Athletes of the 1960’s

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(Doc: Players of 60’s)

1961 Steve Smith as a freshman played golf and tennis. Also was a main cog in an undefeated lightweight basketball team. The next three years played varsity basketball, baseball and tennis. Played basketball and baseball at Cal

Al McCommon in 1958 was first freshman to make ALL CCAL in lightweight basketball

All League on championship baseball teams and All League in basketball and played football.


1965 Larry Griffin first string in varsity football, basketball and track as a sophomore. U of Oregon wanted to give him a scholarship for basketball on graduation, but Larry went to Cabrillo for two years and then to Oregon Tech as their leading scorer. Larry had a tryout with the Dallas NFL football team. Played pro basketball in foreign countries and with the Harlem

As a sophomore in 1963 Larry was the starting left end on the varsity football championship team at 6’3” and 175 pounds. Larry was also a starting forward on the varsity basketballs third place team. Monterey was ranked number one in Northern Cal this year. In track Larry did the high jump and ran the 120 high hurdles.

After the regular team practice during basketball his sophomore year, Larry would stay after and go against the two other senior, starting front line players, ALL LEAGUE football player Mark Schultz and that years ALL LEAGUE center, Roger Blanchard. A formidable duo, big, strong and athletic. Larry would face them one on one and then Mark and Roger together against him to rebound. Larry was put to the test, but never complained or asked out. He would bleed and get bruised, but he gave it his all and became one of the best basketball players from this area.

As a freshman on the JV baseball team, he was considered by his coach as good a pitcher as another freshman Pete Hamm, who later pitched in the big leagues. But the varsity need a hitter and infielder so Pete moved up to varsity and Larry went out for track the next year. The varsity being loaded with good pitching.

Larry had a football tryout with the Dallas Cowboys. To this day Larry is still active athletically. He has been participating in the police Olympics and winning events. This is an indication of the athletic ability that Larry had and still does.

Larry continued to play varsity football, basketball and track his junior and senior years. In track he broke the school record for the high jump going

6’ 3”. He ran the hurdles in 15.8.

Until the eighties, at least, he held the school career scoring record with 1160 points for a 16.6 average and during his senior season set the season record with 520 for a 20.0 average. Larry did this while still being a complete team player. In his senior year the ball went through Larry a lot and he was unselfish with the ball, not worrying about the scoring records team, league or section wise. If a team mate was open he would get the ball. In games under control, Larry would even give up his good shots to pass to someone who did not have as good a shot.

Larry was named by one of the preseason basketball publications for the 1964-65 season as one of the top seven basketball players in California high schools who are potential high school ALL AMERICANS.

The University of Oregon wanted Larry, but unfortunately Larry did not qualify academically. Even the Stanford coach came by and said he would take Larry if he could qualify. Larry played two years at Cabrillo and two at Oregon Tech. Then played some professionally and on traveling teams.

While at Cabrillo Larry was ALL CONFERENCE both years. As a freshman he was a unanimous choice, CO-MVP and had a 22 points per game average. The Sentinel did not give any such information in 1967.

Larry finished his college career at Oregon Tech receiving an honorable mention on the Division I NAIA team. He made first team All League the first year and second team the next year. Larry continued playing on traveling teams, over seas and worked out with the pros at Kezar in San Francisco during the summers. Had a try out with the Dallas Cowboy football team.

At present Larry is a well respected sheriffs deputy now stationed at Cabrillo College where he is still visible at athletic events. Former Cabrillo basketball coach, Bob Bulgaski allowed SCHS to use the Cabrillo gym for a big promotion event with Larry the main attraction. The Sentinel helped in the promotion with pictures and write ups of Larry and where to get free tickets given out by merchants in town. A good sized crowd bigger than the Civic could accommodate was on hand for the first practice game of the year.

