All-Around Athlete

Class of 2009

NICK RODRIGUEZ Antioch residents might recognize the late Nick Rodriguez as the namesake of the town’s community center on F Street. Nick was the city’s long-serving Parks and Recreation Commissioner, former Mayor and City Council member. What many newer residents may not know is that Rodriguez possessed superior athletic skills as a 6’2”, 190-pound high school student. The 1946 Antioch High graduate scored 10 touchdowns for the Panthers as a senior. His team was the highest scoring high school football team in California in 1945 and was inducted into the Antioch Sports Legends’ hall for its inaugural 2007 year. Besides football, Nick was the outstanding AHS basketball player of 1945-46, earning All-County for two years, and scored 120 points in his last seven games. He ran several track and field events; high and low hurdles, 100-yard dash, 220-yard dash, long jump, discus and anchor in the 440-yard relay for the Panthers. Former Pittsburg High Coach Andy De Stefano is quoted in Nick’s newspaper obituary as saying the “gentle giant” was “Antioch’s greatest all-around athlete ever.” As did many young men during W.W.II, Nick joined the Navy in his senior year, playing first string basketball on the U.S.S. Shangri-La. He returned home after two years and attended Modesto Junior College where he earned All Nor-Cal in football, played basketball and ran track. Crunching quarterbacks didn’t end in high school and college, as Nick continued playing with the Antioch Hornets, the local semi-pro football team that was active from 1950-1955. Following graduation, Nick settled in for a 45-year career at one of Antioch’s largest employers, Fibreboard (later Gaylord Container). During his free time, Nick co-founded the Antioch Quarterback Club Junior Football League in the 1950s and the Antioch Bocce Ball Federation, serving as its first president.