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Chabot College Athletic Hall of Fame
Submitted by Arthur Larson
Chabot College


Just outside the main gym on the Chabot Campus is a unique glass-walled structure which is the Chabot College Athletic Hall of Fame. It was the brain child of Zack Papachristos and Tony Caviglia. Zack was a long time Wrestling and Golf Coach and Tony the former Head Football Coach. They wanted to find a way to honor all the outstanding athletes and coaches in all sports during the first 40 years of the College's Athletic Programs. They conceived the concept of a Hall of Fame. Tony left in 1999 to become the head football coach at Fresno City College. Zack proceeded alone to lead toward the establishment of the Hall of Fame. He led in the creative design of a glass-walled building in which to house it. He led in planning for its construction and supervising the project as it evolved. Fund raising was the most difficult task, but was accomplished through the establishment of a building fund and a fund raising drive that resulted in many generous donations. Great support was provided by Nick Pereira, Director of Maintenance and Operations. He recommended the site and the Architects Behroruz, Azarnoush and Zahra Noorivaziri, who designed the unique glass walled building and provided the plans at no cost. The contractors were Luke and Eric Blum. Eric was a former student and athlete. Bill and Steve DaPrato donated the floor tile and labor.

Athletes to be honored were chosen by year and sport. A banner for each of the College's team sports was hung from the ceiling as were banners for each Golden Gate Conference Championship won by Chabot Teams. On the glass walls the name and years of each inductee were frosted into the glass. The Hall of Fame was opened in 2000.


The first person inducted unto the Hall of Fame was Dr. Reed Buffington, the College's first President. He was honored for his strong enthusiastic support of the Athletic Program, the athletes and the coaches. Two longtime coaches were also initial honorees: Gene Wellman, baseball coach and Athletic Director, and John Wagoner, basketball coach and Chair of the Physical Education Department.

Wellman was recognized as one of the most successful junior college coaches in the country with an outstanding record of a .730 win percentage. His teams won the Golden Gate Conference Championships in 1968 and 1976. In the following years they consistently finished second.

Wagoner was said to have "A lifelong love affair with basketball." His overall coaching record was 307 wins and only 185 losses. He was twice honored as the Golden Gate Conference Coach of the Year. In 1978 he was inducted into the Community College Hall of Fame.

Also recognized were Elaine Crouse, Moe Daniels and Dr. Arthur Larson.

Athletes Inducted.  Athletes who were inducted into the Chabot College Hall of Fame during the initial ceremony in 2000 were:

In Baseball: Steve Lubratich, Dick Tedrow and George Mitterwald. All three went on to play in major league baseball. John Garcia, Larry Kowalishen, Gary Medeiros, Mark Sill, Chris Ward, Russ Watson.

In Softball: Ella Vilche, Debbie Oxsen, Terri Keiser, and Lisa Mize. Ella was honored as the most versatile women athlete excelling in volleyball and basketball as well as softball.

In Basketball: Lester Conner who went on to play 13 years in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors. Don Crenshaw, Kill Kellar, Russ Moe, Boris Pesa.

In Football: Jeff Barnes, Ed Galigher and Dennis Bragonier. Each went on to play in the NFL. Larry Aguiar, who later returned to join the faculty at Chabot in PE and Athletics. Mike Aro, Bill August, Jeff Barnes, Jim Carter, Jay Craney, Jim Horning, Tim Ireland, Ray Kimball, Rick Kukulika, Eric Lane, Ted LeLand, Jim Lemoine, Steve McCoin, George Mock, Patrick Ozenne, Chris Pane, Tim Pereira, Dennis Rozario, David Shaw, and Gary Woznick.

In Golf: Ron Cerrudo and Rian McNalley.

In Track & Field: Michael Keith McRae and Doug Padilla. Padilla became one of the most decorated long distance runners in the nation and the world. After setting records at Chabot, he had an outstanding career at Brigham Young University and went on from there to win the World Cup Championship in the 5,000 Meter Competition and then on to represent the U.S. in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

In Soccer: Mario Herrera

In Swimming/Diving: Tom Musch.

In Tennis: Bill Lewan and Marilyn Morrell.

In Wrestling: Buck Deadrich, Mike Remer and Steve Siroy. Buck Deadrich also excelled in football and served as student body president. He received an academic scholarship to Southern Illinois University where he wrestled and played football. He went on to wrestle on the U.S. Olympic teams in 1968 and 1972.

Steve Siroy was a member of the Chabot Wrestling Team that won the state championship in 1972. He received a scholarship to UCLA where he became Captain of the wrestling team that won second place in the 1974 PAC-8 Tournament. Siroy became a master of a wrestling style known as Sombo. He won the national sombo championship three times and was three times a gold medal winner in the Pan American Game. He is considered one of the most knowledgeable sombo wrestlers in the world. Siroy eventually returned to Chabot College as a member of the faculty and the wrestling coach.

In Volleyball: Jessica Bennett.

In each of the years following 2000, many other athletes and individuals have been recognized and inducted into the Chabot College Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Chabot College Athletic Hall of Fame may be enjoyed by viewing from both outside and inside. Outside by viewing the names engraved on the glass walls and inside where the banners are hung and other exhibits placed. The Hall is generally open during the normal business hours on campus.

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2007 C.A.R.E.

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