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Pucci to step down

By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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With Ron Pucci’s Colfax High basketball teams over the past three-and-a-half decades, it wasn’t all about the wins and losses. Oh, don’t get me wrong. While there’s a gym wall at Colfax High covered with league, section and NorCal boys basketball banners and a trophy case in the gym’s lobby full of more accolades that herald the pinnacle of success garnered by Pucci’s teams over the years, for the longtime veteran coach it’s always been more about how his Falcons played the game. As he told one of his squads a few years back, “It’s not about the final destination ... it’s about the journey getting there.” Friday, some of his old players, friends and parents of former players made the return journey to Colfax High and say farewell to the guy they still call “Coach.” Pucci, now in the sunset of an illustrious 35-year coaching career, coached his last home game Friday against Placer. If indeed it is his final home curtain call, he doesn’t want a whole lot of fanfare over leaving a post where he’s been at the helm of Colfax’s varsity teams for 19 different seasons in three separate stints since 1979. Despite his current team not having a shot at a fourth straight Pioneer Valley League championship, the young Falcons — with only three seniors on their roster — look to have locked up a Div. IV playoff spot. And when Pucci patrols the sidelines at Colfax on Friday for perhaps the final time, he’ll still be doing what he’s done for the last three-and-a-half decades: teaching, guiding and prodding his team for traits like hard work, perseverance and accountability. Recently, the longtime Colfax coach was inducted into the Sierra College Hall of Fame. And, not surprisingly, in true Pucci fashion, when he accepted his honor, the first ones thanked in his acceptance speech were his family: wife of 35 years Lynelle, son Michael and daughter Nicole. And while the gym more often than not was his classroom, the traits Pucci taught his players and students over the years probably rubbed off more valuable ways than any offensive charge that was taken or any scraped knee garnered diving for a loose ball. And now someday, hopefully in the not-to-distant-future, the powers that be in Colfax High’s administrative circles will start the process to adorn either the Falcons’ gym or court with the name of the coach who helped give us a lifetime of memories.