Zauner leaves lasting legacy at Bear River

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Duane Zauner knows how to make an exit. The coach has been a mainstay in the Bear River High athletic program since its inception in 1986. He retired from coaching in glorious fashion on Wednesday as the Bruin softball team rolled to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship. Zauner coached Bear River?s junior varsity football team for 22 seasons before stepping down after the 2007 season when his squad finished 10-0. ?The success Bear River has had in athletics ? a lot of things go into that and at the top of that list is consistency with coaching staffs,? said Bear River athletic director Duwaine Ganskie. ?He provided that for football for a lot of years, baseball and now softball. It?s great to have the experience, and the know-how to work with kids. He just gets it.? Zauner started his career with an eight-year run as baseball coach. He switched over to the softball field and steadily built the Bruin program into a section power. Bear River won four straight Division IV section titles from 2007-10. Wednesday?s win clinched the program?s first title in a tough Division III field. The coach was particularly close with this year?s senior class. Cambria Holcomb, Alyssa Reina, Erin Nichol and Stephanie Ceo were four-year standouts for the Bruins. Zauner said he committed to finish out the 2012 season back in 2010. ?It?s time,? Zauner said Wednesday. ?But the players have said this team is like a family, and it?s true. It?s going to be hard to leave.? He is looking forward to spending more time with his children and grandchildren. ?And there?s a lot of fishing I want to do,? Zauner said. The coach has had two hip replacements ? a procedure that has become a tradition among Bear River?s veteran coaches. Zauner is one of several longtime Bruin coaches still on campus. Football coach Terry Logue started at Bear River in 1987 and Ganskie began his long run as girls basketball coach in 1988. Ganskie left to coach Nevada Union for several years, but returned as athletic director five years ago when Jack McCory retired. Zauner plans to teach math at Bear River for at least three more years. Ganskie said his strategic thinking and planning were some of Zauner?s greatest attributes as a coach. ?He is a tremendous technician,? Ganskie said. ?He?s a guy who?s got a great analytical mind. In football, you could see it there and in softball you watched his teams and all the players on the field knew their responsibilities. It served him well.? Zauner also brought relentless energy to the diamond and let his teams? personalities shine. Catcher Alyssa Reina embodied the coach?s spirit with her selfless play and contagious energy. She was thrilled to hand Zauner the section title banner on Wednesday. ?It?s amazing,? Reina said. ?Him and I have been really close. We?re always laughing, lightening the mood. He deserved to go out with a great group and with a really solid win.?