April 21, 2010
Sac-Joaquin Section announces inaugural Hall of Fame class

By Bill Paterson
bpaterson@sacbee.com

Some 25 athletes and 13 coaches are among the Sac-Joaquin Section's inaugural Hall of Fame class.

The inductees were decided through a lengthy process that included hours of research and three separate committee meetings. Athletes inducted had to be age 35 or older to be eligible, so that group was limited to the Class of 1992 or before, according to section director of communications Will DeBoard.

There will be an induction banquet at Arco Arena in October, with the date to be determined. Inductees who have not been contacted by the section office are urged to call DeBoard at (209) 334-5900, ext. 21.

Here's a list of the inductees, plus biographies compiled by DeBoard:

ATHLETES (25)
EVELYN ASHFORD, ROSEVILLE, Class of 1975 (track and field): Ashford was the 1975 Cal-Hi Sports female track and field athlete of the year, one of five athletes from the Section to ever earn this honor. She was the 1975 Cal-Hi Sports state medium schools female athlete of the year as well. After high school, she won four NCAA track and field championships and won five medals - four of them gold - in three different Olympics. She once held the world record in the 100-meter dash and is a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.

DUSTY BAKER, DEL CAMPO, 1967 (baseball, football, basketball, track and field): Baker is considered by many to be one of the best three-sport athletes to ever come out of the Sacramento-area. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves out of high school in 1967. He played 16 seasons in the Major Leagues for several teams, most notably the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a two-time all-Star selection, a two-time Gold Glove winner and a two-time Silver Slugger award winner. He played in three World Series with the Dodgers, winning in 1981. He was the 1977 National League Championship Series MVP.

DICK BASS, VALLEJO, 1955 (football): Bass is one of the best high school football players in Northern California history. He was the 1955 Cal-Hi Sports state athlete of the year, one of only six male athletes from the Section to win this honor. He was the 1954 Cal-Hi state football player of the year and the 1953 state junior player of the year. He averaged 205 rushing yards a game for his two-year career. He set the state scoring mark (256 points in 1954), a record he held until 1977. He was a two-time NCAA all-American at the College of the Pacific and remains one of only two players in NCAA history to win the Triple Crown (scoring title, rushing crown and total yardage crown). He played 10 seasons in the NFL, earning Pro Bowl honors three times.

VIC BOTTARI, VALLEJO, 1934 (football): Bottari was the 1933 Cal-Hi Sports state football player of the year, one of only five Section athletes to win this honor. He went on to become one of the most decorated football players in Cal history. He was a two-time all-Pacific Coast Conference selection and a 1938 NCAA first-team all-American. He played a major role in Cal's 1937 national championship team and was the MVP of the 1938 Rose Bowl. He was named to the first-team Pac-10 all-Century team. He's a member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, Cal Hall of Fame (charter member) and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. He was drafted by football's Brooklyn Dodgers, but chose to get his teaching credential instead.

TEDY BRUSCHI, ROSEVILLE, 1991 (football, track and field): Bruschi stood out in both football and track and field at Roseville. He was a two-way football star for the Tigers, who advanced to the "City Championship" against Nevada Union in 1990. He was called the Sacramento-area's top high school football player in history by the Sacramento Bee. He also won three Section track and field individual titles: twice in discus (1990-91) and once in the shot put (1991). He was a two-time NCAA all-American (1994-95) at Arizona. He played 13 seasons as a linebacker in the NFL with the Patriots (1996-2008) and was selected to the Pro Bowl once. He was the 2005 NFL Comeback Player of the Year and was a part of three Super Bowl champion teams (2001, 2003-04). He's currently an ESPN analyst.

BILL BUCKNER, NAPA, 1967 (baseball, football): Buckner was both a football and baseball star for the Indians. On the football field, he was a two-time all-state wide receiver, receiving many scholarship offers. But it was on the baseball field where he really shined. Buckner was the 1967 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball (one of only six SJS athletes to earn this honor). He played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, mainly with the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox. He was the 1980 National League batting champion. For his career, Buckner batted .289 with 174 home runs and 1,208 RBIs.

