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Each Hall of Fame class includes a variety of SJND athletes, coaches, administrators, and supporters. They all have contributed to the longstanding athletic tradition at Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School.
When Anne attended SJND she wanted to participate in golf, but there was not a Women’s Golf Team for her to join. Anne passionately wanted to play and asked if she could try out for the Men’s Golf Team at SJND. During her sophomore year, Anne tried out for the Men’s Golf Team and made the team. From the moment she tried out for the Men’s Golf Team, Anne knew that being a female athlete on a male team, in a predominately male sport, meant she would need to work harder and be precise in her game. Even though it was challenging, Anne played on the Men’s Golf Team for two years. She credits her experience playing on the Men’s Golf Team to being that extra push that led her to become a better overall golf player.
During her senior year, Anne started the first Women’s Golf Team at SJND. At this time, Anne received many honorable awards, placing third in the North Coast Section and seventh out of two hundred in the National High School Golf Championship. She received a full athletic scholarship to attend California State University, Sacramento and became an All-American for Golf. Anne’s achievements as a student athlete at SJND laid the foundation for incoming female athletes for years to come.
Tomas and his family joined the Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School community in 2011 when Tomas’s daughter, Dana, was an incoming freshman at SJND. Dana was an athlete on the Women’s Volleyball Team for all four years, and during this time, Tomas took high quality action shots of the players and coaches. He captured memorable moments from the seasons, highlighting the dedication, emotions and love that the players had for the game. Through his photographs he was able to build strong relationships with the players, coaches, and student families and see our athletes excel.
Many thought that Tomas would stop photographing sports at SJND when his daughter graduated in 2015, but Tomas has continued photographing the new generations of SJND Women’s Volleyball teams and other sports since. In addition, when asked why he has continued to photograph at SJND, Tomas remarked, “Aside from just enjoying the experience of being at a Pilots match, I would get to know families and athletes and build friendships with them during each season. It’s really those friendships that bring us back every season.” The SJND community is extremely grateful for Tomas’ time, dedication, and his ability to showcase Pilot pride through his dynamic photography.
Peter (Pete) Piombo ‘63 was quite a character who loved baseball and his family dearly. You could possibly say that baseball was in his blood. Pete’s great uncle, Victor “Cookie” Devincenzi, owned the Pacific Coast League Oakland Oaks, a minor league baseball team located in Oakland, California. Pete and his family spent many Sundays at the baseball park, cheering on the Oaks, and later meeting at the Devincenzi house for Sunday family dinner.
Every high school baseball program needs a Pete Piombo. Pete played baseball while attending SJND and also came back to coach baseball. In addition to coaching the SJND baseball players, Pete also acted as a mentor to many. According to the late Dan Curry, our former SJND Athletic Director, “Pete always had a willingness to step in and do whatever was asked of him.” Whether it was working at Open House, driving kids to sport practices or games, or helping organize alumni games, Pete was always there.
When SJND Baseball Coach Ray Freitas died suddenly, Pete, the longtime Assistant Baseball Coach, was right there to take leadership and coach on an interim basis. Keeping the kids together and maintaining that sense of “team” and family was so important to Pete, especially under such tragic circumstances. Pete’s passion for
baseball and the SJND community helped him to head such a successful baseball program here.
Pete Piombo lit up whatever room he was in and he would make you feel like he has known you for years. In the 39 years that Pete coached baseball, he told his players to, “..not only win games, but to win in the game of life.” Pete never, never, ever lost sight of the fact he was your friend to the end.
His baseball number is retired and his framed jersey is in the gym lobby. He retired from Waste Management, formerly Oakland Scavenger Co., where he proudly gave 43 years of service. He enjoyed cooking for family, friends and was intensely proud of his Italian and Portuguese heritage.
Pete was the beloved husband to Catherine Piombo (deceased) and devoted father of Peter and Joey Piombo. He was the brother of Lena Piombo Duncan ’70, brother-in-law to Dominic Duncan, and uncle to Tony Duncan ‘ 96, Danny Duncan ‘ 00 and Andy Duncan ’03.
It may be shocking to hear this, but Cooper was not the star athlete on the Track & Field and Cross Country team when he first arrived at SJND. Starting out on the Varsity team his freshman year, Cooper knew he had to work hard in order to progress in the sport.
Cooper was extremely passionate about the sport and knew that he would do anything in order to become the best. Using his powerful mindset and competitive drive, Cooper constantly motivated himself to succeed by establishing goals and then quickly achieving them. He became a fierce leader at SJND, leading the team to three state championships, breaking high school records, and becoming one of the best runners in the state of California.
After graduating SJND, Cooper furthered his education at the University of Oregon, continuing his running career and athletic achievements at his dream college. Cooper was Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, participated in multiple NCAA Championships (winning two), received multiple honors, and broke national records. After his time at the University of Oregon, Cooper continued his love for running and pursuing his dreams. Cooper recently signed a professional contract with Nike and is working towards his next goal, becoming an Olympic athlete.
In addition to his athletic achievements, Cooper has made an everlasting impact on those around him. He has gained recognition throughout the Bay Area and state, and has formed a legacy for future runners at SJND.
As his SJND Track & Field and Cross Country coach Tony Fong remarked about Cooper, “he has a great heart, and he’s a great runner.” Cooper is an inspiration to the SJND family, community, and to current and prospective students.
