A football and track and field star during his days at North High, Darrell Rich might be a remembered more for
what he accomplished later as a teacher/coach. Darrell was born in Bakersfield in 1943 and raised in Oildale, starting his athletic career at Standard junior high.
As an 8th grader, participating in AAU Junior Olympics in 1956, he established a new national record for the softball throw with a mark of 267 feet. That year, he also was introduced to the shot put and in 1959 established a national record of 68’ 10” with the 8 lb. shot.
Darrell entered North High in 1957 where he played football, lettering 3 years and was the first 4-year letterman in track. He was the Valley runner up in the shot put as junior and won the Valley as a senior with a throw of 59’7” with the 12 lb. shot. Earlier in the year, in a meet against BHS at North, be became only the second high school competitor ever in the valley to reach 60’.
After graduating from North, Darrell attended the University of Idaho but returned home after his freshman year and enrolled at Bakersfield College.
At Bakersfield College, Darrell set a new school record with the 16 lb shot of 55’ 3 ¾” that stood for 27 years. He attended the University of New Mexico on a track and field scholarship and placed in the conference meet his junior and senior years and remains on the track and field honor roll. He graduated in 1967 with a degree in physical education.
Darrell started his coaching career at Shafter High in 1967, coaching B class football. He was also the varsity track and field head coach and his team won the league championship, producing two State qualifiers, Jan Stubbed (pole vault) and Laird Parker (mile).
He moved on to Paso Robles High the following year as head track and field coach and assistant football coach.
The following year he was promoted to head football coach and his teams won three straight league championships
and were CIF runners-up.
In 1972 he was hired at Cuesta Community College as assistant football coach and head track and field coach. He coached track and field and cross country there for 30 years. During his time at Cuesta, he coached over 50 men and women state qualifiers and state champions.
At Cuesta, he was voted Coach of the Year by his colleagues nine times and was president of the California
Community College Track and Field Association. He was also on the board of directors for the USA Track and Field Association as the California Community College representative.
He was inducted into the Bakersfield Track and Field Hall of Fame and also the State Community College
Coaches Track and Field Hall of Fame. Not to be outdone, his younger brother Randy was a standout football star at North High and later University of Mexico. He played defensive back in the NFL for the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns.
Darrell is married to Dr. Rita Rich and they have four children, Darren, Lori, Amber and Brandon. They also have eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren What a career and what a family. Welcome Darrell
Rich, one of North High’s greatest track and field athletes ever.