MIKE BURTON, EL CAMINO, 1965 (swimming): Burton was a two-time Section swimming champion, winning it all in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly in 1965. He was a four-time NCAA champion in the distance freestyle events while at UCLA. He won three Olympic gold medals. He won gold in the 400 and 1,500 freestyle in 1968, setting Olympics records in the process; he also won gold in the 1,500 freestyle in 1972, setting a world record.

BILL CARTWRIGHT, ELK GROVE, 1975 (basketball): Cartwright is considered by many to be the top high school boys basketball player in Section history. He was the 1975 Cal-Hi Sports state Athlete of the Year and two-time Cal-Hi state basketball player of the year (1974-75). He's one of only nine two-time state basketball players of the year. He was a part of two Section championship teams and led the Thundering Herd to the 1975 NorCal Tournament of Champions title. He was a two-time NCAA all-American for the University of San Francisco, where he's still the school's career scoring leader. He played 16 seasons in the NBA with the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics. He won three NBA Championship rings with the Bulls (1991-93) as a player and two more as an assistant coach.

DENISE CURRY, DAVIS SR., 1977 (basketball): Curry was a two-time Cal-Hi Sports state female basketball player of the year (1976-77). For both of those years, she was the state scoring average leader. She led the state in points scored in 1977. Curry went to UCLA where her star continued to shine. She scored in double figures in every game she played for the Bruins. She's the all-time leading basketball scorer, male or female, in UCLA history. She was the 1981 USA Basketball female athlete of the year and she won a Gold Medal in the 1984 Olympics for women's basketball. She's a member of the National High School, UCLA, Basketball, Women's Basketball and AAU Halls of Fame.

STEVE DeVRIES, ARMIJO, 1983 (tennis): DeVries won four Sac-Joaquin Section individual tennis titles in his career, a record that can only be tied. He won the doubles title with his brother in 1980, then he won singles titles the next three years. He only suffered one defeat in his four high school years. His teams won two Section team titles as well, in 1982 and '83. He was a three-time NCAA all-American at the University of California, and was the No. 1 singles player all four of his collegiate years. He was the 1986 NCAA champion. He won five professional tennis tournaments, all as part of a doubles team. At one point, he was ranked No. 18 in the world in doubles.

DON DOLL, GRANT, 1944 (football): Doll was known as Don Burnside in high school. He was the 1943 Cal-Hi Sports state football player of the year, one of only five Section athletes to win this honor. He went to the University of Southern California where he led the team in rushing for three seasons and was a two-time all-Pac-10 player. He played six seasons at defensive back in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Rams, where he was selected to four Pro Bowls and was the MVP of the 1953 Pro Bowl. He was a three-time all-NFL selection and had 41 career interceptions, including a league record four in one game.

JIM EAKINS, ENCINA, 1964 (basketball): Eakins was the 1964 Cal-Hi Sports Division I state basketball player of the year. At the time, Encina was a much larger school. In his two years playing for Encina, his teams recorded a 46-2 record. He went to Brigham Young University, where he played a prominent role in the Cougars' 1966 NIT Championship team. That team was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame. He played eight seasons in the ABA and NBA (1968-76) with several teams. He won ABA titles with the Oakland Oaks (1969) and New Jersey Nets (1976). He made the ABA all-star team once.

NICK EDDY, TRACY, 1962 (football): Eddy was an outstanding football player for the Bulldogs. He was named the 1961 Cal-Hi Sports medium schools football player of the year and, later that same season, was named the 1962 Cal-Hi Sports state medium schools athlete of the year. He went on to become an all-American running back for Notre Dame. His all-American year, 1966, the Fighting Irish won the national championship. That year, he finished third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. He played four seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions (1968-72) as a running back and kick returner; he was hampered by injuries.

BOB GARIBALDI, STAGG, 1960 (basketball, baseball): In high school, Garibaldi was a star for both the basketball and baseball teams. In 1960, he led the state in scoring average with 25.3 points a game. He went to Santa Clara University and was a pitcher for the best baseball team in school history. He no-hit defending NCAA champion USC to get into the College World Series and was named the 1962 CWS Most Outstanding Player even though Santa Clara lost to Michigan in the championship game. He set CWS records for strikeouts (38) and innings pitched (27.2). He played four seasons in the Major Leagues with the San Francisco Giants.

