RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Every fall for the past 23 years Josh Ivens has been here at Truckee High School coaching Wolverine football. But the last two years have been more challenging than the other 21 put together.
“I was on my couch and I got a text message from one of our other coaches and it said “I think Bob’s dad got in a bad car accident,” Ivens remembered.
Unfortunately the text was true. On April 1, 2017, Ivens’ longtime friend, and Truckee coaching legend Bob Shaffer, died in that car crash.
“When I finally woke up and realized that he had passed on it was a bad day,” Ivens recalled.
“He was one of the coaches that Coach Ivens takes after and was his mentor,” said senior Jake Bullion. “So when Coach Ivens says something that Coach Shaffer would say it all brings us back.”
Ivens became Truckee’s head coach in 2013 when Shaffer decided to take on a different role with the program.
“He still worked at the high school so we were constantly talking about football, organization, and how to get the most out of players and students,” Ivens remembered of his time with Shaffer.
Ivens soaked in every bit of knowledge he could get from the historic coach.
“We continue to run his offense and his schemes. In a sense we’re keeping coach alive with all the different philosophies that he taught,” Ivens said.
Those schemes, philosophies, and plays installed by Coach Shaffer laid the foundation for what Truckee football was, still is, and what the program will continue to be: a powerhouse in the 3A conference.
“The standard is as high as it can be,” said senior quarterback Dakota Allen-Gill. “There were no low expectations.”
The Wolverines have looked their usual selves since Ivens took over. Truckee hasn’t had a losing season since 2013 and this year the team looks like a title contender again. And they’re still commemorating their old coach to this day with stickers and patches.
“It’s tradition,” Bullion said. “Having it on the back of the helmet it means a lot and feels like he’s with us.”
Even though the man who led the Wolverines to nine state titles isn’t physically here anymore, Coach Shaffer’s impact is still felt day in and day out.
“When one of his favorite plays scores he is celebrating and I can feel it like ‘there we go.’ I’m glad that play is still in and working.”
*Special thanks to Josh Ivens and Keith Thomas for images used in this piece