Dear Coach Evans: Thanks for being my dad

Clint Evans
Clint Evans

I read with interest an article on The Tribune’s sport page concerning recent baseball games between Cal Poly and UC Berkeley. The article states that the series was played at Evans Diamond on the UC Berkeley campus. As the elder son of Clint Evans, I am very proud that the university honored my father by naming the Cal baseball field “Clinton Evans Diamond.”

My father was a longtime baseball coach at Cal, and his accomplishments were many while coaching there. Most importantly, he was instrumental in establishing the College World Series. Interestingly, my father’s Cal baseball team played Yale in the first Series in 1947. At the time, Yale had a first baseman named George Bush. Yes … the same George Bush who became president of the United States! Cal went on to win that first College World Series of baseball.

My dad always referred to his players as “my boys.” He always took great care to help his players improve their baseball skills, but more importantly, he helped each and every one of his “boys” do his very best in baseball, in academics and, later, in life.

I will always remember reading a letter my father had framed in his office. It was from a former player, who had come to my dad one day and said, “Coach, I’m quitting the team because I am only a bench player and I’m flunking out of school.”

Dad responded by saying, “No, you are not leaving the team. With a little more effort, you will get more playing time. You are also a very intelligent young man and with a little more effort in the classroom, you will graduate.”

The player took my dad’s advice and applied himself. He went on to graduate from Cal with grades good enough to enter medical school. Over time, that player became a world-renowned surgeon. One day he decided to write that letter my dad had framed, which said, “Coach, everything I have accomplished in life, I owe to you.”

In 1930, Clint Evans, the man synonymous with California baseball, took over as head coach and immediately pushed the Bears to the top of CIBA (California Intercollegiate Baseball Association) standing, winning seven championships in his first eight years.”

Cal Baseball Foundation

I believe this is what coaching at the high school and university level is all about. Sure, you have to win, but more importantly, you must take care of “your boys.”

Thanks, Dad, for being my dad. I am proud of what you did in your UC career … student, freshman football coach, varsity baseball coach and athletic director.

John H. Evans has lived in San Luis Obispo with his wife, Katie, since 1954. He worked for the UC Cooperative Extension program for 37 years and served on the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission from 1964 to 1973.