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Shafter faces loss of two decorated football coaches

Claude Gilbert, SHS Hall of Famer, also led San Diego State Spartans

Shafter High Athletic Hall of Fame member Claude Gilbert passed away on January 13, 2024, after a battle with lung cancer.

Gilbert was an icon at Shafter High School, as well as just about every school he was associated with. In addition to the SHS Hall of Fame, Gilbert was a member of the San Diego State Athletic Hall of Fame, as well as that of San Jose State.

Gilbert coached the Shafter Generals football team to a championship in 1962.

Gilbert's passing affected those from throughout the state, including Jeff Konya, director of athletics for the San Jose State Spartans, where Gilbert was the head coach from 1984-1989, after playing for the Spartans in 1957-58.

"I am saddened to hear of the passing of a Spartan coaching legend. Claude Gilbert was a foundational and transcendent coach for the Spartans in the long history of San José State football. Our collective thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."

"Claude always kept an eye on Shafter High football," he said in the telephone conversation. "Shafter was really special to him. "

The current coach of the Generals, Jerald Pierucci, had the same thoughts.

"Coach Gilbert is a legend in Shafter football lore. I know Shafter football has always had a special place in his heart. He sent messages last year when we went to state and in 2018 when we went to the section championship. Shafter held a special place in his heart. I am lucky to get to follow in his footsteps."


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