FONTANA, CA – Retired Fontana Unified School District coaching legend Dick Bruich stepped out under Friday night lights once again, as Fontana High School hosted a dedication ceremony to name its newly renovated sports field to Dick Bruich Field before Fontana High’s final regular-season football game on Oct. 27.
Bruich was overcome with emotion as he took the microphone at the 50-yard line to address the fans, who showered him and his wife Cathy with a series of enthusiastic cheers during his acceptance speech. He was also presented with a ceremonial plaque by Fontana Unified Superintendent Miki R. Inbody, Board of Education President Marcelino “Mars” Serna and Board member Mary Sandoval.
“Coach Bruich truly put Fontana Unified on the map with the excellence he instilled in our athletics programs and our student-athletes in his time here in the District,” Inbody said. “This field will forever be a reminder of what can be accomplished through dedication, passion and hard work.”
During his 20-plus year career coaching at District schools, Bruich left an indelible mark on Fontana Unified. He coached Fontana High football from 1977 to 1998 and also led the softball and girls basketball teams for a time. Bruich guided the Steelers to a national championship, two state championships and two CIF titles, and went on to coach at Henry J. Kaiser High School from 1999 to 2009, where he won a state championship and two more CIF titles.
Backed by a crowd of family, friends, District staff, former coaches, players and supporters, Bruich thanked his wife, family, the District Board of Education, school administrators and was quick to share the honor with everyone in attendance.
“As a coach, you do not do it by yourself – you have to have great assistant coaches and you have to have great players,” said Bruich, who is a National High School Athletic Coaches Association, National Football Foundation, California Coaches Association, CIF Southern Section, Inland Valley Classic and City of Fontana Athletics hall of famer. “I would like anyone who played or coached football or softball, were part of the Fontana Steelers Gridiron Club or were parents of players to stand up and be recognized because this all would not happen without you.”
Bruich wrapped up his night by delivering the ceremonial coin toss before kickoff of Fontana High football’s senior night and homecoming game against Arroyo Valley. The game also served as the team’s second contest on its home field this season after it underwent a renovation that included installation of a new track, turf, lighting system, goalposts, snackbar and updated home restrooms at Steeler Stadium.
“We started believing in ourselves because Coach Bruich was around; he taught us to believe in ourselves and taught us we could be better than we thought we were,” Fontana High School Athletic Director Brandon Colbrunn said. “Hopefully this new field will give us a similar inspiration as to what Coach Bruich did when he was on the sidelines.”
FUSD_BRUICH1: Legendary Fontana Unified coach Dick Bruich addresses the crowd during Fontana High School’s dedication ceremony to name its sports field, located in Steeler Stadium, as Dick Bruich Field on Oct. 27. Bruich coached Fontana High football from 1977 to 1998 and also led the softball and girls basketball teams for a time. He led the Steelers to a national championship, two state championships and two CIF titles.
FUSD_BRUICH2: Retired Fontana Unified School District coach Dick Bruich, middle, was presented with a ceremonial plaque during Fontana High School’s field dedication ceremony on Oct. 27. From left, Bruich was joined by Fontana Unified Superintendent Miki R. Inbody, his wife Cathy, FUSD Board of Education Member Mary Sandoval and Board President Marcelino “Mars” Serna.
FUSD_BRUICH3: Former Fontana High football coach Dick Bruich delivered the ceremonial coin toss before the Steelers’ final game of the regular season against Arroyo Valley on Oct. 27. Fontana High held a ceremony before the game to officially dedicate its sports field as Dick Bruich Field.