The pages of Madera’s history are replete with icons, and one of them is Coach Bill McAlister. At the very sound of his name, one immediately thinks of swimming and diving, like Ron Manfredi did when he and his wife, Betty, went to Riccione, Italy this summer to witness a bit of the legacy of Coach McAlister in action.
Unfortunately, I never met Coach McAlister, but I didn’t have to in order to know him; I could read the Tribune. It didn’t take me long to understand how revered this man was in Madera.
Bill McAlister began his diving career at the Long Beach YMCA. The coach there saw his talent and took him under his wing. The ceiling in the pool was so low that McAlister was forced to hold his hands over his head to keep from hitting the top.
Coach McAlister went on to work at the YMCAs in Fullerton and Fresno before settling in Madera in 1958, where he was the swimming and diving coach at Madera High School. He remained at the job until retirement in 1973, but still stayed on as coach until 1989. In all, he coached the Madera team for 31 years, and the pool at Madera High has been named in his honor...