Ron was a lion. He was our son's water polo coach and was always there for support and encouragement in his own unique way.
John and Sharon Eilts
Ron was truly passionate about coaching water polo. Although I have yet to forgive him for 5:45am workouts
and endless leg lifts, he helped prepare us for life ahead. He was the kind of coach who was always in your
corner, and doing everything imaginable to try and make us better prepared. I have many fantastic high school
memories thanks to Ron.
Class of '89
Notable Ron Freeman Quotes:
"GOD BLESS AMERICA."
"You gonna give me some of that?"
During a game: "Do you know how to swim?? WELL SHOW ME THEN!"
"God bless him!"
"You guys play like Schmuks and you make me look like a Schmoe"
Ron had a profound effect on myself and my family. During my years on the team he taught me perseverance, achievement,
and respect. Along with my parents, he was the most influential person in my growth to adulthood. Even through this Christmas
he exchanged gifts with my parents with the great generosity that defined his character. We will think of him often with great
Ron Freeman has touched our lives in a fashion only a true educator can. He is an institution in the sport of high school
water polo and his absence will leave a massive void in the sport. We can only be thankful for the decades of commitment to
the community of Monta Vista High School. Ron epitomizes the meaning of leadership and has supported our children during a
most impressionable time in their adolescent lives. The Dylan Gantley family will always hold a very special place in our
hearts for Ron Freeman. Thank you Ron!
Joe, Jeri, Dylan Gantley
Class of '08
Yesterday the Monta Vista community lost a teacher and friend. Josh and Kev both knew Ron Freeman, and Rich and I
enjoyed sitting with him at basketball games hearing stories about his water polo teams. We will miss you!
Ron was the definition of passionate. He has been a very personal part of our family's Monta Vista years.
From coaching Andrew through four years of water polo and swimming (not Andrew's first choice!) to
starting Lauren in PeeWee Polo. He created a supportive environment for our children to thrive in. Ron was
instrumental in helping Andrew with his Eagle Project (swim boards at the pool) and obtaining the
highest rank in Boy Scouts. He truly shaped Andrew's "mind and body" at a formidable age as a role model
and mentor. Ron did know how much we loved and appreciated him: I would see him on the pool deck and
say, "Ron, you do know how much you mean to us." He would just smile and I would have tears in my eyes;
knowing he was such an important part of our family's life. He will always be remembered to us as the
lovable "Screamin Freeman." He will be missed by all.
Laurie, Andrew (2010), and Lauren (2012) Stewart
When the words from Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" are heard, we will remember these patriotic words being
shouted by Ron Freeman on the pool deck. A committed and passionate man, Ron wore the Monta Vista colors with pride his
entire personal and professional career. A shy individual on one side and a bold matador on the other, Ron dedicated his
life to the students and school. What a true, honest, and genuine man. You will always be remembered. Thank you for
everything, Coach Ron!
Brendan Duffy and Family
Thanks for your years of service to our Monta Vista High School. The kids were very lucky to have known Ron Freeman.
It will never be the same.
Michael Gottwald, class of '87
Mr. Freeman was the one who introduced me to Monta Vista's sport program. He and I talked for about a half hour
about water polo and sports. I miss him so much, and how he always knew how to make me laugh. He was a great teacher,
and from my perspective, a friend to me. He was the easiest to talk to out of all my teachers. Monta Vista isn't the
same without him, and that shows just how immense his impact was on this school. He touched everyone he met, and
inspired us all to do our best. I will miss him.
I love History because of you, you kept me eligible for soccer and you let me speak my mind and taught me a
respectful way to do it. I have not been back to MV or have spoken to you after I left but you did leave an
impression on me. THANK YOU!
When I came to Monta Vista to be the off-campus wrestling coach, Ron was there to greet me. It was my first coaching
job and Ron helped me a lot. He let me use his desk and was always there to help me. I had not seen Ron in over 10 years
when I came back to MV to referee a wrestling dual meet against Saratoga on Thursday. We shook hands and he asked me how
things were going. Ron passed away the next day. I am glad to have seen Ron one last time, and very sad at his passing.
Former MV Wrestling Coach
Ron was a dedicated coach who only wanted the best from his players. And if you did not give your best, he let you
know ("Screamin Freeman").
class of '86
Ron Freeman - Coach, Teacher, Friend, Athletic Director, Matador
Ron Freeman, a long time Monta Vista teacher and coach, passed away suddenly of a heart attack on
Friday, January 21, 2011. Ron
worked at Monta Vista for over 30 years, and he will be remembered as a
generous man who cared deeply for his students and colleagues.
