In 1958, a Roosevelt High School junior girl hit the national headlines when she won the National Junior Women’s Three Meter Diving Championship in an AAU meet held in Fresno.
Barbara McAllister Andrews went on from this auspicious beginning to a very notable world class career in diving, spring board, and platform.
Her top performance came in 1964 at the AAU National Indoor Championships where she accomplished a marvelous sweep of the one meter, three meter, and 10 meter events.
In the same year, Barbara was a member of the Olympic Team, picking up an eighth place and she also won the U.S. National Women’s Outdoor Three Meter Championship.
Other high points of her career were being picked alternate on the 1960 U.S. Women’s Swimming and Diving Team; winning the 1961 National Women’s Outdoor 10 Meter Championship; the 1962 U.S. Women’s Three Meter Championship; the Japanese National Women’s three meter and 10 meter Championships; and was a finalist in considerations for the Sullivan Award.
Barbara emerged from the Pan American Games of 1963 as the Women’s Three Meter Champion and in 1968 she was a member of the U.S. Olympic Team, picking up a 10th placing.
She was born in Fullerton, attended Fresno’s Rosevelt High School from 1956 to 1958 and graduated from Anaheim High School in 1959. She was a student in Los Angeles City College, 1959-1960; in Fresno City College, 1969-1971 and is currently enrolled at Sacramento City College.
If was asked to describe former high school and collegiate level football coach J.R. Boone in five words, no phrase would fit him better than a "man of action, not words." He was not a passive kind of guy. Boone was not a tightly-wound man. He worked hard at being the best coach that he could be and knew how to relax away from football. The initials J.R. don't stand for anything and he was a man of few carefully-chosen words. Born in Clinton, Oklahoma, Boone played football for Sand Springs High School and was good enough to be selected for the Oklahoma State All-Star Game in 1943. He went on to play for the University of Tulsa, earning nine varsity letters before graduating with degrees in physical education and social science. Boone was a four-sport athlete, lettering in football for four years, twice in basketball and track, and once in baseball. He was the captain of his football team, called "Junior" by his teammates, named Tulsa's "Outstanding Athlete" and selected on a variety of All-American teams.
He was drafted in the 22nd round by the National Football League's Chicago Bears and played for them from 1948 to 1951 before being traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 1952 and then to the Green Bay Packers in 1953. His versatility enabled him to play several positions including offensive back, defensive safety, punts, and kickoff returner. Boone's six-year pro career starts included 497 yards in 130 carries and five touchdowns in sixty-three games, sixty-nine pass receptions for 1,251 yards, eight touchdowns (18.1 average per catch), and seventy-two punt returns for 725 yards (10.1 average).
When he decided that it was time to try his hand at coaching, his first job was as an assistant coach at Selma High School in 1955. He stepped up as Lindsay High School's head coach from 1956 to 1958, winning the league title in 1958 by scoring 233 points to their five league opponents nineteen. Lindsay's best-ever team finished the season 9-0-0. He switched to Sanger High School in 1959, orchestrating another undefeated championship season and adding four more consecutive league titles during 1960-64. He signed on as head coach at Reedley Junior College in 1966 and his teams would claim four conference titles between 1966 and 1972 plus the California JC State Championship in 1971. Boone was later named to the California JC Coaches Hall of Fame. J.R.'s final coaching job was at Fresno State. Following Darryl Rogers, who was 42-32-1 from 1966 to 1972, J.R. was 2-9-0 as the Bulldog's head coach in 1973, 5-7-0 in 1974, and 3-9-0 in 1975. After the 1975 season, J.R. resigned from Fresno State. He was still a fan favorite and certainly respected by the players that he coached.
H.M. "Hy" Ginsburg was one tough customer. In his days at Tulare High School before graduating in 1922, he racked up All-Conference honors in football, basketball, and track. He was always known for his work ethic and his "all for the team" attitude. At Fresno State College, he was a multi-year starter on the Bulldog basketball team and an all-round performer on the track team. Erwin was a ten-flat sprinter in the 100-yard dash and his long jump efforts of over twenty-three feet brought him close to a world record. His work ethic was also present in his schoolwork as he served as the Fresno State Student Body President and Valedictorian of the Class of 1922. He completed his Master's work in English with Honors and was ready to embark on his long career as an English teacher and coach in the Fresno area.
He taught and coached at Fresno High for twenty-eight years from 1929 to 1956 and the results were of legendary proportions. In football under his tutelage, the Warriors had 101 wins, thirty-six losses and nine ties in sixteen years with valley championship years in 1937, 1938, 1940, and 1952. In basketball, his teams had eighty-six wins and fifty defeats including two Valley titles in 1934 and 1937 and at one stretch, they won twenty-three consecutive games. Ginsburg coached track at Fresno City College for eleven years in which his teams won seventy of ninety-three dual meets along with three conference titles and three Northern California Championships."Erwin was the most innovative man and the most inspirational man I ever met," said Robin Rush, who was a football player on Fresno High teams under Ginsburg and would go on to a successful football coaching career himself at Hoover and Bullard.
