My assignment to cover this area concludes this week. Retirement’s on tap, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget covering these digs. Lots of stuff going on. To my way of thinking, for every story I’ve written, there’s a dozen, or more, that go unwritten. Can’t do ’em all, I’ve always said. 

Seriously, the schools around here in my coverage “footprint” have vastly different missions, I’ve noticed. 

Aquinas, a private school campus, has a certain type of clientele. 

It’s vastly different from that of San Gorgonio, which loses a lot of its clientele to Citrus Valley. 

Then there’s Citrus Valley, which sits in a gold mine area of Redlands and East Highlands for athletics. 

This “footprint” also included Cal State San Bernardino, University of Redlands and San Bernardino Valley College. Jeez, talk about different missions. 

So many stories that I was able to cover. In my heart of hearts, though, there were plenty more stories I was never able to get to; stuff I’ll regret for awhile. 

I’d have loved to pull Highland-area resident Marty Barrett aside for a chat. Barrett’s been a scout for the L.A. Rams, having worked for the Bears during their Super Bowl run a decade and a half back, plus Philadelphia for the Eagles’ Super Bowl title in 2017. Remember, Barrett was aboard when the Rams reached the 2018 Super Bowl. 

That’s three teams that reached the Super Bowl — winning just at Philadelphia — with Barrett’s expertise thrown into each mix. That’s NFL Hall of Fame stuff. 

Tried in vain to contact Sahvanna Jaquish, who nearly made our Team USA Olympic softball squad. Had a bunch of questions to throw at her on training and hitting, how to pick a good travel ball team — stuff like that. 

You think there’s a female athlete out there — not just softball, either — who might benefit from a former NCAA All-American from LSU? 

I once asked highly ranked Redlands school official Sabine Robertson-Phillips for the phone number to her son, Jaelan, with this question: “Think he’s got any thoughts for a story?” 

Sabine, unlike any other parent I’ve ever known, shook her head, “I don’t think so.” 

Her kid’s bound for this year’s NFL draft — a likely selection. 

That’s one interview I’d have loved to get. 

Hey, I get it. Sabine probably just didn’t want to be seen “pushing” her son into the spotlight. 

Truth is, though, I tried. It never came off. 

Gerry Wright? “Sir Jamalot” from his San Gorgonio days, played at USC and basketball-rich Iowa. Drafted by Detroit. Played backup in Atlanta to Dominique Wilkins. Most recently, he coached Barstow JC’s men’s hoops team. 

Full disclosure: It was always in the back of my mind to go after him, but I never got to it. 

More names on my list: I’d already started a piece on highly successful REV hoops coach Bill Berich, but I never got around to the interview. I’d throw in a piece on Ben Myers, who had a hand in at REV plus helping Lance Evboumwan lead Arrowhead Christian’s boys to last year’s hoops title. 

Ran out of time. 

Throw in these names: Think of some questions you’d like to ask REV volleyball star Krista Vansant. Where to start playing youth volleyball? What workout regimen? Skill improvement sessions? She’s at Indiana now, coaching. Like Jaquish, Vansant came so close to making Team USA. 

There’s a guy over in Redlands, Richard Jimenez. I’d long since started throwing words on a page. Got a few quotes. Never finished the piece. A youth tennis coach. Doing it for years. Played on some power teams at Redlands High way back in the 1960s. 

Teammates like the Borhnstedt Bros., Richard and Ron, plus the Verdieck Bros., Doug and Randy. Never got to any of those guys, either. When you think of those guys, think Wimbledon. They showed up for those grass matches at the All-England Club. 

Richard’s been teaching for years. Saturday mornings. Dozens of kids got their starts with a racket with this guy. 

As far as I’m concerned, any area athlete could not do worse than making the local campus their first stop in pursuing college. Every single one of those coaches are professors of their sport. I get it. Kids want to get away from home. Area of study might not be offered. Athletic financial aid isn’t offered at the University of Redlands. A bunch of reasons. 

Still. 

Nothing will ever top that Villanova-at-Redlands men’s basketball showdown back on Nov. 22, 2003. Bulldogs’ coach Gary Smith threw 16 players (including two ex-Redlands High players, Eric Siess and Danny Genung, plus ex-Redlands East Valley player Kai Lyles) in an all-out effort to wear down the ’Cats’ eight players, including a couple of future NBA draftees (some were missing, ineligible for three games while ’Nova paid the price for an NCAA violation). 

’Cats’ coach Jay Wright (still the coach there, by the way) escaped with a 114-103 win. Quote to me from Smith afterward: “They should’ve been scared.” 

Retirement caught up to me way too fast. 

Jeff Lane, a Bay Area buddy from way, way, waaay back, brought me here in 1979. Big props to Jeff. You’ll never know. 

Worked for handfuls of editors, alongside dozens of photographers, battled against rival newspaper reporters, rattled beside a few publishers, tried to make deadlines over four decades, begging loads of advertising directors for more space in the sports section — balanced by writing for thousands of readers. 

Thankfully, most of them stuck with me through some tough times. 

I’d like to get young and do it all over again.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.