Aptos Times. July 15, 2009. Deputy Sheriff To Compete In Police and Fire Games. Santa Cruz County’s Larry Griffin Is a World Class Athlete at Age 62. Larry Griffin is competing once more in the World Police and Fire Games this year in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from July 31 to August 9. The first WPFG in which Griffin competed were held in Barcelona, Spain in 2003. Over 10,000 first responder athletes competed in the games that year. That record could be broken this year in Vancouver. Since the first competition, the 6-5 Griffin has also participated in the games in Quebec City, Canada in 2005 and the 2007 games held in Adelaide, Australia. This year he will be competing in four track and field events, the javelin, discus, shot put and high jump. The 1965 graduate of SCHS has been one of the few athletes active in two professional spots, football and basketball, attending camps for both the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Cowboys. For the past fifteen years he has been a deputy for the Santa Cruz Sheriffs Department assigned to Cabrillo College. Larry will be competing in the Grand Master © 60-64 division.

Bill Lovejoy one of the many former Trident sports writers, who went on to work at the Sentinel as sports writers and above to editors. Three of his fellow SC mates were John Lindsay, Mark Bergstrom and Bruce McPherson, now in 2006 the Secretary of State. Bill has traveled the state taking pictures of local athletes for the Sentinel as well as doing pro sports. Bill’s longest jaunt was to Williamsport, PA for the Little League World Series in 2002. While in high school, as the Trident sports editor, Bill traveled with CCAL basketball champion Cards to cover them for three games at the Camilla Tournament in Sacramento with other league champion teams.

Bill retired from the Photo department in July 2008, as the photo editor, but still does a lot of the athletic shots for the Sentinel. Bill has started to teach high school students photograph through the county ROP program. With his approach to people and his professionalism, students will enjoy and learn how to successfully take excellent pictures. Bill started shooting photos for the Sentinel in 1964 at the age of 14.

Bill enjoyed coaching in the youth leagues, was successful and had the players improving and enjoying their time on the field. There are 50 year old men, who he helped still call him coach. Former Card Mark Hodges is now the top administrator for the ROP program.

From his retirement article in the Sentinel. Bill was also a talented writer and an insightful journalist. Many young reporters discovered that the man who calls himself “the grumpy photograph” a name most of the staff have used with fondness for many years. (But which is not really the true Bill) While at a shoot, Bill knew the people to talk to, over heard something that would lead to a better question and gave the information to the reporter.


Gary Ghidinelli as a freshman was ALL LEAGUE on the championship lightweight basketball team. Gary continued on as a three year starter on the varsity basketball team that won three consecutive league championships. Gary was and outstanding point guard and one who the old timers considered the bench mark for all future point guards to be ranked against as the tops ever at SCHS.

Gary was first team ALL LEAGUE in his junior and senior years. As a senior he was an unanimous choice as the Most Valuable player. Gary was chosen ALL CENTRAL COAST SECTION, ALL CABRILLO TOURNAMENT MVP AND MVP FOR THE DADS CLUB TOURNAMENT. He was also selected for the Southern half of CCS all star game.

His 1969 team was ranked fourth in the State by Imperial Sports Syndicate of Los Angeles, who had ranked them fifteenth in 1968. The San Jose Mercury ranked them second in the Central Coast Section. The San Francisco Chronicle ranked them fifth in Northern California.

The three year record for Gary’s basketball teams starting in 1967, listed by year, league record, season record before playoffs, post season record and the complete record. 1967, 12-2, 19-3, 0-3 19-6; 1968, 13-1, 20-1, 2-1, 22-2; 1969, 12-0, 26-1, 2-1, 28-2. The 1968 season was the first playoffs for the Central Coast Section.

From the San Jose Mercury, January 11,1969. Headlines: Cards’ Little Giant’ Ghidinelli Pilots Santa Cruz Quintet. Ghidinelli is a winner and he knows no other way than to be on top. Last year the versatile Santa Cruz star was an All Monterey Bay League performer in football, basketball and baseball. And all three Cardinal teams won the league championships.

