JR Boone was born in Clinton, Oklahoma. He died peacefully at his home in Selma.
If asked to describe the former high school and collegiate level football coach JR Boone in five words, no phrase would fit him better than a "man of action, not words". He was not a passive kind of guy. Boone was not a tightly-wound man. He worked hard at being the best coach that he could be and how to relax away from football.
The initials JR don't stand for anything and he was a man of a few carefully-chosen words. Born in Clinton, Oklahoma, Boone played football for Sand Springs High School and was good enough to be selected for the Oklahoma State All-Star game in 1943. He went on to play for the University of Tulsa, earning nine varsity letters before graduating with degrees in physical education and social science. Boone was a four-sport athlete, lettering in football four years, twice in basketball and track and once in baseball. He was the captain of his football team, called "Junior" by his teammates, named Tulsa's "Outstanding Athlete", and selected on a variety of All-American teams.
He was drafted
in the 22nd round by the National Football League's Chicago Bears and
played for them from 1948 to 1951 before being traded to the San Francisco
49ers in 1952 and to the Green Bay Packers in 1953. His versatility enabled
him to play several positions including offensive back, defensive safety,
punt and kickoff returner.
When he decided that it was time to try his hand at coaching, his first job was as an assistant coach at Selma High School in 1955. He stepped up as Lindsay High School's head coach from 1956 to 1958, winning the league title in 1958 by scoring 233 points to their five league opponent's nineteen. Lindsay's best-ever team finished the season 9-0-0.
He switched to Sanger High School in 1959, orchestrating another undefeated championship season and adding four more consecutive league titles from 1960 to 1964.
He signed on as head coach of Reedley Junior College in 1966 and his teams would claim four conference titles between 1966 to 1972 plus the California JC State Championship in 1971. Boone was later named to the California JC Coaches Hall of Fame.
JR's final coaching job was at Fresno State. After the 1975 season, JR resigned from Fresno State. He was still a fan favorite and was certainly respected by the players that he coached.
JR has been elected into several Hall-of-Fame organizations; The Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame, University of Tulsa Hall of Fame, Reedley College Tiger Hall of Fame, the California Junior College Hall of Fame and the YMCA Hall of Fame.
JR met Virginia Thompson in his freshman year at the University of Tulsa. She was a cheerleader and he was a football hero. They were married for 59 years. "Ginny" preceded him in death on October 23, 2007.
JR is survived by three children; Katie McGil l and her husband Bob of Selma, Jim Boone and his wife Kathy of Fresno, Bob Boone of Kingsburg; He was "Poppa" to his six grandchildren, Brooke Bell and her husband Rob, Shannon Ramos and her fiancé Mario Vargas, Kristin Sinigaglia and her husband Greg, James Boone, Preston Boone and Jason Boone; He was "Big Poppa" to his nine great-grandchildren Kiesha, Arial, Nathan, Riley, Luca, Nico, Max, Owen and Blake.
The family would like to thank his caretakers for the love and respect they showed their dad. Because of them, JR was able to remain in his own home. They are Al and Becky Ramirez, Rosa Lopez and Evan Ortiz. They have all become a very important part of the Boone Family. We would also like to thank Darrick Wells M.D. for all the guidance and care he gave to "Coach".
A memorial in honor of JR's life will be held at Pardini's, 2257 W. Shaw Avenue at Van Ness Boulevard in Fresno, on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.
Remembrances may be made to Reedley College Quarterback Club, 995 N. Reed, Reedley, Ca 93654.