Biographies of the nominees for the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame Class of 2013, as written by the Hall of Fame’s Jerry Hurley. Original article appeared in The Press-Enterprise on 12/4/2012.
BOB BOMAR – “Attended high school in Corona, lettering in football. During his softball playing career he played for the Riverside Browns, Moss Motors, Baker Oil, GBC Phils and the Long Beach Nitehawks. At a height of 6’7″ and 265 lbs., Bob was a powerful slugger and a dominating pitcher.
“After playing for the 1958 Championship team sponsored by Gay and Larry’s Mexican restaurant, Bob went on to help his teams win seven De Anza I titles, as well as SCMAF Southern California Championships. During his softball career, Bob tossed several perfect games in league play, mainly because of the speed and movement of his pitches. Opposing teams often walked him because they all feared his hitting ability and power.
“Bob came to be known as “Mr. Softball” in Riverside. Many longtime Riverside residents remember specifically going to Evans Park just to watch him play softball. Bob died in July 1968 in an industrial accident. The City of Riverside recognized him by naming two city softball fields in his honor.”
JIM KROSS – “A Riverside resident since 1953, Jim graduated from Poly High School in 1957. He then worked 60-hour work weeks at Rohr Aircraft before beginning his athletic career at Riverside City College in 1960.
“Primarily interested in playing basketball, Jim was recruited by coaches Bob Dohr and Don Birren to try football, a sport that he did not play in high school. After a remarkable 1961 season where he was named RCC Most Improved Football Player, All-Eastern Conference offensive and defensive tackle and first team Junior College All-American, Jim continued his career at Fresno State. While there he was a forceful starting tackle on both offense and defense. After graduation, he attended Naval Officers Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island and served a 3-year commitment with two tours of duty in Vietnam.
“Jim returned to Riverside and began teaching and coaching at J.W. North High School in 1968, moving to RCC in 1972. At RCC he was an assistant football coach from 1972-75, head football coach from 1976-79 and athletic director from 1980-2000. Jim was the first athlete inducted into the RCC Athletic Hall of Fame in May 2002.”
GARY MCCORD – “Graduated from Ramona High School in 1966. While there, he was named All-CIF in golf in 1965 and 1966. Gary continued to play golf at both RCC and UCR. At UCR, he was part of the NCAA Division II Championship in 1970. He was named the 1970 NCAA Division II Player of the Year and was a Division II All-American Medalist in 1970 and 1971.
“Gary played 422 tournaments in 23 seasons on the PGA Tour, winning two tournaments. He continued to play in the Senior PGA Tour and has spent over 21 years providing entertaining commentary on CBS Sports golf telecasts. Garyis an accomplished writer (Golfonline.com, Golf Digest) and author of “Golf for Dummies”, “Golf for Dummies II” and “Just a Range Ball in a Box of Titleists” and was a technical consultant for the movie “Tin Cup”.
“Gary continues to give back to his community and to UCR where he holds the Pro West Gary McCord Golf Classic, which raises money for UCR Athletics. Gary is an honorary lifetime member of Victoria Club and a member of the UCR Athletic Hall of Fame.”
JESS MORTENSEN – “One of the great sports figures in the history of Southern California, Jess began his storied athletic career at Riverside Poly High School. Matriculating to the University of Southern California, he was a letterman in three sports: track (1928, 1929, 1930), football (1928, 1929) and basketball (1928, 1929, 1930). Jess was on the National Championship football team in 1928, won the 1929 NCAA javelin title, was an All-American in basketball in 1930 and was a member of the 1930 Rose Bowl championship team. He set a world record in the decathlon in 1931.
“Jess then became track and field coach at Riverside Junior College. Except for a break during World War II, he remained in Riverside until 1947. His teams won two National Junior College Track Titles. He moved to the University of Denver in 1947, before coaching at West Point in 1950. He returned to USC as an assistant football coach and head track coach in 1951.
“For the next ten years, Jess coached the Trojans to seven NCAA team titles and his teams never finished worse than second in the Pacific Conference meet. His USC teams were never defeated in 64 dual meets. Mortensen served as an assistant track coach with the 1956 U.S. Olympic team in Helsinki, Sweden.
“Jess is a member of USC’s Athletic Hall of Fame and the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame. He died on February 19, 1962 at age 54.”