Ray Young is a widely recognized and notable name at SJND, but specifically inside the SJND Gymnasium. Ray graduated from Montera Middle School in Oakland, California and never thought that he would be attending St. Joseph Notre Dame High School. Surprisingly, SJND was not Ray’s first choice of high schools to attend. This changed when Ray met Coach Frank LaPorte, who quickly became his biggest influence at SJND and acted as a father figure to him.
Throughout his high school career, Ray was recognized as a strong and reliable player on the team. Coach Gordie Johnson simply stated, “Whatever we asked of him he did and knew how to play off of his teammates. He always put in the extra effort and did whatever it took to become better.” These qualities led him to become an impactful teammate, earning his impeccable reputation and his award as a McDonald’s All-American.
After high school, Ray continued his basketball career at the University of California, Los Angeles and joined the Golden State Warriors summer team roster. Although Ray may have originally not wanted to attend SJND, his time at SJND is one of his best experiences and he would not change anything.
In 1971, SJND was part of the Catholic Athletic League, which included the following Catholic schools in the Bay Area: De La Salle, Bishop O’Dowd, St. Elizabeth High School, Moreau, Salesian, St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s. SJND was a small school, but more specifically SJND was the smallest school, with only 49 boys in the student body.
At the start of the season, the 1971 Men’s Golf Team had no idea of their honorable accomplishments to come. The 1971 Men’s Golf Team players were Paul Da Valle, Mike Fry, Larry George, Steve Kline, Jim Richardson, Richard Schmidt, Mark Shorba and Bruce Sergent.They won the League Championship, facing larger schools with powerhouse players. The 1971 Men’s Golf Team worked together in order to achieve greatness in the sport not only as an individual, but as a team.
Being a player on the 1971 Men’s Golf Team at SJND, taught these men the importance of integrity, honesty, and collaboration as human beings and as golf players. Playing golf at SJND was a cherished experience that fostered their love and respect of the sport that they continue to have to this day.
Chris Aria attended SJND from 2004-2008, but only played tennis during his last two years of high school. In Fall 2005, Chris decided to start a Men’s Tennis Team at SJND. Fortunately, Chris was able to gather enough male students to form a team and the Athletic Department was able to find a coach to support them. While playing tennis at this time, Chris went undefeated as the #1 singles player for SJND with a record of 40-0. An amazing accomplishment that lifted the reputation of SJND as being “just a small underdog school.”
After graduating from SJND, Chris pursued his tennis career at the University of California, Davis on a scholarship. His tennis career did not end there. He played minor league professional tennis and ranked #1 in Northern California in both Men’s Open Singles and Men’s Open Doubles. In 2020, he was named “Player of the Year” in Men’s Open Doubles for all of Northern California. In 2021, he was ranked #2 in the Nation in Men’s Open Doubles.
Tennis is not Chris’s only passion. Between the years of 2014-2019, Chris took a break from playing. He decided to attain his Juris Doctor Degree from Santa Clara University School of Law and became an attorney.
Currently, Chris has combined his passion for tennis with his desire to give back to the community. His close friend and fellow SJND alumni, Teddy says, “Chris has the ability to take his talent and spread good to others.” He exemplified this by using tennis as a vehicle for charity. He hosted tennis charity tournaments to raise money for many foundations. With one of his charity tournaments, he raised $60,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross.
Chris simply expresses, “tennis completely shaped my life for the better” and “SJND provided the platform for my future growth and success.” He has always felt encouraged and loved by his coaches, teachers, classmates, teammates, and the SJND community. Chris said that he could not be more honored and thankful to be the first male tennis player inducted into the SJND Hall of Fame.
Dan Curry, well-known in the SJND community as Mr. Curry, spent 17 years at Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School. He served as an Athletic Director, Associate Athletic Director, Physical Education and Health teacher, as well as the unforgettable sports announcer at SJND basketball and volleyball games.
Dan was a blessing for SJND. During his years as Athletic Director, SJND won dozens of league titles, six North Coast Section Championships and two CIF State Championships in a variety of sports. As a testament to his dedication and utmost care for SJND Athletics, Dan also helped organize and begin the SJND Booster Club to encourage funding for the SJND athletic programs. Dan’s leadership definitely did not go unnoticed. He received the California State Athletic Directors Association, Section Athletic Director of the Year award for the North Coast Section.
His influence was widespread throughout SJND. Dan mentored coaches, helping them become strong leaders and confident role models for student athletes. He also participated in non-athletic activities like Campus Ministry retreats, field trips, and even theater to connect with the students. He knew that there was much more to the athletes than sports. Dan continuously influenced and motivated the SJND community and his spirit and passion for SJND Athletics continues to live on.
Phoebe grew up as part of the SJND community. Her education began in kindergarten at St. Joseph Elementary School, and she attended various SJND volleyball camps during her childhood. In 2009, Phoebe began high school at SJND and happily joined the SJND Women’s Volleyball team. She made the Women’s Varsity Volleyball team as a freshman and had a major impact right from the start. On the court during her freshman year, Phoebe earned BSAL Second-team All League and received BSAL First-team All League honors her sophomore through senior years. Phoebe’s influence on the court was just as inspirational off the court. At graduation, she was presented the Spirit of the Pilot award. This award is granted to an athlete who exemplifies great character, leadership, and pride in SJND. As her close friend Louis states, “she has been a really great example of how to carry yourself and how to treat others.” She truly is an embodiment of SJND.
