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Modesto to pay tribute to Gonsalves

Dan Gonsalves has been involved in Modesto City Schools athletics for 52 years.

He was the first football coach at Davis High, and he's been the Modesto City Schools Director of Athletics for the last 28 years.

Tonight, Modesto City Schools is going to reward his contribution with a big honor.

Ceres and Davis kick off their high school seasons with a game at Johansen High Stadium. And, before the varsity kickoff, there will be a ceremony naming the stadium after Gonsalves.

"It's truly an overwhelming honor," Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves, a current Davis varsity assistant, will walk into Johansen High Stadium. But after the game is over, he'll be leaving Dan Gonsalves Stadium.

"There isn't a more deserving guy out there," said Brad Goudeau, Davis' varsity head coach and athletic director. "He's meant a lot of Modesto City athletics."

Gonsalves' career includes many highlights:

He was named the Sac-Joaquin Section athletic director of the year in 1989. He was the state AD of the year in 1990.

He was named to the California State Coaches Hall of Fame in 1995.

He's the only person in the Sac-Joaquin Section to officiate (volleyball, wrestling and softball), coach (football, wrestling and softball) and direct (football, basketball and wrestling) section championships in three different sports.

Another highlight comes tonight with the stadium renaming. Downey's stadium, the only other public high school stadium in Modesto, was renamed Chuck Hughes Stadium after the longtime Downey coach two years ago.

Gonsalves had an impact on his players: At one time 13 of his former players were head coaches in the area. Modesto City Schools has seen 12 athletic directors who were former players of Gonsalves'.

"What's been so special to me is all the relationships with the players and the coaches through the years. (Having the stadium named after him) is a very nice deal, but I'll always treasure the relationships."

THE CIF STATE football advisory committee held a meeting at the state offices in Alameda on Tuesday, and the committee is going to recommend to the CIF the State Bowl Game expand from three to five divisions.

"That's the next logical step," said Escalon coach Mark Loureiro, a member of the committee. "You want to have football lining up the same as the other state championships with divisions."

Basketball, volleyball and cross country have competed under a five-division format for several years. Wrestling and track and field compete under a one-division format.

The CIF voted the state championship football bowl games into existence last season. They'll continue this year under the three-division format that follows: Division I (enrollment 1,751 and up), Division II (enrollment 1,001-1,750) and Division III (enrollment 1,000 and below).

Loureiro wouldn't comment further, but there are rumblings that the state will try to make its football championship game a two-week season. The first week, two north teams would play each other, and the same would happen in the south. The winners of those games would then face off for the overall title.

But for that to happen, the state's 10 sections would probably have to end their seasons at the same time. The Northern Section ends before Thanksgiving, while many other sections end in early- to mid-December.

YOU MAY have noticed The Bee's annual high school football preview special section in today's edition. It, and the non-football preview package that ran last week, marks our leap into full high school sports coverage for the 2007-08 season.

Our football coverage will continue throughout each week, but we're going to be launching several new features, both in print and online. First, our high school football statistics, standings and athlete of the week will print on Wednesdays. My column will continue to run on Thursdays, the same day as our non-football standings, statistics and rankings package. We're going to start ranking all of the team sports. And we're going to have a larger video presence online.

Will DeBoard's high schools column appears Thursdays. Write him at P.O. Box 5256, Modesto, CA 95352-5256, call 578-2300, fax 238-4551 or e-mail