Athletics: LBCC Hall of Champions to welcome Class of 2012 on March 23
(LONG BEACH, CA) – The outstanding tradition of Long Beach City College (LBCC) intercollegiate athletics will be recognized with the induction of its 11th class of members into the college’s Hall of Champions on Friday, March 23, in the Hall of Champions Gymnasium (Bld. R) of the Liberal Arts Campus (LAC), 4901 E. Carson St.
The induction dinner begins at 6:45 p.m., preceded by a 6:00 p.m. reception. Tickets are $55 per person, with proceeds going toward men’s and women’s athletics and enhancement of the 2,400-square foot Hall of Champions, located in the gymnasium foyer. The facility showcases important memorabilia and the numerous accomplishments of Viking student-athletes and teams.
Ticket reservations are due by Thursday, March 22. For further information on the Hall of Champions, contact the LBCC Athletic Department at (562) 938-4237.
Eight individuals will be honored at the dinner, while six emeritus selections will also be recognized. These 14 individuals will join a list of 141 previous inductees.
The 2012 Hall of Champions honorees are:
- Kevin Beal (Basketball, 1993 & 1994): Beal was a two-year starter for the Vikings, earning first-team All-South Coast Conference honors his freshman and sophomore seasons. As a sophomore in 1994, he helped lead LBCC to a South Coast Conference title as well as a state championship. Beal left Long Beach as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,480 career points and ranks second on the all-time single season points list with 807. Beal transferred to the University of Texas-El Paso to finish his collegiate career before playing professionally in the Southwestern Basketball Association, International Basketball Association, and the Continental Basketball Association.
- Rod Gaspar (Baseball, 1965): Gaspar was impressive in his lone season at LBCC in 1965. Gaspar earned first-team All-Metropolitan Conference honors as he lead Long Beach with a .367 batting average. He went on to play two seasons at Long Beach State and was an all-conference selection in 1966 and 1967. Gaspar was then drafted in the second round of the 1967 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Mets. Two year later, Gaspar was the opening day right fielder for the 1969 “Miracle Mets” that won the World Series. That season, he led the National League with six defensive double plays and posted 12 assists. Gaspar played four season in the majors, including two with the Mets (1969-70) and two seasons with the San Diego Padres (1971, 1974).
- Sarah “Cheech” Gibson (2000 & 2001): From the sweeper position, Gibson anchored a LBCC defense that posted 33 shutouts and compiled a 50-2 overall record. She was twice named the State Tournament MVP and South Coast Conference Player of the Year as she helped lead Long Beach to back-to-back state and conference championships. As a freshman, she was named National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) first-team All-West Region and was a NSCAA first-team All-American selection as a sophomore. Gibson went on to play at Cal State Dominguez Hills and earned NCAA Division II All-American honors in 2003.
- Brad Harris (Track & Field, 1980 & 1981): Harris is recognized as one of the finest all-around athletes to ever complete at LBCC. He had an outstanding freshman season when he was the State and Southern California champion in the decathlon. As a sophomore, he won the SoCal championship in the decathlon but was edged out at the state finals. While at LBCC, he helped lead his squads to two conference, Southern California, and State titles. Harris took his talents to Washington State University where he was a member of two dual meet national championship teams. In 1982, he finished second at the Pac-10 Championships in the decathlon. Harris returned to Long Beach and served as an assistant coach at LBCC from 1985-89. He went on to serve as head coach at Porterville College, Highland High School, and Ridgeview High School in the Central Valley. His teams compiled a 29-1 record in dual meets and won two CIF and four state championships.
- Rick “Truck” Miller (Football, 1973 & 1974): Miller was a force in the trenches for the Vikings as an offensive lineman during his two seasons. As a freshman, he earned second-team All-Metropolitan Conference honors and was a first-team all-conference and honorable mention All-American selection his sophomore year. Miller went on to play at USC where he was a member of the 1975 Liberty Bowl squad and the 1977 Rose Bowl team. Following his playing career, he served as an assistant coach at Lakewood High School (1977-78).
- Christine Phillips (Volleyball, 1994 & 1995): Over two seasons, Phillips racked up the postseason honors while leading LBCC to its greatest finish ever at the state championships. As a freshman in 1994, she was named first-team All-South Coast Conference and All-Southern California. But Phillips truly stood out in 1995. As team MVP and captain, she helped lead the Vikings to a state championships runner up finish. That season, she was named SCC Player of the Year, All-Southern California, All-State, and also became LBCC’s first-ever All-American. Following LBCC, she played two seasons at the University of Texas-Pan American. While at UTPA, she left her name in the record book, ranking first in aces in a game (10), second in season aces (60), and third in career aces. Phillips returned to LBCC and served as head coach of the Vikings for three seasons (2003-05), leading Long Beach to the playoffs twice.
