After a 23-year absence, golf has been reborn on the GCC campus and it has a leader who loves his school as much as he loves the sport he coaches. Head coach Greg Osbourne, a GCC student in 1976-1977, has brought a winning attitude and a willingness to build the program the right way.
GCC has also received support from Osbourne’s longtime friend and Academy Award Nominee (“The Godfather”) James Caan. Caan, who gets golf lessons from Osbourne regularly, has served as an assistant coach during his free time for the team.
“[Caan] has been very influential to me. We are very close friends and he is extremely well respected,” said Osbourne. “Because of him we have gotten national attention, now we have to use that to get ready for competition.”
Not only is Osbourne a member of the Screen Actors Guild for his work on the television show “Las Vegas,” he is also a member of the Professional Golfers Association. Osbourne credits GCC Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Mike Haney with the idea of a rebirth of the program in 2006. However, after a year of looking for a coach, Osbourne was offered the job after moving from Washington back to his old stomping grounds.
Osbourne was a two-star athlete during his time at GCC, playing both golf and football, along with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid and former NFL quarterback Bob Gagliano. Former athletic director Jim Sartoris was his head coach and current athletic director John Cicuto was his defensive coordinator.
Osbourne was the hire who bridged the gap between the two athletic directors, something Osbourne is very proud of. “I idolize those guys,” Osbourne said. “They were so influential to me, and what I do today is based on how they treated me.”
This year’s inaugural team may not jump off the page with their ability or their god-given skills, but Osbourne is more concerned with their ability to work hard and get better.
“Down the road these are the guys that are going to have the legacy of being the first team,” Osbourne said. “When you bring in guys that really want to do well because of who you are, what you are trying to accomplish, and who they are representing, that’s when you have a winning team.”
While the team has not been as strong as they hoped it’s the future that Osbourne is excited for. “Our goal is a championship, we may never win one, but that is always going to be the goal,” said Osbourne.
The Vaqs hosted their first home event on March 3 at Oakmont Country Club. The team earned the respect of the prestigious club and used that respect to put on a very successful tournament. Many school administrators, friends, family and club members showed up for the event. Even the opposing coaches took notice of the work that Osbourne put into the team. “The Oakmont treated us like kings and allowed us to put on a show for all the teams in the league,” Osbourne said.
The team consists of 12 players, three of whom are redshirting, or not competing this year in hopes of making the team next year. All 12 players have freshman eligibility and have a desire to help build a winning program.
Andrew Lepore, 20, from North Hollywood High School has been playing extremely well recently, including shooting one under par for the first 10 holes on the very difficult Oakmont course. Lepore looks to be the teams number one player for the rest of the season.
Tanner Theel, 17, from Kingman High School in Arizona ,played on a championship golf team and has shown much maturation this season.
Ryan Richardson, 22, from El Camino Real High School, is a former baseball player from San Francisco State, has started to show leadership for the team.
Patrick Grimes, 21, from Crespi High School, has shown a better grasp on the game lately.
Alex Sarkissian, 19, from Saint Francis High School, has battled illness this year, but is looking to finish out the year strong.
Marc McClure, 50, is the elder statesman on the team. McClure is a former actor who appeared in the films “Superman” and “Back to the Future,” among others, who is starting to compete at a high level.
Ernie Giapapas, 19, from Campbell Hall High School has a lot of experience and is improving his consistency.
Vittavat Klinmalai, 18, from Bell-Jeff High School is originally from Thailand is a great player who has experience.
Dave Song, 21, from Prairie Ridge High School in Illinois has only been playing a few years but is arguably the hardest working player on the team.
Micah Soule, 21, from Crescenta Valley High School, is redshirting and is working hard to refine his skills.
Antreas Hindoyan Jr., 18, also played at Bell-Jeff High where he was one of the top players is also redshirting this year and brings a positive attitude to the team.
Roman Hernandez, 20, from Alhambra High School ,has played little golf and is also redshirting this year.
“I am so proud of these guys and the work they have put in, said Osbourne. “They go down as the legacy no matter what.”
Osbourne has already started building next year’s team. With recruits coming from Northern California, Texas, and Nebraska, the coach has gotten his message out there and people have listened. “I am looking for guys that are here for three reasons: school, golf and transferring on a scholarship,” said Osbourne. “I want to be known for coming here and transferring kids out.”