The Bill Stricker Court at Dalben Center.
Ray Lagomarsino believes it has a sweet ring to it.
So do Scott Brooks, Chris Indelicato, Eric Simoni, Rick and Ron Inderbitzen, JJ Ramirez, Danny Cunial, Brian Goulart, Jim Agostini, Bobby Orr, Dave Ascunsion, Duane Aul, Mark Guzman, John Van Zant, and Gary Kron to name a few.
They are part of a push to have East Union High honor Bill Stricker — a longtime Lancer basketball coach credited with building strong character in his players over the years as much as he was for building championship teams. Stricker always placed his personal values over that of his athletic or coaching accomplishments.
Some 168 people have already signed a petition at change.org urging school officialsto consider naming the East Union basketball court after Stricker.
Kron — one of his former players — emailed East Union to make his case to honor Sticker.
“It was during my time at East Union I was able to play for and coach with what many around East Union would call the greatest man to walk the campus. Standing at 6-foot-8 Bill Stricker wasn’t only the tallest on campus, but in many eyes was the most influential: A man who who coached and worked at the school for part of 4 decades (and) a man who put mentoring kids and their values in life over wins and losses. Yes Coach Stricker had many wins and many accomplishments as a coach, but ask any former player who played for him or student he had in his classes and they will tell you the most important thing Coach Stricker provided them was how to be a positive young adult and productive society . . . . . . You walk around East Union and there is nothing to let the East Union community know about the greatness of this man. We have the Dino Cunial football stadium, the Jim Brown weight room and the Jose Barron music facility. These are rightfully pieces of East Union history that do deserve their names on them. These individuals made huge impacts to people at East Union. I suggested we name the court “Bill Stricker Court” and have it painted on opposite corners of each side. I have talked to several former and current MUSD employees regarding this dedication. I have not heard one negative comment regarding this. The outside name would not change; we would just be adding the name to the court. Dalben Center with “Bill Stricker Court.” This is common ground for many college arenas. For example John Wooden Court at Pauley Pavilion (UCLA), Lute Olson Court at McHale Center (U of Arizona) to name a couple.”
Stricker taught and coached at East Union High for more than 30 years.
He was at the University of the Pacific 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. His final year of coaching was the 1999-2000 season.
In an interview shortly before his retirement, Stricker told the Bulletin, “What’s more important (than winning) 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.”
To sign the petition, go to chang.org and type in “Bill Stricker East Union High Dalben Center” and the petition will pop up at the top of the search.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com