Arciniega leaves legacy for the ages
Four prominent figures gathered around a table nine years ago to talk about the glory days.
Starting in the 1950s, Greenwave athletics started to take control over the region and then the rest of the Silver State. State championships happened so frequently they became a standard.
Ed Arciniega, Elmo Dericco, Lonnie Moore and Dave Lumos walked into the LVN during the summer of 2007, just weeks before the 50-year reunion to talk nothing but sports and the beginning of a legacy that still resonates today with many fans in the Lahontan Valley.
Since that reunion, though, three of the four visitors have passed on, but the legacy still holds as strong as ever. Dericco was the first to pass away, followed by Moore and now Arciniega, who died last week. He was 92, which included 37 years devoted to Churchill County High school academics and athletics.
Arciniega and Dericco were a dynamic duo when they met six decades ago. Their contributions helped shape the Greenwave into what it is today. The high school’s gym was named after Dericco because of his influence with basketball while the athletic complex was named after Arciniega, who was a force with the football program as a coach and athletics director.
It’s fitting Arciniega’s memorial on Saturday at 11 a.m. will be at the Elmo Dericco Gym. A reception will follow at St. Patrick’s Church.
Arciniega, in his prime as a coach and AD and even after his retirement, touched so many lives in Greenwave sports. He was just as influential as a Spanish teacher and helped create the model for today’s coaches.
“My first experience was as a student in Spanish in his last year. He was just awesome,” said Brooke Hil, Fallon’s football coach who played for the Greenwave during the 1980s. “Athletically, what he has done for the school, he was Greenwave athletics. He really was Greenwave athletics. He was just a really great man. It’s hard to explain it. It’s a sad day for Greenwave athletics, but he was a great man and it’s a life well worth celebrating.”
Arciniega frequented both the old Bradley Field and current athletic complex even after he retired from education. He has a seat reserved near the press box and it was rare that Arciniegea would miss a home game until his health began deteriorating. He was there for the good and the bad, including when Fallon struggled immensely in the 4A.
“He was a fixture there,” Hill recalled. “He was kind of a link between Greenwave and the generations. He was their support. He was always a part of us.”
Jack Beach, an NIAA inductee along with Arciniega and Dericco, won several state championships as a player when Arciniega was the AD. Arciniega was one of the most positive and encouraging and it was those characteristics that persuaded Beach to try out coaching. Not only did it work, but Beach was an assistant football coach during three state title runs and won two baseball titles as the head coach before becoming the school’s AD.
“When I graduated college and came back in ‘74, I didn’t have any great desire to coach,” Beach said. “Ed came up and talked to me and encouraged me to get involved. I started coaching football and baseball. He was very supportive and encouraging and doing whatever was needed to do to make the program succeed.”
Arciniega put his stamp on the classroom, also, where it mattered most.
An incredible and uplifting Spanish teacher, Arciniega touched as many lives as he did in sports. He was professional but wanted to have fun, and the students appreciated that.
“As a teacher, he had a real kind of casual friendly environment,” said Steve Heck, who took Spanish while competing for the Greenwave and is the school’s boys track and field coach. “He let you have your personality in class and could joke around with the other kids in class. You’re still learning stuff. There’s a balance. He always just joked around with the kids. It always had to be fun in there.”
Although Spanish was his language, Arciniega admired the students who opted to learn French.
I first met Arciniega during my senior year when I walked onto the stage of the CCHS theater to accept the foreign language scholarship, which was presented by Arciniega himself. I knew the stories, the history, and was blown away by this moment. He treated my father and me to lunch the following week and talked about academics, my future plans and then began telling stories about the Greenwave.
It wasn’t until that 50-year reunion when he came down to the LVN and talked more about the Greenwave when I fully grasped how much this town and school meant to him and his wife, Norine. He cared so much about the students, coaches and administration that he wanted everyone to succeed. Whether it was in the classroom or on the football field, Arciniega’s presence was felt everywhere.
With the passing of another legend in Greenwave lore, it leaves a sorrowful void which can only be filled by the continued support and admiration of one of the greatest figures to grace this community, region and state.
Ed Arciniega is and will always be Greenwave athletics.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at email@example.com.