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Posted by: thepinetree on 10/23/2018 07:50 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 10/23/2018 07:50 AM
Expires: 01/01/2023 12:00 AM

Bret Harte's Rich Cathcart Inducted into Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame

Lodi, CA...Bret Harte's Rich Cathcart was inducted as part of the SJS Hall of Fame Class of 2018. The Sac-Joaquin Section held an induction banquet and ceremony on Sunday, October 21 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sacramento. This group of 12 includes many of the most influential athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and member of the media in Section history. Bret Harte's Rich Cathcart returned to his alma mater as a coach and served as the school’s athletic director from 1995 to 2014. During his time at Bret Harte, he coached football and boys basketball and he founded the boys and girls golf teams as well. The boys golf team began in 1986 and girls golf followed in 1999. He’s coached teams to divisional Section championships in boys basketball and boys and girls golf. He’s been the Mother Lode League Commissioner since 2010.

This class ranged from World Series champions to all- Americans to national champions. They were successful from the 1930s to the present time. The list of 12 inductees into the 2018 class of the Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame includes many of the best and brightest athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and media members to ever grace a field within the Central Valley. The four athletes range from John Vukovich, Amador High Class of 1965, to J.P. Howell, Jesuit High Class of 2001. The three coaches include Turlock’s Joe Debely, who coached the Bulldogs football and wrestling teams from the 1930s into the 1950s, and Merced’s Mark Speckman, who was at the helm for a mythical state champion and some of the best teams to ever come out of the Sac-Joaquin Section. The inductees were decided through a lengthy process that included months of research and three separate committees.

The induction banquet and ceremony took place on Sunday, October 21 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sacramento. Anybody with questions is urged to call Section Assistant Commissioner Will DeBoard at 209-334-5900, ext. 21. This is the Section’s fifth Hall of Fame class. The inaugural class in 2010 had 56 members, the 2012 group had 43 inductees, 2014 had 32 and the 2016 class had 17 honorees. This class makes a total of 165 Hall of Fame inductees.

We toasted this group in October, and now, let’s celebrate the Sac-Joaquin
Section Hall of Fame Class of 2018:

LANCE BRIGGS, ELK GROVE (Football): Briggs was a superstar on both offense and
defense for one of the top football teams in Section history. As a senior in 1998, the
Thundering Herd rolled to a 77-22 victory over Atwater in the SJS Division I
championship game. Was also part of Elk Grove’s 1997 Section title squad. He went to
the University of Arizona, where he was a two-time first-team all-Pac-10 linebacker. He
played 12 years for the Chicago Bears in the NFL, where he made seven Pro Bowl
rosters and was named all-Pro three times.

J.P. HOWELL, JESUIT (Baseball): Howell is considered one of the most dominant
pitchers in Section history. His senior year in 2001, he went 10-0 with a 0.09 ERA and
137 strikeouts while leading the Marauders to the Section Division I title. He also set a
Section playoff record his junior year by striking out 47 in 22 innings. He moved on to
the University of Texas, where he went 25-4 in his two seasons with the Longhorns,
earning first-team all-American honors. He compiled a 36-30 record in a 12-year Major
League Baseball career, playing for four different teams.

CHANIQUA (ROSS) BUTSCHER, LAGUNA CREEK (Track and Field): Ross won the
Section championship in both the shot put and discus for all four years each; she’s the
only track and field competitor in Section history to win championships in two different
events four times. She won CIF state titles in the discus in 1996 and 1997. She moved
on to UCLA, where she won two Pac-10 championships (2001 and 2002) and she was
the NCAA discus champion in 2002.

JOHN VUKOVICH, AMADOR (Football, Basktball, Baseball): The late Vukovich is
the most storied athlete to ever come out of Amador High School. He played football,
basketball and baseball well, but he really shined in football and baseball. He earned an
impressive double when he was named the CalHiSports state small schools basketball
player of the year in 1963 and he was the CalHi state small schools football player in
1964. He had a 12-year Major League Baseball career that included winning two World
Series rings (1975 Cincinnati Reds, 1980 Philadelphia Phillies) and he was a coach with
the Phillies from 1988-2004.

MONTY MULLER: Muller was a standout wrestler at La Sierra High, American River
College and San Francisco State before transitioning into the officiating world. He has
worked as a high school wrestling official for the last 40 years, working 18 state
championships. He was the commissioner of wrestling officiials in the Sac-Joaquin
Section and, for the last 21 years, has been a partner with Jorgensen Sports Service,
which assigns officials in all sports for the northern half of the SJS.