KEVIN JOHNSON, SACRAMENTO, 1983 (basketball, baseball): Johnson was a standout basketball and baseball player in high school. As a freshman, he started for the 1980 Section champion baseball team. But it was basketball where he really stood out. He led the state in scoring average (32.5 points) in 1983, earning Cal-Hi Sports third-team all-state honors. In 1982 his basketball team was the Section runner-up. He went to the University of California, where he was a two-time all-Pac-10 selection. He finished his collegiate career as Cal's career leader in scoring, steals and assists. He played 13 seasons in the NBA, mainly with the Phoenix Suns (1987-2000). He was a four-time second-team all-NBA selection and made three all-Star games.

EDDIE LeBARON, OAKDALE, 1946 (football, basketball): LeBaron, a football standout, was the 1946 Cal-Hi Sports state medium schools athlete of the year. He was also a two-time Cal-Hi state medium schools football player of the year. He's considered in a Cal-Hi feature to be one of the top 30 high school quarterbacks to ever come out of California. At the College of the Pacific, LeBaron was a three-time Little all-American and was awarded the Pop Warner Trophy (for being the best college player on the Pacific Coast). He played both ways for the 1949 COP team, which finished 11-0 and is considered one of the best football teams in Pacific history. He played 11 seasons in the NFL with the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. He was the first starting quarterback in Cowboys franchise history and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection. At 5-foot-7, he remains the shortest QB ever selected to the Pro Bowl. He's a member of the College Football and Bay Area Halls of Fame.

DAVID LEE, BELLA VISTA, 1984 (wrestling): Lee is the first of a long line of wrestling stars to come out of the Sac-Joaquin Section. He was California's first wrestler to win three state championships (1982-84). He finished his high school career with a 170-9 record. At one point, he won 121 consecutive matches; he capped that with a senior year that saw Lee go 50-5 with 46 pins. He was named to several high school all-American teams. He was a two-time Pac-10 champion at Stanford, then he was a two-time Big 10 champion at Wisconsin. He won an NCAA championship in 1989. He's a member of the California Wrestling Hall of Fame.

JERRY MANUEL, CORDOVA, 1972 (football, basketball, baseball): Manuel was a true three-sport star for the Lancers. As a football player, he was a two-time all-City selection and two-time high school all-American. In a subjective list, the Sacramento Bee called Manuel the 18th best football player in Sacramento area history. He was an all-City basketball selection as well. And in baseball, his premier sport, Manuel was the 1972 Sacramento Bee player of the year and considered the fourth-best player in its area history. He played five Major League Baseball seasons with the Detroit Tigers and Montreal Expos. He later became the manager for the Chicago White Sox and, currently, the New York Mets.

MARK MARQUESS, STAGG, 1964 (football, basketball, baseball): Marquess was a standout football and baseball player for the Delta Kings. He was the quarterback for one of the only undefeated football teams in Stagg history. He was the 1962 Cal-Hi Sports sophomore state football player of the year. He went on to Stanford University, where he became one of the top two-sport athletes in school history. He was a football player (QB, WR, DB, returner) and a baseball player. In baseball, he was a first-team all-American in 1967 and second-team all-American in 1968. Marquess was named the Stanford baseball coach in 1977 and has compiled a 1326-669-7 record in his 32 seasons at the helm. His teams won two College World Series and 12 Pac-10 titles. He also coached the 1988 U.S. Olympics baseball team, winning a gold medal.

DEBBIE MEYER, RIO AMERICANO, 1969 (swimming): Meyer is one of only two Section athletes to win the Cal-Hi Sports state female athlete of the year, and she did it three times (1967-69). She was 16 years old and a student at Rio Americano when she won three gold medals at the 1968 Olympic Games. She won gold in the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle races. In those Olympics trials, she set world records in all three events. For her career, Meyer set 20 world records and 24 national records. She was named the 1968 Sullivan Award winner (the award for the top U.S. amateur athlete). She was named the 1969 Associated Press female athlete of the year. She's a member of the U.S. Olympics, International Swimming, International Women's Sports and National High School Halls of Fame.

