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Sunday, May 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Ex-Bears coach Dean dies at 83

Dean (1974) (The Spokesman-Review)
Dean (1974) (The Spokesman-Review)

Charlie Dean’s tenure as football coach at Central Valley was relatively brief, but successful.

During 11 seasons from 1964-74, the Bears went 84-11-1 and had seven unbeaten seasons while playing in the now defunct Border League.

Dean died Tuesday from cancer at age 83. At his request there will be no services, although a memorial celebration by the family is pending, his daughter Patty said.

He is also survived by his wife, Tiny, and daughter Linda. Oldest daughter Nancy died in 2005.

When Dean arrived at CV from Cameron College, he brought with him an Oklahoma folksiness and a brilliant football mind. The T-formation offense was simple but effective. Most of the games during Dean’s tenure in the Border League were one-sided.

“He could see things on the sideline nobody in the booth could see,” said Bruce Wendelburg, who for six seasons was Dean’s line and linebackers coach. “He’d call a play and we’d score. I’d stand there with my mouth open.”

Wendelburg said that when he first became assistant coach, he was standing in the gym when Dean gave his “famous” pep talk.

“(The other varsity assistant) Ron Knudsen slid over next to me and said, ‘You don’t want to be standing next to the doors when Charlie is done,’ ” Wendelburg said. “The kids will rip the door off and take you with it. He was right.”

Following a particularly gratifying win, Dean would sing the Oklahoma fight song to his players.

He used those skills even into the present.

“We used to bring him in to do a halftime,” current Bears coach Rick Giampietri said. “Up until this year we had him at a pregame once a year. The biggest thing for him was to say that you can always hit and hustle.”

Dean was inducted into the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame in 1987 and became a charter member of CV’s “Wall of Fame” this past fall.

“We loved him and we’re going to miss him,” Wendelburg said.

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