- Dennis Putman (Water Polo/Swimming & Diving, 1965-67): Former head coach Monte Nitzkowski called Putman, “the greatest pure swimmer he ever coached.” In water polo, Putman was a first-team All-Metropolitan Conference selection both years and was also named all-state in 1965. As a sophomore, he was the LBCC team MVP and a first-team All-American selection. On the swim team, he would set LBCC all-time records in the 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1650-yard freestyle events. He would also set the Southern California record in 100 and 200 freestyle (1966), and national records in the 100 freestyle (1966) and 50 freestyle (1967). Also as a sophomore, he was named Southern California MVP and All-American. Following LBCC, he went on to compete at Long Beach State in both water polo and swimming (1967-69). In 1968, he earned first-team all-conference honors in water polo and helped lead his squad to a runner-up finish at the national championships. His 1968 swim team won the NCAA College Division National Championship as he finished his collegiate career as an All-American in the 100, 200 and 500 free.
- Dan Ripley (Track & Field/Cross Country Coach, 1987-2002): Ripley was an accomplished athlete way before he took over the women’s track and field and cross country programs at LBCC. In the pole vault, Ripley was a community college state champion, NCAA record holder, national indoor and outdoor record holder, and 1980 USA Olympic Team member before arriving at LBCC in 1987. While coaching at LBCC, Ripley led the women’s track and field teams to three state championships (1995, 1996, 1999), two state runner-up finishes, two Southern California Championships, five SoCal runner-up finishes, and five South Coast Conference titles. During the 1990’s, his teams finished among the state’s top four every season. He was twice named the State Track and Field Coach of the Year (1995, 1996) and was recently inducted into the California Community College Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
The following previously inducted emeritus selections will also be acknowledged at the event:
- Sam Cathcart (Football, 1942): Cathcart played running back for the 1942 LBCC Vikings before being drafted into the United State Army where he battled in World War II and earned a Purple Heart and Silver Star. Following wartime, Cathcart returned to school at UC Santa Barbara where he was a member of the football, track, and boxing teams (1946-48). He was named all-conference in football and boxing while at UCSB. Cathcart then took his talents to the NFL where he played running back, defensive back, and returned kicks for the San Francisco 49ers (1949-50, 1952). Following his professional football career, he was the head football coach at Santa Barbara High School for 30 years (1954-84). He has also served as a NFL officiating observer as well as a college scout. He is a member of the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame (1979) and Long Beach Poly High School Football Hall of Fame (2009).
- Tom DeLong (Swimming & Diving/Football, 1957-59): DeLong was an all-conference diver on two state championship swimming & diving teams (1958-59). In 1958, he earned All-American honors and was the state championship runner up. DeLong was also a two-year member of the LBCC football team (1957-58) and was a part of the 1958 Alfalfa Bowl championship squad. Following LBCC, he took his two-sport talents to the University of Denver (1959-61) and twice earned All-Skyline Conference honors as a diver (1960-61). DeLong returned to California to become the head coach of the swimming (1966-92) and water polo (1967-75) teams at Foothill High School in Santa Ana. He was named California High School Coach of the Year in 1975, Orange County Coach of the Year in 1976, and was inducted into the CIF Hall of Fame in 2005. He is also a member of the Long Beach Lifeguard’s Hall of Fame (2010).
- Ed Knox (Water Polo, 1932): Knox was a member of both the LBCC water polo and football teams, but went on to really make a name for himself in the pool. Following his freshman season at LBCC, he transferred to UCLA and was a three-time all-conference selection in water polo. After his collegiate career, he was a member of two USA Olympic Water Polo teams (1936, 1948). Three times he helped lead the Los Angeles Athletic Club to AAU National Championships (1941, 1947, and 1948). Knox was selected to the All Europe Olympic Games team in 1948 and was inducted in the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 1983.
- Harry Nelson (Track & Field, 1954-55): Nelson is regarded as one of the finest collegiate sprinters in LBCC history. In 1954, he set LBCC and conference records in the 100 and 220-yard dashes on his way to earning All-Metropolitan Conference honors. He was also a member of the school-record setting 440 and 880-yard relay teams. In 1954, Nelson was named the nation’s best 220 yard junior college and university-level sprinter. Nelson went on to become a member of the 1956 Canadian Olympic team and also competed for Canada at the 1955 Pan-American Games. His all-time best record times include 9.4 in the 100, 20.5 in the 220, and 15.02 in the 110-yard hurdles.