Phoebe continued her athletic career at University of California, Santa Barbara. At UCSB, she constantly reached high statistical rankings for her conference and received recognition from the Big West Conference. Her consistency and effort on the court displayed her dedication for the game, but also her respect for her teammates. Volleyball has brought her long-lasting connections and it is what she is most thankful for from the sport. Discussing the sport, Phoebe says, “What I hold on to today are not the wins and losses, but the moments spent together building friendships to last a lifetime.”
Alex is one of the Top 5 SJND Basketball players and is a major contributor to the school’s basketball legacy. He led by his words and actions. Alex came to practices early and was the last to leave. He was always the hardest worker and his teammates followed his example. Fellow teammate Doni states, “Alex influenced me to contribute 100%.” His teammates wanted to work as hard as Alex and achieve the same goal. Senior year a new head coach, Don Lippi, led the Men’s Basketball team to the school’s third State Championship. Alex was a huge part of this basketball team’s victory, which had not been accomplished in over 10 years.
At the end of his senior year, Alex received a scholarship to the University of California, Santa Barbara. At UCSB, he was named Big West Co-Player of the Year, he led the team to the top seed in their conference, and he made the All-Time Leading Scorer list. After college, Alex continued to play basketball overseas for 10+ years. In those years, he played basketball in many countries, including Argentina, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, and Poland.
Alex’s ambition motivated him to achieve his goals. His other teammate, Ron emphasizes, “Alex, no matter where you start, it’s about where you finish.” Whether you join a program on the lowest level or start on the varsity team, Alex modeled what it meant to work for your dreams and to succeed.
Joe was a two-sport athlete in both baseball and basketball. He played on the same SJND Basketball Team as Jason Kidd and Calvin Byrd, both fellow Athletic Hall of Famers. Even though Joe is a basketball state champion, he truly shined as an athlete on the baseball mound. He received section awards as First-team All ESAL in 1992 and 1993, plus ESAL Player of the Year. Joe held himself to a high standard athletically, but also with his actions and character. As a leader on the baseball team, Joe inspired his timid teammates to feel confident and fearless. Joe knew how to connect with his teammates and bring everyone together over a common love of the sport. He was a great individual athlete, but was an even better team player. Joe says that, “Teammates are the reason any success happens as an individual.” The friendships he made with his SJND teammates continue to be strong.
After graduating high school, Joe continued to play baseball at the next level. He went to Seminole State College and then transferred to the University of San Francisco. In 1996, Joe was drafted by the Atlanta Braves to play baseball. Over the course of his professional career, Joe played for the Boston Red Sox, Florida Marlins, Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Rays. Joe’s playing career ended in 2010, but his passion and close relationship with baseball did not stop. He became a professional scout for the Boston Red Sox, and is presently a scout for the Seattle Mariners.
Jennifer’s success and leadership at SJND was exemplified through her swimming. She was a quiet leader that influenced others through her talent. Her honors spoke for themselves. She was an All-American for three years, undefeated in dual meets and league individual swims, and placed in the top eight at NCS each year. Jen led her team confidently through her skills and her senior year made it to the NCS relay with her teammates – one of her most memorable moments. Jen continued her swimming career with a full athletic and academic scholarship to the University of the Pacific, which was ranked 20th in the nation at the time. At the University of the Pacific, Jen graduated with a degree in Biological Sciences and a doctorate in Pharmacy.
Currently, Jen is a wife, a mother of two children, and a Director of Pharmacy Services at Health Physicians. Even with all of these passions, she participates on the Masters swim team. Swimming has taught her how to focus and balance her life. Her mother says, “she can always say that her foundational and formative skills began at the high school.” Jen felt supported and inspired by the SJND community and it encouraged her to follow her goals.
Ken Rodrigues joined the community in 1975 after marrying 1996 Athletic Hall of Famer, Gail Rodrigues, or as many at SJND call her, Mrs. Rod. The Rodrigues family have been important members of the SJND community for many years. This began when Mrs. Rod attended the former women’s high school here called Notre Dame and returned to SJND as a teacher after graduating college. The Rodrigues family legacy continued as their children, Jen Rodrigues ‘96 and Stephen Rodrigues ‘99, attended SJND as well. His wife, Mrs. Rod, taught at SJND for the past 40+ years and continues to support the school in other ways on campus with Mr. Rod.
Since joining the community in 1975, Ken has been one of the most supportive members of SJND. Ken’s support stretches throughout the entire campus, but he contributed significantly to the SJND Athletics. He has supervised basketball games for over 20 years, volleyball games for over 10 years, and was a driver for our basketball teams for 4 years. Ken also coached baseball for six years. In recent years, Ken has helped run Mrs. Rod’s Cafe, located inside the Kelly Gymnasium. Outside of helping with SJND Athletics, Ken has been in charge of supervising the Library, proctoring AP tests, acting as the crossing guard, and even handing out school lunches to students and staff. Ken supports SJND to this day, continuing to influence the SJND community through his actions and constant willingness to help. SJND is truly appreciative of Ken.
