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    Dick Dichiara, retired Delta High School principal and former coach, is in critical condition after a machinery accident.

  • Joe Davidson

Prep notes: Beloved former Delta High football assistant in critical condition

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2013 - 5:04 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 27, 2013 - 8:01 am

Dick Dichiara, a retired principal and 1970s football coach from Delta High School in Clarksburg, was in critical condition at Sutter Roseville Medical Center's trauma unit after a machinery accident Sunday.

Dichiara, 70, was operating a massive push auger to drill post holes on his Placerville olive orchard with his wife of 50 years, Frostie, on steep terrain when the machine fell backward and pinned him. His left leg was severed just above the knee.

El Dorado County Sheriff's Officer Bill Turnbull was the first to respond, applying a tourniquet "that saved Dad's life," said Dichiara's daughter, Lisa Kramer.

Dichiara was flown to the trauma unit and suffered cardiac arrest during an attempt to close the injury, according to family and friends who have held vigil outside his room. Two ribs were broken in a frantic attempt to resuscitate him, Kramer said. Dichiara lost a lot of blood and has not regained consciousness. Brain activity tests have been inconclusive, the family said.

Now, Kramer said, all they can do is pray and wait.

"He's my hero, and to hear so many others talk about what this man means to them means a lot to us, and it really helps Mom get through this," Kramer said.

Dichiara was an assistant coach with Jim Greene under Joe Miller at Delta during the Saints' heyday of the 1970s.

Eventual NFL players Scott Barry, Dan McQuaid and brothers Tony and Bo Eason led the 1977 and '78 Saints to Sac-Joaquin Section small-school championships. Dichiara retired as Delta principal in 1990 before becoming a counselor and coach at Ponderosa.

"Coach has no sense of the impact he's had on people's lives," said Jeff Dominguez, a local real estate agent who played on those title teams and created a "Dick Dichiara Recovery Page" on Facebook. "He thinks no one remembers him. We all remember him."

Hicks takes over - Marc Hicks was named football coach at Davis High School, his alma mater, 30 years after he was a prep All-America tailback who went on to play at Cal and Ohio State.

Hicks replaces Steve Smyte, who stepped down after three seasons to spend more time with his family. Smyte oversaw a recovery period for the Blue Devils, a power in the 1970s, '80s and early '90s. Under Smyte, Davis went 1-9, 2-7 and 5-5. Hicks was his top assistant.

• Mat Bradley has been named coach of the Elk Grove boys basketball team. He previously coached at Valley.

• Popular volleyball coach Julie Crawford will not be retained at Davis, which has triggered a backlash by players and parents. Crawford had earned two Delta Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors since 2010.

• Bee All-Metro pitcher David Smith of section champion Elk Grove signed a letter of intent with Nevada. The ace won four playoff games and posted one save.

• Tony Ellison, an incoming senior receiver-flyback at Granite Bay, has verbally committed to Arizona. He helped the Grizzlies to the 2012 CIF state Division I championship.

Follow on Joe Davidson @SacBee_JoeD and listen to his "Extra Point" every Wednesday on

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