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Bill Stricker scores spot in Sports Hall of Fame

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Bill Stricker scores spot in Sports Hall of Fame

Relaxed in his office, Bill Stricker has garnered numerous awards and honors over the years. He was selected to the Manteca Sports Heroes Hall of Distinction, but Stricker, who is the East Union Hi...

VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin


POSTED February 26, 2009 5:05 a.m.
Bill Stricker places his personal values over that of his athletic or coaching accomplishments.

Tops on his list is his marriage to Susan, his wife of 38 years, along with his relationship with his two children, Matt, 29, and Stacia, 25, and setting a positive example to his former players from throughout the years.

“About 80 percent of those (who coached with me) are still in their first marriage,” Stricker said Wednesday at his East Union High director of athletics office.

He added, “What’s more important is what you were able to do for the lives of the young people. And I hoped that I was able to make their lives a little better.”

Stricker’s cramped office space – at least for his towering 6-foot-9 frame (that was his listed height during his collegiate playing days at the University of the Pacific) – is filled with plenty of championship plaques from the various prep sports, a few mementos, stacks of papers, and several empty coffee cups from the nearby Starbucks.

But never mind the clutter. “I’m really more of a people person,” he said.

On Saturday, Stricker will be inducted into the Manteca Sports Heroes Hall of Distinction at the Big League Dream sports complex. He’s honored but not necessarily overwhelmed with the personal accolades.

“I’m really looking forward to sharing the company with the others being inducted,” he said.

Included is one of his former coaches, Mike Morenzone, who helped build a winning softball and volleyball tradition at East Union, and the Lady Lancers’ 2006-08 golf team.

“I also coached against Kevin Wentworth,” Stricker added. “Most people remember him for golf, but Kevin was a heck of an athlete. He was an outstanding basketball and football player.”

Rounding out the Hall of Distinction’s Class of 2009 is Major League Baseball catcher Ken Huckaby, legendary San Francisco 49 pass-catcher R.C. “Alley-Oop” Owens, retired sports official Robert “Bob” Scharmann, and former stock car racer Ron Strmiska Sr.

After over 30 years, Stricker is leaving East Union at the end of the year.

He was at UOP from 1966 to 1970 – the Tiger squad with John Gianelli and Keith Swaggerty battled a Lew Alcindor-led UCLA down to the final minutes – and enjoyed a stellar colligate career.

Later, he was afforded the opportunity to coach college hoops at the lower levels (prior to freshmen eligibility) with Pete Newell, Jr.

In 1977-78, he began his coaching stint at East Union.

Among his former players were current Lancer coach Eric Simoni, Gary Kron and former NBA player now interim Oklahoma Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

“We had some of the better players in the section,” Stricker said.

His final year of coaching was the 1999-2000 season.

Stricker, 61, is looking forward to upcoming retirement. “I’ll have a chance to spend more time with the grandson,” he said.

Family has always been No. 1 in his life.

For more information on the Hall of Distinction awards dinner, call (209) 823-7229.

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail vrembulat@mantecabulletin.com

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