BOB GEDDES – “Grew up in Riverside, graduating from Riverside Poly in 1964. At Poly, Bob lettered three years in track and field, setting several league records in the pole vault.
“After graduating from Poly, Bob served six months of active duty with the United States Marines. When he returned to Riverside he enrolled at Riverside City College. Despite not playing high school football, he went out for the football team. After just one year of football at RCC he received a football scholarship to UCLA, where he was a standout defensive end. He received Honorable Mention All-American recognition at UCLA in 1969. Bob was selected to the First Team for both the UPI and AP West Coast Team in 1969.
“In 1970 Bob graduated from UCLA with a degree in political science and began his NFL career with the Denver Broncos. He played seven years of professional football with both the Broncos and the New England Patriots before injuries forced him to retire. During his NFL career, Bob played in 38 NFL games. Bob now resides in San Diego with his family.”
BUTCH JOHNSON – “Was raised in Los Angeles, and played football for UC Riverside. In 1975 at UCR, Butch was named a Division II All-American and led the nation in receiving during the last year that the university had a football team. Butch was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1976 and played for them through 1983.
“In Super Bowl XII, Butch made a diving catch of a 45-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach to help Dallas defeat the Denver Broncos 27-10. The following year, he became only the second player to catch touchdown passes in back-to-back Super Bowls. Butch played for the Denver Broncos in 1984-1985 and then retired from professional football
“Butch continues to live in Texas, working as a motivational speaker and helping to promote proper nutrition for active and healthy lifestyles. In 2012, Butch was inducted into the UCR Sports Hall of Fame.”
DERRICK RODGERS – “First played football when he was eight years old in Florida. However, he really wanted to be a trumpet player, which he was in high school. Upon graduating from St. Augustine High School, he joined the Air Force where he began playing recreation flag football. While stationed at March AFB, he talked to Coach Barry Meier at RCC and told him that he would like to play football. Coach Meier told him to drop by when he was discharged from the Air Force.
“In 1994, Derrick enrolled at RCC, where he became a standout linebacker and defensive end. In 1996, Derrick earned a scholarship to play football for Arizona State University. In the one year that he played for the Sun Devils, the team went 11-0 and earned a trip to play Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. In 1997, Derrick was drafted in the 3rd round by the Miami Dolphins. Derrick spent eight seasons playing professional football with the Miami Dolphins (1997 – 2002) and the New Orleans Saints (2003). In his professional career, he played in 108 games, recorded 476 tackles, had 160 assists, 9 sacks, four interceptions and 23 passes deflected. He also caused five fumbles from his linebacker position. Derrick now is pursuing an acting career.”
TYREE WASHINGTON – “Was a local track and field star who graduated from La Sierra High School in 1996. He was the California State High School 400 meter champion in 1994 and placed second in 1995 with a time of 46.34 (which he later lowered to a personal best time of 46.00). Tyree attended San Bernardino Valley College through 1998. He won the 200 and 400 meter events at the California Community College Championships in 1997.
“Tyree’s professional career has been one success after another. He anchored the gold medal 4×400 meter relay team at the 1997 World Championships held in Athens,Greece, where he also was awarded a Bronze medal in the 400 meters. He placed second in the 200 meters and 400 meters at the 1998 Goodwill Games and was ranked #4 in the world in the 400 meters in 1998, with nine straight clockings under 45-seconds. Slowed by injury and illness, Tyree burst back on the international scene in 2003 in the 400 meters with a World Indoor Championship, a USA Indoor Championship, a first place at the Nike Prefontaine Classic and as part of the World Outdoor Relay Championship team. His stellar career continued through 2006 with wins on the international circuit in Rome, Rovereto, at the World Athletics Final and in running the lead leg of Team USA’s gold medal 4x400meters relay squad at the World Indoor Championships in Moscow.
“Currently Tyree is on a personal mission to help troubled youth through counseling and in ridding the sports world of illegal steroids.”
MINDY COWLES – “First made her mark on the Riverside sports scene with an outstanding softball career at Poly High School where she was All-Ivy League (2001, 2002, 2003), Ivy League MVP (2002, 2003), All-CIF (2001, 2002, 2003) and CIF Player of the Year (2004). Poly won the CIF girls softball Championship in 2004 – the only one in school history.