The 1964-1965 Men’s Basketball Team was the pilot of the basketball legacy at SJND. Members of this team played basketball together during their freshman year and continued until their senior year of high school. Unfortunately, the team had nearly lost all of their games, until senior year, when things started to turn around for the team.
The 1965 Men’s Basketball Team never played a home game due to the fact that SJND did not have a gymnasium, nor was one being built at the time. For this reason, the team practiced outdoors in the elementary school courtyard or at multiple offsite gyms in the early mornings. Imagine never having home court advantage! Despite these circumstances, the SJND Basketball team kept persevering and became the Bay Area Cinderella team of the season. This once easy to beat team tied for first place in the Catholic Athletic League and reached the championship game. Sadly, they did not win the championship game; but, the team left a lasting impact on everyone. Team member Bob Flocchini described the team as, “… trendsetters for SJND basketball teams for years to come.”
Prior to their senior year, Saint Joseph Notre Dame started winning more games and became an increasingly well-known basketball program in the Bay Area. Monsignor Wagner, the pastor of St. Joseph Parish, purchased land on Chestnut Street and had the gymnasium built. He considered the facility a gym as well as a parish hall for the community. In 1966, the elementary and high schools began using the gym and the land that he purchased is the same location that our current SJND gym was built upon.
Retired SJND principal Anthony Aiello’s interest and involvement in athletics at the high school level began at the onset of his career in Catholic education. As a young child growing up in Pittsburg, Calif., Mr. Aiello played sports at St. Peter Martyr School, Pittsburg Boys Club, and thereafter at Pittsburg High School. After graduating from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, he was hired by the Marianists at St. Joseph High School in 1962 where he started off teaching social studies and coaching frosh basketball and varsity baseball. He became Principal of St. Joseph High School in 1970, which would merge with Notre Dame Academy in 1985 to become Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School. Mr. Aiello was a great supporter of athletics during his tenure at SJND, where he served as Principal until he retired in 2007. Mr. Aiello credits his colleagues and teachers who have taught during his time at SJND, stating, “There were many special people in my 44 years as principal of SJND. They continue to have a special place in my thoughts and heart. They were dedicated and compassionate in their ministry to the young men and women we taught.”
Francis Raymond ‘Ray’ Freitas was born in Watsonville, Calif., in 1940 and resided in Oakland most of his life. He began his coaching career at St. Jarlath in 1974, where he coached basketball and baseball and would coach there until 1987. He was also president of the Oakland CYO at the time and would hold that post for over 20 years. In 1981, he became an assistant baseball coach at St. Joseph High School. He became head coach in 1984. During his time at SJND, Freitas coached MLB player Joe Nelson, former NBA Star Jason Kidd and a slew of other talented baseball players. All of his players were important to him, no matter their skill level; he loved coaching and mentoring them. Coach Freitas passed away December 16, 2003 and is survived by his mom Gladys; brother David; wife Sandy; sons Ron, Gary and Rick; and grandchildren Sophie (SJND Class of 2018), Isabella (SJND Class of 2021), Kevin, Lauren, and Francis. His number still hangs on the right field wall at all Pilot home games.
A four-year starter on SJND Women’s Basketball team, Kate was part of the first SJND Women’s basketball team to qualify for the North Coast Section Playoffs and was also the first SJND Women’s Basketball player to earn a college scholarship to play D1 basketball at UC Riverside. Not only was Kate a four-year starter, she was captain and an All-League selection all four of her years at SJND. A tough, gritty point guard, Kate could do it all offensively and defensively, she even had the task of guarding the opposing team’s center when the situation called for it. Kate graduated from SJND as the Women’s Basketball career leader in points and assists. Longtime SJND faculty member and Girls Basketball Coach, the late Steve Arlett said he would do “everything in his power to make sure that nobody ever wore her number again.” Kate states, “I made some lifelong friends and a lot of memories along the way. I now live happily with my partner, Alysa and love life a lot!”
As the captain of the SJND Baseball, Men’s Basketball, and Men’s Soccer teams, Jon Gordon had the honor of playing for Hall of Fame coaches Ray Freitas and Frank LaPorte during his time at SJND. During his senior year, Jon played soccer and basketball during the same season. On “double header” game days he would play a soccer game in the afternoon and then change in the car on the way to the evening basketball game. The two-sports-in-one-season phenom received several All-League, All-Island, and All-Tournament selections, as well as Player of the Week honors. Colleges recruited Jon for all three sports and in the end, he chose St. Mary’s of Moraga as they offered him a soccer scholarship and an opportunity to play baseball. Naturally, he ended up playing basketball there too. Jon explains, “I sincerely believe that my time at SJND made me a better person. I made lifelong friends, learned lifelong lessons, and I am incredibly grateful and proud to have been able to call myself a Pilot.”
Peter “Pete” Lillevand starred on St. Joseph’s 70 lbs. CYO Basketball teams for several years before crossing the street and becoming a Pilot. Pete was Captain and Most Valuable Player in his senior year, during which he earned All-League honors in the Catholic Athletic League and All-East Bay team. He graduated #1 in his class and went on to Santa Clara University where he played basketball. During his junior year, Santa Clara reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships before losing to Defending National Champions UC Berkeley. After college, Pete served two years as an Officer in the US Army. He went on to receive his law degree from USF and in 1966, he joined the San Francisco law firm Orrick Herrington and Sutcliffe where he has practiced as a corporate lawyer for 52 years. Pete reflects on his time at St. Joe’s saying, “One thing is clear, St. Joseph’s Grammar School and St Joseph High School, in tandem with our parents, played a huge role in instilling in my brother Dave and myself the importance of education, character and the motivation to succeed. Many thanks for those gifts of the past…and a heartfelt thanks for the gift of my induction.”
