Even though he had a unique filing system, Ron Kavadas knew exactly how to find what he needed.
Two men who followed in his footsteps, Richard Rankin and Jim Crichlow, both made the same reference to Kavadas’ filing when learning he had died.
Kavadas, a long-time athletic administrator and coach at both Monache and Porterville High Schools, died at the age of 85 on Sunday.
“You had to know how he thought,” said Rankin, now the Porterville Unified School District Athletic Director. “It was a different way of thinking.”
Rankin referred to one time when he had a question and the subject was filed under F, which was for Friday night, because that was football night.
Crichlow, now the CIF Central Section Commissioner, also made the same reference when remembering Kavadas. When he worked under Kavadas as a coach at Monache, Crichlow said he was looking for the offensive game plan and Kavadas told him it was under F for Friday night because that was football night.
“If he needed something he knew where to get it,” Crichlow said.
Crichlow eventually followed Kavadas as Monache’s athletic director. He served as athletic director at the same time when Kavadas was the PHS athletic director in the early 1990s.
“Everything under the sun I needed was all there,” said Crichlow about Kavadas’ filing system.
Kavadas grew up in North Dakota and Rankin said he had fond memories of Kavadas sharing his stories of growing up in the state. Kavadas went on to play football at the University of North Dakota and is a member of the North Dakota Hall of Fame.
He played football in the Canadian Football League and coached freshman football at North Dakota for two years before eventually coming to Porterville.
Kavadas became Monache’s head football coach and led the Marauders to a perfect 10-0 regular season in 1971. While the debate rages on, many consider that team the greatest high school football team in Porterville history.
As a young coach working for Kavadas one of the memories Crichlow had was seeing Kavadas always wearing a nylon jacket even in the 100-plus degree days early in the season. “If the boys are hot, I want to feel just like they do,” said Crichlow about what Kavadas said.
Kavadas went on to become Monache’s athletic director in the mid-1970s, serving in that position until the mid-1980s. He went on to become Porterville High’s athletic director, retiring in 1994.
When interviewed about Kavadas, both Rankin and Crichlow used the exact same words when first commenting on him. “He was just a great man,” they said.
“A great man that his job was athletics and his hobbies were athletics,” Rankin said. “He loved sports. Just a very passionate man about athletics.”
Rankin replaced Kavadas as Porterville High’s athletic director. “He was a great guy to follow as athletic director,” Rankin said.”He made it easy to sit in his chair because he had everything laid out.”
Kavadas was also extremely helpful when he first became athletic director, Rankin said. “I called him at home every day,” Rankin said.
Rankin also talking about Kavadas’ love for students and his calming influence. “He cared about kids, was a kid advocate and was a calm person,” Rankin said. “I really never saw him get angry or out of control.
Crichlow said Kavadas “helped me in countless ways as a young coach and in the rest of my life.”
Norita Knutson, the principal’s secretary at PHS has been at the school for a longtime and worked closely with Kavadas and his wife, Marilyn, who died in 2018.
“I was personal friends with him as well as working with him,” Knutson said. Knutson said she and Kavadas had a give and take relationship in which they could joke with each other.
A fond memory Knutson had was Kavadas always asking her for her newspaper. “He would always call me for my paper, for the San Francisco Chronicle, to see the football scores for the college football games. He would drive by my house to pick it up.”
Kavadas was preceded in death by his brother, Don, another longtime Porterville athletic admistrator, and Don’s wife, Pat. Those four could always be seen organizing and working at the AAU track meets that were held at Jamison Stadium.
A graveside service for Kavadas will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Hillcrest Cemetery.