Community remembers 'once in a lifetime' coach

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Updated: 1/13/2013 9:59 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & -- Ken Dalton led McQueen High School to six football championships. While his work on the field was second to non, his mark on the community was once in a lifetime. Coach Dalton lost his battle with cancer earlier this month, and today hundreds gathered to honor his memory. 

Dalton's son Matt spoke, saying he couldn't be more proud of his dad's legacy.

"The solace I do have is being able to experience the feeling of love and energy in this room, and the respect that everyone has brought here today," Matt Dalton said. "Thank you all for helping me celebrate the greatest dad a boy could ever have."

"Everyone who got to meet Coach Dalton was lucky," said former McQueen football player Tyler York.

"He's a once in a lifetime type of individual," said Chris Carr, NFL player and former Lancer. "One in a billion.'

Coach. Husband. Father. Friend. Dalton's loved ones describe him as a force of nature - someone who excelled in all aspects of his life.

"For most of these guys out here he was a father figure," said former McQueen football player Anthony Martinez. "For the community he was a leader, and somebody like that is just somebody to really cherish."

"He always was good natured, always laughed, made everyone feel comfortable," said Rob Sumner, McQueen junior varsity football coach. "[He] made everyone feel like we were always part of a better thing."

A choir sang, memorial videos played and family, friends and former players shared their memories of everyone's favorite coach.

"My dad was a dynamic man who lived his life by a set of priorities that never altered," Matt Dalton said. "His core beliefs surrounded the four f's: faith, family, friends and of course football."

Carr says Dalton taught him lessons on the field that he'll carry with him his entire life.

"That belief like we're going to get this done," Carr said. "We're going to do this no matter what it takes. Nobody's going to pout. Nobody's going to complain and you got to do what you have to do to overcome things."

Dalton lived by what he called the right mental attitude. His long-time friend and fellow coach Ken Cass described him using a quote from author A.A. Milne.

"Although it's Milne's quote, I can hear Ken Dalton saying it," Cass said. "'Promise me you'll always remember: you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.' Thanks coach for always believing in us and thanks for always being my friend."

Sumner also says he's amazed at Dalton's never-ending positivity.

"He had an outlook on life that very few people can have for minutes let alone a lifetime and he kept it up right up to the very end," Sumner said.

"He'll be missed by all of us, but the influence he's had on so many people in this room tonight I know will be passed on for generations to come through us," said McQueen varsity football coach Jim Snelling. "God bless you, coach. We love you. The lessons you taught us will never be forgotten and niether will you."

If you'd like to help others in memory of Coach Dalton, you can donate to the Ken Dalton Memorial Scholarship Fund at McQueen High School, 6055 Lancer Street, Reno, NV 89523.
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