Ron Kavadas’ grandson, Nicholas Gabriel, summed up his grandfather’s philosophy.
“Winning isn’t everything,” said Gabriel about what his grandfather said. “But wanting to, planning to and preparing to is.”
It’s that kind of philosophy that allowed Kavadas to live a life with no regrets as NewLife Church Pastor Dave Mast pointed out. “That’s pretty incredible,” Mast said.
A large group gathered to remember what Kavadas was about and what he meant to them during his graveside service on Monday at Hillcrest Cemetery. Kavadas died at the age of 85 on January 6.
He was a longtime athletic administrator and coach in Porterville, serving at both Monache and Porterville High Schools. He served as athletic director at both schools.
He came to Monache in the late 1960s when that school opened and was the Marauders’ head football coach before becoming that school’s athletic director. He coached arguably the greatest high school football team in city history in 1971 when Monache finished the regular season 10-0.
Before coming to Porterville, Kavadas grew up in North Dakota and went on to play football at the University of North Dakota. He’s a member of the University of North Dakota Hall of Fame.
“There’s a lot of things I actually learned from my grandfather,” said Gabriel at the service. He added his grandfather taught him “every moment in your life is a learning moment. It’s a time to learn. It’s a time to get better and learn from your mistakes.”
He also said his grandfather told him “don’t let yourself be outworked.”
Mast, who officiated the service, began by saying “it’s an honor to stand here for an incredible man.” He went on to talk about “the literally thousands of people” Kavadas impacted in the community. He also talked about the passion Kavadas had. “A giant of a man,” Mast said.
Mast said he had several dozens of pages of notes when reviewing Kavadas’ life. He said because of that “the light went on I was going to be talking about a giant, giant man.”
And that he came to the realization “I know I could not do him justice” when talking about him.
Two appropriate songs were played in Kavadas’ honor at the service, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and Kenny Chesney’s “Coach.”
And of course Mast mentioned Kavadas’ unique filing system. “You could just look under a file for F because Friday night was for football,” Mast said.