Like many of the other inductees, Curt DeRossett was a true product of the streets of Oildale. He graduated from Beardsley Jr. High in 1970 and North High in 1974. From there, it was on to Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield.
DeRossett started coaching at North High in 1976 at the age of 19, taking over the boys Class C basketball team. He may have been the youngest head coach in the history of California high school sports. Hired by North’s legendary basketball coach Lloyd Williams, Curt took his first team to a second place finished in the tough South Yosemite League. He was on his way.
He didn’t get a fulltime teaching job at North High until 1985. That year, he coached the Frosh/Soph football team under the tutelage of another North High legend, Turk Eliades. But basketball was his love.
He worked his way up to the boy’s varsity basketball level as an assistant under one of his coaching role models, Gary Sedam. In 1986, he was approached by Principal Warner Brooks and assistant Principal Bill Bimat to take over the girl’s varsity program. In his first five seasons, North High won the league title each year and become the first Kern County girls’ team to win a Valley Title. They did it three times.
He then stepped down from the coaching job to take over the Athletic Director position at the school. It didn’t take long (2 years) before he was itching to get back on the basketball court, returning for the 1993-94 season. The Lady Stars proceeded to win three more consecutive league and Valley titles.
During his 16 seasons as the coach of the Lady Stars, he won 352 games while losing just 112. His teams won 11 league titles, eight Valley titles and even made the final 8 in the State Championships. Five times he was selected Bakersfield Californian’s “Coach of the Year.” His teams were known for hustle and class, always handing the ball to the refs, never throwing it. The gym was always packed when the Lady Stars took the floor. The classroom was also an important part of Curt’s agenda, with his girls maintaining a 3.5 GPA.
In 2011, Coach DeRossett was the first ever girls basketball coach to be honored by the C.I.F. Central Section with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
He credits other former mentors such as Jack Denison, Terry Hill, John Hallmark, Pat Mellon, Jack O’Brien, Tony Silver and Stan Ingram for his success. Tom McQuinn and Jerry Lunsford were instrumental as coaches he played for.
Curt’s wife Sharon not only graduated from North High, but worked at the school for 14 years in the finance office and an additional 11 years as the School Secretary for the Administration. She was not only his best friend but also served as second “Mom” to the players.
He feels blessed that many of his former players moved on to become doctors, physical therapists, teachers, lawyers, CEO’s, coaches and successful parents. They remain part of his daily life as his extended family and occupy a special place in his heart. Congrats to a true North High Star, 35 years worth.