Crystal Rizzuto was captain of the SJND Softball Team and named “Most Outstanding Player” all four years at SJND. As a freshman, she led ACCAL in batting average (.556), and repeated as a sophomore, with an average of .485. Crystal received many awards while at SJND, including three-time Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League All-Team selection and four-time Scholar Athlete award winner. Her senior year, she also won the Distinguished Athlete award. Crystal earned a Division 1 scholarship to Maryland where she was a two-time All ACC team selection and four-time Intercollegiate Athletics Scholar Athlete. Starting every game during her college career, Crystal held impressive stats which would lead to an offer to try out for the Washington Glory (National Pro Fastpitch Team) and the USA Junior Olympic Team, as well as an invitation to play internationally for the Italian National Team. “I sweat and bleed for this game, and in return it completes a part of me.” – Crystal’s 2001 yearbook quote.
Born is Holtville, Calif., in 1946, Eugene “Gene” Gaxiola Valenzuela grew up in Newark and attended Newark High School where he was three-sport athlete. After High School, Gene served our country for four years as a member of the United States Air Force. Gene got his start videotaping at SJND while he was filming a basketball game during the 1995 season for his son who was away in college. One day, Coach LaPorte sent over his assistant coach to ask Gene for a copy of the game, which would kickstart a longtime relationship between Gene and the SJND basketball program. Gene states, “Over the years, my wife and I have enjoyed coming to all the basketball games. I really appreciate all the families who have thanked me for taping the basketball games as keepsakes for their families. It’s also a joy getting asked by the kids who have graduated years ago for copies of their basketball games, so they can show their kids.”
Led by legendary SJND basketball coach the late Frank LaPorte, along with Gordie Johnson and Jose Caraballo, the ‘90-’91 Men’s Basketball team had one of the finest seasons in Pilot Basketball history. Despite facing tough competition from across the country, the team, which included McDonald’s All-American and now retired NBA superstar Jason Kidd, would compile a 31-3 record, including a 24-game win streak which would catapult them to a ESAL league title and North Coast Section Championship. In the the Northern California Regional Championship, the Pilots took on rival Bishop O’Dowd, beating the Dragons for the fourth time that year to advance to the State Championship game. On March 16, 1991, the Pilots faced off against Fremont High School of Los Angeles at the Oakland Coliseum, defeating Fremont 67-61 to win the State Championship and become the first team in Northern California to win a CIF State Basketball Championship in the modern format. In 1992, the Men’s Basketball team advanced to the State Championship again where they defeated Mater Dei of Santa Ana to become back-to-back champions.
St. Joseph Parish has been home for Sandy and Dick and their five children, Steven, Jim ‘76, John ‘82, Toby ‘85 and Diane ‘88, for over 45 years. All five children graduated from St. Joseph Elementary School. While Sandy was a contributing member to the schools’ parent teacher groups for 25 years, Dik was busy as the volunteer Scoutmaster for Alameda Boy Scout Troop 89. The Andersons have dedicated ample time to many other projects, including El Rancho Day, Bingo, the Men’s Club and CYO Basketball. They continued to assist at Spaghetti Feeds and raffles 20 years after their children graduated. Sandy and Dick have always been strong supporters of the schools’ programs and personnel, particularly the Pilot’s basketball program. Dick now serves as President of the Alameda Boy Scout Council. In 1995 he was named Alameda’s “Man of the Year.” They plan to continue their active participation as each of their nine grandchildren enter school, following the Anderson Family Traditions.
SJND has had a storied basketball history. One of the true standouts in this history is Adrian Ealy. Adrian was a four year varsity basketball player as a forward/guard. He compiled numerous awards including: Oakland Tribune Prep of the Week, All East Bay, All Northern California, All South County, All Amador Valley Tourney, All ESAL, Walter Wong Hawaii Tourney All-Star, King Cotton Tourney All-Star (Arkansas). Most notably, he was named a USA Today All-American Basketball Player as a senior in 1992 and was a leader in the team that won two California State Championships in 1991 and 1992. He went on to play in college and is no in the US Coast Guard based in San Diego.
As a freshman Shawn Jenkins started out playing both basketball and baseball for St. Joe’s. By junior year he was a starting player on the varsity basketball and baseball teams. That year in basketball he led the league in rebounding and was named All-League and All-Northern California. He was also named team MVP in baseball. He was again All-League in both sports in his senior year. During his sophomore year at Chabot College he was drafted by the New York Yankees. He earned a baseball scholarship to LSU, but went on to study at San Francisco State University where he graduated with a degree in PE/Pre-Physical Therapy. He currently works for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a Health and Fitness Specialist. He also owns Bulldog Sports Medicine and Athletic Fitness, specializing in strength and conditioning, injury prevention, and rehabilitation of athletics.
