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California’s High School Football Hall of Fame Set to Open at Rose Bowl

California’s High School Football Hall of Fame Set to Open at Rose Bowl

Tom Brady (12) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 16, 2023. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Dan Wood

Dan Wood

8/7/2023

Updated: 8/15/2023

Synonymous with college football for more than a century, the iconic Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California, now also stands as something of an ultimate destination for California high school players.
The brand-new California High School Football Hall of Fame will be dedicated during a private ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 26. It'll be open to the public beginning in September as part of the stadium’s tour program on the final Friday of each month and on UCLA game days.
The highly ambitious project was the brainchild of Dedan Brozino, president of the nonprofit Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, and Rob Wigod, retired commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation’s (CIF) Southern Section.
It became possible through $40 million in donations from prominent philanthropists and business leaders Brian Panish, an attorney and advisory board member of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation; Brian Kennedy, a Los Angeles-based philanthropist who has supported Rose Bowl stadium initiatives over the years; and Mickey Segal, chairman of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation board of directors.
“What got me involved and excited about this was I played football at Pasadena High School, and it was a big part of my life back then,” Mr. Segal told The Epoch Times. “I thought, ‘Okay, if we can actually pull this off and everybody aligns, it would really be something special, and to be part of helping it happen would be a really nice thing.’”
In honor of the Rose Bowl’s centennial celebrated in 2022, the inaugural Hall of Fame class consists of 100 players, as well as 13 coaches. Roughly 25 percent of the inductees are expected to be in attendance for the Aug. 26 festivities. A formal, public induction ceremony on the Rose Bowl field is planned for next spring.
The class represents a veritable football who’s-who, including past Super Bowl most valuable players Tom Brady, John Elway, Jim Plunkett, Aaron Rodgers, Marcus Allen, and Lynn Swann.
Mr. Plunkett and Mr. Allen are among 10 members of the class who went on to win the Heisman Trophy as college football player of the year. That group includes three who played high school football in Orange County—quarterbacks John Huarte and Matt Leinart of Mater Dei and Rancho Santa Margarita’s Carson Palmer.
Matt Leinart (7) of the Buffalo Bills turns to handoff against the Detroit Lions at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Aug. 29, 2013. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Matt Leinart (7) of the Buffalo Bills turns to handoff against the Detroit Lions at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Aug. 29, 2013. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Choosing 100 players and 13 coaches from roughly a century of high school football in California was a massive undertaking. It fell to a committee of 27 people that included high school sports commissioners, Rose Bowl and California high school alumni, media members from each of the 10 CIF sections, and national media members.
“Starting from zero, for the first 100, it was a challenge,” Mr. Brozino told The Epoch Times. “I think the ones that proved to be particularly challenging were those that were maybe pre-1950, just because there’s not a ton of data from back then.”
However, there is significant representation from more than half a century ago.
A perfect example is Glenn Davis, who played at Bonita High in La Verne, California, before becoming the first Heisman Trophy winner from California while at Army in 1946.
U.S. Military Academy–West Point halfback Glenn Davis. He was the 1946 Heisman Trophy winner. (U.S. Military Academy/Getty Images)

U.S. Military Academy–West Point halfback Glenn Davis. He was the 1946 Heisman Trophy winner. (U.S. Military Academy/Getty Images)

The committee, which included Ron Nocetti, executive director of the CIF, relied heavily on input from the public. That will be the case again later this year, when nominations for a second class will be accepted, with the idea that new, smaller classes will be chosen every two years.
“No matter what you do, when you put together a list that is going to include only 100 players, just given the longevity and the history of high school football in California, you know the immediate reaction is ‘Boy, we’re going to leave so many deserving and unbelievable people off the list,’” Mr. Nocetti told The Epoch Times. “But obviously this isn’t a one-year thing. I think down the road, all the people that deserve to are going to be in there.”
Players don’t become eligible for selection until 10 years following their final high school season, while coaches are eligible upon retirement. High school achievements are paramount in the selection process, but accomplishments beyond high school and citizenship are also taken into consideration.
In addition to the CIF, the National Football Foundation and the Pro Football Hall of Fame partnered with the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation. Representatives from each of those entities are scheduled to be on hand on Aug. 26.
“This is a project that is already bigger than all of us, which means it’s going to be special for all who visit and look at it as a representation of what the high school football history is in this great state,” Mr. Brozino said. “I hope people are equally blown away like I was, because I think it’s an 11 out of 10, hands-down.”

