Madera Athletic Hall of Fame inducts eighth class
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Madera Athletic Hall of Fame 2020 inductees stand together during induction ceremonies Saturday at the Madera District Fairgrounds. Five individuals, three teams, a coach and three contributors were honored.
After getting postponed for 14 months, the Madera F.A.N. Organization was finally able to hold its Madera Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony to induct its eighth class over the weekend.
A record 12 inductions were handed out in the COVID-19 postponed ceremony. The Hall of Fame is scheduled to host induction ceremonies every even year. However, because of COVID-19, the ceremony for the 2020 inductees couldn’t be held. Once the restriction were eased to host an event, the Madera F.A.N. couldn’t secure a November reservation and was pushed into 2022 to host the 2020 induction ceremony on Saturday at the Madera District Fairgrounds’ Home Arts Building.
More than 200 people attended the ceremony that featured, for the first time, three teams to get inducted, and, at the end of the night, three get inducted as contributors.
Madera South three-sport athlete Dr. Derek Hansen, Madera cross country champion Benny Madrigal, Madera three-sport standout and Fresno State volleyball player Tera (Booker) Napier, Madera three-sport athlete and Major League baseball player La Schelle Tarver and softball player Vanessa (Salinas) Tua’au were honored Saturday night.
“It was great to see the Coyotes of the past come back to Madera to get honored,” said Madera F.A.N. President Ryan Desmond. “The chemistry of the teams really showed with almost the entire 1990 team present.”
In addition, members of the first Madera Coyotes cross country championship team in 1965 were honored, including already inducted Hall of Fame members Robert Yslas and Alex Fierrors were inducted. The 1966 diving team, which featured Valley Champion Don McAlister and Valley Championship placers Dennis Rowe, Andrea Mortimer and Patty Uhalde, were inducted. The 1990 cross country team that finished second in the state and featured individual Valley Champion Jose Santiago was inducted.
Madera Auto Center owners Marty and Lela Mayfohrt were also inducted, as was Madera track and field coach and athletic director Don Kautz.
One of the highlights of the night came when Marty and Lela Mayfohrt were honored as contributors. They pledged to give the Madera F.A.N. Foundation its biggest donation to date — $10,000, which drew applause from the audience.
Inducting the Mayfohrts was former Round Table Pizza owner Bill Dawson, who drove from Texas with his wife, Brenda, to be at the ceremony to introduce the Mayfohrts.
However, unbeknownst to Dawson, he was also inducted into the Madera Athletic Hall of Fame. Dawson was the founder of the Madera F.A.N. and handed over the reigns to now-president Ryan Desmond. Dawson is responsible for getting the foundation off the ground and securing funding for Madera and Madera South high school athletic programs that now includes Matilda Torres High School.
Inducted with Dawson was founding treasurer Staci Martines, who was also instrumental in growing the foundation. They were both surprised with the induction.
“We knew that if we told Bill that he was going to also get inducted, he wasn’t going to come,” Desmond said. “So, we just had to surprise him. We also knew that if Bill was going to get inducted, he would insist Staci get inducted, too, so we did that, as well.
“It was a great night of festivities and we are so grateful that we were able to do it. I hope we are able to build on this with our next class.”
Tua’au recently had a baby and wasn’t able to attend the ceremonies. However, her head coach Judy Shaubach was there to introduce her. Madera Athletic Hall of Fame organizer Tyler Takeda used FaceTime to make sure Tua’au was there to hear Shaubach’s speech. Tua’au also gave her own speech to thank the many people who made her successful.
Napier was also inducted by Shuabach, who was her softball and volleyball coach. Napier wanted the crowd to know to continue to push women to make them successful. She was pushed to be successful and wants other females to have the same opportunity.
After dinner, catered by Sugar Pine Smokehouse, former Madera High School principal Ron Pisk introduced his former colleague and athletic director, the late Don Kautz. His wife, Jane, accepted on his behalf.
Head coach Dennis DeWitt admitted to the audience that he really wasn’t a cross country coach when he started, but quickly became one when the 1965 team became so good. The team was represented by Yslas, Fierros and his brother, Adriano.
Dawson introduced the Mayfohrts into the hall of fame.
The 1965 diving team was represented by Theresa (Galano) Cowger and Robert Rowe, Dennis Rowe’s brother.
Former Coyote pitcher Vince Petrucci gave the biography of Coyote baseball standout and 1977 North Yosemite League Most Valuable Player Tarver. He is one of two Coyotes to reach the Major Leagues.
Madera South’s Hansen had the privilege of getting introduced by two people, kind of. His original inductor, Steve Guglielmana fell ill, but wrote out a speech. Hansen asked Madera Unified School District Director of Athletics Marty Bitter to read the speech. Bitter was the athletic director during Hansen’s time at Madera South and reflected not he person Hansen was. Bitter then read the speech that Guglielmana had written.
Madrigal was introduced by his former head coach Rich Parris. Not only did Madrigal get coached by Parris, but he also coached with Parris. Now, the two are rivals with Parris coaching at Clovis West and Madrigal at Madera South.
Carlos Sanchez closed the evening introducing his brother, Oscar’s, 1990 cross country team. Sanches, a two-time Valley Champion himself, helped build the 1990 team. Five of the seven members were in attendance for the ceremony.
The Madera Athletic Hall of Fame hopes to continue with a class in 2022, but also knows situations out of their control may move it to 2023.