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BC set to immortalize inaugural class for athletics hall of fame on Wednesday

The wait is finally over.

More than a hundred years in the making, the inaugural Bakersfield College Renegades Athletics Hall of Fame class will receive a long-overdue recognition.

The Bakersfield dozen, which features some of the biggest names in BC athletics history, will be inducted on Wednesday at Luigi’s Warehouse.

The inductees include, Gil Bishop, Carl Bowser, Bruce Burnett, Gerry Collis, Bob Covey, Billy Cowan, George Culver, Frank Gifford, Dean Jones, Colby Lewis, Aisha Harrison-Maston and Hank Pfister Jr., a list of athletes, coaches and administrators that have all helped pave the way for BC athletics through most of the last century and into the 2000s.

The cost for the event is $125, with proceeds ear-marked for “the sustainment and long-term financial health of the BC Athletics Hall of Fame, making sure that it continues to grow and become a legacy piece of the school’s future,” according to event chairperson Vance Palm. For tickets, contact the BC Athletic Office at (661) 395-4299.

KBAK sports anchor Greg Kerr will serve as master of ceremonies, with cocktails slated to start at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30.

Here’s a look at the first class of honorees:

GIL BISHOP

BC’s current gymnasium is named in his honor. He served as the school’s athletic director from 1954-1968 and was responsible for hiring many of the coaches that turned BC into one of the preeminent community college athletics programs in the state. He is also credited with being the force behind the plans for Memorial Stadium.

CARL BOWSER

Posted an 83-31-3 record as BC’s football coach from 1984-1994. He guided the Renegades to the 1988 national title with a Potato Bowl victory over Fullerton College. BC won six Western State Conference titles and appeared in seven Potato Bowls during Bowser’s 11 years at the helm.

BRUCE BURNETT

Won state wrestling titles at BC in 1969 and 1970. He compiled a 55-3 career record and was named the state’s outstanding wrestler his sophomore year. He went on to have an highly-successful coaching career at the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. National Team. Burnett was USA wrestling’s national freestyle coach in 1993-2000 and 2014-2016. Under his guidance, the U.S. had 5 Olympic gold medalists and 11 world champions.

GERRY COLLIS

Coached both baseball (1958-1967) and football (1967-1983) at BC. Collis led the Renegades football team to five league championships, three Potato Bowls and the 1976 Junior Rose Bowl. His 121 career victories as head football coach ranks No. 1 in school history.

BOB COVEY

Coached track & field at BC for 42 years, retiring in 2005. His teams won 24 league track & field titles, 10 league cross country titles, six Southern California regional track & field team titles, one Southern California regional cross country title and two California state team titles. Covey coached 32 state individual champions. He was selected California coach of the year five times.

BILLY COWAN

Was a two-sport (baseball and basketball) standout at BC. He set several school records in basketball, including a BC single-game high of 39 points (since surpassed). Cowan’s sophomore year he was selected Metropolitan Conference basketball player of the year. After leading Utah’s basketball team to the NCAA Final Four in 1961, he became a professional baseball player and played eight years in the Major Leagues.

GEORGE CULVER

Was an All-Metropolitan Conference performer on BC’s baseball team for two years (1962-1963). Culver went on to pitch nine seasons in the Major Leagues (1966-1974), posting a record of 48-49, with 23 saves and a career 3.62 ERA. The right-hander hurled a no-hitter for the Cincinnati Reds against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 29, 1968. Culver, a longtime supporter of BC athletics, has raised an immense amount of money through BC Hot Stove Dinners to upgrade the school’s baseball facilities.

FRANK GIFFORD

Played football for BC in 1949, making the Junior College All-American team. After moving on a playing two years at USC, Gifford was selected in the first round (11th overall) of the 1952 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He led the Giants to a victory in 1956 NFL Championship game. That same year he was selected the league’s MVP. Gifford, the longtime play-by-play voice for ABC’s Monday Night Football, was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

DEAN JONES

Was the starting point guard for BC’s 1977-78 state championship basketball team, which finished 33-2. Jones averaged 15.7 points and 9.0 assists per game that season, and was named state player of the year and All-Metro first team. He went on to play at USC before returning to BC to coach the men’s basketball team from 1985 to 1993.

COLBY LEWIS

Was standout pitcher for BC in 1998 and 1999. Following a first team All-Western State Conference season his sophomore year (4-5, 2.86 ERA, 108 strikeouts), Lewis was selected by the Texas Rangers in the first round (38th overall) of the 1999 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound right-hander had an 11-year MLB career, mostly with the Rangers. In 233 MLB games, he posted a 77-72 record with a 4.70 earned run average. He helped the Rangers reach the World Series in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, he won two games in the ALCS against the Yankees and added Texas’ only World Series win when he beat the Giants in Game 3.

AISHA HARRISON-MASTON

Was the driving force behind BC’s 1997 women’s track and field state championship. Harrison-Maston accounted for 40 of the Renegades 82 team points by winning individual titles in the long jump, triple jump, and the 100-meter hurdles, while finishing runner-up in the 200. She was named MVP and athlete of the year for her accomplishments. She holds four Bakersfield College stadium records and continues to hold the CCCAA state championship record for most individual points. Harrison-Maston earned a scholarship to Nebraska, but injuries forced her to end her career after just one season.

HANK PFISTER JR.

Led BC to men’s tennis championships in conference, Ojai, sectionals, and was a state finalist in singles. The Renegades team captain went on to play at San Jose State, where he was an All-American. Pfister spent 11 years on the ATP Tour, winning two singles titles, and 11 doubles titles. He attained a career-high world singles ranking of No. 19 in 1983. During his pro career, Pfister posted victories over Jimmy Connors, Roscoe Tanner, Guillermo Vilas, Arthur Ashe, Ilie Nastase and Stan Smith.

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