DENNIS WALLACE: The late Wallace officiated football in the southern half of the Sac-
Joaquin Section for the last 25 years. He also was a high school soccer official for three
years. He spent the last 15 years of his officiating career as a crew chief. He worked
playoff games every year and he was on the field for four Section championship games.
He was also the referee for 11 North/South Rotary All-Star games. He served multiple
terms on the NCOA South football officials board as well. Wallace, a Stanislaus County
Sheriff’s deputy, was killed in the line of duty in 2016.

MIKE RAY: Ray graduated from Colfax High School in 1969 – he was the school’s
Athlete of the Year – and even as a high school athlete was already writing for the
Colfax Record. He was the sports editor for the Record from 1970-1985 and from 1989
to the present. He was also the sports editor of the Grass Valley Union from 1975-1985.
He has covered three generations of high school athletes for the Colfax Record.

JOE DEBELY, TURLOCK (Football): The late Debely was a longtime football and wrestling
coach at Turlock High. He coached the football team from 1933-1941 and from 1946-53; that
gap was because he served in the US Navy during World War II. His teams won seven league
championships, and in 1948 and 1949 they finished the year at a perfect 10-0. Turlock High’s
stadium is named after him as well. Debely was also involved with the Sac-Joaquin Section
during its formative years; he came up with the name “Sac-Joaquin Section.”

RON PUCCI, COLFAX (Boys Basketball): Pucci coached boys basketball at Colfax for
19 years in three separate stints. He coached from 1979-89, from 1996-2001 and from
2004-2009. His teams compiled a 371-191 record in that time, winning seven league
championships, three Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV titles (2004, 2006 and 2007) and
they advanced to the CIF Northern California Division IV championship game in 1999.

Speckman coached at Livingston (1981-1983), Merced (1986-1993) and Golden Valley
(1994), compiling a 113-48-3 record. It was at Merced where Speckman’s teams were
at their best. Those teams played in five Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships,
winning two of them. The 1990 team was the mythical overall state champion, ranked
No. 1 by CalHiSports.


RICH CATHCART: Cathcart returned to his alma mater as a coach and served as the
school’s athletic director from 1995 to 2014. During his time at Bret Harte, he coached
football and boys basketball and he founded the boys and girls golf teams as well. The
boys golf team began in 1986 and girls golf followed in 1999. He’s coached teams to
divisional Section championships in boys basketball and boys and girls golf. He’s been
the Mother Lode League Commissioner since 2010.

JOHN WILLIAMS: Williams served a stint as the Sierra Valley Conference
commissioner before being hired as the Sac-Joaquin Section’s first assistant
commissioner, in 2001. He worked at the Section office during a period of growth and
massive playoff expansion, of which he played a key role in making the postseason look
the way it does today. He also developed the Section’s history and record books and
served on the CIF State Editorial Committee for many years. He is back as the SVC
Commissioner, having served in that role since 2015.
# # #
CIF Sac-Joaquin Section oversees high school athletics for 198 schools and 225,000
students. Its geographic boundaries stretch from Merced in the south, Grass Valley in the
North, Napa to the west and the Nevada state line to the east. The Section is the second
largest of California’s 10 athletic sections.

Comments - Make a comment
The comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for its content. We value free speech but remember this is a public forum and we hope that people would use common sense and decency. If you see an offensive comment please email us at
No Subject
Posted on: 2018-10-23 08:13:13   By: Anonymous

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2018-10-23 08:53:16   By: Anonymous

    [Reply ]

    Posted on: 2018-10-23 10:01:10   By: Anonymous
    extreme long extremely long extremely long slow long clap.

    [Reply ]

      Posted on: 2018-10-23 11:54:07   By: Anonymous
      even if you place gold in the Special Olympics, you're still a retard.

      [Reply ]

        Posted on: 2018-10-23 13:28:47   By: Anonymous
        ...and he fits that bill perfect...f*(^&())(ng,prick,and mouth breather...sucked as an athlete him self too

        [Reply ]

    Posted on: 2018-10-23 12:38:53   By: Anonymous
    Congratulations Rich. Maybe you can come back and coach up the socalled football team. What a bunch of butterflies they are, if you know what I mean. I'm surprised they don't run out of the tunnel in pairs, holding hands and skipping!

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2018-10-23 14:17:22   By: Anonymous
Ha. He always kind of reminded me of that ROTC leader in the movie Animal House. But whatever it takes to motivate young athletes.

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2018-10-23 19:16:49   By: Anonymous

    [Reply ]

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