- Bill Sprague (Football/Track & Field, 1959-61): Sprague was a two-sport standout at LBCC. In football (1959-60), he was a member of the 1960 Junior Rose Bowl National Championship squad. That season, he was named second-team all-conference as well as All-American honorable mention. In track (1960-61), Sprague was the Metropolitan Conference runner up in the 120-yard high hurdles. In 1961, he was a member of the school-record setting shuttle hurdle relay team. Also in 1961, he received the LBCC Silver Key and Viking Award. Sprague took talents to the University of California, Berkeley to compete in both football and track and was Cal’s top hurdler during his final two collegiate seasons (1962-63). Sprague continued to remain involved in track after his running career as an official, and was named Southern California’s Track Official of the Year in 1997.
- Kent Taylor (Water Polo, 1959-60): Taylor was an All-Metropolitan Conference water polo player for LBCC in 1959 and 1960. He was also a member of two state championship swimming teams (1960-61). Following LBCC, he transferred to USC and helped lead the Trojans to a pair of conference championships in 1961 and 1962. As a senior, Taylor was second on USC in scoring with 25 goals. He went on to represent the United States as a member of the national team at the 1963 Pan-American Games in Brazil.
Past Hall of Champions inductees include: (2002) Ron Allice, Susie Atwood, Valerie Brisco, Betty Crilley, Bob Cvrtlik, Greg Harris, Joe Hicks, Earl McCullouch, John Rambo, Kate Schmidt, George Timberlake and Del Walker; (2003) Buck Andreasen, Dee Andrews, Ron Crawford, John Fleitz, Bill Fraser, George Marmion, Jerry Mitchell, Monte Nitzkowski, Maureen (Mo) O’Toole, Jeff Smith, Jim Stangeland and Greg Townsend; (2004) Ricardo Azevedo, Toni Bell-Skeen, Dennis Dummit, Damion Easley, Dave Frost, Gary Garrison, Patty Gasso, Dr. Charles A. (Chuck) Kane, Joe Lanning, Lorie Lindahl, Chuck Terry, and George Van Zant; (2005) Chuck Bittick, Craig Dykema, Lisa Lawrence, Bob Myers, Jeff Severson, Ann Simmons, Robbie Stuart, Homer Williams, Joe “Cowboy” Forbes, Paul Johnson, Norm Kettering, Cliff Meyer, and Bert Smith; (2006) Neo Aoga, Dominique Arnold, Ed Babtkis, Kenny Booker, Margaret Graves-Bos, Mike Giers, John E. Kashiwabara, Pam Marshall, Dan Peters, Tom Amberry, Grant Denmark, Sam Dimas, Hank Ennen, Mel Griffin, Bob Howard, Bill Jessup, Dave Levy, Bill Millington, Vince Reel, and Dewey Tompkins; (2007) Keith Cordes, Myisha Delaney, John Gonsalves, Gerry Gregory, Hank Kraychir, Dave Marshall, Bill Meyers, Samoa Samoa, Peggy Stoll-Grigonis, William C. Barnes, Tom Clark, Gene Gillies, Rollie Eilerts, Irvin “Red” Meairs, Dick Fischl, Roger Hull, Darryl Rogers; (2008) Greg Barton, Paul Chafe, Craig Chamberlain, Cleveland “Chick” Harris, Jennifer Jamie-Rocha, Jim Kelsey, Mark Neal, Donna Prindle, Jeanne Teissere-Knox, Charlie Church, Marvin Motley, Frank Newell, and Jack Salveson; (2009) Ed Crosby, Ron Drake, Laura Fetzner-Castro, Cary Hardwick, Jack Hinton, Gary “Jake” Jacobsen, Nicki Kephart-Trimble, Ernest S. McBride, Henry Andrews, Duane Baptiste, Mickey Byers, John Callard, Bob Humphreys, and Bob Seymour; (2010) Albert Dorsey, Dean Decker, Dan Gausepohl, Bernie Holloway, Willie Martin, Larry Reisbig, Allan Treffry, Cassie Zebisch, Walter “Artie” Boyd, Gus Knickrehm, Jim Lee, Don Menke, Jim Milhorn, Joe Riddick; (2011) Trevor Baker, Michele Bannister, Bill Cecil, Jim Ferguson, Crystal Irving, Kari Jondle, Lute Olson, Tim Russell, Bill “Crutch” Crutchfield, Baruch Elias, Bill Ellis, Rusty Fairly, Terry Hendrix, Paul Zack.