California High School Football Hall of Fame—Inaugural Class

Players

  • Frankie Albert (Glendale)
  • Marcus Allen (Lincoln-San Diego)
NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen laughs during the Julius Erving Golf Classic at The ACE Club in Lafayette Hill, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2017. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images for PGD Global)

NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen laughs during the Julius Erving Golf Classic at The ACE Club in Lafayette Hill, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2017. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images for PGD Global)

  • Jon Arnett (Manual Arts-Los Angeles)
  • Matt Barkley (Mater Dei-Santa Ana)
  • Steve Bartkowski (Buchser-Santa Clara)
  • Dick Bass (Vallejo)
  • Gary Beban (Sequoia-Redwood City)
  • Hal Bedsole (Reseda)
  • Ricky Bell (Fremont-Los Angeles)
  • Tom Brady (Serra-San Mateo)
  • John Brodie (Oakland Tech)
  • Tedy Bruschi (Roseville)
  • Reggie Bush (Helix-La Mesa)
  • Mark Carrier (Long Beach Poly)
  • Chris Claiborne (J.W. North-Riverside)
  • Randy Cross (Crespi-Encino)
  • Randall Cunningham (Santa Barbara)
  • Sam Cunningham (Santa Barbara)
  • Anthony Davis (San Fernando)
  • Glenn Davis (Bonita-La Verne)
  • Jack Del Rio (Hayward)
  • Morley Drury (Long Beach Poly)
  • Henry Ellard (Hoover-Fresno)
  • John Elway (Granada Hills-Los Angeles)
Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 7, 2016. The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 7, 2016. The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

  • Nello Falaschi (Bellarmine-San Jose)
  • Tom Fears (Manual Arts-Los Angeles)
  • Vince Ferragamo (Banning-Wilmington)
  • Kai Forbath (Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks)
  • DeShaun Foster (Tustin)
  • Dan Fouts (St. Ignatius-San Francisco)
  • Mike Garrett (Roosevelt-Los Angeles)
  • Toby Gerhart (Norco)
  • Frank Gifford (Bakersfield)
  • Tony Gonzalez (Huntington Beach)
  • Pat Haden (Bishop Amat-La Puente)
  • Michael Haynes (John Marshall-Los Angeles)
  • John Huarte (Mater Dei-Santa Ana)
  • DeSean Jackson (Long Beach Poly)
  • Jimmy Johnson (Kingsburg)
  • John Henry Johnson (Pittsburg)
  • Maurice Jones-Drew (De La Salle-Concord)
  • Napoleon Kaufman (Lompoc)
  • Lincoln Kennedy (Morse-San Diego)
  • Billy Kilmer (Citrus-Azusa)
  • Eddie LeBaron (Oakdale)
  • Matt Leinart (Mater Dei-Santa Ana)
  • Mercedes Lewis (Long Beach Poly)
  • James Lofton (Washington-Los Angeles)
  • Ronnie Lott (Eisenhower-Rialto)
  • John Lynch (Torrey Pines-San Diego)
  • Marshawn Lynch (Oakland Tech)
  • Gino Marchetti (Antioch)
  • Ollie Matson (Washington-San Francisco)
  • Bruce Matthews (Arcadia)
  • Bill McColl (Hoover-San Diego)
  • Tim McDonald (Edison-Fresno)
  • Hugh McElhenny (Washington-Los Angeles)
  • Willie McGinest (Long Beach Poly)
  • John McKay Jr. (Bishop Amat-La Puente)
  • Mike McKeever (Mount Carmel-Los Angeles)
  • Freeman McNeil (Banning-Wilmington)
  • Ron Mix (Hawthorne)
  • Warren Moon (Hamilton-Los Angeles)
  • Don Mosebar (Mt. Whitney-Visalia)
  • Harold Muller (Oakland Tech)
  • Anthony Munoz (Chaffey-Ontario)
  • Ernie Nevers (Santa Rosa)
  • Ken O’Brien (Jesuit-Carmichael)
  • Carson Palmer (Santa Margarita-Rancho Santa Margarita)
Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer talks to the fans after being inducted into the Cardinals Ring of Honor at halftime of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sept. 29, 2019 (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer talks to the fans after being inducted into the Cardinals Ring of Honor at halftime of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sept. 29, 2019 (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