SUMMER SANDERS, OAKMONT, 1990 (swimming): Sanders is another in a long line of outstanding swimmers to come out of the Sac-Joaquin Section. She won eight Section individual swimming championships, a record that only one other person has equaled. She won in different disciplines as well: 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke (1987), 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle (1988), 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke (1989) and 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke (1990). She was the 1990 Cal-Hi Sports state female swimmer of the year. She went to Stanford University, where she won six NCAA individual titles and four relay crowns. She won NCAA swimmer of the year honors twice (1991-92) and led Stanford to the 1992 NCAA team title. She won four medals - two gold, a silver and a bronze - at the 1992 Olympics. Sanders is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

KAREN SMITH, RIO AMERICANO, 1980 (basketball, volleyball, softball): Smith was a four-year volleyball, basketball and softball standout for the Raiders. She was named the Cal-Hi Sports Division I female basketball player of the year two times (1978-79) and she won high school all-American honors both years. Her basketball teams won four Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships. She was also part of the 1980 Section runner-up softball team. She earned all-league honors three times for softball and twice for volleyball as well. On the basketball court, Smith scored 2,335 career points. She's considered the Sacramento-area's greatest all-around female athlete. Smith went to Cal, where she was a two-time NCAA all-American and remains the school's career assists leader. She's a member of the National High School Hall of Fame.

GEORGE STANICH, SACRAMENTO, 1946 (basketball, track and field, baseball): Stanich was named the 1946 Cal-Hi Sports state athlete of the year. He played multiple sports in high school, and continued that trend into college and beyond. He played basketball for UCLA, on John Wooden's first team. He was Wooden's first NCAA all-American and he also pitched for the Bruins baseball team. He won a bronze medal in the high jump in the 1948 Olympics (as a college sophomore). He later became a professional baseball player for the Oakland Oaks.

TISHA VENTURINI, GRACE DAVIS, 1991 (soccer): While Venturini was a standout in volleyball, soccer and softball, she was a star on the soccer field. In her four years with the Spartans, they didn't lose a game. She was also The Modesto Bee high school softball player of the year. Venturini went to North Carolina, where she played a major role with four NCAA championship teams. In 1994 she was named the NCAA women's soccer player of the year. She won a gold medal with the 1996 Olympics team and a World Cup title in 1999 with the national team. Venturini is considered one of California's top female high school soccer players.

KEVIN WILLHITE, CORDOVA, 1982 (football, track and field): Willhite is one of the top high school athletes to ever come out of the Sac-Joaquin Section. He won the 1981 Dial Award (awarded to the nation's top boys high school athlete) and the Sam Nicola Award (the nation's high school player of the year by the Ohio Touchdown Club). He was the 1981 Cal-Hi Sports state boys athlete of the year. He was a two-time Cal-Hi all-state running back and a Parade all-American. He was a two-time Section track and field champion, in the 100 and 200 (1981). He won the 1981 state title in the 200-meter dash in 20.81 seconds, a time that remains the Section record. He didn't run during the postseason of his senior year due to injury. He went to the University of Oregon and played one season in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers.

OFFICIALS (4)
DAVID AVILA: Avila was a Section football official from 1967-1998. He was chosen to officiate in four Section Division I championships in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He's a past board member of the NCOA and is currently the head evaluator for the NCOA South. Two of his sons and one grandson are on a current Section officiating crew in the southern half of the Section.

JESUS GARCIA: Garcia is a long-time football and basketball official who worked out of the Sacramento area over the last five decades. He worked his share of Section championship events over the years.

NICK PIACENTINI: Piacentini was a football official in the Sacramento area for 48 years (1952-99). For many years, he was the official rule interpreter for the NCOA Sacramento group. He was the executive secretary for NCOA Sacramento for several years as well. Even after he retired in 1999, Piacentini spent more years as an observer of the officials.

JERRY STREETER: Streeter officiated both football and basketball throughout the Section for 33 years (1954-1987). After stepping down as an official, he became the NCOA South commissioner from 1989-91. He spent four terms as the president of the NCOA South.

