Stacey Johnson, surrounded by her husband and parents, wiped away tears as she studied the display case in the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame celebrating her accomplishments as an all-around athlete at Antioch High School.
“This is very humbling,” said Johnson, a 1991 graduate and one of 14 individuals, plus one team, inducted Saturday as the Class of 2014.
Joining Johnson in the Hall are all-around athlete Dave Kirkpatrick, baseball players Manuel Bermudez Jr. and Aaron Miles, football players Mark Butterfield, Cal Chaney, Mike Lucky and Jeremy Newberry, track athlete Matt Hurd, diver Cristina Conn, swimmer Stephen Sanchez, wrestler Casey Rhyan, coach John Rebstock, community leader Brooks Golden and the 1957 Antioch High golf team.
Each is honored in a display case, which will be on exhibit until the Class of 2015 is selected and inducted next year, at the Sports Legends, 1500 W. Fourth St. in Antioch. The museum is open from 1-4 p.m. each Wednesday and Saturday.
At the induction ceremony, Johnson and the rest of the inductees talked about how special it felt to be recognized by the community where they grew up. Johnson, who lives in Houston, said the item of jewelry she received for her induction is just as special as her two championship rings from the Houston Comets of the Women’s NBA.
“There is something about home that makes this extra-special,” she said. “This will always be home to me and I will keep this pendant with pride.”
Johnson crafted an incredible athletic career at Antioch. As a senior, she was the East Bay Player of the Year and one of three players who shared Northern California Player of the Year honors. She still holds four school records: In basketball, most points and rebounds in a career and most points in a game, and, in track, the 400-meter run. Her well-worn letter jacket is displayed in the case, surrounded by newspaper clippings and her 1998 WNBA championship ring.
Kirkpatrick said he was glad to see players of his era honored. He played four sports as a senior in 1957-58, earning all-league honors in football, basketball and baseball. The others honored from that era are Chaney, a 1954 Antioch grad, and the golf team, and Golden, a teacher and administrator from 1954-1983.
“I’m glad they remembered those of us who played ball back in the ‘50s,” Kirkpatrick said. “I was quite elated when I found out.”
Miles and Bermudez, both 1995 graduates, helped lead Antioch to back-to-back North Coast Section baseball championships and the No. 5 spot the USA Today national rankings in 1995. Bermudez went on to pitch 11 seasons of minor league baseball. In his display case is his jersey from the Montreal Royales of the Canadian Baseball League.
Miles played eight years in the minor leagues before making his major league debut in 2003, and enjoyed a nine-year career in the big leagues, playing with five teams. Three of his jerseys from the St. Louis Cardinals are on display in the Hall of Fame – one is in his enshrinement case, and two are in a new permanent display of Miles’ memorabilia from the 2006 World Series, when the Cardinals beat Detroit in five games.
Dominating Newberry’s display case are his jersey and a team photo from the 2002 Pro Bowl and the 2002 Ed Block Courage Award trophy. Newberry, a 1994 Antioch graduate, played nine years with the San Francisco 49ers and one season each in Oakland and San Diego, after a stellar three-year career as an offensive lineman at UC Berkeley.
At the induction, Newberry talked about his deep Antioch roots, following in the path of his father and both his grandfathers. When some of Newberry’s coaches came to Antioch for Jeremy Newberry Day in 2010, he said they spoke in disbelief of how strong the city was devoted to its sports and its athletes.
Across the museum floor is the memorabilia of another of his Newberry’s high school teammates, Lucky. In his case is his jersey from the Dallas Cowboys, symbolic of the tight end’s four-year career in the NFL. Butterfield’s display case features his jersey from the Chicago Bears, where he played for one season, following his MVP season as quarterback at Stanford in 1995.
The displays for Conn (Antioch, 1993) and Sanchez (Antioch, 1991) are dominated by their High School All-America certificates – two for Conn, three for Sanchez – and a host of medals.
Medals from high school and college competition, along with trophies and newspaper clippings, occupy Hurd’s display case. The 1996 Antioch graduate still holds school records for the high jump as well as single-game scoring in basketball, and was just the second Antioch track athlete to earn an athletic scholarship.
Rhyan’s letter sweater, emblazoned with “1988 C.I.F. State Champions,” is the centerpiece of his display case, surrounded plaques and clippings which testify to his helping Antioch win the state high school championship.
Coaching gear from Antioch and Deer Valley, plus pictures from his playing and coaching days, are in Rebstock’s display. The former standout fastpitch softball pitcher went on to coach at the two high schools, leading Antioch to one NCS championship and building Deer Valley into a competitive program.
Golden’s display case showcases his work as a coach, teacher, school administrator, school board member and community volunteer for nearly three decades. The golf team, which went undefeated and beat seven-time champion Acalanes in the Contra Costa County championship tournament, is represented by memorabilia from that memorable season such as a vintage golf club and ball, an autographed golf shoe, and the team photo from the high school yearbook.
By Steve Dulas
Sports Legends Staff Writer