This spring, 2011, marked the third class to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame here at Vanguard University. In this year’s induction class there were five members added to the Hall of Fame.
“One of the best things we have done at VU is the establishment of the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame establishes tradition and tradition never graduates,” Athletic Director Bob Wilson said.
First, Ed Arnold was selected for his meritorious service to the University Athletic Department. As a dominant figure in broadcasting, he has served on various station newscasts including KTLA, KABC, and currently KOCE. He is an avid supporter of all Vanguard teams; he and his wife are fixtures in the stands of sporting events.
“It was an unforgettable induction ceremony and was done with such meaning and class. We were especially moved by the introductory comments from Athletic Director Bob Wilson. It is an incredible honor, though I was very surprised when I received a phone call informing me I had been selected,” Arnold said.
Second, Dr. Wayne Kraiss was inducted for his service as President of Vanguard University from 1975-2000. During his time as president of the school, he was very supportive of the development of the athletic department and thanks to his leadership, the department has evolved greatly.
“The five people inducted represent a wealth of tradition for VU. In the category of Meritorious Service with Wayne and Ed you have people that not only have a passion for athletics but people that have contributed to the growth and well being of athletics at VU,” Wilson said.
Third, Dave Mcleish was added to the Hall of Fame for his work as a men’s soccer coach from 1986- 2001. He is a very influential person in the world of Orange County soccer; he has coached various levels for 30 years. He was the coach and mentor of current Director of Soccer Randy Dodge.
“Dave McLeish, as coach, laid the ground work for what we have in our soccer program now,” Wilson said.
The fourth inductee was the 1985 Baseball team who with a record of 45-20-2 participated in the NAIA world series. They are the third team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and rightfully so. They had key moments including beating star USC pitcher and future MLB Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.
“The 1985 baseball team was one of the first teams to represent SCC at the time, but VU at the national tournament,” Wilson said.
The last member of the 2011 class was Mattias Johansson, selected for his excellence as both player and coach. The Vanguard tennis program has undergone a vast transition, beginning with his on court dominance and currently with his coaching. He played at Vanguard as the number one ranked player in the country and his teams have reached the quarterfinals 12 times in his time with the program, including five GSAC championships.
“Mattias as both a student athlete and coach represents all that is good and great in VU athletics with his commitment to excellence,” Wilson said.
The two previous classes, inducted in 2004 and 2007, featured such memorable athletes like the 1958-1959 Football team, the 1974-1975 wrestling team, and key coaches Bill Reynolds and Bryan Wilkins. In the first two inductions, 11 individuals and teams were nominated and selected into this elite group.
The purpose of the Vanguard University Hall of Fame is manifold. First, they aim to enhance the university and its athletic programs. They want to honor former student athletes for their outstanding achievements. They also want to reconnect and reestablish ties with athletes from the Vanguard University history. And lastly, they want to build up the identity of the school and athletic department.
A person can be elected into the Hall of Fame in any of five categories. The first is as an athlete who received any specific honor such as All American, national champion, or world champion in his/her sport. The second is as a coach who coached at least ten years in his or her respective sport and had significant recognition such as Coach of the Year. Third, they can be voted in as an honorary member for any one who had an outstanding contribution to the athletic department. Four, they can be nominated for meritorious service for proving themselves significant to any specific team or the department as a whole at the university. And lastly, for being a member of any team that had achieved something significant.
The ceremony held Friday, Feb, 25, 2011 was a night of celebrating the past athletes as Southern California College and now Vanguard University. The night was led by Director of Athletics Bob Wilson and the master of ceremonies was former basketball player Justin McIntee. The event featured many members of the Vanguard Hall of Fame and was attended by many current student athletes including the soccer, baseball, and tennis teams.
“The Hall of Fame event went extremely well. We have had nothing but great comments from those that were in attendance,” Wilson said.
As the University looks to build up its Athletics program, it is important not to forget the past and to honor the great athletes who have worn a Vanguard University uniform. With classes being inducted every three years, the fourth class with be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Spring of 2014.