By Matthew Salzer
When growing up, sports motivated Frank Gonzales but what influenced him the most was quality coaches and teachers.
“They all instilled in me a feeling to put back into the system from which you came,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales was one of four children born to a U.S. Merchant Marine. His mother raised him until the age of seven, when his father quit his job to be home with his kids.
Throughout high school, Gonzales competed in both wrestling and football. As a SAC sophomore, he won the regional wrestling tournament then wrestled at CSUF, where he qualified at the national tournament.
“The thing I miss most with wrestling is the camaraderie. You spend 14 hours in a gym with someone and you get to know them pretty well,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales earned his teaching credential from CSUF. In his first job interview, he was offered a position at El Dorado High School where he still teaches English.
He led El Dorado to a state championship, three CIF championships and 12 league championships in wrestling. Only two Orange County high schools have won state championships in wrestling, El Dorado and Calvary Chapel.
Gonzales then coached at SAC for five years, leading the Dons to a third place finish and a conference championship.
When then-athletic counselor Howard Black announced his intention to retire, Gonzales went back to earn his master’s and has served as a counselor for the last 20 years.
“I found out that I loved working with athletes as a counselor because it’s different than as a coach,” Gonzales said.
For his contributions in sports, Gonzales has been inducted into the California Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.