Championship Game Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery-Photo Credits to Paul Shanklin, Rafael Maldonado and Bob Ponce.

Roberts rebounds in title game

Dan Melendez, Tom Henderson play D in title game

Fans celebrate victory

Tom Henderson with team trophy

Post game celebration

Post Game Awards Ceremony

Reserves see some action

Ahmed Jahadhmy Cuts The Net

Team admires the trophy

Team huddle

State Mutual Bank presents awards to team

Team Photo in Goleta Valley Sun

Photo by Paul Shanklin

Banner Hanging in Sovine Gym

Photo Courtesy of Greg Hanson

Coach Don Volpi, R.I.P.

Coach Don Volpi

Coach Don Volpi is interviewed by KNBC-TV sportscaster Tommie Hawkins following the win over Katella in a game televised throughout Southern California.

Coach Volpi tragically died much too young at the age of 49 on March 3, 1983 while playing in a recreational league game. Here is a link to an article about his induction into the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame.

Tom Henderson Remembers

Tom Henderson

First major memory:

Night or two before our first game of the season (against the Agoura Knights, whom we knew nothing about as they were a new school from Ojai or somewhere small like that); the Boys Clubers were playing trampoline basketball (trampoline is placed under the basket, players pass the ball around and shoot it in an attempt to score against a goal tending defender). Minor injuries are common, jammed fingers, cut hands, but then Richard Stein slams against the rim, slicing his noggin open and requiring several stitches to sew up the gash. I am mad as all get out. Not because Stein may be out for our first game, that was no big deal in my mind (sorry Rich, but my first thought, with a shrug of the shoulders, was “well I guess Hope is starting and Danny’s moving to forward”. No, I was upset because I knew we would never get to play trampoline basketball again and it was such an awesome game!!!…..Sure enough, they took the trampoline down and I never remember playing again; something about it being toooo dangerous. (Only if you’re an uncoordinated geek said I!). 


I’m still mad about that, but then that was the nature of our team. For all that mamby-pamby newspaper talk about togetherness and closeness, the truth be told, we were only tolerant of each other as long as you didn’t say something stupid, do something stupid, and/or failed to pull your own (self and group perceived) weight. Heaven help you if you slipped up in one of the above categories; it was verbal wolves to the flesh and leave the bones lying. And Richard (having done something stupid and on the verge of not being ready for that first game) was about to be given a good dose of our group love. So no one was surprised when Rich suited up (with only a minor complaint of a slightly head splitting headache). If memory serves me well, he ended up playing very well and we practically shut out a very weak Agoura team 51-9! Now that was playing defense with no mercy and still has to stand as a school record (if anyone keeps track of such things or even cares). 

When it came to basketball, there was no such thing as sympathy in this group. Everybody thought they could play (they could) and everybody wanted to play (they couldn’t, only so much playing time). So that’s why I said we only tolerated each other. The underlining theme on this team was play hard, play good, and don’t mess up or everyone could and would jump on you; and someone else was more than ready and willing to step in for you. Our practices were consistently fierce and physical, with no love loss between certain individuals; Marc and Irving taking on Rich and Scott (at different times, in different combo’s), Barc and Danny going at it, Steve and Bruce, myself and anyone who played opposite me, but especially Greg (For some reason, I just loved to try and pound on him; probably because he was the only guy on the team who was just as skinny and slow as me). Just pairing the above names together brings back images of fore arm shivers, body slams, with plenty of yelling and swearing (under the breath, as only Stein would dare the wrath of Volpi with an occasional primordial scream of “f–k”).

Next up was getting demolished by Crescenta Valley in the fourth or fifth game of the year and just as we were beginning to think we were pretty darn good. (It’s funny how many of my memories were the same as Barc’s. I guess we were on the same team after all). They were bigger, faster, stronger, and better than we were. It was a very humbling experience, but I also think it was a very good experience in that are resolve to become a good team got even stronger. From that point on we never let up until we had clinched league and a very good Santa Maria team whipped our butts.

