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Cuyama Valley basketball coach Michael Wilson dies at age 35

Cuyama Valley basketball coach Michael Wilson dies at age 35

Tragedy has once again struck the Wilson family. The Cuyama Valley community is also reeling in pain.

Michael Wilson, a teacher and coach at Cuyama Joint Unified School District, died Sunday, Jan. 31. 

Wilson coached both boys and girls basketball at Cuyama Valley High School. He also worked with nearly every grade at Cuyama's elementary and middle school.

Michael's father Donald Wilson was killed in a head-on accident on Highway 166 in September of 2006, driving back from a trip with students in Avila Beach. Donald Wilson was the principal at Cuyama Valley High School at the time. Both Donald and Michael Wilson graduated from Cuyama Valley High School.

Michael began teaching in Cuyama in 2010 and also spent time working at the Kaplan Group in Bakersfield. The family said Michael died while being medically transported to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The school district confirmed he had been previously diagnosed with COVID-19.

Alfonso Gamino, the superintendent at Cuyama Unified, said Michael Wilson taught social studies in the seventh grade and also worked with nearly all students in the district in his physical education courses. 

Wilson would commute daily from Bakersfield to Cuyama and would often travel to the Central Coast, either for games in Santa Maria against Valley Christian Academy or in Arroyo Grande against Coastal Christian. Wilson was born in Santa Maria and grew up in New Cuyama.

Gamino, who took his role in January of 2020, said Wilson had a certain ability to relate with students of any age.

"He could go to the high school and find a way to talk with those kids and then go to the elementary school and find another way to work with those kids," Gamino said. "Then he'd go to the youngest kids and find a different way to talk to those kids."

Wilson coached both boys and girls basketball teams at the high school level. Angela Wilson, Michael's mother and a kindergarten teacher at the school, has taught in Cuyama for about 30 years.

In a statement athletic director Charlie Bosma asked Gamino to read to the school staff, Bosma said of Wilson, "His dedication was undeniable. He was relentless and his enthusiasm was contagious. Michael carried on the Wilson family legacy, selflessly serving our community for more than a decade. No statement of gratitude would be adequate."

Gamino said that was the perfect word to describe Michael Wilson: selfless.

The loss is immense for a small community like Cuyama.

"There are many folks here in the school and the community who are affected by it," Gamino said. "It's hard to lose a well-known guy like this, someone who was selflessly serving others day in and day out. It affects everybody, that’s the one thing I immediately saw. When we heard the news and I shared it with the staff, there were a lot of tears and everybody was shocked. It shook all of us to the core."

Wilson is survived by his wife Krista and 2-year-old daughter Maybelle. 

The family has set up a GoFundMe and a scholarship in the Wilsons' name. The mailing address for those who would like to donate to the Donald and Michael Grant Wilson scholarship is 2300 Hwy 166, New Cuyama, CA 93254.

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