Ghidinelli skipped football this season to concentrate on basketball as he was making a determined effort to show how good a basketball player he is. The 6’ guard looks like he is in the land of the giants when takes the floor with his mates. Santa Cruz, the Mercury’s No. 2 ranked team, features three players over 6’5” in height. Despite this, Ghidinelli, is the teams second leading rebounded at this point in the season. The flashy guard is also the teams top scorer and has led in assists the last three years. All of which shows that he is a compete player. His coach believes all of what Ghidinelli does gets lost beneath all the scoring the team does. The team has five shooters, so no one person is going to dominate the scoring derby. Gary is so unselfish, he normally takes less than 11 shots a game. If he would take 20, he would score 20 or more a game. The best indication of Ghidinelli’s true ability came when Santa Cruz lost its only game this season, falling to powerful Bishop O’Dowd. The spunky guard fired in 29 points to almost hand the Cards an upset victory, and he did it on only 18 shots. In other crucial games, he has hit 26 and 25 points and added 11 and 10 assists, respectively, to his scoring production. That amounts to over 40 points a game attributed to his play. He was an excellent player the previous years, but he is so much improved. The improvement came through Ghidinelli’s willingness to work. He worked on basketball all summer. Now he stays at least a half an hour after practice to work on his shooting. All the work has paid off with the Card’s 11-1 record and numerous college contacts. Coaches from all over the state have seen the team play. The scouts are also interested in the three inside player’s Tom Foster, Kris Sorensen and Dave Paul. All this interest has made the schools postman feel like he is having a second Christmas season. Ghidinelli is primarily a fast break type of guard do to his speed and quickness, but the coach feels the lithe Ghidinelli is equally adept in any offense of defense. (a listing of past achievements is given, but not listed here again as they are given above).

USF wanted Gary, Santa Clara offered a scholarship, but Gary had signed with San Jose State along with teammates Kris Sorenson and Dave Paul. There he also was a catcher for the Spartans. Gary played varsity baseball as a catcher for two years on championship teams and as a sophomore filled in at the catchers spot very capable for the injured player during the CCS playoffs.

In baseball Gary was the catcher on three championship teams and was ALL LEAGUE twice 1968 and 1969. Gary had one of the quickest releases and accurate arm. In the CCS finals of 1969, Gary threw out three base runners in the first inning. They were a running team, but they had never run into someone like Gary, but he made believers out of them. Gary was very savvy calling pitches and anticipating squeeze plays our steals and would stymie there chances for success. In 1967 the team was third at the first ever CCS playoffs. In 1968 and 1969 they lost in the finals.

In his junior year, Gary played defensive back on the championship football team and made ALL LEAGUE. His senior year he decided to concentrate on his shot and did not play football. He did have and excellent year with a top game against Bishop O’Dowd the top team in the Bay Area, scoring 26 points.

What a record. Gary played on four championship basketball teams freshman year on lightweights and the next three on varsity. Three years on championship baseball teams. One year on a championship football team. All together a total of 8 championship teams at SCHS. It has to be a record. His was one of the brightest eras for SCHS sports and Gary played a big part in all of it.

Gary was involved in CCS playoffs five times. Four times in the finals and once for third place.

During the summer before the start of his sophomore year in college, Gary injured his knee playing in the summer league at Cabrillo. That put a stop to his play.

Kris Sorensen started his basketball career at SC as a reserve center on the championship lightweight basketball with five other members of the varsity champions of the 1968 and/or 1969 seasons: star point guard, Gary Ghidinelli; Kirk Waller, Dave Paul, Dave Billardello and Rod Fleming.

With a lot of hard work, extra practice and desire Kris was able in his sophomore year to take advantage of his height and shooting ability to move from a reserve position to a first string, valuable member of the three consecutive championship varsity teams. Kris’s teammates recognized his effort and diligence by voting him the most improved player.

In the playoffs with North Salinas for the right to go to Sacramento for the Camellia tournament of champions, Kris was sick and probably should not have been playing, but he wanted to go. He was able to go hard for four to five minutes at a time and the set out for a spell before returning to the action and going all out again. He was a wild man rebounding and putting the ball back up. The Cards earned the trip to Sacramento. After the game Bill Lovejoy took a team picture and Kris looked the worse for wear. But he was able to make the dinner after the game provided by Dick Fassio and his wife at their restaurant.