After that game we ended up playing Santa Barbara (a team I disliked greatly in that they always seemed to beat us and they had the arrogant, later to become a friend, Don Ford). At the end of the game we were down by one, I ended up with the ball as time was running out and had to take the last shot. I missed, but was very relieved and thankful that Scott and Richard tipped the ball in at the same time (they probably still would argue on which one tipped it in) as time expired. It was a great win for us as we got the Santa Barbara mystique off our backs. 

I guess that’s why when we drilled Santa Barbara by “20” something a week or so later it was such a surprising break through for us. It was also such a fun game, seeing the looks of frustration in the faces of the team that had always destroyed us and tormented us.

Of course that was just the basketball. The biggest impression in that game was the huge hickey on Richard’s neck (yes he was our emotional leader). In my 30+ years of playing, coaching, and teaching I have never seen a larger one than that. It was indescribably large (Barc came closest with his size of the Russian map analogy, but even that wasn’t adequate). I remember looking at it with not a little bit of admiration. I mean it had to have taken some time to make. What also astounded me was I had no clue about who had given it to him. I remember thinking to myself how little I had seen of Rich off the court, since the basketball season had started. It was a “big” (no pun intended) revelation for me, in that I was still hanging out at the Boys Club and he had moved on to bigger and in my mind perhaps much better things. Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but somehow the thought of that made me play even harder than I normally did. I rate the second SB game as one of my top ten favorites. Thanks, Rich.

I really don’t have time to go through any more of the season. I have a job, wife, kids, and I’m not a writer. Suffice it to say it was one of those highlight seasons that you wish everyone could experience. Of course, when you realize that the season was really about the people involved with it and the friendships you make, then every season has parts of such a season every year. We were just blessed in that we had it all.

Richard Stein Remembers

Richard Stein:

 Seeing how I type two words a minute this is a major undertaking. There were so many great memories of that season. I remember we were all a little disappointed how badly we played in the finals at the sports arena. As we were watching the 4-A game between Verbum Dei and Crescenta it felt like we were the JV team. But the memories of the championship are very sweet today as I look back. I think the greatest memory I have is the wonderful friendship we had with one another. Barclay and I are still best friends to this day and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night. I’ll list some of my highlights of the season.

  • After getting blown out by Crescenta Valley in an early season tournament their players came up and told us we were a really good team and we had a great chance to win a championship. That was a great confidence builder and the next game we went out and beat a good Santa Barbara team with Don Ford by one point.
  • Blowing out Santa Barbara by twenty points at their gym. I think that was the point where we believed we were a good team.
  • Beating  Santa Maria at our gym by twenty. They were our biggest rivals and they had beaten us in a summer league tourney but Bruce C. was a dominant player by this time.
  • The games with San Marcos and the rivalry with Steve. I remember Tom Henderson shutting him down
  • Getting beat by Santa Maria at their gym was a great wake up call for us.
  • The CIF playoffs-what a trip.
  • The packed house at Westmont. We had such great fan support. We knew if we won that game we would be on TV.
  • The Katella game on TV. I remember I was so nervous I didn’t know who I was guarding for the first 5 minutes. They jumped out to a ten to nothing lead and I remember thinking this was the end of the line. How embarrassing to get blown out on TV. But Scott had that great game and we came back to win.
  • The finals. The Sports Arena. So big, I felt lost out there. What a great game Bruce had and what a great player he had become.
  • Looking back at the struggles we had with coach Volpi with the players wanting to play a more wide open game. We never would have won that way. He was a much better coach then we gave him credit for at the time.

Bruce Coldren, Center

Bruce Coldren Photos

Credits to Paul Shanklin, Dan Lindsay and Santa Barbara News Press.

