2017 Lifetime Service Awards
He was an outstanding wrestler at Hayward HS, winning numerous tournaments and on the first 1951 Northern California Invita- tional Championship Team. Ben wrestling at UC Berkeley until a life-threatening illness forced him to stop. He pursued an education in the ministry and embraced a new goal in life, becoming an advocate to help lower income people achieve a better life. He be- came the first wrestling coach at Dos Palos High School. He coached for two years and then returned to aiding the people of South Dos Palos. His efforts proved productive, including obtaining running water for the part of Dos Palos known as “Midway.”
At South HS in Bakersfield he was 3rd as a junior and 2nd as a senior in the South Yosemite League before wrestling at Bakersfield Junior College. He officiated for over 40 years including league, division, section and 15 CIF State Tournaments. Amador served as an evaluator of officials at the state tournament and continues to volunteer his services as a timer and scorekeeper there. He has also been known for his “BBQ in a Barrel” ministry, serving various church groups, non-profit organi- zations, homeless centers, scholarship fund raising events and several end of the season parties for his fellow coaches.
Vic won several league and division titles at Corcoran HS, then went to College Of the Sequoias and won league, regional and a State JC championship, selected the Most Outstanding Wrestler. He continued his education at Fresno State wrestling for coach Dick Francis. At the Pinedale Boys Club, he started a wrestling program that fed into Clovis schools. Many future state champion wrestlers started there. After graduating, Vic taught in the Fresno Unified School District and coached wrestling at McLane HS for six years. He was a wrestling official for the next 34 years at many high school and community college tournaments.
Rhonda has been an active volunteer with many wrestling organizations and schools within Kern County and a supporter of the Kern County Wrestling Association, their treasurer for 9 years. She volunteered at California USA Wrestling Tournaments for 9 years, and served as treasurer of the Kern County Wrestling Club for 11 years, and of Elite Force Wrestling Club for 11 years. She was the President of the Frontier Wrestling Boosters for 9 years, and she has volun- teered at the CIF State Wrestling tournament since 2006. In 2015 Rhonda was the recipient of the Irv Oliner Award for outstanding service to California Wrestling.
Dr. Buchanan hired Bill aa a recreation coordinator for the Clovis Unified School District. He was given the responsibility to implement many programs for the past thirty years, some of which have grown into Clovis Unified icons. A few prominent programs developed by Bill are; Elementary Athletics, Clovis Swim Club, Clovis Academy of Gymnastics and Dance, Summer programs, Clovis Flag Football, Parent PE Night, Adult Softball, Basketball, and T-Ball. He has been instrumental in organizing the Y’s Men’s Wrestling Tournament, a thirty five year old tournament that is the oldest and longest running event in Clovis Unified.
Rick has been involved with wrestling for 50 years. At Long Beach Jordan HS, he was a league champion and member of the All- City Wrestling Team. He wrestled at Long Beach City College and then at Fresno State, placing 3rd in both conferences. He coached at Kingsburg HS, Central HS and Bullard HS with a total record of 216-97. Many of his wrestlers placed in league, section and valley championships and he coached one CIF State Champion. Rick was on the coaching staff of the California National Wrestling Team and the Kids Western Regional Freestyle team as well as the Junior and Open Freestyle Championships.
After attending Oklahoma State and the University of Oklahoma, he first coached at Northwest Classen HS in Oklahoma City and had a 18-1 record. In 1981 he moved west and became the Head Coach at Highland HS in Bakersfield, then at Bakersfield HS and later at San Luis Obispo HS for 14 years. In 2001 his team won the CIF Southern Sec- tion Championship, placing 2nd in 2002. Jim was a co-founder and board member of the Kern County Wrestling association and the founder and tournament director of the Paso Robles Invitational Tournament. He has also been a wrestling official at the high school, Junior College and college levels.
At San Lorenzo HS, Joe was a Hayward League Champion all 4 years and a 3-time placer in the CIF North Coast Section. He was a Section Champion and a CIF State Tournament Champion, selected as the Northern California Wrestling Athlete of the Year. At Chabot College, he was a 2-time placer at the JC State Championships. After graduating from Cal State Bakersfield he was an assistant coach at James Logan. He became the Head Coach at East Bakersfield HS and sent 41 wrestlers to the state tournament with 10 placers. Joe has also served as the tournament director of the section masters tournament for 12 years.
