75 Years of Excellence: La Verne athletics prospers throughout time

by Martha I. Fernandez
Staff Writer

Generations may differ in the way they dress, speak, think and act, but one thing they all have in common, especially in the University of La Verne’s history, is a firm devotion to athletics.

From the 1920s to the 1990s, Leos have been at the sidelines loyally cheering their peers to victory.

The way sports are played has not changed much, however the teams ULV challenges have. La Verne College, as it was previously known, played mostly high schools from the area or frosh teams from other larger colleges such as UCLA or USC.

In 1919, inter-class basketball was popular at LVC, as well as indoor baseball for women. A skeeter weight team began in 1921. In 1942, the LVC stickswingers teams, a form of polo, were introduced.

LVC played its first collegiate basketball game against the University of Red­lands on Dec. 18, 1919. Tennis became part of the University’s athletic program in 1919 when its first team was started. In 1924, LVC had a brand new gymnasium, said to be the third largest in southern California.

Football became prominent in 1921 when LVC formed its first team. LVC won its first football game 34-0 against Montebello High School.

In 1921 the annual football banquet began. By 1926 LVC had its first conference squad and joined the SCIAC. In 1941, however, LVC football was discontinued due to lack of funds. By the 1945-47 season LVC athletics were back in full gear.

The first men’s basketball team was established in 1905. Men’s basketball was the pride of ULV when they went to the NCAA Division III regionals and won 1992-93 SCIAC title.

The College of the Pacific was the first opponent for the women’s basketball team, on Feb. 16, 1923. The women’s team received the fame they longed for in 1989 when they won the conference title and ended the season with an undefeated record in conference games.

LVC’s baseball team produced some very strong players, one of which was Norman Clark, who in 1942 left LVC to go play pro ball with the Fresno Eagles. By 1960 Coach Ben Hines took the team into a new baseball league called the Independent College Baseball Associ­ation. In 1969 and 1972, under Coach Hines, the team was NAIA District III champions. The team was third in nationals in 1974 and 1975.

The turn of the decade was a glorious one for both baseball and softball. The men won the league under Coach Owen Wright in 1989. The softball team tied for the SCIAC title in 1989 and again in 1990. The 1993 softball team once again was in the spotlight when they made the softball world series in Decatur, Ill.

Soccer in 1976 produced two player that were honored as All SCIAC performers, Edwin Marquez and Jesus Hernandez.

In 1989, the golf team, under Coach Rex Huigens, took the SCIAC title and finished the season with a perfect record of 12-0.

The 1992 women’s volleyball team sweated and fought their way to the NCAA Division III playoffs.

Jane Krich, ULV distance runner, advanced to the national meet in 1993. An honor ULV took great pride in.

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