but I wanted to put in my application,” Kirkpatrick said last week. “I don’t think I have a resume’ . . . and my letters of recommendation are 20 years old!”