In February of this year, at the NSCIF Track and Field Committee Meeting, Ed Roach was selected as the Northern Section Honored Coach. For nearly four years, Ed has distinguished himself as a dedicated, hardworking, and knowledgeable professional with an immense amount of passion for the sport.
Ed’s lifetime love of track and field began in 1952 as a freshman at Chowchilla High School located in California’s Central Valley. There he was a multi-sport athlete, competing in shot put and discus, as well as playing football, baseball, and basketball.
Upon graduating high school, Ed enlisted for a four-year term in the United States Navy, where he focused on pitching with a Navy softball team. Following his enlistment, he joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, where he was also recruited to pitch for one of the Sheriff’s Office teams. Five years after joining the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, Ed decided to make a career change to the California Highway Patrol. This change in career gave Ed the opportunity to participate for several years in the shot put, discus, and javelin throw at the California Police Olympics.
While practicing for the California Police Olympics at the College of the Canyons, a chance meeting with the college’s track and field coach led to two years of competition on the school’s track team. Again, Ed had the opportunity to compete in the shot put, discus, and javelin.
In 1974, Ed and his family moved to Gridley. Two years later, in 1976, Ed joined Gridley High School’s head track and field coach, Chris Gulbrandsen, as a walk-on coach for the shot put and discus. For the next thirty-five years, with the exception of two brief breaks in service, Ed has maintained his presence in high school track and field.
He has helped numerous throwers advance to the State Track and Field Meet, beginning with Leslie Deniz winning the woman’s discus in 1979 and 1980, and going on to be a silver Medalist on the U.S. Olympic team in the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles and his grandson Ryan Donnahoe placing third at the State Track and Field Meet in the men’s shot put last season (2012). Ed’s motto with his throwers has always been, “See, Believe, Achieve”.
Now seventy-five, Ed is as enthusiastic about track and field as when he began.
“I’ll be with my throwers until I can’t physically do it anymore,” said Coach Roach when asked about retirement, “I love track and field!”