“Mindy continued her winning ways at Arizona State University where she participated in the College World Series in her sophomore, junior and senior years, winning the NCAA World Series in 2008. In that game, she hit a three-run home run in her last at bat, setting a team record of 60 career home runs. Mindy was on PAC-10 all-conference teams for each of the seasons that she played for the Sun Devils, was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, made the Women’s College World Series All-Tournament team in 2008 and was a Louisville Slugger/NFCA second team All-American in 2008. She finished her career tied for second place in NCAA history for HR’s and RBI’s in a single game with 3 HR’s and 10 RBI’s and was first in ASU history with 188 career RBI’s.
“Mindy played for the National Professional FastPitch League Chicago Bandits, who won the 2008 Championship. She continued her winning ways with a 2010 European League Championship for the Italian DesCaserta team.
“For the past two years, Mindy has been the Softball Coach at Adrenaline Sports Academy in Riverside, where she teaches hitting and fielding.”
BECKY MILLER-WHITE – “Was a talented and versatile multi-sport athlete for J.W. North High School from 1978-1982. At North, Becky was a star performer in volleyball, basketball, track and field and cross country for her four years. In volleyball, she was All-Ivy League three times and All-County First team in 1982. In basketball, Becky was All-Ivy League two times, All-County First team and All-CIF First Team in 1982. She was a seven-time Ivy League Champion in track and field and was also All-Ivy League for one season in cross country.
“At Biola University from 1982-1986, she was named to the volleyball and basketball All-Conference team each year and was the Most Valuable Player in the 1985 NAIA National Tournament. In volleyball, she re-wrote the Biola record book and still holds career school records for attack percentage (.573) and blocks (687) and ranks third in kills (1,622). During her senior season, Miller helped Biola to its first of many NAIA National Tournament appearances, finishing as the national runner-up in 1985. Once basketball season rolled around, she continued to dominate, averaging 20.2 points and 12.5 rebounds for her career. Miller still owns the career records for points (2,411), rebounds (1,492), field goals made (933) and free throws made (545). She also helped Biola reach its first NAIA women’s basketball National Championship in 1983-84 as the Eagles finished 23-10. Becky was named an NAIA All-American in volleyball and basketball for all four years at Biola, becoming the first women in NAIA history to be a four-time All-America in two different sports. She was inducted into the inaugural class for the Biola University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.
“Becky is now an International speaker at women’s conferences and events. She is the author of Recapture, Finding Hope for a Famine of the Heart. Becky has been a staff member of The Grove Community Church for the past 13 years.”
JERI MOSS – “Was a local Junior National Champion in the 200 backstroke in 1997 who became a standout swimmer at Poly High School, where she was on a CIF Championship team and was an Olympic Trials qualifier in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke. She continued swimming at college powerhouse Auburn University where her career boasts three national titles, one second-place finish and where she was an eleven-time All-American.
“It was during her freshman year in 2003, where she set the pace for her noteworthy collegiate career by placing seventh in the 100 backstroke (54.98) and eighth in the 200 backstroke (2:00.78) at the SEC Championships. During her sophomore year, Jeri was a semi-finalist in both the 100 (1:03.94) and 200 (2:18.40) backstrokes at Olympic Trials. At the 2005 World Championships, she swam the first leg in the preliminary round with the U.S. 4×100 medley team that went on to earn silver and turned in a new PR in the 200 meter backstroke with a time of 2:13.64. That year she earned All-American honors in the 100 and 200 backstroke and was an honorable mention All-American in the 100 fly.
“Jeri capped off her athletic achievements with a memorable senior year in 2005-2006. She had her highest career finish at the SEC Championship as she was runner-up in both the 100 backstroke and the 200 backstroke. In the NCAA Championship, she swam the third leg on the 200, 400 and 800 free relays that placed third nationally and she finished those NCAA’s with five All-American honors. For this and other accomplishments, Jeri was awarded the Auburn Swimming and Diving Award, which is given to the student-athlete who demonstrates scholarship, leadership and performance.
“In 2006, Jeri was part of the first Auburn University team to be invited to the White House for a ceremony which honored the national championship team.”