MEDIA (1)
NELSON AND MARK TENNIS: Nelson founded Cal-Hi Sports in 1975 and his nephew, Mark, has continued his legacy in becoming the premier voice for high school sports within the Sac-Joaquin Section and throughout California for the last 35 years. It is due to Nelson and Mark that athletes and teams from the Sac-Joaquin Section have been able to see how they match up with teams across the state. Nelson Tennis is also the founder of the California high school sports record book, currently in its Seventh edition. Cal-Hi Sports is based in Stockton, and Nelson (Nevada Union) and Mark (La Sierra) are both graduates of Section schools.

COACHES (13)
SANDI ABRAHAMSON, EDISON (badminton, volleyball): Abrahamson was a pioneer for female sports within the Sac-Joaquin Section. She helped begin organized female sports soon after Title IX passed, and a handful of schools competed in what was then called the Stockton InnerCity League. She coached badminton from 1975-2004 (29 years), winning 12 Section titles. She coached volleyball from 1975-1994 (19 years), winning six league titles and her 1975 team was the South Sub-Section runner-up. Stockton Unified School District named its top female coach award after Abrahamson.

MIKE ALBERGHINI, GRANT (football, baseball): While he's recently well known for the success of his football teams, Alberghini will go down as one of the top two-sport coaches in Sac-Joaquin Section history. His football teams went 201-33-3 from 1991-2009, winning 12 league titles, six Section titles and they won the CIF State Open Division title in 2008. His football teams have made the playoffs a record 18 consecutive seasons. He was named the 2008 Cal-Hi Sports state football coach of the year. He also coached baseball, where his teams went 427-181; they won 27 straight games in 1989. Alberghini's baseball teams won 13 league titles and one Section championship.

GUY ANDERSON, CORDOVA (baseball): Anderson started at Cordova in 1965 and continues to be the school's head baseball coach. His teams have compiled an 822-319-20 record in those 44 years. He was the 1981 Cal-Hi Sports state baseball coach of the year. Anderson is the second winningest high school baseball coach in California history. His teams have won four Section championships (1981, 1983-84 and 1987). He's a member of the National High School Hall of Fame.

BRENT BOHLENDER; BEYER, GRACE DAVIS, JOHANSEN (water polo, swimming): Bohlender, a girls water polo pioneer, is not only the winningest aquatics coach in state history, he has more wins than any coach in any sport in state history. His girls water polo teams compiled a 697-161-2 record in 29 seasons, winning four Section championships. From 1997-2000 his girls teams won 128 consecutive games, believed to be one of the nation's longest winning streaks in any sport. Bohlender also coached boys and girls swimming from 1977-2009 (current), with his teams compiling a 354-116-1 swimming dual meet record. All told, Bohlender has seen his teams go a collective 1655-618-3.

JIM BOYD, VANDEN (basketball): Boyd is the winningest boys basketball coach in Sac-Joaquin Section history. His teams went 614-257 in a 32-year period that stretched from 1965-97. His Vikings teams won seven Section championships in three different divisions (1973 D2 title, D3 titles in 1979, 1982, 1986 and D4 titles in 1991, 1994 and 1995). Vanden, led by Boyd, won the Division III state championship in 1986, beating Crossroads of Santa Monica. The Vikings were the Division IV state runner-up in 1990. His teams were also Section runners-up six times.

VINCE CLEMONS, MERCED (basketball): Clemons coached at Merced for a 21-year period from 1982-2003, where his teams went 445-207. He led Merced to the Section playoffs in 19 of 21 seasons. His teams won 13 Central California Conference titles and four Section championships. Clemons' Bears won three Section championships in a row, from 1986-1988. They also won a Section title in 1997. Clemons started his career with 78 consecutive league victories. The Merced gym is named after Clemons.