Bruce hits the floor

Bruce makes layup in championship game

Bruce makes all-tourney team

Barclay Hope Remembers

Barclay Hope:

We held a reunion at Richard Stein’s house in Santa Barbara on March 31, 2001. I had an original tape of the championship game, ugly as it was, and it was delightful how quickly we fell back into a hilarious critique of each other’s efforts. As you recall there was plenty to laugh about in that game, mostly on the shooting side. Surprisingly, besides the “short” shorts and our methodical, boring offense, I was surprised how tough we STILL looked defensively after all this time!

I’ll give you a few scenes that are “freeze-framed” in my mind from that year…

  •   In the second game of the year, leading a three-on-two fast break, seeing Stein open on the right but opting to fake to him and take it all the way and alas, drawing an offensive foul. Stein STILL gives me crap about that choice ,however my answer remains the same now as it was then, he had already shot the damn ball enough already!
  •   The highly charged atmosphere in practice scrimmages. Danny and I going at it, Irving and Roberts, neighbors but none too fond nor sociable towards each other. Marc Melendez and Stein getting extremely physical. And everybody ragging on and beating up on Coldren, who just kept taking it and kept coming back with jumpers and tough rebounds.
  •   Going to play Crescenta Valley in the tourney and really being awestruck at how physically overmatched we were. That was quite a team. It was also the only time I ever saw Volpi panic when he instructed us in a timeout to…”just clear the side and let Stein go one-on-one…” we all knew we were in for a long night at that point. Despite his valiant efforts, they humbled us, which worked to our benefit as we had been rolling over other pre-season opponents and this took us down a notch or two and made us work harder.
  • Getting into the game against Santa Barbara (at the same tournament I think), the team of Keith Wilkes! and the remaining star Don Ford. I got the ball on a steal or fast break with just him back on defense, looked at him and thought, “that skinny blonde f—-r can’t stop me”, took it in on him and had to endure the indignity of him fly-swatting me, knocking me to the floor, and then snarling at me “to get that s–t out of here!” Me, being me, telling him politely what to do with himself, and challenge him again minutes later on a similar play….with the exact same results!!! Having been told that the definition of stupidity is to keep performing the same action expecting different results, I opted to respect Mr. Ford’s defensive prowess from that point forward.
  •   Scant weeks later, going into the Don’s lair, knowing that they would be completely fired up for us. Stein having a hickey on his neck the size of the Russian map, us ribbing him about that during layups kept us very loose. Then we proceeded to d-e-s-t-r-o-y Santa Barbara with a ferocious full-court press. I remember pressing with Tom Henderson, at one point, after having stolen or forced turnovers 4-5 times in a row thinking, “these guys can’t even get it over half-court! Big bad SB is running scared!” I actually had a feeling , instantaneous but completely recognizable, akin to “Lord of the Flies” where I felt completely powerful and somewhat savage in my and our ability to wreck havoc defensively. In that game we lost any shred of self doubt and really claimed the quiet arrogance of real winners.
  •   The struggle that I would have before every game when, in the locker room, right after pre-game talking, we would gather around and clasp hands and invoke a moment of silence or prayer. Marc Melendez would either find my hand and tickle it seductively or search for my gaze and then give me his best Volpi, tongue under the lower lip imitation, reducing me to a jittery, inwardly convulsing mess. It was great removing the pre-game jitters as we would break the huddle and I could finally guffaw and relieve my tension!
  •   Our emotional leader, Stein, getting himself  completely fired up out of his mind before playing San Marcos at their gym, exhorting us hysterically before leading us charging out into the gym. as he entered from the pool area and onto the court, tripping over a cable and barely keeping himself from doing a facial as his opening appearance that night! Another tension reducer for me, who was right behind him and saw the whole thing!
  •   “Freeze Frame” Stein against Litner from Arroyo Grande, a fine ballplayer in his own right, and Stein “tooling”  him with some of the greatest one-on-one moves I’ve ever seen.
  •   Danny Melendez punctuating one of the greatest, most electrifying shooting halves I’ve ever seen by nailing a line drive jumper from the dead corner with Munding in his face as the halftime buzzer expired….
  •   Later, after we had clinched league, going to Santa Maria and everyone, feeling a sense of foreboding that they were waiting to ambush us up there, which they proceeded to do. Again, it was what we needed to get us back into the right frame of mind before CIF.
  •   First round, Newbury  Park, whom we had beaten by about a thousand points earlier in the year, plays inspired ball matching our lack of inspiration, led by Stein, who has his WORST game of the year. At one point, he threw the ball away as point man against their press to Brodski who laid it in, and Henderson and I are both screaming at Stein to get his head in the game! We luckily escaped that one!
  •   Playing Fermin Lasuen and the famed Bob Gross at Westmont College, Stein putting on a show in the first half and then Bruce taking advantage of a wide open middle to shoot turnaround jumpers in the second. I remember playing the point, dribbling up and again and again just passing directly into him and thinking, “if you guys are this stupid to give this to us, I’ll keep throwing it in there!”
  •   Playing a really talented triplet guard combo for Artesia, and in a tight game, at one point walking off the court during a time-out on the hostile court in the midst of them making a run and thinking, ” this place is REALLY loud…R-E-A-L-L-Y LOUD!”
  •   The Katella game, (won 64-50) really what we had all wished would have been the championship game, where really the finest efforts and talents from many members were displayed in an awesome comeback win against a really fine team. Having my most embarrassing moment of the season on TV for all of SoCal to see (banking in a free throw), and also, when coming into the game for the first time, completely nervous, throwing away a cross-court pass and being so inflamed with embarrassment and humiliation that I raced to the other end and fly-swatted off the backboard the guy’s layup attempt…sweet!!
  • The championship game, really anticlimactic, a SURREAL experience in that cavern for the first time, reflected in our shooting stats,……and a HELLUVA celebration party at Stein’s house the next night!!