DAVID ALMQUIST – “Is the recognized Riverside water polo coach who has led Poly High School and Riverside City College to numerous championships in three decades of coaching. David was also the assistant coach of the United States Men’s National team from 1984-1988, which included the 1988 silver medal winning team that competed in Seoul, South Korea.
“The water polo tradition at Poly High School started with Al Jennings when the school opened in 1965, but it took off when Dave Almquist took over as coach in 1977. He worked hard to elevate the program to bring it up to the level of established teams from beach cities in Orange County. The improvement in facilities and tougher scheduling resulted in his Poly teams winning four Southern Section titles in his twenty years at the school.
“David has been wildly successful with the Riverside City College women’s water polo program, winning four California State Championships since 2005, eight straight Orange Empire Conference titles and boasting a gaudy 184-12 record over the last six seasons. Many of those teams finished the season with more goals scored than missed shots. The 2007 season is indicative of the high level to which the program has risen. That team completed its undefeated season with wire-to-wire dominance and played only two games within five goals all season, outscoring their State Tournament opponents by a combined score of 41-5. In 2009, a winning streak of over 50 straight matches began, which was the longest in program history. During the years of their championship runs, a big part of the program success has been the coaching philosophy of Coach Almquist which emphasizes team togetherness and unselfish play.”
DAN “DANNY” ARELLANO – “Graduated from Ramona HS in 1968. In high school Danny lettered in baseball, basketball and football. He continued his education and his involvement in sports attending and playing at Riverside City College and then at the University of California, Riverside.
“Danny started coaching while he was still in college working with the Riverside Parks and Recreation leagues. He was later hired by Coach Sam Pecchia (RSHOF Inductee, Class of 2005) at Arlington High School. In 1976, Danny became the head baseball coach at Arlington and in 1977, Danny became the the boys basketball coach, building the program into a playoff contender. In 1980, Danny was named Riverside County Coach of the Year. In 1982, Danny was named the head football coach at Arlington and led the program for 14 years, making the playoffs on an annual basis. In 1991, the Arlington Lions finished third in the league but won the CIF Championship game and Danny was named the Riverside County and CIF Coach of the Year. In 1991, Danny took over the girls basketball program. As the interim coach, he led the “Lady Lions” to one of their highest league finishes ever. For his efforts he was once again named Riverside County Coach of the Year and the Los Angeles Times Inland Empire Coach of the Year.
“After stepping down as Arlington’s head football coach in 1996, Danny continued to coach both basketball and baseball at Arlington High School. He retired after a 37-year teaching and coaching career, but still stays involved as a referee for high school football and basketball. Dan “Danny” Arellano was inducted into the Ramona High School Sports Hall of Fame.”
ARLO GARD – “Moved to Riverside in 1952 after coaching in Nebraska. Arlo began his Riverside coaching career at University Heights Junior High teaching and coaching football (5 championships); Basketball (5 championships); Track (4-championships) and baseball (5-championships). Between 1957-1959, Arlo was the assistant basketball coach at RCC, coaching the Junior Varsity to a 21-5 record. From 1959 to 1966, Arlo taught physical education at Rubidoux High School, was the assistant coach for football and later the head football coach, head track coach and assistant basketball coach. In 1966, Arlo moved to Riverside Poly High School where he was assistant football coach from 1966-1975. As head basketball coach (1975-1983), his team’s records were 168-49. As the head golf coach (1968-1985), his teams won 7 League Titles. In 1976 and again in 1977, Arlo’s golf teams won the Southern Section CIF Team Championship.
“Arlo was named Ivy League Coach of the Year in 1980, 1981 and 1982 for basketball. He was named All-Southern California Board of Athletics Coach of the Year in 1983 for basketball and California Coaches Association Golf Coach of the Year in 1981. Some of the outstanding athletes that he coached have been Wayne Gross (Oakland A’s, Baltimore Orioles); Tom Hayes (Atlanta Falcons); Reggie Miller (Indiana Pacers, Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame) and Mike Campagni (California State Individual Golf Champion, 1977).
“Arlo continued to remain involved in local sports after his retirement, volunteering as a baseball umpire, Chairman of the Riverside Poly Tourney of Champions, timer for Poly High School football and as a scorer for Riverside Poly basketball games.”
