Nine former or retired coaches, athletic directors and principals received California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) San Diego Section life passes during the CIF Board of Managers meeting June 8, and the recipients included former Ramona High School coaches Bill Tamburrino and Joe Bess.
The meeting also saw outgoing board chair Larry Perondi presented with a tape of a 1969 football game between Ramona High School and Mountain Empire High School, where Perondi was a student at the time.
Bess spent 20 years as a football, basketball, and tennis coach for the Ramona High Bulldogs before working 13 years as Ramona’s athletic director.
“It’s just a great honor, he said of his life pass. “It doesn’t happen to everyone.”
Bess said that the CIF life pass can be used and not just stored on a shelf as is the case with many awards he has received.
“I never expected to receive anything quite this good,” he said.
“That’s the best honor I’ve ever had as a coach,” Tamburrino said of his life pass.
Tamburrino retired as a Ramona High School teacher in 2009 but returned for the 2009-10 year as a teacher emeritus. He spent 35 years as a head or assistant coach of various sports, concluding his coaching career with the 2009 football team.
“I might have lost a lot of games, but I coached a lot of winners,” he said. “That’s what coaching’s about, doing the best for your kids.”
Tamburrino said that more than 100 of his former players entered careers in teaching and coaching. Although he is retired from coaching, he will continue to write a sports column and cover various Ramona High School sports for the Ramona Sentinel.
Tamburrino said that many opposing coaches were in the room when he received his award.
“You meet a lot of nice people,” he said of coaching.
Perondi served on the CIF Board of Managers in his capacity as the Oceanside Unified School District superintendent. The North County Conference superintendents often met, and during one conversation Perondi mentioned a football game against Ramona in which Ramona quarterback Larry Walker’s pass went off Perondi’s helmet and was caught in the end zone. Unbeknownst to Perondi until that superintendents’ meeting, the Ramona player who caught the touchdown was Ed Nelson, who is now the superintendent of the Escondido Union High School District.
Perondi was also a pitcher on the Mountain Empire High School baseball team and noted that Walker once had four hits in four at-bats against him.
Nelson had received 16-millimeter game films from when he was in high school. He said the game against Mountain Empire was played on Nov. 7, 1969, and he presented Perondi with a copy of that film reel upon Perondi’s retirement from the board.