JAN EDWARDS; SUMMERVILLE, BRET HARTE (basketball, track and field, tennis): Edwards is one of the founders of girls track and field as a sport. She began teaching at Summerville in 1965 and stayed there until 1978. She then moved to Bret Harte where she stayed until her retirement in 2000. At Summerville, Edwards was the track and field, gymnastics, tennis and cheerleading coach. Her girls track team was the runner-up in the first Section girls championship (behind Cordova, there were no divisional splits back then). And her 1978 girls track team won the Section title. At Bret Harte, she became the girls basketball coach where she led her teams to more than 300 wins. The Bullfrogs won the Division III Section championship in 1981. She also coached four Section runner-up teams. Under Edwards, the Bullfrogs made the playoffs for 12 consecutive seasons.

JON GUSTORF, ST. MARY'S (basketball): Gustorf coached at St. Mary's from 1979-2002, where he saw his teams compile a 480-226 record. Gustorf's Rams won four Section Division I championships (1979, 1981, 1982 and 1989). His teams, which never made it to a state championship game, were also Section runners-up three times. He was the first chairman of the Section basketball power rating committee.

WALT LANGE, JESUIT (cross country, track and field): There's little on the footpath that Lange hasn't seen his cross country teams accomplish. Lange, currently the Jesuit cross country coach, has seen his teams win 29 Sac-Joaquin Section titles from 1974-2009. Nearly all of those Section titles - 25 of them - were won by his boys cross country teams. His boys track teams won four Section crowns. His cross country teams have also won a Section-record nine CIF state titles.

PETE LENZ, STOCKTON (basketball, swimming): Lenz, who coached at Stockton High from 1920-46, did a little bit of everything for the Tarzans. He coached boys basketball, swimming, crew, football, track and field, baseball and golf. In boys basketball, he coached four teams that won state titles (1922, 1923, 1925 and 1928). His boys basketball teams won 24 league titles in 26 years. From 1922-23, his boys basketball teams won 43 consecutive games. Lenz was named the Cal-Hi Sports boys basketball state coach of the year in 1928 and 1946. His swimming teams won two state championships as well; they also took 15 league titles.

LARRY NELSON, VACAVILLE (wrestling): Nelson is one of the founders of the Vacaville wrestling program. He coached the Bulldogs from 1961-94, where he saw his teams go 553-71 in their dual meets. Nelson's teams won 26 league titles, 15 sub-section titles, six Section titles, five Section team dual titles and he coached two state individual champions. He's a member of the California Wrestling Hall of Fame.

WAYNE SCHNEIDER, TRACY (football): Schneider coached football for the Bulldogs for 24 years (1965-72, 1977-94), where his teams went 224-59-5. His career winning percentage is one of the highest in the Section. He was named the 1982 Cal-Hi Sports state football coach of the year. Schneider saw his teams win two Section Division I championships, in 1982 and 1987. He is now heavily involved with the Lions All-Star Game.

CHARLES WASHINGTON, EDISON (football): Hired in 1965, Washington became the first African-American high school head football coach in Northern California and second in California history. He coached for 18 years (1965-83) where his teams went 133-54-6. The Vikings won six league championships under Washington's watch. He's a member of the National High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame. The new Edison football complex, now under construction, is to be named after Washington.

ADMINISTRATORS AND BENEFACTORS (12)
CHARLEY BERGER: Berger was the principal at San Juan (1978-84) and Mira Loma High Schools (1985-93). He moved into the San Juan Unified District Office in 1993. He served as the league president for three different leagues within the Section during his time as principal at San Juan and Mira Loma. Berger served on the Section Board of Managers for 11 years, was the CIF SJS President from 1998-2000 and was the CIF State President from 2000-2002. He continues to do some volunteer work for CIF.

ELEANOR BROWN: Brown was the principal at Del Campo from 1975-1984 and worked in the district office as a director of high school education and assistant superintendent after that. She served on the Section Executive Committee and Board of Managers from 1985-2000. Brown also served on the CIF State Federated Council for that same time period; she served longer on the State Federated Council than any other individual from the Sac-Joaquin Section. She was instrumental in promoting female athletics with the section during her tenure on the Board.

CLARKE COOVER: Coover was the Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner from 1968-93, a period of explosive growth within the Section. It was through Coover's efforts that the Section began holding playoffs in all of its sports. He served on the CIF State Executive Committee and was the chairman of the CIF State commissioners committee. His career started as a coach and teacher at Livingston. Later, the Section office was based in his office in Modesto before it moved to Lodi in 1993.

