If there is one thing for sure when it comes to the East Bay Athletic League, it's that there is a rich history of athletic prowess.
Be it the athletes, coaches, administrators, or a person in the community that enhanced a school's athletic program, there are numbers who should be honored.
By having a Hall of Fame at a school, it allows us to bridge the past to the present and give recognition to the hard workers who shaped the school in so many ways.
Some EBAL schools have an HOF, while some don't. Amador Valley, one of the oldest schools in the league, got on board a few years ago and it has been great to see some of the names that have been honored.
San Ramon Valley is another and this past weekend another class was inducted.
But while there are a few, there are other schools that do not have a HOF. How does this happen?
For starters, it is a lot of work -- more than you think. You need a person to organize the event and if I have seen anything in recent history it is the continual decline of people stepping up from the community to help the athletic programs at schools.
Then there is going to be a limited time frame for that person as they usually have children at the school, thus they volunteer their time. Once their child graduates, they understandably move on.
That screams for the committee to always have members who have underclassmen at the schools to hopefully have a smooth transition when the person in charge moves on.
Getting those people is the tough thing as people at are just not willing to step up. On local school has a person still running their athletic boosters' program and he has no kids still at the school.
He has done a hell of a job for the school but every time he plans to move on, no one is willing to step up to take over. Rather than see the school fall into the toilet, he stays in the program.
The second must for a HOF to be established is to get a selection committee knowledgeable of the history of athletics at a school.
The best I saw was the Tri-Valley Sports Hall of Fame. Early on the committee did not fit that description and their selections turned out to be some solid, but others that left many scratching their heads.
I was one of a few people brought on to the selection committee that were local sports media, all with a deep knowledge of the local high schools.
It was awesome to be part of the group and we put through several deserving classes of former athletes/coaches/community organizers that made the local sports scene memorable.
One of the people that was involved in the event as an organizer was San Ramon Valley graduate Guy Houston.
Houston is now involved with the San Ramon Valley High Hall of Fame. When I saw his name attached to a recent release for the Wolves latest inductees, I knew it would be well-deserved for the selections.
It was all that.
The San Ramon Valley High School Boosters Club honored the selections in a Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony on September 21 at the Crow Canyon Country Club.
Here are the four selections:
Dan Francis - Class of 1972 (Football, Basketball, Baseball)
A true three-sport athlete, lettering three years in football, basketball, and baseball. An all-league third baseman three years in a row, with two league championships. As a senior in football he was captain of league championship team, was selected league MVP, a unanimous selection for All East Bay, and Parker Robb Super Sport Player of the Year. Averaged 21 tackles a game and kicked six field goals. First SRV team to beat Monte Vista. Scholarship to Stanford, three-year letterman graduating in 1976. Active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Active career in insurance industry and involved in local community, active in Boys and Girls Club of East Palo Alto/Peninsula and BAATC (Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition), Chairman of the Silicon Valley Chapter of "Random Acts of Flowers" that serves elderly patients in hospitals and assisted living homes. Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House. Married his high school sweetheart, Kathy Calhoun.
Chris Carter - Class of 2005 (Football)
As a senior Chris led the Wolves to their first ever North Coast Section Championship. He was All-League, San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro Team, Cal-Hi Sports Offensive Player of the Year. Attended UC Davis, and as a senior was the team Most Valuable Player and Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He held records for career receptions at UC Davis. In 2019 was inducted into the UC Davis Hall of Fame. Was a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks and ended his career with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League, where they won the league championship in 2012.
Carter pursued a career in firefighting and graduated from the Phoenix Recruit Training Academy and was assigned to the Laveen Village Station where he served as an EMT Firefighter. Carter was killed in an automobile accident in September 2022. Hundreds of fellow firefighters, friends and family attended his memorial service.
Zach Kline - Class of 2012 (Football)
A three-year starter at quarterback, Kline led the team to the North Coast Section Final, while amassing statistics to be named California Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011. A 2012 U.S. Army All-American, Kline was also a finalist of the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback competition. All-State, All Nor-Cal, All-League in 2011, he was also the Danville Rotary Peter Villa Award winner given to the best football player in the San Ramon Valley.
Scholarship athlete to University of California, Butte Junior College, Indiana State and Fresno State, he ended his football with the Edmonton Eskimos (2017-2018) of the Canadian Football League.
Today, Zachary Scott Kline resides in Nashville, where he is an active member of the music industry as a writer and an artist. In 2022 he released his first album.
Jon Leach -- Coach (Swimming & Water Polo)
A graduate of Las Lomas High School and California State University, Chico, Jon started his teaching career at San Ramon HS in 1975.
Leach built a water polo program that became the gold plate standard in Northern California. The 2008 Bay Area News Group East Bay girls water polo coach of the year served as the coach of the girls' program at San Ramon for 13 years.
It was a stretch that included four North Coast Section championships and eight East Bay Athletic League girls' titles and a record of 273-78.
Leach also coached the boys' water polo team for 13 seasons.
"I'm mostly proud of the traditions that we have created here at SRV and the fact that all the (present and past) water polo coaches here have played for me at some point," Leach wrote in an e-mail after being named Coach of the Year.
"We have been lucky to have had some success over the years, and the younger girls learn from the older girls what it takes to achieve that success," he added.
Highlights from the dinner included:
*Dan Francis acceptance speech thanked and credited his coaches George Cockerton (baseball), Larry DeRushia (basketball) and Fred Houston (football).
He shared that he actually lived in the Monte Vista part of the San Ramon Valley School District and he said his life changed forever by going to SRV because he eventually married his high school sweetheart Kathy Calhoun.
*Zach Kline was introduced by SRV coach Aaron Becker, who spoke of Kline's achievements amid high expectations at San Ramon. Zach accepted the award with a taped speech from his home in Nashville where he has started his career as a singer/songwriter County Rock.
*Heather Johnston, a former player, and current girls water polo coach at SRV introduced and accepted the award for Jon Leach who was unable to attend.
Johnston spoke of the hard work, positive coaching of a very humble Leach who always wanted his players to be in the limelight and not him.
*A highlight video introduced the crowd to Christopher Carter and his father Chris Carter, representing his wife Leena and the family accepted the award for Christopher, who died in a car crash in Arizona exactly one year ago Sept. 23, 2022.
Carter talked about his son's love of the game and love of his teammates and expressed that his son had always said that his senior year at SRV was the best year of his life.