Beloved Coach North Coach Passes Away

Unfortunately, on Mar. 12 John W. North lost one of our beloved staff members, Xavier Gomez, known as “X” around campus. He gave North decades of his life and truly embodied what it means to have Husky pride. He had a passion for people and ensured their well-being on a day-to-day basis. Students and faculty at North considered him as many things, however first and foremost he was a friend to all. 

“Countless people say that someone is like a brother to them, but it was real for X and I. He did not have any brothers and I am not very close to my real brothers… He has always been there since the first day we met in 1995. He was part of all of my children growing up and was known as Uncle X, or more affectionately Uncle Marshmallow! He was and always will be family. He was always there to bounce ideas off of for batting lineups or other softball decisions. I have never been a head coach at North without X as my assistant. I’m not sure I can. Game days on Tuesdays were taco days. He would go to Tony’s and get us lunch. Saturday practices were breakfast burrito mornings. We would travel to other sporting events like the track master meeting. And then there were all of the proms we chaperoned. I could go on and on. He is my brother and one of my best friends. During good and bad times, we were always there for each other. I miss him now and always will,” said head varsity softball coach and mathematics teacher Donald Phelps. 

X dedicated his life to students through being a campus supervisor, but most importantly to sports. He was a basketball coach for Ramona High School and North assistant varsity softball coach. He gave countless years to the softball program and ensured that the Huskies had a coach but also a friend. 

“When I was first told the news about X passing away, I was told over text, less than an hour after having woken up. I absolutely could not believe it because just the day before, X was at practice with us joking and making us laugh as always. X was a kind person who made sure everyone around him was always at their best. He was a father figure to a few, a mentor to others, and of course, a friend to most. It’s very hard talking about him in the past tense and It’s just hard wrapping my brain around the fact that someone as special as him is gone. I have known X for eight years and throughout those years, he always made sure that I was doing okay, not only on the field but off the field as well. I am grateful for everything that he has done for me; he was truly a father figure in my life. X was my very first high school coach since when he let me play with North’s softball summer league team in my seventh grade year and he is now the very last coach that I will have. I had the pleasure of playing my very last softball career game with him on the field. To be quite honest, I’m glad our softball season ended where it did because I played my last game with him there and if we had to play another one, I would not have been able to step onto the field without him,” said senior Bianca Salazar.

Students he encountered from the hallways to the softball fields were deeply affected by his kindness. 

“Coach X was an amazing person that always had a smile on his face and wanted to make everyone laugh. There would not be a day, where he went without checking on one of the softball girls or simply making jokes. I genuinely believe he wanted the best for everyone he came in contact with. There wasn’t a single day that you wouldn’t pass by him and he wouldn’t say ‘hi’ to you. Coach X was a very important person at North. Everyone knew him as a goofy and kind man. I don’t ever believe any Husky will ever forget him,” said junior Kathy Bonilla. 

Coach X left a gaping hole to fill, a task that at this point may seem impossible. Xavier Gomez gave North something that students and faculty cannot reminisce without, he gave North kindness and an abundance of appreciation for what it feels like to have Husky pride. 

“I’d love to say thank you Coach X, for always being there. You were my coach when I was a student [at North] and then you were one of my fellow coaches that helped me along my path to coaching. It won’t be the same being on the field without you because you were always there, but I know your spirit will always be with the softball team. Once a Husky, always a Husky!” said 2018 North Alum Jazmine Chavez. 

Not only did X leave North with heartfelt friendships, he left a legacy of genuine compassion for Huskies.