Dave Castro, who coached high school football in Las Vegas for more than 25 seasons — including the last five at Palo Verde — died early Saturday morning of cardiac arrest. He was 54.
Castro was on the sideline Friday night, helping to lead the Panthers to a 55-21 win over Arbor View on Palo Verde’s homecoming.
Palo Verde’s players were informed of Castro’s death when they met Saturday morning for a film session.
“We’re a real close family,” head coach Darwin Rost said. “Coach Castro was like a dad to these kids.”
Castro, who was Palo Verde’s linebackers coach in 2005 and became the defensive coordinator the following year, helped guide the Panthers to Sunset Region titles in 2006 and 2008 after previously coaching at Clark, Bonanza, Eldorado, Green Valley, Durango and Valley.
In two seasons as head coach at Eldorado, Castro’s teams went 7-14.
A physical education teacher at Palo Verde, Castro played at Rio Hondo Junior College (Calif.), then transferred to Southern Utah State College (now Southern Utah University), where he earned All-America honors in 1978 as a linebacker and still holds the school’s single-season record for tackles with 186.
Castro has two sons — David, a freshman on the football team at Fort Lewis (Colo.) College, and Jake, a sophomore who plays on the junior varsity football team at Palo Verde.
He is also survived by his mother, Edna, a brother, Richard, and domestic partner Laura Orians and her three children, Mary, Jason and Justin.
Funeral arrangements for Castro are pending.