OPINION: Around here, we call him 'The Ith'
Yuba City's Ithurburn back for another year
Maintaining good relationships with our local coaches is a necessity to provide quality coverage.
The fact is we rely on these ladies and gentlemen to provide details, insights, stats and news regarding their teams.
And with 16 high schools and nearly a dozen sports, you do the math, we're talking at least 100 athletic mentors in the area.
Now some shells are tougher to crack than others, trust takes time to earn and personalities vary, but some coaches just make it easy to have a solid relationship.
In this case, we're talking about Yuba City High athletic director and football coach John Ithurburn.
Down the stretch of this past season, rumors swirled that Ithurburn was set to resign.
There were a number of reasons this decision came to surface, but I'll save you the hearsay for another time.
What's more important is that one of the better coaches and mentors in the Mid-Valley is returning to a program that is on the rise.
Why do I say he is one of the better coaches?
On the field, the Yuba City-Placer game became the film of the year for opposing coaches. It was a blueprint that exposed Placer's weaknesses. Following the close victory over the Honkers, the Hillmen struggled winning games as coaches from the Sacramento area jumped on the Honkers' playbook.
Aside from one 3-7 year, Ithurburn has improved the Honkers' record every season over the course of six years.
He's an alum with history, a great career on the field and while some may perceive the coach as a rough, intimidating figure, he's actually well-liked, very modest, very candid and very compassionate.
Why is he one of the better mentors?
Well, of course he is competitive and wants to win, but that's not where his passion lies.
In fact, Ithurburn doesn't even necessarily like the title "coach."
He does it for the kids.
He once told me his players were like a "lump of clay that you have to mold into men."
Football is just a tool to do that.
Ithurburn would rather mentor his players to be good people in life, than have a winning record, he's said as much.
He uses phrases like, "It's just a game," "Life goes on," and "What happens off the field is more important than what happens on it."
Now there are several coaches who subscribe to this philosophy, and some in our area, and the best part about it is if the team doesn't win a championship, the players are still winners following the season, because they learn valuable life lessons.
Ithurburn is a father, a husband and a man who admits made his own mistakes as a youngster and is just doing the best to steer young men onto the right path.
That's why "The Ith" (we have a lot of nicknames) is one of our favorite coaches in the area, and we're lucky to have him back for another season.
"We're going to give it another run," he said after confirming his stay with Yuba City.
He probably won't even like this column, which is exactly why I had to write it.