Taking a group photo was a production for the 1983 College of the Canyons baseball team on Thursday night at the Hyatt Regency in Valencia.
As the cocktail hour went on in the hallway, the team stood on a stage at the front of the ballroom for the photo.
“This is where I sat for the team photo,” one former player said.
“Are we supposed to kneel?” asked another.
All the while, hugs and handshakes were exchanged as former teammates, some of which hadn’t seen each other in nearly 35 years, were reunited for the COC Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony.
“Maybe that’s one of the reasons we won,” said Len Mohney, who was an assistant coach for the team. “That unity and stuff.”
The 1983 COC baseball team won the state championship that year by beating Harvard College, the second state title in program history and also won the Mountain Valley Conference title.
“Everything was a blur,” said Shawn Barton, who played on the 1983 team before going on to play professionally. “I’ve had a long career outside of College of the Canyons, but that year was pretty special because it wasn’t just one person that got it done. “We pulled together as a team. Each guy stepped up when they needed to step up and that had a lot to do with how we won this thing.”
Mohney was also inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach, student-athlete and administrator. He was a member of the baseball team in 1972 and 1973 and later became Athletic Director in 1997. In his tenure as Athletic Director, he helped add the women’s soccer, women’s golf, women’s water polo and men’s soccer teams in addition to reinstating the football team.
He now helps out at baseball practices as an assistant coach and watches games from the hillside “if the fish aren’t biting.”
“The game has changed. I don’t think the kids have changed a whole lot,” Mohney said. “You have great kids and you have not so great kids and it’s just that’s the way it is when you have a lot of kids on your roster but I think College of the Canyons baseball program is proud, so proud and very traditional.”
The 2001 state champion women’s golf team was inducted into the Hall of Fame and shared a table with the 2018 CCCAA state champion women’s golf team. Gary Peterson was head coach for both teams.
“I just remember feeling really grateful to be a part of the team and really as a team, you have a great coach like Gary Peterson, really wanting to win it for COC and for Gary. I feel like as a team, we are so cohesive that we just really wanted to be champions,” said Susan Latch, who was also inducted as an individual in 2009.
Dolores “Dody” Garcia rounded out the 2019 inductees and was a member of the first-ever women’s basketball and volleyball teams at Canyons.
Garcia recalls being awestruck when current COC Athletic Director Chuck Lyons approached her about being inducted into the Hall of Fame as she was preparing for West Ranch High School’s graduation in late May.
“I just was beyond words. Just so humbled by it and just never expected it,” she said. “I have several friends who are in the Athletic Hall of Fame and I thought, how cool is that. Some of my teammates are in, and but I never expected it, so like I said, I was thrilled.”
The 2019 Hall of Fame class may seem hard to top, but with the pride and tradition that COC has as a whole, there is only more greatness to come from the Cougars.