  What made us so good? We all loved to play, and we all, despite some aforementioned jealousies, pretty much liked each other. There was enough “evenness” in talent to make practices intensely competitive. Mostly though, while not the most terrific bunch of athletes ever assembled, we were a HIGHLY INTELLIGENT group that really KNEW the game of basketball and particularly the subtleties and nuances of outstanding TEAM DEFENSE. The FEELING of what we often experienced that year has been elusive in athletics and later in life, but that feeling has been what I have strived for since as I have built my professional career and tried to instill some of the same qualities that came so naturally to that group.

Thanks for listening to my sharing!

The Gym Rats Ruled

In 1971, when Dos Pueblos won a CIF title…

THE GYM RATS RULED

4/4/01

By JOHN ZANT

SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER

Photo by Dave King, Santa Barbara News-Press. The 1971 CIF basketball champs from DP thirty year reunion.

For several hours last Saturday, Richard Stein’s living room harked back over 30 years to the gym at the Goleta Boys’ Club. That’s where those Dos Pueblos High kids could be found playing basketball around the clock.

Even during the season, when they had practices and games, they’d go to the Boys’ Club at night to get in some extra playing time together.

Even during the season, when they had practices and games, they’d go to the Boys’ Club at night to get in some extra playing time together.

“They were gym rats,” said Sal Rodriguez, who opened the doors for them. “Eventually I had to kick them out so I could go home.”

Their passion for the game paid off in the 1970-71 season, when the Dos Pueblos Chargers went 27-2 and captured the CIF 3-A basketball championship.

“All the time we played together is what made us a great team,” said Stein, the team’s leading scorer. “We played more basketball in a week than I’ve played in the last 20 years.”

The 30th anniversary reunion marked the first time the Chargers had gotten together since their high school days. Stein, a local dentist, hosted nine former teammates at a dinner party in his Montecito home. They remembered when. . .

. . . They went across town to play the Santa Barbara Dons, with future NBA player Don Ford, and they scored a stunning 70-47 victory. “That was the point where we believed we were a good team,” Stein said.

