At this geographical spot in the Inland Empire, or the “IE,” as San Gorgonio’s football coach Ron Gueringer likes to call it, it probably isn’t that big of a deal whether or not the San Diego Chargers relocated to the Los Angeles area. Figure this: It’s probably an easier drive from the IE to San Diego, anyway.
But it’s the arrival of the Rams – back from St. Louis – that could bring a Merry Christmas salute to the IE. The Rams and Chargers in L.A.? Wow!
Nothing’s happened, at least officially.
The Raiders have also been part of the mix.
Quarterback Philip Rivers and a few Chargers, in what could be the last game at San Diego, returned to the field after last week’s game to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.
Former Redlands East Valley player Chris Polk could turn up in L.A.
Beaumont product Derron Smith, a backup safety in Cincinnati, could make an appearance, or two, in L.A.
As for the Rams returning, consider that from 1949-1960, the Los Angeles Rams held pre-season training camp at the University of Redlands. More than a couple handfuls of eventual Hall of Fame players wore Rams’ jerseys in those days.
The return of the Rams to L.A. is huge.
Absolutely nothing will happen until the NFL owners make it happen. Governors, mayors, city council member, senators, congressman and billionaires can talk all they want. Until the NFL owners decide, nothing will ever happen.
We’ll sit and wait for something to shake loose.
* * *
Bob Smith was big!
Way, way back in 1959, the first ever state wrestling tournament was held, won by Fresno City and San Bernardino Valley (SBVC), both scoring 62 points with various state champions.
Since those days, San Bernardino Vally had won six more state titles and Fresno City 12 titles and has been a power in the state of California.
SBVC dropped wrestling several years back.
Meanwhile, SBVC’s Hall of Fame wrestling coach, Smith, died on Dec. 10. SBVC’s first official team began in 1955. In 16 seasons under Smith, SBVC’s record was 183-18-3.
(And they dropped wrestling?)
It gets even more absurd. Over his final 14 seasons, Smith’s teams were unbeaten (96-0) with 14 conference dual titles, seven state titles and seven regional titles.
Smith’s wrestlers won 22 state individual titles, 10 more wrestled in the Olympic Trials with one wrestling for the USA in the Olympics.
He’s survived by his wife, Sheila. His children, Bryan David Smith who played football and wrestled at SBVC, is a fisherman in Morro Bay; his daughter, Suzanne Kay Smith lives in the Palm Springs area.
Smith was Coach the Year six times.
Smith hailed from nearby Banning High, where he played football, eventually turning up at Modesto Junior College and the University of Washington. His first coaching gigs came at Grants Pass High School (Ore.) and the Oregon Technical Institute.
He showed up at SBVC in 1955 as a football assistant coach under Clyde Williams, Buck Weaver and Joe Lash. That’s when the Indians (the school’s mascot back then) were a powerhouse. He also coached baseball.
He took the football team for two seasons (8-5), coached SBVC’s golf team (another extinct program at SBVC), winning a pair of conference titles. For those that can recall such things, he coached the golf team at Cal State San Bernardino from 1991-1996.
As for wrestling, he formed the first association of wrestling officials back in 1957.
In 1972, Smith was instrumental in organizing and hosting a regional Olympic wrestling trials at SBVC.
He’s a wrestling Hall of Famer, inducted into the state Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004.