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College sports: COC unveils HOF

School presents its Hall of Fame on campus

Posted: November 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.

It was nearly 10 years ago that the College of the Canyons Athletic Hall of Fame was a vision.

And it’s now been nearly eight years since the legendary John Wooden was the keynote speaker for the first hall of fame induction ceremony in January 2005.

Now the COC Athletics Hall of Fame has a home.

On Thursday night, COC unveiled its hall in the foyer of the school’s gymnasium in a small ceremony with most of the school’s athletic department and Chancellor Dianne Van Hook.

“We kept talking about having a permanent site. And this is all fundraised, every penny. It wasn’t easy,” said Len Mohney, COC dean of physical education and athletics. “We’re proud of it.”

COC inducts a new class every two years.

It started in 2005 with Linda Chisholm, Clint McKinney, Chuck Rheinschmidt and Lee Smelser.

Other inductees have included Santa Clarita Valley sports greats such as former COC and USC baseball coach Mike Gillespie, former COC football player and current Hart High head coach Mike Herrington and former COC football player and current San Francisco 49er Isaac Sopoaga.

Now all of those former Cougars have their plaques displayed on the back wall of the foyer.

There are 18 current members of the Hall.

The trophy cases have also been redone to give them a better presentation.

“We think (the Hall) will help show our tradition,” Mohney said. “We’re sort of a family. It’s not always easy at our level. A lot of people move on to universities and that’s their alumni. It’s a hard challenge.”

Mohney said this will help instill more pride in the school’s athletic programs.

The fifth Hall of Fame class will be inducted at a ceremony on Jan. 24 at the Hyatt Regency Valencia and will include the 1975 state champion men’s cross country team, baseball player Robert Corrales, softball player Chantal Pershing, basketball player Nick Sanderson, softball coach Ray Whitten and swimmer/diver/water polo player Christine (Castellano) Worby.

Notes: For more information on the 2013 Hall of Fame ceremony, visit ... Sopoaga was one of the donors who helped give the hall a permanent home. He gave $5,000. Other donors included Mohney and wife Cheri, Gillespie and Barbara and former Signal sports writer Craig Leener.


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