John Tyree

John Tyree (right), a former football coach at Fontana High School and Fontana A.B. Miller, was inducted into the Inland Valley Classic Hall of Fame on Jan. 11.  He shakes hands with Upland's Tim Salter, who also was inducted.  (Contributed photo by Jerry Soifer)

John Tyree, a highly successful football coach at several schools, including Fontana High School and Fontana A.B. Miller, received a special honor on Jan. 11.

Tyree was inducted into the Inland Valley Classic Hall of Fame during a ceremony at halftime of an all-star game at Kaiser High School.

Tyree said he was surprised to be given the honor.

"Why did they decide to pick me?" he asked.

Tyree was responsible for elevating the Fohi team to prominence, leading the Steelers to three straight playoff berths from 1974 to 1976, including one berth in the CIF championship game. Previously, he won a CIF title at Imperial High School.

Later, he coached at Miller for 10 seasons, consistently producing winning seasons.

"I had the best assistant coaches around, that's why we won," he said, specifically mentioning Dick Bruich, who continued the Steeler dynasty as a head coach starting in 1977.

Tyree also coached many players who succeeded at the college and professional level, including linebacker Nick Barnett (a Miller graduate who played for the Green Bay Packers and other teams) and defensive back Reuben Henderson (a Fohi graduate who competed for the Chicago Bears).

Tyree is still going strong, coaching at Calexico High School after accepting the job there in 2016 at age 77. He now has a total of 227 victories.

In addition to Tyree, Tim Salter, a long-time coach at Upland High School, was inducted into the Inland Valley Classic Hall of Fame.

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