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Remembering the Earl of Douglas

Former Douglas basketball coach Earl Jarrett is welcomed into the Douglas High School Basketball Hall of Fame on Jan. 21, 1989, by his former players Bill Kinkle, center, and Jerry Gray.
Jay Aldrich/R-C File Photo

One of Douglas High’s winningest coaches and a member of the school’s hall of fame, Earl Jarrett came to Carson Valley in 1956 through chance.

He would spend the next 30 years guiding Douglas students as a mentor and teacher.

Jarrett died May 17. He was 88 years old.

In a story about his induction into the Hall of Fame, R-C Sports Editor Dave Price recounted a story Jarrett told.

“I went into the local barbershop and Gene Watson told me, ‘I wouldn’t unpack my bags if I were you, basketball coaches don’t last long around here,” Jarrett said.

He coached track at Humboldt County High School in Winnemucca where he taught for a semester.

He told Price he was on his way back from a meet in Yerington with Jerome Etchegoyhen. They stopped in Fernley, where Douglas Superintendent Gene Scarselli happened to be, and Etchegoyhen introduced them.

“Gene said he was looking for a coach, so we spoke for about five minutes and he said he would send me a contract in the mail, which he did.”

He served as boys head basketball coach for 11 seasons and had a record of 137-92.

Under his guidance, the Tigers won four straight zone tournament championships in 1959-62, which Price said represented a golden era in Douglas basketball.

After he stepped down, he coached track and field, where a Tiger team won a state championship in 1974.

He also coached track and taught mechanical and architectural drawing, general math, civics and history.

“I like being part of watching and helping young people grow and develop into responsible adults,” Jarrett said in a column written by former Douglas High band director Bill Zabelsky in 1986.

Jarrett was a volunteer firefighter, whose literal trial by fire came just months after arriving in the Valley when a lightning strike set a fire near Jacks Valley.

He was part of the Douglas ambulance crew that helped rescue a 13-year-old boy who’d fallen 30 feet in Woodfords.

He served as head of the Douglas County Engine Company’s building committee when discussions arose to expand the structure along Highway 395. He attended the 1989 dedication of the fire bell at the Minden station after it was received from a California fire department.

While on the Minden Town Board, he served as chairman of a two-town special committee gathering signatures to form the Douglas County Mosquito Abatement District in 1967.

He served on the Board of Trustees of the Douglas County Public Library and secretary of the Douglas County Volunteer Fire Department. He served as a member of the Nevada State Firemen’s Association and the Nevada Library Association.

In 1972, he was named Douglas teacher of the year.

A Nevada native, Jarrett was born in Las Vegas and played basketball for Las Vegas High School. He served two years active duty with the U.S. Army, spending 16 months with Special Services in London. He received a sports scholarship to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, where he graduated in 1956.

He is survived by wife Sharon, son Mike, daughters Julie and Alaine.