Online Exclusives

In Memory of Chris Huber

“It’s a beautiful day in Lafayette, California!”  

– Chris Huber

   After a long battle against Parkinson’s disease, Acalanes High School physical education teacher and coach Chris Huber passed away on Jan. 21. In honor of Huber and his impact on the Acalanes community, Blueprint compiled stories, pictures, and “huber-isms” from various members of the community.

   When I was young, I attended Acalanes basketball camps that Huber coached.  Each day, he led the campers in drills that I thought were tedious — dribbling, jump stops, and pivots.  I couldn’t wait for that part of the day to be over, but years later I realized how much I benefited from the attention to detail that he instilled in his campers. 

   When I had the good fortune to play for Huber on varsity, he brought that same intensity, and would get on us if we didn’t do the little things right — keeping our hands up on defense, boxing out, and taking care of the basketball.

   Huber stressed the little things because of two things that he loved. First he loved the game of basketball, and wanted to see it played the right way. But more importantly, he demonstrated a deep care and attention for his players. 

   Just like he never missed an opportunity to correct a mistake, he doled out authentic praise at a job well done. His passion for the game was infectious, and he brightened every practice and locker room talk.  

   Every time I play pickup now, I hear his voice in my head, telling me to “take a picture of the basket” lest I miss makeable shots.  I thank him silently every time I make a hook shot or a turnaround jumper in the post, remembering the hours we spent together honing those moves.  

   His presence will be deeply missed by the Acalanes basketball community, but his memory lives on with everyone who was lucky enough to know him.  

   When I think of the nicest person on this planet to ever exist my mind immediately goes to Coach Huber. He is caring, unselfish, loving, kind and always willing to help. Along with all those qualities just mentioned Huber is a great teacher, coach, mentor and overall a great person. In my basketball career I have had many people help me along the way but there are only two people that have sacrificed their time, energy and effort to wake up in the early morning to help my basketball career. Those two people are my father and Coach Huber. 

   Now I am not Coach Huber’s son, but he sacrificed his time to help me like I was. Huber would wake up at 5 a.m. to help me shoot in the mornings, open the gym and run me through drills to help with my overall game. I remember I had a rough shooting night and Huber woke up at 5am before school to help me get out of my slump. That next night I had one of the best games I had all season and that is all credited to Coach Huber. I am very fortunate to be playing college ball next year and I owe such a great portion of that success to Coach Huber. He has helped my game physically and mentally. His advice will always stick with me till this day. Just last Friday, January 9th at the let them play rally I gave a speech. In that speech I quoted Huber. Huber once said that sports are more than just a physical activity, sports are where people learn to communicate with others, they learn teamwork so when they get to a job later they already know how to work well with others. It is crazy to think that just about two weeks ago from writing this I mentioned him and now he’s gone. 

   Huber will forever be loved, he will forever be in everyone’s heart and I owe him so many thanks. So to Huber I owe him many thanks. I hope we get the opportunity to have a season to play for Huber. He has brought so many great things to this community and his memory will forever be cherished. I hope everyone inspires to be a person like Huber, he was truly one of the best. 

   Huber, thank you for everything you have done for me, the team and this school. You will forever be missed and we thank you for everything. Fly high and rest in peace coach. Thank you. 

   I took these photos in Nov 2013 while Huber was showing Josh Katzki, Arden Childers, Liam McGuire and I the proper technique of throwing frisbees, since we had just told him we were considering creating an Acalanes Ultimate Frisbee club. He thought it was a fantastic idea and offered to help us out with anything we would need. 

   Regarding memories of Huber, I was lucky enough to have him for PE twice, and able to spend a lot of time on the field after school chatting with him. He was always interested in what we were learning in our classes but more importantly, how we were doing personally. 

   The video of him waving will always make me smile, as I was on the receiving end of many of those waves, regardless of what Huber was doing while I yelled “HUUUUUUBERRRRR” at him!

   I graduated in 2016 and still remember the joy and kindness that Huber brought to Acalanes. I had him as a teacher for two years and was lucky to have Huber as a mentor.

