Winfred “Win” Bootman

Born in October 1919 in St. Joseph, Missouri, Win spent his early years in the Midwest.  He graduated from Benton High School at the age of 16.  He then attended a local Junior College, playing in a semi-pro football league.

He enlisted in the Navy and served in the Pacific Theater, ending his military career as a Lt. Commander.  During his stint in the Navy , he took up boxing. Following the war, he was stationed at the Alameda Naval Base and Moffet Field.  On the G.I. bill, he attended the University of California at Berkeley.

While spending this time in northern California, he met and married Patricia after a two month courtship.  He was employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad during this time, as well as going to school.  His two sons were born while “Boot” was “on the rails”. It was during this time he felt a need to settle down.  It was his father-in-law who encouraged him to come to Bakersfield, telling him that “the area will remind him of his early days in Missouri”.

The family moved to Bakersfield in 1957 and Boot fell in love with the area the moment he arrived.  He started his teaching career, and, took over the wrestling program that same year at North High.  Having never trained nor coached wrestling before, he read every book on wrestling he could get his hands on, and, attended any clinic he could.  He actively recruited young men on campus to build up the numbers in the program.  During his time as coach, he helped develop the North of the River youth program, which acted as a feeder for the high school program.

His coaching career was highlighted by the relationships he had with his wrestlers.  He enjoyed the updates from his former student-wrestlers and was pleased when hearing about their successes in life.  In 1968, Boot concluded his coaching tenure after creating one of the premier programs in the Kern High School District.  He continued to be associated with wrestling in the area, doing some officiating and supporting the Coyote Club when it was established.

Twenty years after his arrival at North High, Boot completed his Masters Degree in History at CSUB in 1977.  After 33 years as a teacher, he retired in 1990.  He often remarked that he loved every day on the North High campus.  After retirement, he and his wife, Pat, enjoyed many years of traveling the United States and abroad, along with the joy of three kids and eight grandkids.  Knowing that life was a gift each and every day, Boot passed away in 1997 at the age of 78.  His children would like to thank the North High Athletic Hall of Fame Committee for honoring their father.  He would be humbly proud.