Aside from the final score of the football game, last Friday was almost a perfect night at Petaluma High School.
The night was warm, the stands were full, big game excitement was in the air and written in bold letters across the top of the scoreboard was “STEVE ELLISON FIELD.” It couldn't have been a more proper tribute to the man who has meant so much to Petaluma High School and the Petaluma community.
At this point, there isn't a lot I can add to the Steve Ellison story. The football wins (204 of them at Petaluma High School), the students helped (countless), the dedication to the school (matchless) have all been well documented.
There isn't much more that I can add to the story of the man behind the numbers. All who know “Ellie” know about his soft-spoken demeanor; about his reserved manner, but passionate regard for his school, his sport and his students.
If they had renamed the Petaluma High School football field “Dignity Field,” everyone would have known that it was named for Steve Ellison.
I have known Ellison since he first arrived on the Petaluma campus. I had the privilege of interviewing him when he became an assistant coach and later when he became the main man.
I don't think I was ever happier for a coach than I was when his 2009 team went through the regular season undefeated. Most of us had an idea it was be Ellison's last year, and most of us desperately wanted that perfect season for him.
He got what he deserved.
I could go on and on about the kind of man Steve Ellison is, but me and a lot of other reporters have already done that. Instead, I want to write a few words about Linda Ellison.
It isn't easy being a coach's wife. Linda may not have been with Steve on the football field every evening for practice, but she was there for every game, she was there for every crisis, she was there for every kid her husband taught and coached. Coaching is a family affair. Linda wasn't the woman behind the man, she was the woman beside the man.