He has officiated high school wrestling for 31 years, with 20 years as a community college and NCAA official. He has officiated 8 CACC state tournaments. He has officiated three sports since his military duty ended: football, wrestling and NCAA Division I soft- ball. He was high school official’s assigner and instructor for 14 years. He has officiated major tournaments in Fresno, Lemoore, Clovis, Morro Bay, Bakersfield and Southern California, and for Fresno State, Cal Poly, and CSU-Bakersfield. He has officiated numerous Central Section Championships. He is currently instructor of wrestling officials for Kern County.
After serving in WW II as a captain in the military police, Oscar attended Cal Poly as a 36-year-old freshman, earning Bachelor of Science and Masters Degrees. He started teaching in 1948 at Tulare HS. During his tenure there, Oscar coached wrestling, football, swimming and diving. He never wrestled, but after watching some high school matches, he fell in love with the sport. As Head Coach, he had numerous league and Central Section champions plus many place winners in the Northern Cali- fornia Invitational Wrestling Champion- ships. His 1962 team won the CIF Central Section Championship.
He began coaching at Shafter HS as the assistant wrestling coach in 1967, and he was head coach from 1970 for 10 years. He started the Shafter Cotton Classic Invita- tional Wrestling Tournament, now named after him. His teams won the South Sequoia League 4 times, the Sierra Sequoia Divi- sional Champions in 1969. His teams placed in this tournament 10 years in a row inclu- ding two 2nd place finishes and as tourna- ment champions in 1969. Darrell coached at West Bakersfield HS for 12 years, and he helped organize and served as a board member of the Kern County Wrestling Association and of the Coyote Club.
The first wrestling coach at Washington Union HS in 1967, he quickly developed a powerhouse. His team won the Central Sequoia League 7 years in a row and won the Sierra/Sequoia Division championship 3 times. His 1974 team placed 2nd in the CIF Valley Championships. In 1975 Bill moved to Clovis HS to assist Dennis Deliddo, and they won the 1976 CIF State Championship. Bill became Athletics Director there, and he organized and directed the first Clovis Invitational Tournament which became the Doc Buchanan Invitational, the most outstanding tournament in the state because of the quality of competition.
He was honored and proud to be a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, and he also served his community for 34 years as a California Highway Patrolman. He was a traffic school instructor for STEPS and later became the Executive Director. He was an avid fan of all sports, especially high school wrestling for which he served as an official for over 30 years. He served as arena floor supervisor at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena for the annual CIF State Wrestling Tournament. Bill passed away in December, 2016, and he was pleased to learn of his selection for this honor prior to his death. Bill’s motto: “live well, love much, laugh often.”
After attending Foothill HS in Bakersfield, he graduated from Cal State Bakersfield. Denny was hired at Kern Valley HS as the Special Education Coordinator, and he began a wrestling program in 1979. He served as Head Coach there for 29 years. He started a youth wrestling program for the mountain communities, doing most of his coaching without an assistant. Denny could always be identified while coaching at tournaments and duals by his blue jeans and navy blue Stetson. He is the winningest coach in the Desert Inyo League winning 14 league titles with one state champion. He died doing what he loved, deer hunting.
He was one of the top wrestlers graduating from Madera HS in 1973 before wrestling at Fresno City College under Hall of Fame Coach Bill Musick. He was a member of the 1975 State Championship team. When Andy convinced his son to wrestle in 7th grade, he became the head coach at Tenaya Middle School. In Andy’s second year as the coach, Tenaya won the city championship with six finalists and 3 champions. He later assisted Rod Balch at Clovis HS and Coach Bill Musick at Fresno City College. It seems fitting that the day of his death he just finished officiating a wrestling match at Baird Elementary School.
2017 Hall of Fame Honorees
JIM AGUIRRE – speech | interview
At Clovis HS, he was the fourth wrestler in history to win the CIF State Championship three times (1989- 91), defeating two state champions. He led his team as captain to back-to-back State Championships (1990 -91). Jimmy was a four-time member of the California Junior National Team. He placed 1st at the high school nationals in 1991, 2nd at the junior world team trials in 1990, and 2nd in the Espoir Nationals in 1992 and 1993. Jim attended Stanford where he was a PAC-10 champion, 2-time team captain and a 3-time NCAA Division 1 qualifier. In 1993 he was selected Outstanding Wrestler at the PAC-10 Conference Tournament.
RICHARD BAILEY – speech | interview
A CIF Central Coast Section Champion, he was a 2X CIF San Diego Section Champion. He placed 3X at the CIF State Tournament, a finalist twice. He was a member of the 1985 Valhalla State Championship Team. At Cal State Bakersfield he started 4 years, a 2X PAC-10 finalist and PAC-10 Champion. The 2X NCAA D1 All-American won the NWCA All-Star Classic and ranked #1 in the nation. As assistant coach at CSUB in 1996, they won a PAC-10 Championship and were 3rd at the NCAA Division 1 Tournament. He coached at Moorpark College for back-to- back state CC championships, and he coached the past 8 years at Granada HS.