  • Joe Perry (Jordan-Los Angeles)
  • Jim Plunkett (James Lick-San Jose)
Quarterback Jim Plunkett (16) of the Los Angeles Raiders takes a break from the action during the game against the San Diego Chargers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 28, 1986. The Raiders won 17-13. (George Rose/Getty Images)

Quarterback Jim Plunkett (16) of the Los Angeles Raiders takes a break from the action during the game against the San Diego Chargers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 28, 1986. The Raiders won 17-13. (George Rose/Getty Images)

  • Les Richter (Fresno)
  • Ron Rivera (Seaside)
  • Jackie Robinson (John Muir-Pasadena)
  • Jerry Robinson (Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa)
  • Aaron Rodgers (Pleasant Valley-Chico)
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) of the New York Jets talks to reporters after training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., on July 26, 2023. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) of the New York Jets talks to reporters after training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., on July 26, 2023. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

  • Rashan Salaam (La Jolla Country Day)
  • John Sciarra (Bishop Amat-La Puente)
  • Junior Seau (Oceanside)
  • Richard Sherman (Dominguez-Compton)
  • Jeff Siemon (Bakersfield)
  • Alex Smith (Helix-La Mesa)
  • Dennis Smith (Santa Monica)
  • Bob St. Clair (Poly-San Francisco)
  • Lynn Swann (Serra-San Mateo)
Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann poses for photos as he is introduced prior to the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 06, 2022. (Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann poses for photos as he is introduced prior to the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 06, 2022. (Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

  • Amani Toomer (De La Salle-Concord)
  • Gino Torretta (Pinole Valley-Pinole)
  • Norm Van Brocklin (Acalanes-Lafayette)
  • Gene Washington (Long Beach Poly)
  • Kenny Washington (Lincoln-Los Angeles)
  • Bob Waterfield (Van Nuys)
  • Charles White (San Fernando)
  • Russell White (Crespi-Encino)
  • D.J. Williams (De La Salle-Concord)
  • Ricky Williams (Patrick Henry-San Diego)
  • Roy Williams (James Logan-Union City)
  • Ron Yary (Bellflower)
  • Charles Young (Edison-Fresno)
  • Luis Zendejas (Don Lugo-Chino)
  • Gary Zimmerman (Walnut)

Coaches

  • Marijon Ancich (St. Paul-Santa Fe Springs, Tustin)
  • John Barnes (Los Alamitos)
  • Dick Bruich (Fontana)
  • Lou Farrar (Charter Oak-Covina)
  • Dwight Griffin (Bakersfield)
  • Mike Herrington (Hart-Santa Clarita, Bellflower)
  • Bob Johnson (Mission Viejo, El Toro-Lake Forest)
  • Bob Ladouceur (De La Salle-Concord)
  • Herb Meyer (Oceanside, El Camino-Oceanside)
  • Bill Redell (Crespi-Encino, St. Francis-La Canada, Oaks Christian-Westlake Village)
  • Kevin Rooney (Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks)
  • Gene Vollnogle (Banning-Wilmington, Carson)
  • Harry Welch (Canyon-Canyon Country, St. Margaret’s-San Juan Capistrano, Santa Margarita-Rancho Santa Margarita)
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Dan Wood

Dan Wood

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Dan Wood is a community sports reporter based in Orange County, California. He has covered sports professionally for some 43 years, spending nearly three decades in the newspaper industry and 14 years in radio. He is an avid music fan, with a strong lean toward country and classic rock.

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