. . . They won DP’s first championship of the old Santa Barbara County League, topping strong foes from Santa Maria, Righetti and Arroyo Grande.

. . . A capacity crowd in Westmont’s Murchison Gym watched them defeat Fermin Lasuen and Bob Gross, a future Portland Trail Blazer, 69-57 in the CIF quarterfinals.

. . . They faced Katella in the semis, a game televised by KNBC, with Ross Porter and Tommy Hawkins calling the action. After spotting Katella an 8-0 lead, the Chargers roared back to win 64-50.

. . . They smothered Bellflower 49-40 in the championship game, the opener of a doubleheader before 12,000 fans at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

“It was a pretty ugly game,” Stein said. “Our defense won it for us. I remember watching the 4-A final between Verbum Dei and Crescenta Valley and feeling like we were a JV team.”

That’s not the way athletes usually remember their glory days, but another distinguishing feature of the Chargers was their acumen. Only two of them went on to play basketball at four-year colleges — center Bruce Coldren at Oregon and guard Tom Henderson at UC Davis — but all of them have become productive citizens.

Their elders — people who were about the same age they are now — used to wonder if anything good could come out of the rebellious youth of the early ’70s. Don Volpi, the coach of the Chargers, recalled 10 years after the championship that “our school was getting flack from the community about being Hippie High.”

Volpi, who graduated from UCSB in 1960 after serving in the Air Force, was an old-school coach. Mark Looker, a student manager, recalled an incident at a DP practice: “Volpi sat down next to Stein and put his finger on Stein’s sideburns (such as they were) and said, ‘What do you think you’re trying to get away with?’ as if he were Charles Manson himself. . . That incident so incensed me that I wrote an essay about it for my English class saying something to the effect that Volpi was a fascist and how repressive team sports was.”

But the players grudgingly accepted Volpi’s discipline on the basketball court.

“We had friction with the coach because we wanted to play up-tempo, run and gun,” Stein said. “But then we lost to Crescenta Valley (70-46) early in the season, and we realized we couldn’t win playing that style. Volpi was a much better coach than we gave him credit for at the time.”

Stein would have liked to express that appreciation to Volpi’s face, but the coach died of a heart attack during a recreational basketball game on March 3, 1983. He was 49. Paul Yarbrough, another student manager during the championship year, covered the story for the News-Press. He is now a newspaper editor in Eugene, Ore.

Another person sadly missing from the reunion was Danny Melendez, a starting guard who could go on a tear with his line-drive jump shots. Melendez died in an auto accident on April 12, 1979.

Stein would like to hear from forward Scott Roberts. He left the area a couple years ago, and nobody knows what became of him. Reserve guard Brent McClurg was unable to attend the reunion. There were 10 former players on hand, enough to play five-on-five with their memories:

Stein (6-foot-3) moved to Goleta as a sophomore from Princeton, N. J. (“I caught free throws from Bill Bradley”), played some ball at City College, then concentrated on his studies. He has been a dentist here for 20 years.

Coldren (6-7) scored 25 points in the championship game. The only junior in the starting lineup, he had a deadly outside shot that later sparked Oregon to an upset of UCLA. He is athletic director at Lowell (Ore.) High. “Any team that has ever been successful has always been really close,” he said.

Henderson (6-0), also an AD at San Juan High in Fair Oaks: “We thought the championship was important at the time, but the big thing is the friendships you make. Basketball was the vehicle.”

Barclay Hope (6-0), president of a nationwide natural foods distributor: “Everybody knew their place on the team. We had talent –Stein and Coldren — and a lot of good role players. There were some tensions, but overall the chemistry was good.”

Marc Melendez (6-2), assistant golf pro at the Valley Club and Danny’s younger brother: “There wasn’t a selfish person on the team. You don’t see that nowadays.”

Greg Hanson (6-1 1/2), working in local real estate: “I helped push the seniors in practice and was able to start the next year. I remember seeing Lewis Brown of Verbum Dei at the Sports Arena, a 6-9, 230-pound center. He was smoking a cigarette while getting his ankle taped.”

