Athletic Hall of Fame Inducts New Members


Ekaterina Nikitina

CEREMONY DINNER: Inductees for the Athletic Hall of Fame, other alumni. family members and friends gathered in the Verdugo gym to celebrate on Oct. 14.

Shaira Arias, Staff Writer

“Once a Vaq always a Vaq” resonated in the Verdugo Gym when six new alumni were inducted for their achievements during the 14th Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony Oct. 11. An event that started out with just 150 people 14 years ago, is now considered GCC’s biggest event, bringing in 300 attendees this year. It not only reunites the alumni and community, but also raises donations that fulfill athletic program needs.

“The purpose is to really bring alumni and the community to the college; it’s sort of like an athletic open house so to speak,” Sports Information Director Alex Leon said.

This year’s inductees were Johnny Harrison, Student Adviser Joe Puglia, State Golf Champion Tammy Panich, former Major League Baseball player Freddy Sanchez, former football player Victor Trujillo, former football Coach Brian Beauchemin, and the 1977 football team.

“The excitement I got was people really seeing each other that haven’t seen each other in a long time,” Leon said. “For example, Freddy Sanchez has not been back since 1998 and then went on to play great success in the MLB.”
Chairman of the Athletic Hall of Fame, Jim Sartoris, has been one of the most influential figures in the history of GCC sports.

“I think it’s one of the best things we have done here on campus. It is very inspiring to see former athletes, coaches and counselors come back and be honored for their contributions to Glendale College and Glendale athletics,” Sartoris said.

Following the reception, guests were escorted to the Verdugo Gym for dinner and live music. After receiving their plaques, the inductees gave speeches about the role the college played in their lives and how it shaped who they are today.

For over 35 years, Puglia devoted himself to GCC as an adviser to students and professor. Puglia left his mark by advising not only student athletes but also ASGCC and the rest of the student body. This evening GCC welcomed him into the Hall of Fame by giving him with the meritorious award.

“I almost don’t believe it, I never carried a baseball bat and I never scored a point in basketball. But, it’s a tremendous honor to be considered worthy of such a great distinction,” Puglia said.

The Athletic Department., in effort to raise money, held a gift auction. Among the gifts being auctioned were, a week’s stay in London, UCLA vs. USC tickets, and Kings tickets.

Sartoris’ hopes once students graduate and go off to pursue their careers they forever feel part of the college and to come back to support the athlete endeavors, the teams and the campus.

“We want you to feel like you’re always part of us. We have a saying ‘once a Vaq always a Vaq’ and we hope that they believe in that,” Sartoris said.
A guest alumnus will have the honor of walking out with the captains for the opening game coin toss and cheer the Vaqueros football team on the side lines. The game will take place at Sartoris field against L.A. Southwest on Saturday.