Modesto Junior College Hall of Fame member and former Manteca High player Paul Wiggin has been selected as a 2016 inductee into the California Community College Sports Hall of Fame by the California Community College Athletic Association.
The former Lathrop resident is the first inductee in this statewide Hall of Fame from MJC. Lathrop High’s football stadium is named in his honor. He is also a member of the Manteca Hall of Fame
Wiggin has experienced five and a half decades as a player, coach and administrator in the collegiate and professional ranks.
Wiggin earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Stanford University in 1956 and 1959 respectively. The NFL’s Cleveland Browns drafted Wiggin in 1956 after serving as a 3-year starter at tackle for Stanford and going on to earn 1st-Team All-Pac-10 and 1st-Team All-America honors in both ‘55 and ‘56. Wiggin was named the Stanford Defensive Player of the Century in fan balloting. In 2005, Wiggin joined exclusive company when he was selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana.
In 11 seasons (1957-67) as a defensive end with the Cleveland Browns, Wiggin never missed a game playing in 146 straight regular-season games, which stood as a team record when he retired. During his tenure there, Cleveland played in three NFL World Championship title games and started in the Pro Bowl in 1965 and 1967. In addition, Wiggin was named the team’s Outstanding Defensive Player in ‘63, the Browns’ Player of the Year in 1966 and the Cleveland Pro Athlete of the Year in ‘67.
Immediately after retiring from his professional playing career in ‘68, Wiggin became the defensive line coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Despite inheriting a 49ers squad that hadn’t been to the playoffs since 1957, Wiggin was part of a staff that guided San Francisco to three straight division titles from 1970-72 and the NFC Championship Game in 1970 and 1971. During his stint, Wiggin tutored the top two sackers (Cedrick Hardman and Tommy Hart) in 49ers history. Hardman also set a team season record for sacks with 18 in ‘71. In ‘74 Wiggin was promoted to defensive coordinator for San Francisco.
His first head coaching opportunity came at the helm of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1975-77. Wiggin’s first NFL win came in a 42-10 victory over Oakland, who went on to capture the AFC West title in ‘75. The Chiefs won three straight and five of their next seven games, including a 34-31 upset of the year’s NFC Champion Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football at Texas Stadium.
Following his tenure with the Chiefs, Wiggin served as the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints for 1978-79. After not winning more than five games in any of their previous 11 seasons, the Saints posted seven victories in ‘78 and eight in ‘79. 1980-83, Wiggin was selected as the head coach at his alma mater, Stanford University, where he oversaw future NFL 1st-round draft choice John Elway.
Before joining the Minnesota Vikings in 1985, Wiggin was a part of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games Organizing Committee. Wiggin joined the Vikings as defensive line coach, a position he held for seven seasons. During the time Wiggin was defensive line coach, Minnesota led the league in total defense twice (‘88 and ‘89). In 1987, the Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship Game before losing 17-10 to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Washington Redskins. In 1989, the Vikings posted 71 sacks, the 2nd-most in a season in NFL history. At the time, defensive end Chris Doleman set a league seasons record with 21 sacks, while defensive tackle Keith Millard added 18 sacks – the 3rd -most at the time in a season in NFL history. In addition to Doleman and Millard, Wiggin also helped develop Pro Bowl defensive tackles Henry Thomas and John Randle.
In his latest role as a pro-personnel consultant with the Minnesota Vikings, Wiggin works closely with the department that is responsible for evaluation of all NFL players and advance scouting of the Vikings’ upcoming opponents. He has served in various roles with the Vikings for the past 29 plus years. He and wife, Carolynn, have been married for 58 years. They have three daughters — Kymberly, Kristyn and Kellie – and twelve grandchildren.
In addition to Wiggin, the 2016 Hall of Fame class includes Fran Babich (Butte College), Jim Kross (Riverside City College), and Terry Pendleton (Oxnard College). Herm Edwards (Monterey Peninsula College) and Marilyn Williams (Butte College) are being inducted but are deferring their recognition into the CCCAA Hall of Fame until 2017.
The CCCAA Sports Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed in California community college athletics. Founded in 1984, the Hall of Fame has sought to recognize those who have made the most of their experiences as California community college student athletes, coaches and administrators, maximizing their own potential to better themselves and those with whom they come into contact. The four new HOF members will join 127 previous inductees in the Hall, which features some of the most recognizable names in amateur and professional sports.