Erwin Ginsburg was known as a strict disciplinarian and an excellent judge of talent. He talked Les Richter, a junior at Fresno High who had never played football, into coming out for the Warrior team. Richter later went on to become an All-American player at Cal and an All-Pro with the Los Angeles Rams. Richter once said of his former mentor, "Coach always expected 100% effort, nothing less. Erwin practiced what he preached and he preached a pretty good sermon." Robin Rush remembers, "As a teacher and a coach, Erwin wanted things done right. He dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's. He was very demanding. When I became a coach, I had kids run a lap and I wanted that last step in that lap to be a full, running step. I got that from Erwin Ginsburg." After he retired in 1967, he served as the Superintendent of Northern Officials in the North Central California Interscholastic Federation until 1976. He was inducted into the California Coaches Hall of Fame in 1967. Ginsburg passed away in 1989.
Some baseball players can last twenty years in the game and never play for a championship team. Larry Powell was on the roster of seven pennant winners in a five-year span. "Makes for a good trivia question and I actually heard one radio announcer in the Bay Area ask, 'What baseball pitcher was on three pennant winners in the same year?'" Powell said with a grin. "My best pitching years were in the armed forces, but that was the problem some great ball players faced, too." Powell was born July 19, 1914 on a ranch between Reedley and Dinuba. The Powell family farmed mostly raisin grapes. Powell, a left-hander, developed an unusual way of forging a smooth pitching motion. "By my senior year in high school, I was 5'10" and weighed 145 pounds soaking wet, so when the others were playing basketball, I was throwing a football. I did that most of the year and I developed an easy pitching motion that was easy on my arm." He didn't get the opportunity to pitch until his senior year. Coach Jack Savory taught Powell how to throw a screwball and that was his best pitch. Control came with hard work throwing back and forth to his brothers. In 1932, he helped his team to win the league title, but was beaten 13-0 in the semifinals of the valley playoffs against Roosevelt High.
When Powell turned twenty-one, he put on fifteen pounds and his throwing velocity improved. He also had more confidence and pitched so well against Sanger in 1935 that he was asked to play on their team for the following season. "We ended up winning the so-called valley League which consisted of teams from Sanger, Reedley, Selma, Kerman, and Lemoore." Sanger played the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League in an exhibition. Powell said he got beat up a little, but San Francisco manager Lefty O'Doul liked the way he threw. Art Ramage was manager of the Fresno Tigers, but also a Seals scout, so he signed Powell. Powell went to spring training in Hanford, but before he had a chance to pitch, he got a call from Uncle Sam and ended up in the Army. Powell was asked to list the three choices of service that he would like. Field artillery was only his third choice, but that was what he got and reported to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. That's where politics took over. The bad news was he flunked out. The good news was Colonel Whiteside noted on his record that he was a baseball player. Powell was sent to Colonel Turner to be assigned to a team, but added that the 18th artillery group was the best. "So I ended up pitching for them. We wound up winning the championship and I pitched a beautiful game in the final game, beating the team that had won each year before,Powell said. "I won two games in the five-game playoff." It was only later that Powell learned that Colonel Turner had bet on the 18th.
Following discharge, he joined the Red Sox and the strange pennant situation began. He was a week with the Red Sox and they ended up winning the American League. He was sent to the Seals and they assigned him to Salt Lake City. They both won pennants. Powell said he pitched a few good games, but had lost the motion and struggled. "I was thirty-eight at the time and just pitching terrible. So I sat down and tried to figure out what I was doing before when I was winning. The Seals released me and I pitched for both Fresno and Visalia in the California League. For some reason, I started to come around." Powell pitched for the Los Angeles Angels the next spring, but they sent him back to Visalia. Then he got a call from Des Moines, lowa where the team was battling for the pennant. Powell shut out Denver in his first start, beat them again, and captured the pennant. The following year, he pitched in Yakima, Washington and regained his form. He was 16-7 and the team won the pennant, repeating the following year. Powell passed away in May 2008.
Jim Price, who was handsome enough to play a role in A River Runs Through It, parlayed a boyhood love for fishing into a championship casting ability on a national competitive level. The Fresno-born and Fresno High School alum, Price developed his rod, reel, and fly casting abilities at the Roeding Park pond where many Fresnans throughout the years have fished. Price's accuracy was such that his casting colleagues urged him to enter his first tournament in San Francisco in 1939. Price returned to Fresno with the Western Junior for Boys Accuracy Championship title for sixteen and under and 5-Ounce categories. This was just the beginning.
In 1940, he entered the Western Senior Tournament in Huntington Beach, winning the Skish (ordinary tackle and reel), Fly, and Bait championship. His confidence soared and Price decided to enter the National Association of Angling and Casting Clubs competition in St. Louis, Missouri. This time, he won the 3/8-ounce Accuracy Bait and Fly Champion. He also topped the national field for All-Round Accuracy by compiling the highest point total of the four accuracy events for which he was selected the NAACC Captain of the Al1-American casting team. In 1941, his success continued when he bested the field in the Western Senior All-Round Accuracy competition in Turlock. He again entered the NAACC meet in St. Louis to defend his title and squashed the field, winning every division which included dry fly, all- round, skish bait, and all-round skish.