The 1938 Pasadena Junior College football team, featuring the college's greatest alumnus Jackie Robinson, is part of a 2015-16 class that includes six athletes and two coaches selected to be inducted into the PCC Sports Hall of Fame. The choices were made by the college's HOF committee. The newest class will be inducted in a special ceremony at the GM Athletics Building scheduled for January 24, 2016.
The '38 football team is the first team to be inducted in the Hall's history, which dates back to 1961. That squad finished 11-0, won the SoCal Western Division title, and outscored its opponents, 369-70. Robinson, who went on to become a 20th century sports icon and member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, set school records at the time for most touchdowns and most yards rushing. Those records stood for 63 years. The team was coached by the legendary Tom Mallory.
The following complete the '15-16 PCC HOF class: Clark Branson, record shot put champion, Reggie Brown, PCC's all-time leading football rusher, Harvey Hyde, two-time conference champion head coach, Mary Morgan, a two-sport star in volleyball and swimming, Gina Punaro, an All-American softball player, the late Ron Robinson, head coach of the 1967 state champion baseball team, Juan Tobin, a state champion track and field performer, and Matt Young, a baseball pitcher who played 10 years in Major League Baseball.
The Hall was renovated after a 35-year dormant period in 2001 through the work of Dick Ratliff, co-chairman of the Sports Hall of Fame and Court of Champions. Ratliff is a founding member of the PCC Foundation Board. He created criteria and guidelines for the HOF selection process and is a brainchild for the Court of Champions (named in his honor), a bronze bust collection honoring the college's most famous athletes/coaches/administrators, located just west of the GM facility.
This is the first HOF class since 2013.
The following are capsule bios of the PCC 2015-16 Sports Hall of Fame class:
Clark Branson (1957, Men's Track and Field, High School Division) -- At Pasadena High School, Branson set a prep national record in the shot put with a throw of 64-0 feet, ¾ inches. The mark won him the CIF State championship. His accomplishment earned him the California Track and Field High School Athlete of the Year honors. Branson continued his career at UCLA where he set the Bruins then school record in the event and later finished third in the NCAA Finals in 1961. His shot put record still exceeds the longest throw ever by a Pasadena City College athlete.
Reggie Brown (1978-79, Football) -- PCC’s all-time leading rusher for a career at 2,272 yards, Brown played on back-to-back Metropolitan Conference champion Lancers teams in 1978 and 1979. He played on two Bowl champions, including the Potato Bowl title victory over College of the Sequoias in ’78 when he rushed for a PCC bowl record 277 yards on 35 carries and scored four touchdowns. After earning a scholarship and playing at the University of Oregon, Brown was drafted No. 95 overall in the fourth round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. Brown played parts of three seasons in the NFL, finishing as a running back for Philadelphia in 1987. PCC head coaches: Eric Widmark, Harvey Hyde
Harvey Hyde (1968-69, 1979-81, Football) -- A former PCC playing alumnus, Hyde made his mark in a brilliant 25-7 head coaching run during three seasons from '79-81. He directed back-to-back Metropolitan Conference champion teams in 1979-80 and the '80 squad was JC Grid-Wire No. 1-ranked for a 10-0 regular season. During that 3-year run, Hyde transferred out 86 players on scholarship to 4-year universities, many NCAA Division I. The 1980 Lancers had a list of 36 players gain scholarships, a PCC athletics record. Hyde went on to be a head coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and continues his association with college football as an on-air personality for ESPN radio.
Mary Morgan (1995-96 Women's Volleyball/Swimming) -- Morgan excelled as an All-American swimmer who captured the South Coast Conference Swimmer of the Year title in her freshman year of 1995. Mary set PCC school records in the 50 and 100 breaststroke events, and she made the nation’s top 20 listing four times in three different events during her two Lancers seasons. In volleyball, Morgan was an All-SCC First Team middle hitter who led the team in kills in ’95. Morgan played on a PCC team that finished a school-best ever third in the state that season as she was selected to the All-State Tournament Team. Morgan gained a scholarship to Grand Canyon University where she played as an all-conference volleyball player. PCC head coaches: Lori Jepsen, volleyball; Beverly Johnson, swimming
Gina Punaro (1995-96 Women's Volleyball/Softball) -- Her small 5-foot-2 stature didn't prevent Punaro from putting together a brilliant career at PCC as a two-sport athlete. In softball as the Lancers’ shortstop, she was named the 1996 South Coast Conference Player of the Year after breaking PCC school records for most stolen bases (41) and runs scored (44) in a single season. She batted .463 and was voted All-Southern California Region and then named NFCA All-American, leading the Lancers in fielding assists with 97. An All-SCC First Team outside hitter, she helped the ’95 volleyball team to a Cinderella third place finish at the state championships, the highest placing by PCC volleyball in school history. She landed more than 200 kills that season and was instrumental with her strong serving talents in the team’s three wins at the Elite Eight tourney. She later played two years of softball at San Diego State University, and holds the Aztecs school record for stolen bases in a season with 32 in 1997. PCC head coaches: Lori Jepsen, volleyball; Sandi Iverson, softball
Ron Robinson (1961-74, Baseball) -- An alumnus player at PCC, Robinson became only the second head coach in the school's history in 1961. He proceeded to direct four Western State Conference champions, including three consecutive from 1965-67, and the school's last conference champion in 1972 (Metropolitan title). In '67, he coached future MLB 400-plus home run slugger Darrell Evans as the Lancers were crowned state champions with a 22-13 overall record. He posted 250 wins in his career. Robinson, who passed away in 2011, also was a distinguished assistant football coach who was part of the glory years of Lancers football in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Juan Tobin (1987-88, Men's Track and Field) -- At the '88 State Meet, Tobin showed his versatility in winning the state titles in both the 100-meter dash (10.5 seconds) and long jump (25-1.5). In the school's history, the accomplishment of winning both a running and field event at the same state meet has never been matched. At that meet, he also finished second in the 200 meters (20.64) and he anchored the Lancers' 4x100 relay to take third (40.07). As a freshman, he won the SoCal titles in the 100 and long jump and was third at state in the LJ at a career-best 25-5-1/4. PCC head coach: Skip Robinson
Matt Young (1977-78, Baseball) -- An All-Metropolitan Conference First Team left-handed throwing ace pitcher for the Lancers, Young was drafted from PCC in Round 2, 49th overall by the Boston Red Sox in the ’78 draft and is the second highest draft pick ever of a PCC player. He accepted a scholarship to UCLA instead and pitched for the Bruins in 1979-80. He was drafted again in the 2nd round in the ’80 draft (32nd overall), this time by the Seattle Mariners. As a rookie in 1983, he made the All-Star Game and pitched a scoreless inning. He went on to pitch 10 seasons in Major League Baseball with five teams. As a member of the Red Sox, he hurled an 8-inning, no-hitter in a loss to Cleveland in 1992, and combined with Roger Clemens for a MLB record for the lowest hits ever allowed by two pitchers in a doubleheader—two. Young won a World Series ring as a reliever for the Oakland A’s in 1989. PCC head coach: Lani Exton