As a junior at SJND Jeong Min was a key member of the small SJND golf team coached by Frank LaPorte and won many awards in the Northern California Junior Division. In 1992 she finished 4th in the national PGA Junior Golf Championship and in 1993 she won the Northern California Championship. She ended the year ranked 3rd in the US in Junior Golf. As the first female golfer at SJND her banner hans in the gym for her honor with those of Clavin Byrd, Adrian Ealy and Jason Kidd, attesting to her high school All-American status. She attended UCLA and was a vital part of their PAC 10 golf team. Jeong Min is currently working towards her MA in Education at Columbia University and has decided to step away from golf as she finishes her studies. Woody Woodward, her primary golf instructor at SJND, has continually urged her to turn pro and to make an attempt to advance to the LPGA Tour. He feels that with her love for the game and her work ethic that this is a good possibility when she concludes her studies at Columbia.
Although his sports talents were evident in every sport he played, baseball is where Jerry Vitatoe displayed impeccable skills. He was a member of the 1964 Babe Ruth State Honor Character Rating in 1964 and 1965. He led the East Bay and West Bay Catholic Athletic League in 1966 with a .500 batting average, hitting 3 doubles, a triple and a home run in the final game. In 1966 he also was named the Most Valuable Player in Varsity Baseball. He again led the league in batting average in 1967 with a .486 average. He was a member of the Varsity Basketball team from 1965 through 1967. In 1967 he led the Pilots over the Bishop O’Dowd Dragons, 70-67, in a game that changed St. Joe’s basketball. He was awarded a full athletic scholarship to UC Berkeley where he had a successful baseball career. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1968 and by the Chicago White Sox in 1972.
After a 4-3 practice season record, including wins over league champs Alameda and McClymonds, this team caught fire and never looked back. Beating their opponents by an average of 12 points per game, they cinched the title after seven games, winning the league by five games. This team continued what the ‘41 team started, giving St. Joseph two glory years of basketball, bringing pride and game to the program ata school with a small enrollment and no gym facility. The team was the second SJHS varsity team (with the 1941 team) to win a varsity championship. They were the first Varsity team to go undefeated in the league and to go undefeated since CCAL was formed.
The 1967 team was the crowning achievement of a long line of great individual runners for the Pilots. This was a true team accomplishment however, requiring the effort of seven individuals. The Pilots swept past Alameda, Arroyo, De LaSalle, Granada, Moreau, O’Dowd, Piedmont, Salesian and Saint Mary’s on their way to an undefeated season. Only Arroyo came within twenty points of the Pilots as they swept through fifth place over four of their last five opponents before the Catholic Athletic League Meet held at Cal State Hayward. The league meet was even more impressive, as the Pilots secured five of the top seven places with their 2,3,4,6, and 7 finishes, establishing a record and reputation that continues to this day. This was the first league championship of any kind for St. Joseph High School in over 25 years and it opened the floodgates of the “modern era” as the Pilots established their athletic dominance with other championships.
Soccer at St. Joseph High School was first played as a competitive team sport in 1965-66. Although soccer was and remains the national sport in many countries of the world, in 1965-66 it was only just beginning to be played competitively in the U.S. At St. Joseph High School, since the soccer program’s debut, hundreds of students have enjoyed the benefits of healthy competition to both men and women. The members of the 1965-66 team pioneered soccer at St. Joseph’s. It was their personal dedication and competitive spirit that inaugurated a new and unique sport to St. Joseph. Over the years, the soccer program has produced many excellent athletes who have graduated to higher levels of competition. The underclassmen of the soccer team of 1965-66 went on, in their later years at St. Joe’s, to win the first and only soccer league championship at St. Joseph in 1968-69.
Helen and George Chaix have been instrumental supporters of the Pilot Basketball program. George followed Pilot basketball daily. When George met Jason Kidd he was hooked. He did not miss a home game while Jason played. George was deeply touched when Coach LaPorte named him the “Pilots #1 Fan”. After his death in 1993 the “George Chaix Island Classic” and the “George Chaix Most Inspirational Player Award” were established. George not only supported the Pilots on the court but got his whole family involved with the team. To this day, the Chaix children provide food for the bus trips and help Helen organize Pilot pancake breakfasts and raffles.
While at SJND, Jill played softball, basketball, and volleyball. In ‘76, ‘77, and ‘78 she was named All Girls Catholic Athletic League (All GCAL). And MVP in softball and basketball. In her four years at NOtre Dame, Jill earned 10 varsity letters. In basketball she averaged 16 points per game. She was a versatile player, having an inside hook shot and 17-18 foot jumpshot. In addition to sports, she was very involved in student government and was elected the Junior and Senior Class President. In 1978 she was named “Outstanding Senior”.
In Jason’s career as a varsity basketball player at SJND he had a game high of 46 points (school record), scored a total of 2,661 points and led two state championship teams. In addition to his scoring, Jason has received many awards. He made All-American two years in a row, was Player of the Year for Northern California (3 years) and California Player of the Year (3 years). He went on to UC Berkeley an is currently playing in the NBA for the Phoenix Suns.
Jim Ring was a great runner at St. Joseph’s. In spite of track being a big sport and having no league, St. Joseph always fielded a team. He ran against all of the best runners from the Bay Area high schools and was undefeated during his junior and senior years. In his senior year he was making times in the 880 d. Run that were better than some college times. Jim won 21 consecutive races drawing the attention of the college coaches. The public schools scheduled meets with St. Joseph despite its lack of depth just to have their athletes compete against. Jim. Upon graduation Jim received a track scholarship to Notre Dame University.