MIKE BULL – speech | interview
He attended South HS in Bakersfield and was a 3X Yosemite League Champion, a CiF Central Section Champion and a CIF State Wrestling Champion at the first state tour- nament in 1973. Mike was selected as Kern County Most Outstanding Athlete. At 16 he was a National Greco-Roman Junior Champ- ion. He won a National Wrestling Federa- tion Championship and in 1972 the National Greco-Roman Open Division Championship. In 1974 Mike won a Community College State Championship with a season record of 34-0. At Cal State Bakersfield he was a 3X NCAA Division II All-American including being a NCAA Division II Champion in 1976.
JOE DANSBY – speech | interview
At Palma HS, the 3X league champion was a CIF Central Coast Section Champion and the only wrestler at Palma to place at the CIF State Tournament twice. Joey was a Cali- fornia Cadet Free-style All-American and a 3-year member of the California Junior National Team. At Cal Poly the 4X letterman was a 3X PAC-10 Conference Medalist. He was an Olympic Trials qualifier and a Nat- ional Greco Roman team member. In 2001 he became Head Coach at Cuesta College. In 16 years there his teams have won 5 conference championships, with 3 state CC champions and 16 All-Americans. He has been conference Coach of the Year 5 times.
JOE FARIA – speech | interview
He started wrestling as a junior at Chow- chilla HS, a 2X league champion undefeated in two seasons. Joe was a 3X letterman at Cal Poly on a football scholarship, wrestling as a senior for 3rd in conference when Poly won its 1st NCAA D2 championship. As coach at Exeter HS, his teams won many titles, he coached 51 Central Section placers with 4 state placers including a champion. At Clovis West HS, his teams won the State Championship in 1983 and 84, both teams ranked in the nation’s Top 5. He became head coach there 1n 1987, and his 1989 team won the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno and the CIF State Championship.
RICK McKINNEY – speech | interview
At Livingston HS, Rick was a 3X team captain, the most valuable wrestler, league champion, Sac-Joaquin CIF Section Champ- ion and a medalist at the state tournament with a record of 121-33-0. Rick coached high school wrestling for 25 years with a record of 268-101-2, winning league and section titles. He coached 13 California National Teams, with National Champions in 1985 & 1988. He coached the California Espoir Team to a national title in 1994, and the 1989 USA Cadet Greco Roman World Team finishing 2nd at the World Champion- ships. He officiated the CIF State Wrestling Tournament the past 8 years.
DAN MELLO – speech | interview
At Portland State, Dan won three Western Regional Championships. An assistant coach at CSU Bakersfield for 3 years, he wrestled for the Bakersfield Express. Dan won 14 National titles in Greco-Roman and Free- style, and he was on 4 World Teams, on the 1980 Olympic Greco-Roman Team and 4X on the FILA World Greco-Roman team. Dan was a 3X World Military Champion, a 2X National AAU Champion and in 1981 he won the Sambo World Championship and was the Outstanding Sambo Athlete. An assis- tant coach at the 1996 Olympic Games and World Cup, he was the head coach of the Cadet World Team and Espoir World Team.
JAKE VARNER – speech | interview
A league and CIF Central Section Champion at Bakersfield HS, Jake was a 4X CIF State Medalist (4-2-1-1), twice a CIF State Champion. He was a Senior National All- American, a 2X Junior All-American, a Cadet All-American, 2X Asics HS All-American, a Wrestling USA Magazine All-American, and Amateur Wrestling News All-American. He attended Iowa State University and was a 4X NCAA Division 1 finalist and 4X NCAA All-American, winning two NCAA Champ- ionships. Jake’s biggest moment was when he became the 2012 OLYMPIC FREESTYLE GOLD MEDALIST. He now serves as an assistant coach at Penn State University.
DREW WILLIAMS – speech | interview
At Paradise HS he was a 4X varsity letter- man and a 3X CIF Northern Section Champ- ion. He attended Yuba College and Chico State where he was a 4X wrestling letter- man. He became the head coach at Monache HS in 1972 and served for 25 years, winning 18 East Yosemite League titles, 3 Yosemite Division titles, 1 CIF Central Section champ- ionship, 4X runners-up. Drew coached 19 section champions, 15 state medalists and 64 state qualifiers including 2X Olympian Tim Vanni. Drew’s career varsity coaching record was 402-76-4. He also served the wrestling community as a member of the CIF State Wrestling Advisory Committee.