Erik Honda

Acalanes High School English Teacher

  Every time he walked into the Acalanes copy room and saw me there Chris would get a mischievous, “kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar” kind of look on his face, combined with a giant smile. He’d then belt out a loud “Well hello Mr. Honda, how are you?” as he approached me, cornering me against the machine. I couldn’t help grinning back, responding “I’m great Chris, how about you?” as he wrapped his hand around the back of my neck and pulled me into a half hug, half wrestling maneuver, shaking me around like I was half his size. “Doing great,” he’d say, still grinning and shaking me, “just great”. Then he’d walk off giggling. He did it every time he saw me, without fail. It was often the best part of my day. The last time he did it was just before the school shut down for COVID in March 2020, so except for my family members, I think he is the last man I have hugged since then. I really miss those hugs, and everything about that brilliant, wonderful man.

   I am sending on the pictures I took that night at the pumpkin carving in 2016. It has always been a holiday favorite of mine, to gather with friends and family. 

   That night, after everyone lit their pumpkin…I realized that a few of Elle’s friends carved two pumpkins as a tribute to “Huber”. They didn’t have to do that…. they chose to do that. That speaks of their love for him as a person and teacher. They really respected Chris because he pushed you to be your best self and because of his kindness.

   I am so glad that I showed the pictures to Chris Huber at our staff meeting that month. 

   I have always thought that Chris reminds me of my father-in-law, Carl Skvarna because they have similar qualities; both PE educators, leaders, have good humor, want the best for their students, have workouts filed away (either in their physical or mental file cabinet) and are so kind.

Mike Ivankovich

Acalanes High School PE Teacher

   Chris Huber. A man we all honor. He rarely raised his voice, had an endless supply of great care and patience for his students, was loyal and true to all of his colleagues and was a loving father and grandfather. As an athlete and coach, he was an incredibly disciplined and focused competitor. It should be noted that he always played fair and so did his teams.

   My fondest memory is no one event or experience. We shared an office with our desks five feet apart for over a decade. In that way I was lucky to get so much Huber. He was fun to be around. We listened to music every day. Either from my phone, our cd collection or Huber’s ancient cassette collection.

   He was an outstanding teacher and friend.

Larry Freeman

Former Acalanes High School Teacher

   Chris Huber, was the gentle giant of Acalanes. 

   Lithe and lean, he loomed large as a dedicated force of kindness and nurture to the thousands of students who he knew needed the benefits of exercise, even if they didn’t. 

   But he also displayed those virtues in his compassion towards fellow faculty, ever interested in how others were doing,  warm in his embrace of hand and heart, soft spoken, yet always hale and hearty in his soft, special way.

He didn’t tower above folks in stature as a muscled, hard driving athlete or commanding P.E. drill instructor.

   Instead, he stood even more tall through his patient , kind, even tempered, genuine  spirit of inner self. 

   He shunned burdening others with his pain, managing to keep his chin up, eyes bright, voice cheery and the Northstar of his heart straight through the many travails and hardships of his personal life.

   His abiding inner competitiveness and capacity for focused  ferocity rarely surfaced, only showing through when he was behind a ping pong paddle, moving swiftly, intensively and accurately to always master those who dared face off against a formidable force:  “The Hubernator.”

   He would leave the vanquished  as inspired, even grateful winners of a different type, after their inevitable loss at the table.

   There has never been another quite like Chris, the under sung powerhouse of Acalanes.

Categories: Online Exclusives

3 replies »

  1. Thank you for the wonderful compassion and empathy you showed for Coach Huber. It is a wonderful reflection on all of you.

  2. I started coaching with Hube at Salesian’s high followed him to Ec This was a great human He taught me a lot he even got me to go back to school at his old college College of Redwoods This man knew more basketball then most. Thanks for the love. Coach pat

  3. I was lucky enough to go to Europe with AIFS in 1977 as a student and Chris was a chaperone – strong-armed into it no doubt by his Educator-Mom in Fort Bragg, Maria Huber. We connected immediately, just the sweetest guy, and let’s just say what happened in Europe, stayed in Europe :}
    Saw him several years later up on the Coast – he showed up at a HS football game and took me for a drive in his yellow Pantera.
    Dark-fro, sly grin, twinkle in his eye…
    Funny to find out he ended up at Acalanes – my Pops graduated there in ’58…

    Hope you have a good ride Chris! See you on the other side!

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