John played basketball and baseball. While on varsity baseball, he was named as the 1st team All League during his junior and senior years. In May of 1947 John was chosen to represent St. Joseph’s in the second annual East Bay Prep All-Star Game as a catcher. While on the varsity basketball team, John set a new individual scoring record for the season by scoring 25 points in a game. He received a scholarship to attend St. Mary’s College.
Fran was a teacher, coach, and Athletic Director at Notre Dame High School from the 1960s to 1970s. She coached volleyball and basketball. Fran started the Girls Athletic Association (GAA) at SJND. Thanks to Fran, Notre Dame High School had an active and robust athletic department, a tradition which is maintained to this day.
Coach LaPorte’s last 16 years of coaching were at SJND. His teams won two Division I State Championships back to back (1991 & 1992), three Northern California championships, and six North Coast Section titles. In 1997 his team finished second in the state for the year with a loss to Crenshas of Los Angeles in the State Championship. In his coaching career at SJND he won 393 and lost 99 games. He finished his career as the 3rd winningest coach in California’s history. Frank helped develop All-American high school players such as Calvin Byrd, Adrian Ealy and Jason Kidd. He passed away in September 1977.
The ‘69 team was the first team in the history of the school to receive a earth in the prestigious Tournament of Champions held at the Oakland Coliseum. The TOC determined the Northern California champion. The ‘69 team was undefeated in league play (14-0), ranked #2 in the East Bay and #8 in the state. They had an overall record of 26-7. The team entered the Tournament of Champions as one of the co-favorites along with Castlemont High School. In one of the most exciting games in TOC history, St. Joseph was upset in triple overtime by Hayward High in the first round of the tournament.
David Ahern is a name many alumni will recognize because of his many school records. David set the school record in pole vault at 12’6”. This would be a great record today but it is even more impressive considering that David used a bamboo pole. Dave was also a great basketball player who helped to cement St. Joseph’s reputation as a sports powerhouse. Dave led the St. Joseph’s team to many upset victories. After high school Dave received a basketball scholarship to the University of San Francisco. His name is synonymous with extraordinary talent.
Rich Campbell and his wife Jo, were instrumental in re-igniting the Pilot Booster Club in the late 1980’s. Working with Coach Frank LaPorte and a dedicated gorup aof volunteers, the Boosters Club was a major source of financial help to SJND athletics. Meshing their love of Catholic education and sports. Rich and Jo handled the sale of tickets at SJND basketball games for ten years throughout the Calvin Byrd-Jason Kidd era. All three of their sons are graduates of SJND. Rich was on the School Board five years, twice as chairperson. He served on the Diocesan School Board for six years. Rich currently volunteers on the Development Council.
Ed Fennelly was a basketball and baseball player at SJND from 1938 t0 1942. He started on both championship teams of ‘41 and ‘42. After graduation he coached the 1943’ basketball team. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps in WWII. Ed returned to St. Joseph’s to coach the ‘48 basketball team to the first St. Joseph’s tournament championship. He worked at Riordan High School as coach, athletic director and business manager and recently retired after 40 years. Ed has been dedicated to youth and worked until last year as the Commissioner of the West Catholic Athletic League. He is one of the founders of the SJND Hall of Fame.
Harold Gray was the preeminent two-sport athlete of his era. He earned seven major-sport varsity letters and was one of a pivotal group who contributed to the school’s basketball revival in the late 1960’s. Hal played on the 9166 and 1967 varsity basketball teams that challenged for the CAL title. He was captain and All-CAL First Team selection as forward on the 1968 Pilot team which finished 22-8. He earned varsity baseball letters in 1965 through 1968 and was the All-CAL first team pick as catcher in both his junior and senior years. He received the James Moreland Scholar Athlete Award at graduation and was presented with the school’s Most Inspirational Player awards in both baseball and basketball.
Andre Hill was known as “the quickest guard around.” Excelling at both baseball and basketball. Andre received All-CAL honors as a member of the 1971 basketball league champions and was MVP of the Pilots baseball team as a junior. In his senior year he received All-League honors in baseball and basketball. In addition, he had the best ERA among league pitchers and established many scoring records. Andrew was class president sophomore and senior year. He was the James Moreland Scholar Athlete and member of the National Honor Society. He continued in basketball at Cal State Hayward and was named All Northern California.
Mike Hutslar is one of SJND’s outstanding basketball players, was famous for “stuffing” the ball before it became popular. Mike played on the varsity, 1st team which won the co-championship of 1964. Senior year he was 1st team, All-League and was All-Catholic Athletic League for two years. His career at St. Joseph’s culminated in a basketball scholarship to Miami University.
David Lillevand was a basketball star. As a freshman he played guard. Sophomore year he was on the Junior Varsity Team who won the CAL championships with a record of 12-2. Junior and senior year he was All League and Rod McDonald Most Valuable Trophy winner. Senior year David was also on the varsity baseball team playing left field. He was a C.S.F. Life Member, and on the Contac Staff (the St. Joseph school newspaper). He excelled in the U.S.F. Basketball program and became a Cum Laude graduate of the University of San Francisco Law School.
