SPORTS – “Saying goodbye to Stan Haramoto; a legendary coach and man”

BEAR RIVER HIGH - By Cari Doutre and Addy Doutre - December 8, 2021

Stan Haramoto - Photo by Andy Marchant

The first base line on the softball field for the Bear River High softball team will never be the same again.

On Sunday, December 6, 2021, the Bear River Valley community learned the sad news that Stan Haramoto, the legendary softball coach at Bear River High, passed away at the age of 71 from COVID-19.

For nearly three decades, Stan “The Man” Haramoto was an assistant coach for the Bear River High softball team. As the team’s go-to first base coach, Stan helped bring 10 state championship titles to the school – a record only one other high school in Utah shares.

But Stan was more than just a coach and his contributions to the school’s softball program went way beyond wins, state titles and records.

On the softball field Stan was a friend to all bringing his positivity and sense of humor to not only to the coaching staff but to the hundreds of high school softball players he coached during his 29 years with the program.

“At the end of every practice, he always made sure that we knew that we all had greatness in us and reminded us of the importance of hard work. He gave us wisdom for on and off the field. He was involved in our lives and cared about more than just our softball career. He would ask us how school was going and how our families were doing. He was selfless and he will be immensely missed,” said Kodi Gibbs, Bear River High Class of 2019.

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Lainee Norman and Stan Haramoto - Photo by Andy Marchant

“I will always remember Stan’s love for the game but more importantly his love for us girls. He was our biggest fan,” added Carlee Miller, a senior at Bear River High.

Stan was also willing to go the extra mile for any of his players, at no expense.

“Stan was always willing to give extra help to the girls that were struggling. He would spend as much time as it took to make them better, even at the expense of my arm,” said Troy Haramoto, an assistant coach for the Bear River High softball team and Stan’s nephew.

Coaching side-by-side for many years, the two men had a similar philosophy when it came to strategy and coaching softball. Troy is also grateful for the things he learned from his Uncle Stan throughout the years on the softball field.

“I think the biggest thing he taught me was patience,” Troy said.

Stan was also always up for a foot race with the girls on the team. And was surprisingly fast too!

“Coach Stan has been and always will be an influential coach in the softball program. I will always remember him running down the first base line with a player during a close play or challenging players to a foot race. I’m grateful I had the chance to be coached by ‘Stan the Man.’ He has forever marked all the hearts of every Bear River High School softball player,” said Jordan Theurer, Bear River High Class of 2013.

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Stan Haramoto, May 2021 - Photo by Todd Burton

While Stan may have been small in stature, he was larger than life to the athletes he coached. His ability to stay calm under pressure and to put others at ease was exactly what many of those young athletes needed at the time.

“Something I remember most about him is the calming presence he brought to the game for me. He helped keep your mind at ease even during the big games or big moments. As players I think we naturally strive for those big hits. The doubles and triples or even home runs if we are lucky. But Stan made you want to hang out at first base for a while,” said Kelli (Smart) McClellan, Bear River High Class of 2011.

“Stan was an amazing coach. He encouraged all of us girls constantly and helped us to become amazing athletes,” said Haylee “Bob” Farnsworth, a senior at Bear River High.

“He loved softball and coaching so much and would do anything to help us girls out. He knew that each and every one of us had the potential to be amazing and he constantly drove us to become better in every way possible,” she added.

His presence on the field was a staple to Bear River High softball among the softball community state-wide as he was extremely well-respected and well-liked by others – even by the competition.

Van Park, Bear River High’s Athletic Director, has had many different roles throughout the 27 years he’s been at the school.

“I have dealt with Stan as a fellow coach, as a parent of a daughter who played for him and as an athletic director. In all three instances he is the same. He is of the highest integrity and character. He loved the game of softball, he loved the girls that play softball and he loved his coaching staff,” Park said.

“He never makes excuses and works as hard as he possibly can. Stan always shows gratitude like no one I have ever met and not just to me as an athletic director but to his fellow coaches, to the administration and especially to the girls that he coaches,” Park added.

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Stan Haramoto, May 2021 - Photo by Todd Burton

Stan was also known for his sense of humor and ability to make softball fun at practice and at games.

“My favorite memory of him is his language. He would tell us in the outfield when we missed a ball or had a bad at bat that it was ‘tough toenails’ or ‘cold pizza’ and that we needed to just forget and move on. It immediately would make us all laugh and forget about what we had messed up on and just go back to enjoying being at practice. He was a true jokester, and it was so fun being around him,” said Olivia Taylor, Bear River High Class of 2021.

It wasn’t just the softball field that Stan earned state championship titles. In 1966 as a sophomore at Bear River High, he helped the school’s wrestling team bring home their first team state championship title. Two years later in 1968 as a senior, Stan took home an individual high school state wrestling championship title in the 98-pound weight division.