Jaguars alumni make history

Patrick Loera

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Nearly three decades have passed since auto racing driver Willie T. Ribbs and professional golfer Roger Maltbie attended classes at San Jose City College.

The many successes and achievements they have had over the years were celebrated as Ribbs and Maltbie were honored at the 18th annual city of San Jose Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on Nov. 14 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

“SJCC is honored with the induction of Willie Ribbs and Roger Maltbie into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame,” said Vice President of Administration and Interim Dean of Athletics Greg Nelson.

Maltbie and Ribbs were accompanied at the podium by All-American and NFL Pro Bowl Quarterback Steve Bartowski and FIFA Women’s World Cup and Olympic Champion gold medalist Brandi Chastain as the newly inducted San Jose Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012.

All inductees were presented with three-foot plaques that featured a two-dimensional portrait of each athlete made of bronze that are to be hung inside the HP Pavilion near the south entry.

“We are proud of these inductees and proud to add to the growing list of City College inductees in the hall of fame,” Nelson said.

As a five-time PGA Tour Champion, then later as a network television commentator, Maltbie has earned a reputation as one of the sport’s great ambassadors.

After playing golf throughout his years at James Lick High School in San Jose, Maltbie played for golf coach Harvey Dow while with the San Jose City College golf team in 1969-70, and eventually moved on to play for San Jose State University.

“It is really gratifying to know that your home area thinks that you have done something to enhance some experience in their lives, but it’s not even close to how this city has enhanced mine,” Maltbie said.

Ribbs also grew up in San Jose and attended James Lick High School and SJCC only a few years after Maltbie did.

During his induction speech, Ribbs credited his grandfather, Henry Ribbs, for raising him with the morals to make him a successful driver.

“It was that foundation that set the stage for me. It was that toughness that he wanted out of (me), and he didn’t imagine anything less,” Ribbs said.

As part of a racing family, Ribbs learned to race competitively from his father, an amateur racer, and became a groundbreaking motorsports figure by making history as the first African-American driver at theIndianapolis500.

Of the 85 athletes inducted from 1995-2012, eight of them are from SJCC, including the newly inducted Ribbs and Maltbie.

“These two individuals, and many more like them, represent the amazing accomplishments of students and staff at SJCC,” Nelson said. “This is a testament of the impact this college has in this community and beyond.”

Pictures of all the hall of fame athletes that attended SJCC can be viewed in the lobby of the main gym on the SJCC Campus.