JUG COVICH: Covich worked in the Placer School District from 1950-94. He was the athletic director at Placer from 1963-68 and was the school's principal from 1971-88. He started as the Sierra Foothill League commissioner - a job he still holds - in 1997. He was the Section President from 1982-86 and was the Section vice president the four previous years. He has served on and chaired many Section committees during his time working with the CIF.

LEN FRIZZI: Frizzi was a teacher and coach at San Juan Unified for 38 years, where he spent the majority of his career at Mira Loma. "Frizz" has been the public address announcer for the Section Division I baseball championships from 1976 to the present; he's also served as the official scorekeeper. He began producing and distributing official programs for the Section football, basketball and baseball playoffs in 1976 and is still active in this endeavor. He's served on the Section basketball power rating committee since its inception in 1993.

DEAN JANSSEN: Janssen was the boys basketball coach at Franklin-S for over 20 years and he was the athletic director at Franklin for eight years. He conceived and developed the Section's basketball power ratings, a system that has been in place now for 22 years. He has served on the basketball power rating committee since its inception and continues to do so. It is Janssen who tabulates the power ratings every week, and it is Janssen's work that has helped shape the Section basketball playoffs to what they are today.

BOB KING: King coached cross country and track and field at Mira Loma (1967-82) and Del Campo (1982-present) for a combined 43 years. His dual-meet record in cross country is 564-50 and in track and field it's 129-28-1. Between the two schools his cross country teams won 28 league titles and his track and field teams won 19 league crowns. He's been the Section cross country chairman from 1980-2010 and he has been the tournament director for the Section cross country meet from 1984-2010. He was the Section track and field championship co-director from 1988-2000. King also served on the committee that established and developed the CIF State cross country championships.

DALE LACKY: Lacky was the Section President from 1966-78, the longest tenure of any president. He was also the CIF State President from 1978-80. He was hired as the vice principal at Woodland in 1955 and served as the school's principal from 1962-80. As the CIF State President, he helped implement the first CIF State basketball championships. He played an integral role on the management team that put the state basketball deal together. He's considered one of the top early visionary leaders of the CIF. He served on the CIF State executive committee and spent 15 years as a member of the CIF State Federated Council. The Section's annual scholarships are named after Lacky.

PHIL MILLER: Miller was the tournament director for the championships of three different Section sports. He was the principal at Dixon from 1975-80 and also served as the president of the Superior California Athletic League. He served as the commissioner of the SCAL from 1987-89. Miller was the football championship playoff site director for Divisions I, II and III from 1992-2009. He was the Section basketball championship director at Arco Arena from 1993-2009. And he was the Section Division I baseball championship director from 1991-2001.

DICK NELSON: Nelson spent the majority of his career (36 years) within the Grant Unified School District. He was the athletic director and vice principal at Highlands from 1973-78 and was the principal at Foothill (1978-86) and Rio Linda (1986-93). He was the president of both the Delta League and Capital Valley Conference during his tenure as a principal. He was on the Section Board of Managers for 14 years, serving as the chairperson of the realignment committee and the constitution committee. He was the Section President from 1989-93 and the CIF State President from 1992-94. He has continued to volunteer his time for CIF in many capacities and serves as the State CIF consultant/coordinator of Foreign Exchange Programs.

STEVE O'MEARA: O'Meara was a coach, teacher, counselor, athletic director and vice principal at El Dorado from 1951-74. He coached football, basketball, baseball and track and field. From 1983-2005, O'Meara was the commissioner of the Golden Empire League, where his superior organizational skills were utilized to their fullest. He held just about every job at the El Dorado Union High School District and was the face of the GEL for many years.

TOM ZUNINO: Zunino did a little bit of everything within the Sac-Joaquin Section. He quarterbacked the 1954 Vallejo football team to an undefeated record (Dick Bass was on that team as well). He coached football, baseball, golf and wrestling at Vacaville, while also serving as athletic director. He was the athletic director at Vacaville for 37 years, where he helped push for equal representation of both boys and girls sports. Zunino was the chairperson of the original Section football playoff committee. He's a member of the Vallejo Hall of Fame.

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About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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