Long Beach Century Club president Sharleen Higa has announced the club’s 64th Hall of Fame class, which will be inducted at the club’s annual Sports Night banquet on Jan. 27.
“We’ve got a really good mix of younger athletes and people who’ve been contributing for a long time,” said Higa.
The Century Club’s Hall of Fame is the only athletic Hall in Long Beach to span all schools and sports, and the club’s annual banquet honors that years inductees as well as the best athletes at the high school, collegiate, and pro level, as well as several community volunteers.
Long Beach Poly alum Chase Utley is one of the most successful baseball players to ever come out of Long Beach. Utley was an All-American at Poly and at UCLA, who went on to a 17-year Major League Baseball career, including 13 seasons with the Phillies.
A World Series champion, Utley was a six-time All-Star and a four-time Silver Slugger awardee. Utley was named to Sports Illustrated’s All-Decade MLB Team for the 2000s.
A native of and lifelong resident of Long Beach, Jessica Hardy Meichtry is one of the best swimmers to come out of the city. Although Long Beach has a long history of producing aquatic greats, few live up to the standard of Hardy, a Wilson alum and two-time Olympic medalist.
Hardy won a gold and a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics, and finished with 14 world championships. She set world records in the 100 meter breaststroke, and the 50 meter breaststroke.
Mack Calvin is an alum of Long Beach Poly and LBCC, where he was a star in the mid-1960s.
Calvin led Poly to multiple CIF championships and then went on to the Vikings, where he was a star. Calvin went on to USC, where he helped end UCLA’s 58-game winning streak. A draft pick of the Lakers and the ABA’s LA Stars, Calvin became one of the great stars of the ABA, where he’s on the All-Time ABA List after a five-time All-ABA career. Calvin went on to coach with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Chuck McFerrin is one of the most successful athletic administration figures in Long Beach history, having led LBCC for 14 years during which time the Vikings won 23 state titles and three national titles.
McFerrin founded the LBCC Hall of Champions in 2002, and after his retirement from LBCC he’s continued to work in sports as a replay official for the Pac 12.
Scot Breithaupt, Sr.
Being inducted posthumously is Scot Breithaupt, Sr., widely considered to be the founder of the sport of BMX (bicycle motorcross). BMX is now an Olympic sport, and it’s fitting that it will be hosted in Long Beach during the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.
Breithaupt built the course at BUMS, next to Long Beach State off 7th Street, where the first official race with a rule book was held. Breithaupt, a native of Long Beach and a graduate of Wilson, was a multiple world champion in the sport and became a promoter and organizer after his retirement. Scot Enterprises remains one of the most iconic BMX brands to this day.
Also being inducted posthumously is John T. Ford, the legendary Lakewood football coach.
Ford was the coach of the Lancers for nearly 20 seasons, from 1962 until 1980, and is still the most successful football coach in school history–the stadium at Lakewood is named in his honor. In that time, Lakewood drew so many fans that they had to play at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Ford’s players were known for great discipline, and also for having shaved heads, a requirement for players on his team.
Note: Century Club president Sharleen Higa is the spouse of this piece’s author and editor Mike Guardabascio.