RUDY CHAVEZ – “is acknowledged as one of the finest Fast-Pitch Softball catchers in the long history of the sport in Riverside. He made an indelible mark as a long-time player and coach for the Casa Blanca Aces. Such distinction comes only after hard work, a lesson that Rudy learned from his father who founded the team and one that he has carried with him for the past six decades. Today, he is a successful businessman and community leader, but first he was a successful athlete.
Playing the game the right way was important to the Aces and only the best players could play for them. There was, however, something as important as winning that was built into the team. The Aces used softball as a vehicle to break down racial barriers as teams from various parts of Riverside and beyond would travel to different ballfields to play the games and to socialize afterward. Softball was a great unifier for these players and family members and many of the friendships formed off the field have lasted to this day.
Rudy’s desire to support Riverside athletes can be seen in his volunteer work as Chairman of the Casa Blanca Community Action Group. In the 1980’s, the group secured $465,000 for improvements at Villegas Park, including new ballfields, an oval track, bleachers and playground equipment. The group supported young athletes with scholarships and provided funds so that teams could travel to sports tournaments. He has been the leader of at least seven other community-minded committees which has benefitted all of the people of Riverside. As Chairman of the 2006 Ballfield Dedication Committee, Rudy was instrumental in upgrading and naming a ballfield after Ysmael R. Villegas, first Medal of Honor recipient from Riverside. Later, he was the driving force behind the memorable dedication of the Casa Blanca Veteran’s Memorial ballfield held on November 13, 2010. Rudy also served as energetic chair of the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame Fast-Pitch Softball event, which brought back players from Riverside’s “Golden Age”. Under Rudy’s leadership, the committee researched the history of Riverside softball, compiled records, conducted interviews with players and coaches and generated the biggest crowd ever at a Wall of Distinction event.”
NICK GOLDWARE – “Graduated in 1965 from Ramona High School where he was an outstanding football player. He continued to play football at Riverside City College and the University of California, Riverside. After graduation from UCR, Nick joined his father in their Riverside insurance agency.
“Nick never gave up his love for sports, specifically football, returning to help as an assistant coach at Notre Dame High School. In 1970, Notre Dame became the first City of Riverside team to win a CIF Football Championship.
“Nick continued with their family tradition of ‘giving back to the community.’ He has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the UCR Foundation; a member of the UCR Chancellor’s Executive Round table; member of the UCR Alumni Association Building Committee; vice president, Monday Morning Group; executive board member and past president, Riverside Chambers of Commerce; past president, Economic Development Partnership; past president, UCR Athletic Association; past president, UCR Alumni Association; past president of the United Way; founding member of the RCC “Tiger Backers”; Riverside Police Department Reserve Police Officer of the Year; inducted into the UCR Athletic Hall of Fame; inducted into the Ramona High School Athletic Hall of Fame; designated as a Fellow from the UCR School of Management and a long list of other community and sports awards.
“Nick continues to live and work in the Riverside community and remains very active in local community support and athletic programs.
DR. RICHARD “DICK” PERRY – “Began his journey in athletics coaching basketball, baseball and football at Emporia College in Kansas. In 1958, Dick returned home to Southern California where he was the head basketball coach, assistant football coach and an instructor in physical education at Cal State Long Beach. After completing his PhD at the University of Southern California, he was invited to join the USC teaching faculty in 1968. In 1975, Dick served as the Director of Athletics at USC. During his nine years there, USC teams won 20 national championships.
“In 1987, Dick was hired as the athletic director at UCR. During his tenure he worked diligently to improve the athletic facilities and teams at the university. He worked tirelessly with community members in seeking more involvement in the sports programs at UCR. Through his efforts many local business leaders came together in an attempt to help UCR move up to become a Division I university. He retired from his position as the UCR Athletic Director in 1992. During his time as A.D., Dick served as a member or as the chairperson of six major NCAA committees. In 1984 he was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame. In 1994 he was inducted into the Long Beach Wilson High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Dick continued to serve and contribute to the Riverside Community. He served on various civic boards, was President of the Riverside YMCA, President of the Kiwanis Club of Riverside and helped found the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame. As part of the founding group for the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame, Dick helped to identify the goals, helped write the bylaws, helped in organization fund-raising and served as President of the Executive Board. Only health issues have slowed Dick Perry down.”