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Alumni Happenings - October 2007
Grand County High School

 


Athletic director Ron Dolphin,
GCHS Class of 1988

by Jeff Richards

Ron Dolphin, a member of the Grand County High School Class of 1988, says he enjoys teaching at his alma mater, even though he had no idea he’d end up doing so. Dolphin has taught social studies and history at GCHS since 1994 and has also served as the school’s athletic director for the past nine years.

Being the AD involves a great deal of administrative work, including schedules, arranging for buses and logistical support for various athletic teams, plus school activities such as music, debate, and drama.

“The best part about my job is getting to touch the future,” he says, referring to the opportunities he has to work with students and help them achieve their goals.

During the summertime, when he’s not busy coaching little league baseball, Ron can also be seen atop a riding mower, helping maintain the playing fields and lawns surrounding the school.

He also coached football and wrestling for eight years in each sport while at GCHS, and two years as an assistant softball coach. Next spring, he’ll get back into coaching again as an assistant to new head baseball coach Jared Meador, a fellow member of the Class of 1988.

Dolphin, also known as “Raging Ron,” was involved in a variety of activities in high school. He played football all four years as a fullback and linebacker, and was named to the first team all-state his senior year, and second team all-state his junior year. “My junior year we beat San Juan down at Blanding, which was the last time we beat them on their home field in football,” Ron said.

Ron also played baseball all four years in high school, primarily as a right fielder and a pitcher. He wrestled for three years at the 167 lb. weight class. He also played one year of basketball (as a freshman) and one year of golf (as a senior). He also was in the National Honor Society and was elected vice president of his senior class.
Shortly after high school graduation, Ron attended Snow College in Ephraim for two years, obtaining his associates degree in the spring of 1990. He played football for the Badgers for one year, then broke his back during practice his second year. His playing career over, he nevertheless got a call from one of the coaches a few days later inviting him to remain with the team as an assistant coach. “That’s when I decided I wanted to be a coach, and that’s when they told me I had to be a teacher in order to become a coach,” Ron recalled.

His then-girlfriend and soon-to-be wife Melonie Mayhew graduated from GCHS in 1990, and the two were married in June of that year. Melonie, a native of Colorado, had moved with her family to Moab when she was starting high school.

Shortly after getting married, the newlyweds then moved to Cedar City, where Ron attended Southern Utah University, majoring in physical education and minoring in U.S. history. He also earned endorsements in economics, political science, and criminal justice. After graduating from SUU, he taught at a K-12 school in tiny Gabbs, Nev. (pop. 300) for one year, 1993-94. In 1994, the school had to cut Ron and seven other teachers from the staff due to RIF (reduction in force) cuts, and Ron started to make plans to move to Pahrump, Nev., which was still in the same school district despite being over 300 miles away from Gabbs.

“It was then that Doug Thompson called me and said, ‘Hey, there’s a position for you here in Moab,” Ron recalled. In the fall of 1994, he took a job teaching world history and geography at GCHS, plus two periods of mathematics.

“I’ve been here ever since,” he said.

Ron and Melonie Dolphin are the parents of three children. Oldest daughter Laci is a sophomore at GCHS, where she participates in cross-country, softball, and other activities. Daughter Jordan is a 7th-grader at Grand County Middle School, and son Ronnie is a 5th-grader at Helen M. Knight Intermediate School.

Ron is the son of Cherrie Dolphin and the late Ronald Dolphin Sr. Cherie is originally from Ephraim, raised in Hanksville and Panguitch, and graduated from high school in East Carbon. Cherrie had just graduated from BYU in elementary education when she was hired to teach school in Moab. There, she met her husband Ron, an Ouray, Colorado native who was working at Moab’s City Market at the time. After their wedding, the Dolphins lived in Spanish Fork, then Phoenix, then Monticello, where oldest son Ron was born. When Ron Jr. was just a few months old, the family moved from Monticello to Moab, where they stayed for good.

Ron is the oldest of four children, all of whom graduated from GCHS. Brother Robert (Class of 1989) was just one year behind Ron in school, and was also involved in various sports and activities. He currently lives in Salt Lake. Sister Valarie (Class of 1993) and her family live in Moab. Youngest sibling Vanessa (Class of 2003), a talented artist who won the Sterling Scholar award in that category, was married earlier this summer and currently works at a department store in Salt Lake.

Ron fondly remembers many of his high school teachers, including Bill Moore, a former coach with whom he keeps in close touch with as a mentor and friend; coaches Curtis Page and Steve Bullard, remembered for their crazy antics on the field and in the locker room; Joyce Victor, for pranks played both ways; George Ottinger, for his B.S. math problems; and social studies teachers Don Hillman, Donna Brownell, and Mr. Wiley, all of whom Ron remembers for their “attention to detail”.

“I also appreciated Lin Kolb and Ray Olsen for letting me sleep in class, but they never gave up on me,” added Ron, noting that a fair number of his classmates ended up dropping out of school around that time, when the controversial OBE (Outcome Based Education) was in its heyday. “What the hell was that?” laughs Ron, shaking his head.

Ron also fondly recalls Pat and Glen Richeson “the Awesome Duo”, and Coach “Mean Gene” Leonard, who once cut Ron’s hair with tape cutters before a wrestling match. Gene and his wife Martha continue to attend GHCS sporting events regularly.

Ron enjoys watching and playing sports of all kinds. He currently is bowling in a weekly league with three fellow teachers. “Our name is D.G.U.T.S., which stands for ‘Don’t give up the ship,’” he says, noting that the phrase is somewhat ironic because in its historical context, the American sailors (under the command of James Lawrence in the War of 1812) actually had to surrender their damaged ship to the British.

Whether chaperoning a dance, announcing the lineups before a game, dealing with an injured player, or trying to find soccer referees for a match, Ron is continually involved in GCHS activities. A true Red Devil through and through, Ron enjoys showing his school spirit any way he can, teaching students by example and conveying his own dedication for the high school and its many extracurricular events.
 
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