Monta Vista held a public memorial service on Friday, February 18, 2011, at 3 pm
This page has been set up so that students, parents, and alumni can share in memories of
Coach Freeman. If you would like to submit a memory and/or photo of Ron Freeman,
please send them to us at:
. You might also want to view our
photo gallery of Coach Freeman
tribute page on Facebook
A scholarship has also been established in his memory. Donations can be made payable to
"Monta Vista ASB/Ron Freeman Aquatics Scholarship".
We are all saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Ron. Ron was a GREAT coach. But first and foremost
he was a Wonderful teacher. In his unique way, he brought out the best from every kid and every team he coached.
He taught his students important lessons that would last a life time. He showed us winning is not everything,
but how you play the game is more important. After every game, win or lose, and regardless of what had happened
during the game, Ron would be smiling, and shaking hands with referees and the opposing team.
His passing is a tremendous loss for the Cupertino community. Housing price should drop by at least 10%. Rest
in peace Ron, we will always have you in our heart and in our conversations. Thank you for giving us some of the
best moments of our lives. We will miss your Christmas, stealth delivery of sweet, spirit, and love.
the Fong Family
I can't express how thankful I am that Ron was in my life. His influence impacted far more than sports and
academics, but my capacity to understand myself and what was possible mentally and physically. Ron put his heart
into everything. He never held back. If there's anything we can learn from Ron, it is to care, with great passion
and tireless energy, for the things we love doing and the people we surround ourselves with, everyday.
Steve Haney, class of '92
Ron truly was a great coach, and taught me everything I know about water polo. He taught me to love the sport,
and always challenged me to be the best I could. I can never truly thank him enough for what he did for me and all
the other students who he's touched. One of my fondest memories of him was when we tried (and were somehow successful)
to fit over 10 players in his car after an Aptos tourney at the beginning of the year. He made the sport fun and
encouraged me to push my limits. Thanks for everything Ron!
Success in today's world is usually measured by money, power, or status. Another measure of value is
influence. Calculated in that currency, Ron Freeman was Midas. His touch spread gold through the lives
of thousands of young adults, especially young males, in a way too elusive to estimate in today's harsh
light and will pay dividends for many years to come. At their most vulnerable kids enter high school;
hoping to gain the tools they need to make their way in life. If they were lucky, they met Ron. If they
were blessed they played for him. He nurtured each budding adult on his team with the diligence of a
farmer. Giving them water, sun, fresh air, pruning carefully to encourage a bountiful harvest. He
encouraged team, demanded and gave respect, instilled the worth of work, and embodied the word mentor.
He challenged, supported, enlightened, and enriched. He will be missed. Not everyone is replaceable.
Our family will always be thankful that Ron was part of our lives.
Patrick (class of '07), Mark, and Shauna Ruden
Ron Freeman. He taught EVERYTHING that our boys know about water polo, plus more. He modeled discipline
(5:45 am workouts!), hard work (summer training at Bellarmine), patience (long speeches), fun (team dinners!),
and camaraderie (more team dinners!). He helped our growing boys build muscle and made physical fitness a
lifetime value. Ron set the standard high, and the boys stepped up to it. He made it a privilege and an honor
to wear an MV speedo. Ron Freeman was an exceptional coach whom we all respected and loved. It was a great
privilege for our family to have known Ron . . . a man with a big heart, a man who cared deeply about his
The Moe Family (Jeff, Loy, Nico '06, Chris '07, Angela '10, Greg '15)
Coach Ron Freeman was a great man. I look back at his character and his diligence to being a great coach
was truly inspiring. As much as I despised his screaming ("Screamin' Freeman"), he helped mold me into
the man that I am today. My parents, brother, and I are deeply saddened by his loss and he will be missed
by the community and the people he's coached over the years.
Charley Shin, class of '88
Ron Freeman was one of a kind and he will be missed by former/present athletes, students and families. We did
not know for years who the "Secret Santa" was driving up to our house at 4 am on Christmas morning for years, and
actually tried to catch him and missed every time. When Ron finally revealed that he was "Santa" we thought it
was his way of saying goodbye to the yearly middle of the night driving on Christmas morning. But no, not Ron,
because he never quit anything he started! We moved away from Cupertino over five years ago and how surprised
were we on the first Christmas in our new home that there was a big box on the front door step! That box arrived
like clockwork every year and usually on Christmas Eve. It was magic! He was so unbelievably generous in spirit
and heart that it was never what he left on our doorstep but the fact that he took the time to do something special
for so many people. We will miss Ron, his spirit and enthusiasm for teaching and nurturing all of the students who
have come before him. If there is Water Polo in heaven he is already getting his team together!
