Athletes among Newport Harbor Hall of Fame inductees

Misty May-Treanor smiles when she says the name of her newborn baby girl, Malia. The Hawaiian name means "calm and peaceful."

Baby Malia, born June 3, did remain calm with her father, Matt Treanor, as they watched Mom being honored along with nine other Newport Harbor High alumni and five former faculty members who were inducted into the school's inaugural Hall of Fame class Thursday morning at the school's Main Theater.

May-Treanor, who graduated from Newport Harbor in 1995, was a slam-dunk choice among the former students who entered the Hall of Fame. She is regarded as the greatest female beach volleyball player of all time, having won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, with partner Kerri Walsh Jennings.

May-Treanor, known as "Turtle," earned a then-record 109 career tournament victories. She retired after winning gold in London in 2012.

May-Treanor led the Sailors to two state championships while at Newport Harbor.

"I felt it a true honor, especially to be in the first class," said May-Treanor, who stayed after the ceremony to be interviewed alone on a video camera. "I feel really humbled by everyone's accomplishments. It's neat to learn the history of the school and the alumni."

The spotlight did not solely shine on May-Treanor.

There were three other former athletes honored, some of whom produced poignant moments. George Yardley, Al Irwin and Jim Newkirk rounded out the former student-atheltes recognized.

When Newkirk, a former football and baseball standout, spoke after being honored, he made sure to credit Irwin, who also coached at Newport Harbor.

Irwin, class of 1937, was the stuff of legend, as he was the first four-year, five-sport letterman at Newport Harbor. He went on to learn from famed football coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, while at College of the Pacific. Irwin also served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Irwin is also highly regarded at UC Irvine, where an educational center for athletes is named after him. He coached at Orange Coast College, and then at UCI.

Eric Tweit, a former Newport Harbor athletic director, teared up a bit when Newkirk thanked Irwin. Tweit spoke in honor of inductee Ralph King Reed, the famous athletic director.

"We're grateful for what he started, the tradition," Tweit said.

The announcement of Yardley's name produced louder cheers among those in attendance.

Yardley, who was also known for his community service in Newport Beach, had a successful career in pro basketball that landed him in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. He was the first NBA player to score 2,000 points in a season.

Did you know he was just as successful off the court?

Yardley invented a seal for the liquid oxygen fuel tank on the Atlas-Titan rocket, which contributed to the U.S. space race. He also played pro tennis, and won the National Indoor Men's 35s doubles championship with Ron Livingston in 1973, and again with Hugh Stewart the next two years.

Yardley died in 2004 due to ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

His daughter, Anne Yardley Caldwell, also an alum, accepted the honor of his induction.

"He would have really loved this," she said. "Newport Harbor meant so much to him. He would have said some crazy off-color joke but I won't do that to you."

Newport Harbor plans to have more Hall of Fame classes each year, said Principal Sean Boulton, who was largely responsible for creating the concept.

"This school is so much more than brick and mortar," Boulton said. "It's the people."

Dan Glenn, the NHHS girls' volleyball coach who said he was very proud of May-Treanor, also noted the Hall of Fame was needed at the school.

"This school has a tremendous history," Glenn said. "We're always competing against other schools for things like this. I think people don't understand the tradition we have here. It is long overdue, but we're excited about it."

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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