Junior year Kris kept improving and was selected second team ALL LEAGUE. Kris was not just an inside player he could shoot the 18 footer too. On a 22 wins and 2 loss team, Kris at 6’ 6 ‘was even tougher on the boards this year and with the two other big men, Tom Foster 6’ 5” and Dave Paul 6’ 5”created havoc on the glass. Today that might not be that imposing, but at time there were not many teams who could match it. And the team did take advantage of their size by getting the ball inside for close in shots, even though they were also good shooters. The 1968 team had Dan Rodriguez at 6’ 6”. so the size factored into this year also.


Senior year he started piling up honors as his stature in basketball bloomed: first team ALL LEAGUE, ALL DADS TOURNEY, ALL CABRILLO TOURNAMENT and honorable mention ALL CENTRAL COAST SECTION.

Kris as was mentioned above was in the group of three top rebounders, he was second in scoring with 400 points and sixth in assist with 66 which is a lot more than most big men get. Normally they are receivers and not ones who pass to others.

When Tom Foster was out, Kris took on an even more important role on the team. He playing defensive center, which he had not done much of previously. From all the games won, it shows that Kris did the job. On a change in the offense, Kris moved to a high post position on the foul line of the area. He had multiple options: to screen for Gary, and on a switch step out for a return pass for the 16 to 18 footer, which was a good shot for him. Or he could move to an open area to receive a pass and take the options open to him. With the number of assist that he had, it meant he did quite a bit of passing.

His 1969 team was ranked fourth in the State by Imperial Sports Syndicate of Los Angeles, who had ranked them fifteenth in 1968. The San Jose Mercury ranked them second in the Central Coast Section. The San Francisco Chronicle ranked them fifth in Northern California.

The three year record for Kris’s basketball teams starting in 1967, listed by year, league record, season record before playoffs, post season record and the complete record. 1967, 12-2, 19-3, 0-3 19-6; 1968, 13-1, 20-1, 2-1, 22-2; 1969, 12-0, 26-1, 2-1, 28-2. The 1968 season was the first playoffs for the Central Coast Section.

Kris was a major league pitcher in the making until he hurt his shoulder pitching a game as a freshmen at San Jose State after only a few days out from basketball.

Kris pitched the Cards to two CCS final game appearances and two league championships and at the same time making ALL LEAGUE both years. In his senior year he was 11wins plus saves and no losses. Kris pitched in the State high school ALL STAR baseball game for the North. After the season Kris was selected in the major league draft by the Washington Senators in the twenty-seventh round. At that time, high school pitchers were not normally picked high.

He pitched for San Jose State for four years as one of the starters during series against league teams. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and pitched for the high A league Modesto Cardinals team. He pitched some with their double A team.

Tom Foster was a four year varsity basketball player. His freshman year he rotated in at the center position. The next three years he played defensive center and the important offensive forward spot, where he put his excellent passing skills to good use setting up others with close in shots. Tom was a good shooter and post defender, but his passing skills was probably his most important contribution to his teams. Tom was second in assists his senior with 82 while missing 9 games with an injury and four with minimum time played and had a 11.9 scoring average.

Tom was a team player making good passes to any one who was open. He blocked up the middle to cut down on easy shots for the opposition and knew how to position himself to best cover post men. Against the press Tom placed himself at the top of the foul circle from where he got himself in position for the entry pass or the second pass and then hit his streaking team mates headed down court. There were even times against a man to man press, Tom would give top guard, Gary Ghidinelli a break by taking the ball down court himself.

Tom was a calm steady performer, who was not an above the rim player, but one who would be in good position and capture more than his share of rebounds.

In his senior season Tom was second in assists with 82 while missing 9 games with a broken bone in his foot in the first game of the season. It took a while when he came back to keep from reinjuring the foot and to get back in basketball condition. For at least four games he played very minimally. Tom ended the season receiving league and CCS honors listed below. The strength of this team showed through when they lost only to the best team in the Bay Area while Tom was out or in limited duty. Steve Seymour stepped into a starting forward spot and Kris Sorensen took over the center position.

During Tom‘s last three years he was not the post man on offense, but was the trigger man for the inside offense, as passer from the mid post, wing spot. Tom was an important passer in the offense along with Gary who ran the main part of the team offense. Tom was adept at defending the post. Tom was first team ALL LEAGUE for three years.

