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Steve Denman


Inducted 2016

Born in Lancaster, the son of an alfalfa rancher. The Denman family moved to Keene when he was 10 years old. Baseball was his main sport until a sore arm during his freshman year at Tehachapi High prompted him to drop that sport and focus on football and basketball. After graduating from Tehachapi High in 1975, Denman played quarterback for two seasons at Bakersfield College. The 1976 Renegades won the Junior Rose Bowl, beating Ellsworth, Iowa. Any plans of playing football beyond BC were dashed the week after the Junior Rose Bowl when he blew out his knee in a pickup basketball game. He went to Cal State Bakersfield and began his coaching career as an assistant at BC, working two seasons with the receivers. In 1981, Denman earned his degree in biology life science at CSUB with a minor in PE. In the fall of 1981, his high school coach at Tehachapi, Gary Ogilvie, offered him a student teaching job and assistant coaching job. A year later, Ogilvie left education and Denman took over as the Warriors' head football coach. "I didn't even interview for the job," Denman said. Denman just completed his 34th year as Tehachapi's head coach and has a 295-112-4 record, the most wins by any active high school football coach in California. From 1982-1991, Tehachapi was in the CIF Southern Section, winning five Desert-Inyo League championships and winning a section title in 1985, sharing the title in 1988 and finishing as section runners-up four other seasons. Since Tehachapi moved to the Central Section in 1992, the Warriors under Denman's direction have won nine South Sequoia League championships and five section titles: 1993, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2010. Two assistant coaches have been with Denman nearly his entire varsity coaching career: defensive coordinator Dennis Ruggles and defensive backs coach Bill Carll. Tehachapi athletic director Pat Snyder played for Denman and was a star tailback. Denman's goal as a coach and teacher is simple: "We try to teach the kids life skills and responsibility. Be responsible. Show up for school. High school academics come before football. Whether being on the field or off the field, be responsible. Those are the things kids will carry on in life." Denman and his wife, Judy, have been married 37 years. They have a daughter, son and three grandchildren.