After a 21-year hiatus, Manteca High revived Hall of Fame is welcoming six new inductees.
Dan Eavenson, Mary Ann (Foehringer) Tolbert, Mike Henry, Jack Miller, Karen (Steves) Ott and Eric Reis were announced as the new members to the revived Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will be livestreamed this evening on MHS website at www.mantecausd.net beginning at 6 o’clock.
The enshrinement of Eavenson and Reis together was fitting.
“We played football, college (Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo), and coached together – I asked Eric if he’s ever the head coach (for the Buffaloes) to bring me on so we can create a dynasty,” said Eavenson, who is a 1986 graduate of MHS.
Reis graduated the following year.
He spent 16 seasons at the helm, leading MHS to 150 victories, five Sac-Joaquin Section championships and three bowl game appearances before stepping down after the 2017 season.
Miller, who has been with the school’s football program from 1981 to 2013, was part of that ride. “This ranks up here with the great moments at the school,” he said.
He and Reis were honored and humbled of their induction to the school’s Hall of Fame. Their names are alongside – on the perpetual plaque – that of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Davis, pro baseball Milo Candini, award-winning photographer Kim Komenich, professional bull rider Ted Nuce, NFL player / coach Paul Wiggins, and pro golfer Kevin Wentworth, to name a few.
Wentworth’s brother-in-law Mark Condit stood proxy for his stepfather Henry during Thursday morning plaque recognition at the school. “He was feeling a bit under the weather,” Condit said of Henry, who was the longtime boys’ basketball coach at MHS.
He taught at Manteca Unified for 32 years, spending 26 of those at MHS. In 1987, Henry’s team captured the Division II section title.
Tolbert won three section titles with MHS girls tennis program. She’s a 1988 graduate of the school and spent the past 15 years coaching tennis. Tolbert also teaches Government and Economics and is the Link Crew advisor.
“Just being nominated into the MHS Hall of Fame was unbelievable,” she said.
Ott is one of the school’s biggest supporters. “My heart is here,” she said.
Ott was part of the girls’ sports program during the GAA days. In 1975, she was in that first-ever Valley Oak League for girls, playing basketball, volleyball and badminton.
“This is a great group,” she said of her fellow inductees. “I’m overwhelmed just to be part of it.”
The MHS Hall of Fame was founded in 1989 but has a few gaps over the years.
“Our school has been around for 100 years but we’ve only had nine of these (Hall of Fame induction classes),” said Activities Director Stephanie Hjelmstad.
The current biggest gap is the one right now. The Class of 2020 was the last group enshrined to the MHS Hall of Fame.
The reason for that, according to Principal Frank Gonzales, was the Manteca Hall of Fame, recognizing those who have achieved in their respective fields – included are Lathrop and French Camp – since 1993.
“It seemed almost redundant (to have both hall of fames),” he said.
Gonzales, Hjelmstad, and selection committee had hoped to kick-start the MHS Hall of Fame about a year ago but those plans were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, the revived Hall of Fame will coincide with the 100th year celebration of the school.
“It’s important to honor those who have made big contributions to MHS,” said Hjelmstad, who noted that enshrinement was expanded to non-alumni of the school.
Miller, for one, is a 1972 graduate of Livermore’s Granada High but spent 34 years as an educator / coach for Manteca Unified School District including 32 of those at MHS.
During that time, he coached football for the Buffaloes and spent six years coaching baseball. Miller was the California State Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002 and was inducted in the Manteca Hall of Fame in 2013.
He and Henry, from this year’s MHS enshrinement class, are also in the Manteca Hall of Fame, according to Gonzales.
Like Miller, Henry’s accomplishments in athletics are numerous. He was a teacher in the district for 32 years – from 1970 to 2002 – including 26 at MHS.
It was there that Henry coached boys’ basketball at all three levels and was chosen Valley Oak League Coach of the Year for the 1986-87 season, highlighted by the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 crown.