The Madera Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame inducted its sixth class in front of more than 200 people at the Peters Brothers Banquet Hall.
Longtime contributors to Madera athletics, the DaSilva family, as well as coach Bill McAlister, Anthony Gallegos, Eric Philp, Danene Bishell, Landon Guglielmana, Art Ruble and the 1997-1998 Madera Coyote boys soccer team were included in the sixth class Saturday evening.
After hosting the past two induction ceremonies at the Madera Municipal Golf Course, the Madera F.A.N. organization moved the venue to the Peters Brothers Banquet Hall where they were able to involve more people and include more guests.
Millview Elementary School’s Noemi Ceja opened the evening with the national anthem and master of ceremonies Andy Medellin introduced the first inductee — Anna DaSilva, representing Lee’s Concrete and the DaSilva family.
Madera Unified School District director of athletics Marty Bitter provided the guests with many examples of how Lee’s Concrete influenced Madera athletics and brought Anna DaSilva to the stage.
“We appreciate the honor tonight,” she said. “It’s great to come come in town and be rewarded for our hard work.”
Barbara Andrews had the pleasure of introducing her father Bill McAlister, longtime diving coach at Madera High School.
“He was my coach, my dad and a lot of things,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to be receiving this honor.”
Andrews brought up many examples of how his father paid back the Madera community for the chances he received when he was a kid.
Andrews said McAlister learned to tumble on Muscle Beach in Venice and got his chances when coaches noticed him tumbling.
“He was a coach until the very end,” Andrews said. “He had three trampolines in his barn. The title on my dad would be paying it forward.”
Andrews said his father credited J.D. Loop and Shirley Kellogg with giving him the chance.
“My dad was fortunate of what he was given,” McAlister said. ‘There were a lot of people that came to share experiences with him. He would say pay it forward the blessing you have received.”
Ruble’s swimming teammate Steve Willford headed to the stage to introduce Ruble.
“Why was Art so successful,” Williford asked. “He tried harder. He worked harder. He gave his all. I’m impressed with how Art faced his challenges in his life.”
Ruble, who is still holds top five times in four events at Madera High School said he enjoyed his time in Madera.
“It gave me what I built my career on,” he said. “I want to thank the committee for considering me to be inducted.”
Wrestler Eric Philp was introduced by his Madera coach Corky Napier. Napier pointed out that what made Philp great was the work of Moises Perez and Fernando Meza.
Then, Philp gave an enjoyable speech that connected him with the Hall of Fame inductees, including McAlister.
“Make sure your kids enjoy the sport,” McAlister told Philp a while ago.
Philp also explained what it took to become a champion.
“My sister and my cousin Kelly,” he said. “Even now, you can’t keep me down in a tickle fight. My mom has put in more hours to make sure we had what we have.”
However, Philp’s biggest influence was his father.
“My dad never missed a practice and he has been at every match,” Philp said. “I idolized my dad. I want to be my dad. He is my MVP.”
Another part of becoming a champion was Napier.
“I’ll never forget wrestling for Napier,” Philp said. “He was able to keep kids focused on the prize.”
In the end, Philp was honored to get inducted.
“It’s awesome being here,” he said.
Longtime Madera Unified School District administrator Mike Lennemann inducted Danene Guglielmana.
“She is one of the best athletes, male or female at Madera High School,” he said. “She is the perfect example of what a Madera Hall of Famer should be. She continues to inspire children to achieve their goals.”
Guglielmana wanted to make sure to thank her parents.
“I can’t thank them enough,” she said. “It did not matter. I always knew they were going to every athletic event I had. I always meant so much to me.”
Guglielmana said the thing she is most proud of is being a Madera athlete.
Steve Guglielmana took the stage to introduce his son, the late Landon Guglielmana, who enters the Hall of Fame as the first Madera South athlete.
“Finding the right words is hard,” he said. “The common thread heard is paying it forward to the community and that’s what Landon did. If Landon were here, he would thank God.”
Steve was proud and honored to receive the award for his son and also explained what his son meant to the community.
“His coaches said he was a hard worker and wished they had more kids like Landon,” Steve said. “He set the standard pretty high. Make your life matter. That was Landon’s words.”
Madera South head coach Dane Cook introduced his assistant and Madera Coyote All-everything football player Anthony Gallegos.
“I have never worked with a better coach,” Cook said. “We work with a lot of students with issues and we deal with it. He says what can I do to help these kids.”
Gallegos was humbled with the induction.
“I was just one of those athletes doing what I could do,” he said.
Despite running afoul with his coaches, Gallegos knew he could always count on two people.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is my love from my mother,” he said. “My father taught me my love of athletics.”
Head coach of the 1997-1998 boys soccer team Jim Bomprezzi spoke of the many obstacles the Coyotes overcame to become the school’s only boys soccer Valley Champion.
In addition, Cristino Armiento, Josh Bannister and Garrett Perez explained what made that 1997-1998 team great.
Finally, the team was introduced and about half of the team were in attendance. Along with Armiento, Bannister and Perez, Joseph Shipman, Ben Dibble, Francisco Sanchez, Tony Bomprezzi, Jose Mundaca, Nathan Spracklen, Jason Pasma, Marco Gomez, Gabriel Arballo and Marcelino Gutierrez were on hand to receive their Hall of Fame plaques. In addition, Jaime Garcia wasn’t able to get away from his job in Maryland and his parents accepted on his behalf.
However, tears were shed when the late Bobby Gutierrez, the team’s assistant coach, and Ryan Bitter were presented with their plaques. Gutierrez was represented by his wife Lilly and Bitter’s parents accepted their son’s plaque.
The committee is non-committal about a class in 2017, but is sure to have another one by 2018.