2013: Warren Vinton, 89, Led Helix in ‘Sixties

Warren Vinton, who helped Helix establish itself as an athletic force as San Diego schools moved to form their own CIF section, passed away in Murrieta in Riverside County recently at age 89.

Vinton  posted a 25-9-1 record as the Highlanders’ head coach from 1964-67, winning two Grossmont League championships and taking his team to the San Diego Section title game in 1966.

The University of California at Santa Barbara graduate joined the coaching staff at Helix in 1956, when coach Tom Welbaum guided the Highlanders to an 8-1 record and a berth in the Southern Section playoffs.

Vinton (cnter) was joined at a 1967 practice with assistants Tom Feeser (left) and Bill White.

Vinton (center) was joined at  1967 practice by assistants Tom Feeser (left) and Bill White.

When Welbaum relocated to start the new Mount Miguel program in 1957, Vinton remained as college teammate Dick Gorrie became head coach.

After posting a 39-21-2 record in seven seasons, Gorrie was named head coach at Santa Ana Junior College and was succeeded by Vinton.

Vinton stepped down after the 1967 season but remained on the Highlanders’ faculty until his retirement in 1989.

A  La Mesa resident for 56 years, Vinton was remembered by Helix graduate and San Diego Evening Tribune sportswriter Roger Conlee, who covered the Highlanders during one of the most successful eras in school history.

“Warren was a contrast, more cerebral, less rah-rah than the charismatic Gorrie,” said Conlee.   “He had a droll sense of humor and a keen knowledge of football, especially the defensive side of the game.”

Vinton was tall, Gorrie much shorter.  Both handsome, they crafted an image of Helix football that was hip and almost glamorous compared to their Grossmont League brethren.

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4 Responses to 2013: Warren Vinton, 89, Led Helix in ‘Sixties

  1. Scott Vinton says:

    Rick,
    Thank you for the wonderful article about my father. It is very much appreciated. Also, thank you to Roger Conlee for his insights. It is obvious that he knew both Dad and Dick.

  2. Lisa Vinton says:

    Memorial Service for Warren Vinton
    January 8, 2014 @ 6 pm
    Helix Charter High School
    7323 University Ave, La Mesa, CA 91942
    Public Welcome!

    • Rick says:

      Thank you. I’m sure many of Warren’s friends and colleagues will want to share some thoughts.

      • Lisa Vinton says:

        Thank you! We really appreciated the article and loved what you shared about him. We miss him greatly and it was very nice to see this. Happy New Year!

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