The J. Walter Smith Student Center overflowed with pride and a sense of accomplishment Saturday night as the seventh annual induction ceremony of the GCC Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed its newest set of inductees.
Three alumni were honored as outstanding athletes with one inductee each in the outstanding coach, outstanding team and pillar of achievement categories.
Robert Thomas and Kim Lorimar, both former cross country and track and field stars, and former football great Bill Renison received outstanding athlete honors.
The outstanding coach award went to Tom McMurray, who retired in 2005 after nearly 30 years of coaching the track and cross country teams. McMurray’s leadership produced four state championship teams and 13 individual state champions.
Gary Wright, former Vaquero Sports Information Director, was bestowed the Pillar of Achievement honor.
“So many of you I recall competing, and I’ve followed your careers,” Wright said. “It’s great to be in the same room with the inductees.”
Since leaving GCC Wright has worked for 32 years in administration for the Seattle Seahawks, and has helped to coordinate media relations for the last 20 Super Bowls.
Lastly, the athletes who won the first-ever state championship in GCC history, the 1959 Men’s track team, received Outstanding Team honors.
Accepting the award on behalf of the team was Frank Kallem, Bob Jackson and Gene Zubrinsky.
The 2008 inductees join a select group of 27 individuals and seven teams in Vaquero history to be Hall of Famers.
Also during the nearly two hours of festivities, it was announced that Jim Sartoris, former Vaquero football head coach and longtime athletic director, was honored with induction into the California Community College Football Coaches Association in Visalia earlier in the day.
When the GCC Athletic Hall of Fame was started back in 2002, five individuals and one team were inducted in its inaugural ceremony.
Its intention is to honor the athletes and teams that have achieved excellence, and coaches and supporters that made a difference in the lives of others.