He was ALL TOURNAMENT at the Dads Club tournament and at the Camellia post season tournament in Sacramento in 1967. In 1968 Tom again was ALL DADS TOURNMANT and ALL LEAGUE. In 1969 Tom was ALL LEAGUE, honorable mention ALL CCS by the San Jose Mercury and ALL CCS tournament in 1969. If he had not been injured, he would no doubt have been All Dads Tourney for the third time. As a sophomore on the MBL championship team of 1967, Tom was voted by the team as the most valuable player.

His 1969 team was ranked fourth in the State by Imperial Sports Syndicate of Los Angeles, who had ranked them fifteenth in 1968. The San Jose Mercury ranked them second in the Central Coast Section. The San Francisco Chronicle ranked them fifth in Northern California.

The three year record for Tom’s basketball teams starting in 1967, listed by year, league record, season record before playoffs, post season record and the complete record. 1967, 12-2, 19-3, 0-3 19-6; 1968, 13-1, 20-1, 2-1, 22-2; 1969, 12-0, 26-1, 2-1, 28-2. The 1968 season was the first playoffs for the Central Coast Section.

Tom was recruited and followed by BYU scouts his senior year. He visited BYU and was offered a scholarship, but went to Cal and played instead.

Dave Paul helped make the 1969 Cardinal basketball team one of the best squads in the area for its decade and probable longer. Dave was selected for the ten team MBL ALL LEAGUE FIRST TEAM. Some of Dave’s statistical contributions to the team was one of the best rebounders, second in recoveries or steals and third in scoring with almost 300 points. On any other team, Dave would have been the number one man in these categories. With only one ball to play with and the quality of the players on this team, every players statistics although they are very good, could have been even better without so many good players on one team.

Dave’s 1969 team was ranked fourth in the State by Imperial Sports Syndicate of Los Angeles, who had ranked them fifteenth in 1968. The San Jose Mercury ranked them second in the Central Coast Section. The San Francisco Chronicle ranked them fifth in Northern California.

The two year record for Dave’s basketball teams starting in 1968, listed by year, league record, season record before playoffs, post season record and the complete record. 1968, 13-1, 20-1, 2-1, 22-2; 1969, 12-0, 26-1, 2-1, 28-2. The 1968 season was the first playoffs for the Central Coast Section.

Dave played the vital role necessary for any outstanding team. He was the quick 6’5” forward that not many teams could match up with. Had the advantage of being quicker on defense, able to contain his man to less points than normal. If he would have been able to add to his scoring, the difference from what his opponent usually score and held what he held him to, his scoring total would be increased quite a bit from the good total he had. The team would vary its defenses from time to time to surprise and disrupt the other teams offense. This is one of the ways Dave had so many recoveries. With his size and quickness in press situations he was able to pick off passes, which led to easy scores.

It was something to watch Dave and the rest of the team working so hard to be the one coming up with the ball during work outs. Dave would win more than his share of these rebounds. During some of practices with a small rim inside the basket, so that only a few shots would go through, everyone on the court knew that when they fought for position it was not in vain. There was going to be a rebound and if they screened out or worked their way inside for an offensive rebound they had a chance to get the ball. Dave pasted on some of his genes to his son, who was the leading rebounded at Soquel at 6 foot. He could dunk from a standing position. He also received a volleyball scholarship to UOP.

Bob Bulgaski, the Cabrillo coach, commented how well Dave and the rest of the team was able to understand when they had the advantage on the press to double the ball, cover the passing lanes and take chances going for steals. But when they could see they did not have the advantage they dropped back into the regular defense, not giving away any easy baskets. Dave was the best in this situation having a sense of where the passer was most likely to with the ball when in trouble. When Dave picked the ball off it was two points as he would hit the first streakier down the floor.

In 1968 Dave was the top inside reserve player getting a lot of playing time. Dave’s size, rebounding abilities and quickness made it hard for opposing teams to match up with him.

Dave was recruited to San Jose State by Stan Morrison the frosh coach, who later became the head coach at San Jose, UOP, UC Santa Barbara and who is now the athletic director at UC Riverside. Stan played at Cal for Pete Newell Sr. Dave continued to grow as a player while playing for three years at San Jose State.

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