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North State coach stalwart Darren Trueblood battling cancer in Houston-area hospital

U-Prep head football coach Darren Trueblood is battling stage 4 lung cancer in Houston, sources told Shasta County Sports. Trueblood's 119 wins between 13 seasons at Enterprise and two at U-Prep, most wins among all active coaches in Shasta County. (File photo by Mike Daly / Shasta County Sports)

Northern Section football stalwart Darren Trueblood is in a Houston-area hospital battling lung cancer. The 54-year-old U-Prep teacher and coach is receiving treatment at MD Anderson, a world-renowned research center, the school said Tuesday in a statement.

“Given Coach Trueblood’s long-established community reputation as a highly skilled and character-centered coach and teacher, it makes sense why many have reached out to see how they can best rally behind him and his incredible family,” Principal Shelle Peterson wrote in the statement.

Peterson added his family, wife Kathy, and children Zack, Madisen and Trevor, are with him in Houston. Zack Trueblood recently posted a message for thoughts and prayers on Facebook, saying his father was recently diagnosed and was receiving treatment.

“In consideration of the family’s privacy balanced with the desires of others to express their care, interested parties may send well wishes and/or financial donations to University Preparatory School in care of the Truebloods,” Peterson wrote.  “For financial donations, checks may be written out directly to Darren and Kathy Trueblood.  Thank you for keeping Coach Trueblood and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Trueblood coached at Enterprise for 21 years, the last 13 (2003-15) as head coach. He guided the Hornets to 105 wins and four Northern Section titles, including three in a row from 2012-14. He has 119 total wins in time spent with the Hornets and the past two seasons at U-Prep, which is the most wins among any active head coach in Shasta County.

He was named MaxPreps Coach of the Year in California in 2013 after leading the Hornets to a 13-1 record and state bowl game berth – the first time a Northern Section team won either a NorCal or state playoff game. He was twice named Northern Section Coach of the Year, as voted on by North State media, once in 2009 and again in 2013.

A Red Bluff native, Trueblood was an assistant for Clay Erro at Enterprise before taking over the reins of the program in 2003. He taught U.S. history at Enterprise more than two decades before resigning as football coach in 2016 and transferring to U-Prep, where the Chico State alumnus taught AP U.S. history.

He took over the help of the Panthers’ program in 2018, guiding the program to an 8-3 finish last year following a 6-5 season one year earlier. His .683 winning percentage is tied for 12th on the all-time section list and is third among Shasta County with a minimum of 100 games coached.

He began his career as a coach at Mercy High School in Red Bluff, where he grew up. He went on to teach and coach at Chester Jr./Sr. High School before he was hired by Enterprise in 1994-1995, according to media archives.

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for nearly two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. Williams has coached various sports at the high school level over the past decade, most recently at Shasta High, and is also the public address announcer for the Shasta College football and basketball teams.

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