Gary Kuster was born on a farm in Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 1939. He attended Central High School where he lettered in football, basketball, cross country, and, track & field. He was the co-captain of his track and field team which won two state championships in 1955 and 1956. During his senior year, he was elected class president, president of the senior choir, and, received the Rodney Johnson Athletic Award for outstanding male athlete of the senior class
After graduating high school in 1957, Coach Kuster attended the University of North Dakota where he ran track for four years and wrestled for three. Wrestling was a new sport at UND, only having been introduced in 1958 during his sophomore year. In November of 1958, he was asked to start the wrestling program at his alma mater, Central High School. He was able to practice with his college team every day, and, then travel to the high school to run wrestling practice there. He ended up coaching wrestling at Central for four years with his team placing sixth in the state in 1960.
Coach Kuster graduated from UND in January of 1962, and, that spring, accepted a teaching job in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota. From Minnesota, he went to William S. Hart High School in Santa Clarita where he taught Math and P.E. At Hart, he also coached track and cross country for four years and wrestling for six years. His wrestling team won two league championships in 1967 and 1968.
In 1968, Coach Kuster found his way to Bakersfield and North High School where he retired from coaching in 1994, and, teaching in 2002. He spent 12 years coaching the wrestling team, 25 years with the track and field teams, and, 14 years coaching girls’ cross country. During his tenure at North, his girls’ cross country teams won league in 1983, ‘85, ‘86, & ‘90, were second in valley in 1980, and, were valley champs in 1993. Coach Kuster’s girls’ track teams won league in 1981 & ‘91.
In 1991, he received state recognition as Outstanding Girls’ Track Coach (Central Section), and, Outstanding Girls’ Cross Country Coach (Central Section) in 1992. In all of his years of coaching track and field at North, Coach Kuster had six runners place in the California State Track Meet, and, his 1977 track team missed winning state by just ONE point.
Gary Kuster has amassed 29 years coaching track, 22 years coaching wrestling, and, 18 years leading cross country teams. To quote Pam Ash, a member of his 1982 girls’ two mile relay team, “For season after season he’s always returned. How he’ll get along without us we’ll never know. He’s our General Kuster (with legs all abow). We’d all like to thank him for all that he’s done”.