Gail Rodrigues was a pivotal player on the NOre Dame volleyball team which brought the school an undefeated league championship with a 21-0 overall record. Gail was varsity basketball captain her senior year and was named captain of all-star tournaments at Bishop O;Dowd and St. Vincent’s High Schools. She also served as Girls Athletic President and Student Body Athletic Manager. After college she returned to SJND where she has served as coach and teacher for more than twenty years.
In 1929 physical education for girls consisted of 15 minutes a day with Miss Myrtle Healy. The physical education area was between Notre Dame and the St. Joseph Elementary School. Bea was the captain of the basketball team as a senior. Upon graduation Bea worked at the Park and Recreation Department in Alameda. In 1940 Sister Cathering Julie hired Bea to teach physical education in the mornings at Notre Dame. Classes consisted of folk dancing, marching , calisthenics, volleyball, three court basketball and tennis. Without much space and with orders not to make too much noise, Bea began her role as a coach and educator. Many children’s lives were touched by Bea who continued her work for the City of Alameda in the Recreation Department for 42 years.
The 1944 Varsity Track Team is part of the foundation of the winning sports tradition at SJND. The headline of the 1944 Alameda Times Star article boasts “St. Joseph’s Track Team Dumps Hornets’ when the Pilots beat rival Alameda High School. As Bery Reed ‘44 points out “This win over rival Alameda High was superlative because three weeks late the Hornets won the North Coast State Sectional Meet in Division One. Being a parochial school in that era we were not allowed to enter the meet.” Jerry Minot remembers with pride the degree of success the team had with only simple practice and the unsophisticated training in 1944.
Bill Ahern spread his talents between the basketball hoop and the pole vault. He achieved success both individually and as a team player; as Captain of the First Team All League of Alameda, Bill was the leading scorer. He was also a member of the 1941 Championship Basketball Team and broke his own school record in pole vault during his senior year when he was Student Body President. Bill went on to play basketball at Santa Clara University and was inducted into the Santa Clara Hall of Fame.
Calvin Byrd was both State Player of the Year for both his freshman and sophomore years at SJND as a member of the varsity basketball team. He was Pilot MVP for three years and as a senior he was Division 1 Player of the Year and a member of the Parade All-American, McDonald’s All-American, and Kentucky Bluegrass All-American teams. He scored 2000 career high school points.
Mel Caughell joins the Hall of Fame as an ardent supporter of athletics at SJND for over a decade. He was instrumental in reinvigorating the Boosters in the early 1980’s. You can find Mel taking tickets at every home basketball game and working as a volunteer for the NorCal and State finals. A champion of youth, Mel served for many years on the Oakland Public School Board and SJND School Board.
Debra played Varsity volleyball and Varsity basketball all four years and softball for three at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School. She made the All-League Volleyball and Basketball Teams for both her junior and senior year. Debbie trained for three-years with the U.S. Olympic Volleyball team and graduated Cum Laude from Pepperdine University where she was selected for the National Registry of Outstanding College Graduates and recognized as College Great Athlete.
In an era when young girls were not encouraged to compete at sports, Roberta won the City of Alameda Park and Rec. Tennis Championship during her last three years at Notre Dame Academy. Wilson Sporting Goods offered to sponsor her for the amateur circuit but she declined because of her parents’ fears about a young woman traveling alone. Roberta has since dedicated herself to teaching tennis and has managed several tennis clubs in Northern California.
Mike Phelps returned to his alma mater in 1970 to coach the Pilot Varsity Basketball squad until 1978. His eight year varsity record at SJND was 201-65. The Pilots were league champs in 1971, ‘72, ‘74, ‘76, and ‘77; and NorCal State Champions in 1976 and ‘77. Mike is recognized for having breathed new life into the basketball program during his tenure at SJND.
Barry Reed distinguished himself in Track running the 220, 440, and 880 yard competition as well as Relay. He was a Gold Medalist his senior year in the high school division of the Bay to Breakers. He also played JV and Varsity basketball throughout his four years at St. Joseph’s. In his sophomore year he was voted most versatile athlete.
Marvin Vitatoe is known as the first “Dunk Artist” at St. Joseph High School, led the Pilots to a 14-0 League Title, the first since 1942. Marvin was Nor/Cal Player of the Year and the top scorer. He was recruited by evey “Top 10” college in 1969 except Kentucky. Marvin was also active in track and baseball.
Brother Charles Weiss, S.M was the first Varsity Basketball Coach at St. Joseph’s High School, starting a team without seniors in 1937 and ending a successful career in 1942 which included League Championship Teams in 1941 and 1942. Under his leadership, St. Joseph teams of ‘41 and ‘42 became the standard by which other teams were measured. Brother Charles insisted on sharp passing, fast breaking, tough defense and discipline. He was a kind and humble coach who preferred the background and gave all of his credit to his players.
The members of the 1941 Varsity Basketball Team outscored their opponents by an average of 13 points per game while setting a league record for the least points in the season. They finished the 1941 season with a League Record of 9-1 and an overall record of 14-6. They won the 1st Varsity League Championship winning their last eight league games in a row. Coached by Brother Carles Wess, S.M., this team put St. Joseph’s School and St. Joseph’s Basketball on the map, drawing large crowds.