Steve Winter — a Manteca High Buffalo through and through for 40 years first as a student, then as a teacher and coach, next as an administrator, and then five years as principal — is being inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame.
The dinner and induction ceremonies for the Hall of Fame take place Saturday, May 10, at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. Tickets are $60 apiece and available at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club, 545 Alameda St., or call 239.KIDS.
Other members of the Class of 2014 are Dr. Stephen A. Lin, health care; Jeff Liotard, community service; John Holbrook, government; and Manteca’s “Golden Girls” — Evelyn Allen, Betty Bergthold, Kathryn Lauriston, and Selma Wigglesworth – at-large.
Winter were nominated for induction in the field of education
Winter a few years ago recalled the day he first represented Manteca High.
Winter said that he and several of his eighth grade buddies had wandered over to the Manteca High swimming pool where a meet was about to get underway. The coach – who knew Winter could swim – had a few holes to plug on his “B” team. So he told Winter he had a pair of trunks if he wanted to compete.
Even though it had been six months since he last swam, Winter jumped at the chance. By the meet’s end he had shaved 40 seconds off a school record and left little doubt that he was a Buffalo.
Winter’s allegiance is still as strong today to Manteca High as the first day he stepped on campus as a freshman in 1965 and then again as a history and physical education teacher in 1971.
Winter has ties to Manteca High that even predate his attendance. His father – the late Dr. Robert C. Winter for whom the school gym is named – used to bring along his children to football and basketball games when he served as the Manteca High team physician. The swimming pool adjacent to the gym is now named in Steve Winter’s honor.
“I remember doing things at Manteca High as a kid,” Winter recalled. “It was the only high school in town back then. As a 10-year-old I remember the big deal it was to go to a high school concert. They’d perform three nights in a row and the place would be packed each night. And when Friday night came during football season, it was the place to be in Manteca. Everyone was there.”
He noted a game between Tracy High and Manteca High wasn’t just a match between the Bulldogs and the Buffaloes. It was the City of Tracy versus the City of Manteca.
Winter recalls attending class in the old Manteca High Tower building where you could see field crops to the north and could hear sugar beet trucks rumbling down the narrow old highway that passed in front of Manteca High to reach Spreckels Sugar.
As a Buffalo, Winter played basketball and swam. He ended up holding several records in the 100 fly, breaststroke, freestyle and the 140 IM.
The 140 IM record was the last to fall. It happened while he was coaching the boy who broke it – Jeff Walker.
Winter recalls how his feelings of disappointment that his record fell – that he kept to himself and didn’t verbalize — was eclipsed by the fact he was able to coach the athlete that broke it.
Winter ended up coaching basketball for 15 years including five years on the varsity level that encompassed two Valley Oak League championships. He also coached golf.
Winter said “athletics saved me.”’
“It’s important that kids have something to look forward to going to school for besides history class whether it is band, drama, athletics, JROTC or a club,” he said.
Winter was born and raised in Manteca. He chose a career in education attending San Joaquin Delta College and California State University at Sacramento. In 1986 he completed a Master’s of Education in School Management from the University of LaVerne.
Winter has been the recipient of numerous awards for teaching coaching, and in the role of school administrator. Among those awards are included Secondary Principal of the Year in 2007 and Co-Administrator of the year in 2003. Winter has excelled as a teacher/coach by receiving recognition as coach of the year twice.
He has served on the Manteca Recreation Commission for 15 years, was a member of the Manteca Library Expansion Committee, the Manteca Golf Course Operation Review Committee and on numerous California Interscholastic Federation Committees. Winter is an active member of St Paul’s Methodist Church and has served on the Staff/ Parish Relation’s Committee.
Winter is married. He and his wife, Frona, have a son, Donald and a daughter, Kristen.