The Shepela Family
I'm very saddened to hear that my friend Ron Freeman is no longer with us. It was nice to live around the
corner from MV and go visit him when I would return home to visit my family. He was always joyful (even when
the lane lines were broken or the heater not working). I appreciate him coaching me and his friendship later.
It was partly because of him that I went on to coach professionally myself. Thank you Ron. May you now rest
in peace. You left a great legacy of care and honor and helped many young men through tough adolescent years.
I'll miss seeing you Ron. MV will not be the same without you. May this remind us all to take advantage of
opportunities to say and do the things that matter most in life to the people we care about. We just never
know when those special opportunities will be gone.
Brian Carlisle, class of '86
Dear Ron, I was taken aback when I read of your passing. It's been 22 years since we've seen each other, but
I have often found myself thinking of you. You and your teams were fantastic rivals to the teams I coached. I
will never forget your passion for the game, and for coaching and mentoring kids. It was always enjoyable watching
you interact with your team, and especially the refs. Perhaps we'll meet again, and most likey in front of the 2
meter line struggling for that great hole shot. God Bless You and Your Family, Ron.
Si Gutierrez, Fremont High School, Water Polo & Swim Coach, '84-'88
Among the outstanding teachers who comprised the faculty community at
Monta Vista High School in the last thirty years, Ron Freeman left a
memorable legacy. Ron had a genuine love for life and whatever it brought
his way. He was a true friend to many and an example of the power of
enthusiasm and the idea of giving all you have to improve the lives of
others. Ron was someone who was willing to spend the time required to
inspire students to go beyond limitations by reaching into that deeper
place of excellence we all have within us. It was an honor to know him
and we will miss him.
Ron Sackman, retired Monta Vista Art Teacher
When I went to high school I always loved practices, I loved the game of Water Polo and I often was happy when
practices were over and Ron would stop riding my butt. He never accepted second best. He yelled at us not for the
sake of yelling but because he knew we could do better. He was convinced to take us to the next level. Practices
were grueling and I often went home and just wanted to be left alone. I was exhausted. What I didn't realize was
that Ron was shaping who I am today. He taught us to work hard, have high expectations and never stop reaching for
the stars. Thank You Ron for always believing and for teaching those valuable lessons. You are missed. Rest in
Hartmut Ott, Water Polo & Swimming 1991-93, class of '93
I had the pleasure of being on Ron's 1st Water Polo team at Monta Vista. He took over the team from a legendary coach
and was determined maintain a high quality program. He poured his heart and soul into coaching back then and it's clear,
through all the tributes to his memory, that he did so throughout his career. He cared about each of his players and he gave
up much of his personal time to support the team both in and out of the pool. Ron will be missed and just as he had big shoes
to fill, his successor will have a lot to live up to! Thank you Ron!
Scott Baumgartner, class of '83
I'm so sad to read this. Like a lot of us, I took for granted that Ron and his inimitable fashion sense (sorry Ron,
I had to say it) would be with us for a much longer time. I wish I had a chance to tell him how much he meant to me,
how much fun I had being around him in high school, how I still laugh when I think about 'stealing' his car from the
'Jim Otto' Burger King lot on ski trips (probably the most fun I ever had with my learners permit) or when we found the
cache of lottery tickets in the glove box of his ole' Dart after he crashed it saving Jay's life up at Tahoe. I'll never
cease to be amazed at how he never stayed mad at us for too long no matter what we pulled. Back then, I would do anything
for Ron and somewhere in the back of my mind even then I realized that he did everything for us.
I wish I had taken the time to tell Ron that he was more than a 'coach' to me, that he was one of my best friends. I
don't know if I've ever met anyone who believed in me more than he did. Without his encouragement and dependability, I
don't know how I would have transformed from the awkward confused kid I was to the focused, confident, and successful
individual I became. I'm pretty sure that he knew that I felt this way about him, but still I wish he was here, so I
could listen to his stories and ask him for his advice one more time. Ron, I'm gonna miss you.