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Honorees make hall

Group of athletes inducted into latest Glendale college athletic hall of fame.

March 15, 2011|By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan, Special to the Leader

GLENDALE — They each came Saturday night to be celebrated and honored for their accomplishments at the 10th annual Glendale Community College Athletic Hall of Fame.

But in the midst of sharing memories and smiling about their experiences, they each paid tribute to a special coach.

The 1972 co-ed volleyball team, Angela Brinton-Collins, John Block, Steve La Rusch, Chris Hale and Jimmy Evangelatos were each thankful to be inducted into the college's hall of fame. Before their speeches, they each mentioned a mentor who made a difference not only in their athletic careers but also in their lives.

"What we did back then was unbelievable," said Michael Cram, a member of the 1972 volleyball team that won the Southern California Championship "AA" title against El Camino College and remains the only co-ed team in school history to capture that crown.

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Cram credited the Vaqueros' success to 2006 Hall of Fame inductee Coach Blanche Donovan.

"She was instrumental," he said. "She let the players take over the game. She knew we had something special."

That team also won the Division I title that was sanctioned by the Southern California Community College Intercollegiate Athletic Council and had three players continue their careers at four-year schools. Cram played at Pepperdine University, and teammates Judy Thomsen transferred to Cal State Northridge and Roy Nichols went to Cal State Fullerton.

Thomsen later coached Brinton-Collins at Glendale college.

Brinton-Collins was an All-Western State Conference selection in 1983 before transferring to Northridge, where she helped lead the Matadors to the NCAA Division II title and earned the first-ever Honda NCAA Player of the Year award in 1987.

Brinton-Collins, a Glendale High graduate, looked back on her Vaquero career and remembered the grueling practices.

"My greatest memory was how hard [Coach] Dianne Spangler trained us," Brinton-Collins said. "We were the most conditioned team out there. After every practice, we were exhausted."

It was that drive from a coach that allowed Block to succeed as a Vaquero.

"I was planning on coming to Glendale College to pick up a few classes because I had already committed to USC," said Block, a Glendale High graduate who played for the Vaqueros in the 1962-63 season before becoming an All-American at USC. "But then Coach Abe Androff took me in and he worked with me and totally changed my game. I became a scorer here. This time here was transforming."

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