Athletic tradition at Santa Monica College (SMC) dates to the school’s opening in 1929.
Now the college has a place to honor those who have contributed to athletic achievements at the college over the years — the new Sports Hall of Fame, housed in the “Skybox” room on the second floor of the Athletics-Kinesiology-Dance complex, overlooking Corsair Field.
The college’s first Sports Hall of Fame ceremony will induct its first four college honorees during a ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday, November 12th, in the SMC Skybox at Corsair Field, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.
The induction ceremony will include the unveiling of a five-by-nine-foot Sports Hall of Fame display.
A wall of the Skybox conference room will hold plaques with the names of the sports honorees who are inducted into the Hall of Fame each year.
The hall’s first four inductees will be:
n Lenny Krayzelburg, four-time Olympic swimming gold medallist;
n Johnny Gray, four-time track and field Olympian;
n John Joseph, legendary SMC swimming coach and;
n the late Kay Teer Crawford, who established SMC’s drill team, the Coronettes.
The induction will precede the Corsairs football team Homecoming game against Compton College, scheduled at 7 p.m.
A $25 donation for the ceremony is requested. Information, (310) 434-4307.
“We’re trying more to celebrate our achievements in different areas,” said Bruce Smith, SMC spokesman. “The Hall of Fame is very significant because SMC does have a really rich tradition of excellence in athletics.”
The many different athletic accomplishments throughout SMC history make the Sports Hall of Fame “long overdue,” Smith said.
Funding for the Sports Hall of Fame was provided by contributions through the President’s Circle of the SMC Foundation, which funds programs designed to enhance teaching and learning at SMC.
The recent creation of the Hall of Fame is largely attributed to the effort of JoAnn McLin Ortiz, SMC Foundation executive director, who wanted to recognize college athletic achievements and reach out to alumni, Smith said.
“The Sports Hall of Fame brings deserved attention to the outstanding programs and rich sports traditions of Santa Monica College,” Ortiz said.
SMC Foundation members had been considering the creation of a Sports Hall of Fame for the past couple of years, Ortiz said.
The foundation plans to induct a maximum of four honorees each year. SMC honorees will be either a former student athlete or a non-student athlete, such as a coach or team supporter.
In order to be considered for induction, the student athlete must have competed at SMC for at least one season and been out of the school for at least five years.
Hundreds of nominations for the first Hall of Fame induction class this year were narrowed down to the final list of four honorees.
“They’re an interesting and diverse four people,” Ortiz said of this year’s inductees.
Krayzelburg has won four Olympic swimming gold medals, including three in the 2000 Sydney Games and one in the 2004 Athens Games.
He attended SMC from 1992 to 1994 and won three California Junior College Conference Championships.
Gray, who attended Santa Monica College from 1979 to 1980, earned the Olympic bronze medal in the 800-meter run in 1992 and still holds the American 800-meter indoor and outdoor track records.
Joseph was the SMC swimming coach from 1951 until his retirement in 1992, and during that time he coached more than 300 All-Americans, had 13 undefeated seasons and led 20 Conference Championship teams and one State Championship team.
He was named conference Coach of the Year 21 times and state Coach of the Year three times.
Crawford was the first woman chair of the college health, physical education and dance department and established the drill team, the Coronettes.
She worked at SMC from 1955 to 1984 and was a dance and drill director for more than 50 years, producing ten halftime Super Bowl shows.
Krayzelburg, Gray and Joseph are scheduled to attend the induction ceremony and family members of the late Crawford are also scheduled to attend.
“This is a fascinating representation of the kinds of things that have happened at SMC and we’re very proud,” Ortiz said.