Bill Irving (6-1 1/2), a building contractor in Anacortes, Wash.: “I was glad to hang on and watch these guys play. My elbow gave Scott Roberts stitches before the Katella game and got him going (Roberts scored 18 in the semifinal win).”

Steve Terry (6-2 1/2), a corrections officer living in Placerville: “Everything we did was with the team in mind.”

The presence of Richard Elliott and Jimmy Smit at the reunion was a testament to the closeness of the ’71 Chargers. They were among the kids playing in the Boys’ Club all summer, but neither suited up for the team. “I went to every practice because I didn’t want to mess up the team chemistry,” said Elliott, a carpenter who has two children at Dos Pueblos. Smit is owner of O’Malley’s Bar. He was the last player to see their coach. “I was a city firemen for six years,” he said. “One night we responded to a code blue at the SBCC gym. It was Volpi.” Sad and sweet, 30 years of memories poured out Saturday night. Thirty years. To think that as young people, they were told not to trust anybody who’d lived that long.

Dos Pueblos High School CIF AAA Basketball Champions March 13,1971

Memories of Historic Achievement

Photo by Rafael Maldonado, Santa Barbara News-Press

Front row, from left, Scott Roberts, Bill Irving, Stephen Vonasek, Bruce Coldren and Marc Melendez. Back row, from left, Principal Henry Baylor, Dan Melendez, Brent McClurg, Greg Hanson, Coach Don Volpi, Barclay Hope, Tom Henderson and Richard Stein.

Material curated by Mark Looker

Dos Pueblos High School, from Goleta, CA, captured the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) AAA basketball title on March 13,1971, with a 49-40 victory over Bellflower at the LA Sports Arena. It was the first major sports title in the school’s young history. DP would next win a CIF AAA title on Feb. 28, 1990 with a 39-38 overtime thriller over Corona del Mar at UC Irvine’s Bren Center.

As one of the student managers, along with Paul Yarbrough, in addition to being the sports editor of the school newspaper “The Charger Account,” I had a unique perspective from which to view this championship team. 

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the championship win over Bellflower at the L.A. Sports Arena, I am re-posting a collection of players’ memories that I first posted 20 years ago, long before the days of Facebook and Twitter. Their recollections give some insight into the team chemistry that produced a memorable basketball season. I am seeking memories from those who did not share them 20 years ago and will post any new stories I receive.

Championship Game Scorecard courtesy of Mark Riley


See Santa Barbara News Press 30 year anniversary article April 4, 2001

See Santa Barbara News Press Ten Year Anniversary Article March 13, 1981

News coverage of 1971 title game victory

CIF Southern Section Bulletin April 1971

The players:

Coach: 

Student Managers:

Photo Gallery

The Wins and Losses Overall 27-2:

Pre-Season

Beat Royal 82-51

Beat Simi Valley 79-60

Beat Newbury Park 84-37

Beat Hueneme 78-36

Beat Santa Barbara 70-47 click here for photos

Beat Bishop Garcia 74-44

Burbank-Hoover Tourney

Beat Alhambra 70-47

Lost to Crescenta 70-46

Beat Camarillo 71-54

League

Beat Cabrillo 53-44 and 87-62

Beat Arroyo Grande 64-42 and 47-44

Beat Righetti 88-51 and 68-58

Beat Lompoc 74-57 and 90-56

Beat San Luis Obispo 77-43 and 54-43

Beat Santa Maria 75-55 and lost 69-59

Beat San Marcos 53-44 and 58-35

Play-Offs

Beat Newbury Park 64-54

Beat Artesia 65-53

Beat Lausen 69-57

Beat Katella 64-50 (the TV Game)

Championship Game

Beat Bellflower 49-40

Sovine Gym, Home of the Chargers

Photo Courtesy of DP Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus

Copyright 2019 Looker Comm