LBHS announces 2013 athletic Hall of Fame induction class

dwitte@losbanosenterprise.comSeptember 13, 2013 

Los Banos High’s athletic department announced its 2013 Hall of Fame induction class this week, with 11 individuals and one team on the list. The Hall of Fame began last year with an inaugural induction class of 13 individuals and two teams.

The induction ceremony includes a sit-down dinner and will be held Oct. 26. Tickets are $25, and are available by contacting athletic director Joe Barcellos at (209) 826-6033 ext. 319. Here are the inductees:

Anthony Austin, 1989, player – This 6-foot-6 sprinter won the Sac-Joaquin Section 100-meter dash his senior season, clocking a 10.93-second run. He also helped Los Banos to the section football title as a running back the previous fall, piling up 1,686 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns. He’s on the top-five list of all-time Los Banos rushers.

Michael Basinger, 1970, player – Basinger played four years of varsity baseball (earning all-league honors in two of them) and three years of varsity football (one all-league selection). He was drafted in the 41st round of the 1970 Major League draft, but went to Gavilan College instead to play baseball and football, earning all-conference honors in both. He was all-conference in football at UC-Riverside, and later played defensive end for the Green Bay Packers after signing as a free agent.

Rudy Berry, 1987, player – Berry played two years of varsity basketball at LBHS, earning the league MVP his senior year, as well as co-MVP of a section all-star game. He played a year at Modesto JC, during which he was all-league and honorable mention all-state, then put together two all-league seasons at Cal State-Stanislaus, where he set school records for all-time steals and most free throws in a game.

John Blackwood, 1985, player – Blackwood played two years of varsity football (all-league, area and district his senior year) and three years of varsity basketball (all-league, area and district both junior and senior years). He earned an athletic scholarship to Fresno State, where he played tight end.

Joe Bondi, coach – Bondi coached 28 years at LBHS, and was the school’s first athletic director, a position he held for 17 years. He was coach of the year for varsity football in 1969, and also coached on the staff of the 1988 and 1991 section-champion football teams.

David Bonillas, 1959, player – Bonillas was a busy guy in high school, playing football, basketball (in which he earned all league in two years), baseball and running track, as well as holding the Associated Student Body president position. He played four years of football and a year of basketball at San Jose State, and was inducted into the California Trapshooting Hall of Fame in 2009 after shooting about 130,000 targets in his trapshooting career (his brother Dan was inducted in 1990, as well as into the LBHS hall last year).

Lloyd Cotta, 1949, contributor (posthumous) – Cotta, who graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in dairy sciences, spent 20 years as the voice of the Los Banos Tigers and is considered one of the pioneers of Little League in Los Banos. He was the community’s Man of the Year in 1975, and was grand marshal of the Merced County Spring Fair in 2001. He passed away in 2011.

Tom Haggard, 1970, player – Haggard played three years of varsity baseball (earning all-league and team MVP awards), two years of varsity football (all-league, honorable mention for all-NorCal) and two years of varsity basketball (all-league, league MVP, team MVP), and was nominated for Merced County Athlete of the Year. He played two years of baseball at Modesto JC before transferring to Fresno State.

Herb Himmerich, coach/contributor – Himmerich coached in Los Banos Unified for 27 years, and was the only LBHS coach to advance a team to Arco Arena for the SJS basketball playoffs. He also coached football, wrestling and track.

Ralph Rago, 1951, player/coach – Rago earned 18 varsity letters at LBHS, earning the nickname “Hammerhead” as a fullback. He played football, basketball and baseball, ran track, swam, and even played his tennis matches after baseball games. He started coaching at Roosevelt High in Fresno in 1959, and spent 25 years as head coach at Davis High in Davis. He was the Director of Game Development for MLB in Britain for three years, and coached there, as well as in Nigeria and a few other European countries. He was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame last year.

David Zuniga, player, 1989 – Zuniga played two years of varsity baseball at LBHS, earning league MVP and all-district honors, then was an all-league shortstop both his years at Merced College. He played two years at San Jose State, where he was all-league shortstop one year. After the Mets drafted him in the 23rd round of the 1993 MLB draft, he played four years of minor-league ball, peaking with the Double-A Binghamton Mets in 1995. He was inducted into the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. He was LB’s head baseball coach from 2006 to ’11, compiling a 60-89-2 record.

1985 softball team – The ’85 team won the Sac-Joaquin Section title under the coaching of Gary Caropreso, who was inducted into the hall last year. Nancy Clement, who was also inducted in the inaugural class, was the team’s pitcher. Barcellos said he’s still trying to track down a roster to identify everyone who played on the team.

Enterprise staff writer David Witte can be reached at (209) 826-3831 ext. 6565 or

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