Rick Prinz, the Paradise (California.) A football coach who helped rebuild the city after the devastating 2018 campfire, announced his retirement on Thursday after 22 seasons, according to media reports.
His 191 wins are the fourth-best wins in the history of the Northern Division, and Prince has won six division titles.
Prinz, who dreamed of playing football before starting his career due to injury, almost accidentally found his way into teaching and coaching. He left after creating one of the most enduring dynasties in the Northern Division. The Bobcats were 191-70 in his term, which extended to 1999-2021.
It simply came to our notice then.
His .732 win percentage is good for seventh place in the seventh division with 100 game coaches, but the impact the football town has had since the campfire has shown the strength of Prinz’s program.
On November 8, 2018, a fast-moving fire west of Paradise erupted early in the morning, burning through a small hill town near Chico. Within hours, much of the city was destroyed as 85 people died and more than 153,000 acres were damaged.
That season the Bobcats, a No. 3 seed, Prince, his coach, and most of his players were forced to lose because they lost their home.
Many children have lost their homes and many of them are now scattered, but we have heard from everyone,” Prinz told Maxpreps in 2018. I assume I lost my home.
I talked to our administration and our athletic director to see what we could do, but to be honest, I spent the night wondering where my mother was without thinking about football.”
Less than a year later, though, Princess took the Bobcats to Om Weith Field – one of the few places protected from the deadly fire – for a 42-0 win over Williams in front of more than 5,000 fans and a national news presence.
Paradise will remain unbeaten against Sutter in the 2019 North Division III final. However, against the Huskies on a rainy night, the Bobcats ’Hollywood finish leveled the score at 20-7 to their long-time rival.
In many ways it’s bigger than football and bigger than what happened on this field tonight,” Rick Prinz even said of the Bobcats in the title game. It was for our city and to help rebuild it. They played a key role. They are special people.
The story of Bobcats 2019 and its rise from the ashes of L.A. A book by Times Sports columnist Bill Plask has been chronicled in “Paradise Found.