Dave “Hawk” Wilder, coach of the Lady Vaqueros softball team, died on Sunday, May 2 at his home in Northridge at the age of 70.
Wilder coached at Glendale from 2001 to 2013, winning 213 games during his career overall and 124 in divisional games.
GCC assistant softball coach Sal Pizzo said he had been living with Wilder for the past few months, assisting him due to complications with post-polio. Pizzo said Wilder died of natural causes.
“I was stunned when I heard of his death, because I saw him that morning,” said Pizzo, who was coaching the Lady Vaqs in a tournament when he heard of Wilder’s death. “I learned of his death through a voicemail from his sister, Jamie”
Wilder was known well for his generosity and passion for the game.
“At any time, he would help anybody, on-the-field or off,” said Pizzo. “He gave me an opportunity to work at the community college level.”
Assistant coach, Casey Nicodemus said that Wilder fired up the team to play with gusto.
“He had such a great passion for the game, the players were more excited to play due to his passion,” said Necodemus. “He inspired me to take a coaching position. He promoted that in me.”
Many said that Wilder was friendly until the end.
“Hawk had a friendly demeanor,” said Lady Vaqs trainer Steve Demchak “In one word, he was Approachable. He would help anyone.”
Demchak said that Wilder did show signs of health complications during the last few months. Wilder suffered from symptoms of post-polio.
“He brought a lot of experience and exposure to the college,” said Pizzo.
Quoting Wilder, “The softball program at Glendale Community College is looking for not only talented players but more importantly, student-athletes with a great attitude, ready to make the commitment to change their lives”
Wilder was a Native American, born in June 27, 1942 and was a member of the Karuk Tribe.
He is survived by his sister, Jamie.