Redwoods athletics pays tribute to legendary former coach

College of the Redwoods Athletics – Jim McAuley

The College of the Redwoods Athletics department has paid tribute to former Corsairs football coach Jim McAuley, who sadly passed away last week at the age of 91.

In an open letter to the community, CR Athletic Director Bob Brown described McAuley  as a “coach, leader and mentor” and someone who “set the standard for greatness for CR football form 1967 to 1976,” during which time he led the local community college program to unparalleled success.

“The College of the Redwoods community was saddened by the passing of Coach Jim McAuley on March 8th,” Brown wrote. “Coach McAuley set the standard of greatness for CR football from 1967 through 1976. His teams played with a level of confidence and determination that propelled them to unequaled success. The evidence of that was the nine Golden Valley Conference championships, two Northern California championships and three California State titles in Coach McCauley’s 10-year run as head coach. 

“His 87 wins against only 13 losses is a record that remains unmatched.”

McAuley was born in Merced and grew up in San Francisco, moving to Humboldt County in the 1950s to attend Humboldt State after serving in the Air Force.

It was there he met his wife of 68 years, Janis McClaskey.

He began his coaching career at Arcata High School, before moving south to coach at Santa Rosa JC for one year.

He moved back to Humboldt in 1967 to lead the new CR football program.

After his time as head coach at CR, he took over as athletic director at the local community college, serving in that position until his retirement in 1991.

“He advocated for the administrative support necessary for all of our coaches,” Brown wrote. “He, along with Marion Perry and others, grew opportunities and avenues for females to participate and succeed in intercollegiate athletics and transfer to four-year schools. His influence on other leaders in CR athletics like Tom Giacomini, Fred Whitmire, Dave Banducci, Bill Treglown, Marion Perry, Jim Sylvia, and many others, paved the way for many of us who currently are working in the Athletic Department.”

Even after he retired, McAuley continued to support CR athletics.

“In recent years Jim and his family often attended CR’s annual Sport’s Auction and Dinner in support of our athletic programs,” Brown wrote. “I was fortunate to get to know him. His words were genuine, concise, clear, and impactful. Just being in his presence was truly inspiring and it gave me a sense of gratitude and purpose in my current role as CR Athletic Director.

“In closing, on behalf of the entire CR athletic department, and for every former and current student athlete, our deepest condolences to the entire McAuley family. Rest assured that coach McAuley’s legend is etched into the hallways, field, and courts of CR. His legacy will live on forever with our teams and with our athletic coaches and staff. Rest in peace coach!”

McAuley was also honored as the California Community College Football Coach of the Year four times and was a member of the California Community College Commission on Athletics Hall of Fame and the California Community College Coaches Association Hall of Fame. 

He was also inducted into the Arcata High School Hall of Fame and the College of the Redwoods Hall of Fame.

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