IVFCA names Hall of Fame's first class

May 18, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

On June 1 six former Imperial Valley high school football coaches and 29 former Valley players will be inducted as charter members of the Imperial Valley Football Coaches Association's Hall of Fame.

All 35 members of this first class, who will represent Brawley Union, Calexico, Central Union, Holtville and Imperial high schools, will be honored during halftime ceremonies of the inaugural IVFCA all-star football game, which will pit high school seniors from north and south end schools June 1 at Imperial High School.

"I think this Hall of Fame is the most important thing to happen to the sport of football here in the Valley in quite some time," said Imperial coach Mike Swearingen. "This gives us an opportunity to honor these coaches and players who never really received the recognition they deserve."

Entering the hall as coaches are Bob Farrell of Brawley Union, Al Gutierrez of Calexico, Cal Jones of Central, Sam Faulk and Bob Wynkoop of Holtville and John Tyree of Imperial.


A head coach at Brawley for 15 years, Farrell won 13 league championships, including nine in a row from 1955 through 1963. He also won three CIF titles.

Gutierrez was considered by most to be the "godfather" of Calexico football, having worked with players and coaches for more than three decades. He was head coach from 1977-85 and led the 1982 squad to the second round of the CIF playoffs, the farthest any Calexico football team has ever advanced.

Cal Jones had two coaching stints at Central, from '66-68 and again from '85-89. He led the Spartans to league titles from '85-89 and during that time put together a string of 51 consecutive regular season victories. From '85-87 Jones' squads produced the second-highest scoring output in California with 479 points.

The coaching careers of Faulk and Wynkoop were almost parallel. From 1970 to 1998 Wynkoop was an assistant on the Vikings' squad, helping the team win 10 league titles and six CIF championships.

As head coach from 1985-93, Faulk won five league championships from '88-92, including an undefeated season in 1989. He won four consecutive CIF crowns from '89-92.

Of the six coaches being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Tyree may have had the biggest impact on football in the Valley. He coached at Imperial from '71-73 winning league championships in '72 and '73, and led the Tigers to their first CIF football championship in 1973.

Tyree was the first Valley coach to fully institute and require weight training as part of the football program and introduced "true" option football by running the wishbone offense.

"I really believe John Tyree was one of the greatest coaches here in the Imperial Valley," said Swearingen. "As far as coaches here in the Valley, he was definitely ahead of his time."

Players entering the Hall of Fame will represent Brawley, Calexico, Holtville and Imperial. Calipatria and Central Union did not submit nominations for players.

Entering from Brawley will be Pat Williams from the 1930s, Pat Casey ('40s), Mike Casey ('50s), Paul Doetsch ('60s), John Bishop ('60s), Lorenzo Suarez ('70s), Jimmie Hopkins ('80s) and Kurt Rubin ('90s).

"Kurt Rubin was one of the best, if not the best football player I've seen in the Valley," said Bishop, who coached Rubin in '96 and '97. "We could've played him anywhere and he would've done it and not said a word. He was just the consummate team player. He had great leadership ability and always tried to be an example to everyone."

Rubin now plays defensive back at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Said Bishop of his own induction: "This, to me, is a great honor … it's a big deal. It's a real honor to go into this Hall of Fame. And I hope it means as much to future players who are inducted as it does to me."

Going into the IVFCA Hall of Fame from Calexico are Carlos Carrillo ('30s and '40s), Primo Villanueva ('40s and '50s), Danny Villanueva ('50s), Alex Rivera Jr. ('60s), Pete Gerardo ('70s), Randy Robinson ('80s) and Tony Morales ('90s).

Entering from Holtville are Irvin Gaston ('30s), Julius Hilfiker ('30s), Marv Wood ('50s), George Hoyt ('60s), Mike Sudduth ('70s), Alex Wells ('80s) and Mario Lizarraga ('80s and '90s).

Going in from Imperial are Stan Jackson ('40s), Gilbert Wilson ('40s and '50s), Jim Wilson ('50s), Darrell Huddleston ('60s), Larry Stephens ('70s), Claude Smith ('80s) and Robert Thomas ('90s).

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