|
|
Aledo Times Record - Aledo, IL
  • AD, coach and mentor Daluga dies

    • email print
  • Don Daluga came to Pontiac Township High School in the early 1960s and retired in the early 1990s. During that time he made a lasting impression on students, faculty and members of the community.
    On Thursday, Mr. Daluga passed away in Indiana. He was 84.
    Mr. Daluga came to Pontiac as a teacher and coach from Chenoa. He spent one year as an assistant football coach under Aubra Williamson before taking the reins of the program.
    "He was a good coach and a friend to all the players and the guys," Bill Alvey said Thursday afternoon. Alvey played for Daluga for the 1963 and '64 seasons.
    "Even when my son was playing he would come by and give the guys motivation. He always had something to say in a positive way," Alvey added.
    Mr. Daluga was the head coach for the Indians from the 1962 season to the end of the 1969 campaign. He compiled a 27-37-8 record and was chosen the Class A Athletic Director of the Year in 1986.
    Mr. Daluga assumed athletic duties from Williamson a couple of years into his tenure at PTHS. He remained as athletic director until the end of the 1992 school year, when he retired from education.
    "Don was a valuable member of the faculty and well known in the community," said Roger Tuttle, who came to PTHS as principal in 1972. "He was a good representative of the school in the community."
    Tuttle said he first met Mr. Daluga while still an administrator at Morton in the 1960s. Morton was looking at leaving the Illio Conference and joining the Corn Belt.
    "He was a right-hand man in everything we did," Tuttle said.
    Mr. Daluga was athletic director during some leans years in the program and during some memorable events.
    Larry Exton took over the football program from Mr. Daluga and suffered serious injuries in an automobile accident, forcing the athletic director into getting an interim coach for the team.
    Mr. Daluga was part of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament administration for years, including when the Indians won their only title in 1974.
    In 1989, Mr. Daluga was instrumental in bringing Mick Peterson to Pontiac to direct the football program. Peterson's success speaks for itself.
    Along the way, Mr. Daluga was a positive influence on faculty, staff and students.
    "Don was one of the best," said Jim Drengwitz, former PTHS coach, teacher, guidance counselor, principal and current PHT director. "He was an outstanding athletic director. He was a great mentor when I got to Pontiac.
    "Kids loved him," Drengwitz added. "Don was tough; he didn't put up with stuff but the kids loved Don."
    He retired in 1992 and was selected as part of the inaugural class into the Illinois Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame in 1996.
    Page 2 of 2 - Upon Mr. Daluga's election, the late PTHS Supt. Dr. Ron Yates, had this to say, "In his 30-year association with Pontiac High School, Don has had more influence over the lives of our young people than any other single individual. His leadership has been a positive force for the young people of our community."
    A program highlighting the inaugural inductees also noted that Mr. Daluga became involved with the association in 1966, serving as vice president three terms as well as serving on the executive board.
    Mr. Daluga continued to be a familiar face at Pontiac events even after he retired. He was involved at many sporting events until his death. His familiar smile was evident at football games, in the stands at basketball games and in helping with track meets.
    Mr. Daluga was also one who was happy to meet people new to the community and make them feel welcome, including a new sports editor to the local newspaper in November 1994.
    "He was a loyal friend. He had a high stature in the community," Tuttle said. "He's a guy who will be missed in the community."
    Calvert & Martin Funeral Home of Pontiac has charge of arrangements.
        • »  EVENTS CALENDAR