Ten former student-athletes, two coaches and three teams will earn Hall of Fame induction during a ceremony at Pasadena City College’s Sexson Auditorium on Saturday, May 13 at 11 a.m.
This is the first time in five years that the PCC will induct new members. A ceremony was planned in 2020 but it was canceled due to the pandemic.
The new batch of inductees was chosen by a Hall of Fame committee, which includes several alumni. Robert Lewis, chair of the committee said in choosing nominees, the main criteria is how great the athlete performed while at PCC.
“It’s their accomplishments here that count. While some have gone on to bigger, better things, ultimately they still have to be a standout performer at PCC first,” Lewis said, further noting that the Hall of Fame is a very important part of the fabric of PCC Athletics.
Lewis recalled back in 2002, then student-athlete Jerome Harrison knocked on his door and asked him how to get to the Hall of Fame.
“I said to him that’s the best of the best of Pasadena City College athletics. That you have to do great things here at PCC to make it to our Hall. The student then said to me, ‘I’m going to be up there some day, you can count on it’.”
“That athlete was Jerome Harrison, who then went on to rush for back-to-back, 1,000-yard seasons in 2002-2003, play on a bowl team, and go on to become the NCAA leading rusher at Washington State. He made it to the NFL and broke Jim Brown’s single-game rushing record as a member of the Cleveland Browns.”
PCC inducted Harrison shortly after his career ended in 2011.
“The impact of having the Hall of Fame here in his situation was certainly inspiring and motivational,” Lewis remarked.
At the upcoming ceremony, both the 1974 and 1977 Lancers national championship teams will be inducted along with such PCC individual greats as 1972 All-American wide receiver Jesse Roberts, ’74 MVP quarterback Jim Lejay, and 2001-02 linebacker James Griffin.
Dennis Gossard, the school’s all-time football wins leader as a head coach will also make it to the hall.
The rest of the class includes “the 1978 state champion men’s track and field team, state champion hurdler Walt Butler, who is the senior member of the group from the 1962 Lancers, 1976 record-holding hurdler John Rudd, who will go in posthumously, Elizabeth Heskett, 2001 women’s track and field record-setting pole vaulter, Jo Ann Zwanziger, a former softball head coach and an athletic director for PCC women’s sports from 1975-1988, women’s soccer high scorer Kelley Hull (1997 and 1999), Elise King, softball region player of the year from 1981-82, Biljana Bosanac, an international student from Yugoslavia who set some records in women’s basketball in 1991-1993, and 2-time state champion men’s swimmer JC Barnett (1976-1978),” according to PCC.
“They are all deserving inductees and the teams that are going in all are champions,” said Lewis. “Our Hall is about the inductees themselves. It’s their day. Their time to shine.”
“We have had many passionate speeches made by our inductees and some brought tears to our eyes and others made us laugh. This is about our PCC Hall of Famers.”
According to Lewis, Mayor Victor Gordo will attend the ceremony.
PCC first inducted athletes in 1961. Legendary alum Jackie Robinson was in the inaugural class.
“Clearly his impact in sports in the 20th century and as an icon for civil rights makes him easily our most recognizable inductee. We celebrate him as often as possible as a reminder that he was ahead of his time in sports and a great representative of PCC (then PJC) athletics as a 4-sport star,” said Lewis.
Lewis expressed hopes that more members of the community will attend PCC’s athletic team events.
“The only way that our Hall of Fame can remain important is for future generations to carry the torch,” added Lewis.