Memories of Historic Achievement
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
- Richard Stein, forward, 6-3
- Bruce Coldren, center, 6-7
- Barclay Hope, guard, 6-0
- Tom Henderson, guard, 6-0
- Scott Roberts, forward, 6-3
- Dan Melendez, guard, 6-0
- Marc Melendez, forward, 6-2
- Bill Irving, forward, 6-1 1/2
- Stephen Vonasek, forward, 6-2 1/2
- Greg Hanson, guard, 6-0
- Brent McClurg, guard, 5-10
- Mark Looker
- Paul Yarbrough
The Wins and Losses Overall 27-2:
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
Beat Alhambra 70-47
Lost to Crescenta 70-46
Beat Camarillo 71-54
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
Beat Newbury Park 64-54
Beat Lausen 69-57
Beat Bellflower 49-40
Sovine Gym, Home of the Chargers
Here is news coverage of the 1971 Title Game Victory
Santa Barbara News Press article March 13, 1971
News Press Follow-up Article
Goleta Valley Sun Article
Charger Account Article
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
State Mutual Bank presents awards to team
Team Photo in Goleta Valley Sun
Banner Hanging in Sovine Gym
Photo Courtesy of Greg Hanson
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.
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.