In Memory of

John Nules

John Nules, one of the East Bay's most respected figures in education and high school athletics over the past four-plus decades, died in October while in hospice care. He was 76. Nules began his career in 1961 as the football coach at El Cerrito High School. He succeeded Hale Roach as the Gauchos' track and field coach in 1974 and later became the school's athletic director. He also worked as a dean and vice principal at several west Contra Costa County schools during the 1980s.
He was most recently commissioner of the Bay Valley Athletic League, a position he held since 1991 before retiring this spring. He also served as an official starter for North Coast Section track and field meets for close to 30 years.
"He was one of the founding fathers of the modern North Coast Section," NCS commissioner Tom Ehrhorn said. "He was one of those pillars the section was built on. ... We've lost a dear friend. He had a profound impact on the lives of everyone he knew."
Born and raised in west Contra Costa County, Nules played football at Richmond High School and Contra Costa College. But his biggest impact came at El Cerrito, where Nules was honored at a special ceremony before the school's buildings were torn down for renovations in May 2005.
In 2000-01 he served as commissioner for both the Bay Valley and Alameda Contra Costa athletic leagues. Larry Quirico, who began coaching baseball at El Cerrito in 1970, said Nules had a major impact on his life.
“John was like an older brother to me,” Quirico said. “'He was my mentor, and he helped me throughout my coaching career. He helped me calm down a little when I began coaching. He was such a sweet man. He had a heart of gold.” Nules' funeral was held Thursday, October 19, 2006 in Vallejo. He is survived by his wife, Kay, his two sons, Jimmy and George, and five grandchildren.