Former Oakdale High football players and coaches will be hosting a kick off reunion for the upcoming 2009 season, gathering Oakdale football alumni together for a huge tailgate party.
The festivities will be held at the F.E.S. Hall on Saturday, Aug. 29, kicking off at 5 p.m. Food, drinks and a no host bar will help usher in the 2009 season and recognize two of Oakdale’s most revered former coaches in what will clearly be a night to remember.
Dale Clipper and Jack Walker will be the two guests honored at the first-ever tailgate bash, which is open to any and every supporter of Oakdale athletics.
“I spent basically 27 years of my life dedicated to Oakdale football,” Clipper said. “Twenty-one years as a head coach and 27 years in total. It was probably one of the most important things in my life.
“Family, football, Oakdale High School, Oakdale community; it all tied in together.”
Clipper was a coach for the Mustangs for nearly three decades and was a key player for the Mustangs during his tenure at the high school as a player. He is fond of his memories as a player and coach, remembering that time of his life with relative ease.
“I played there back in the late forties,” Clipper said. “My junior year was a good football team, unfortunately I broke my collar bone and didn’t get to finish the season.
“My senior year we went from the old single wing to the T-formation and it took a little time to get that installed.”
Clipper teamed up with Jack Walker to guide the Mustangs beginning in the mid-fifties, guiding the defense and handling the quarterbacks in one of the Mustangs glory periods of football.
“I started coaching in Oakdale in 1954,” Walker said from his home in Fairfield. “I was there for 34 years and I coached every quarterback from 1954 to 1987.”
The pair still remain close friends to this day and it is only fitting that they are able to be recognized together on a night that will only help solidify an Oakdale football and athletic tradition that is second to none.
Both coaches have coached several hundreds of players in their combined more than a half-century in coaching, but finding a favorite player over the years is nearly impossible when you have impacted the lives of so many.
“I’ve got too many favorite players,” Walker admitted. “I love kids and I coached every back for over 30 years. I’d say one of my favorites is one of the people who are instrumental in getting this reunion together, John Quaccia.
“He was a great quarterback at Oakdale High.”
The pair were both thrown off to be honored at the festivities, yet even for two of Oakdale’s humblest of souls, it is an honor that cannot go overlooked.
“I am just an ordinary average guy,” Walker said. “And I was happy to be able to contribute with whatever talent I had. Working with kids at the high school and in the athletic programs was just an honor for me.”
In addition to football, Walker guided an Oakdale track program that went 10 years without a Valley Oak League dual meet defeat, enlisting the efforts of Clipper in the track program’s most decorated run in school history.
“The rest of the VOL hated to see us coming,” Walker said. “Clipper was my assistant and we had a certain set-up that nobody else had. We had quite a record, because I had tremendous assistant coaches.
“We used a sort of a football philosophy with the track program and we were tougher than nails.”
Tickets for the kick off reunion are still available. The cost is $20 per person and all guests must be 21 years of age to attend. For tickets contact Fitness Plus, Oakdale Feed and Seed, Moss Rose Bakery, H-B, Cow Track or Napa Auto.