NORTHEAST GLENDALE — For 10 years, one Glendale College Athletic Hall of Fame inductee after another pointedly thanked Jim Sartoris for not only his service at the school, but for shaping past Vaquero athletes into venerable men and women.
At the school's 11th annual hall of fame banquet and induction ceremony on Saturday, it was Sartoris' turn to do the thanking.
"Whatever success I had, it was all due to other people," the esteemed coach, athletic director and mentor said.
Sartoris highlighted the college's 2012 induction class, finally accepting his place among other Vaquero greats after refusing to be recognized for 10 years. Tove Berg, Chet Williams, Dale Logie, Colonel James D. McGinley and the college's 2002 baseball team joined Sartoris in the class.
"I didn't want to be inducted because there are so many great athletes and contributors here," Sartoris said. "I thought it was important to recognize them."
The 2012 inductees thanked Sartoris, too.
"Jim's strengths are his values and his ethics," said Logie, who was honored for his outstanding athletic achievement. "He's a real person. He's not just into you because you were a good football player. He wants to give you values."
Added Harry Hull, the chairman of the athletic hall of fame: "Jim is one of the icons of Glendale college. He's touched the lives of so many student-athletes. He deserves to be in this class. The hall of fame couldn't exist without his support and backing."
Sartoris spent more than 40 years at Glendale college, first as a student-athlete, then as the head football coach, then as the athletic director before retiring in 2006.
A year prior, the newly refurbished track and field was named "Sartoris Field," in his honor. Since retiring, he has volunteered countless hours at the school and served as a mentor to current Vaquero Athletic Director John Cicuto.
"He is the most deserving person in our hall of fame," Cicuto said. "It's a long time coming.
"He epitomizes what the program is all about."
The Vaquero athletic program has produced superb athletes who have excelled on the field and made an indelible mark in their community and country.
McGinley, an All-Western State Conference water polo goalkeeper for the Vaqueros from 1977-79, was honored for his pillar of achievement for his service to his country.
He has spent 30 years with the United States Marine Corps and has a distinguished history. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts as Deputy Commander of the Iraq Assistance Group and has been honored with the nation's sixth highest medal, the Legion of Merit, for his senior leadership in the combat zone with the U.S. Naval Forces, Fifth Fleet.
McGinley said he plans on retiring from the military this year.
He said it was an "extraordinary honor" to be recognized by the college.
"I've always held my years at Glendale college in high esteem," said McGinley, who has served three combat tours in the Middle East.
Williams was honored for his meritorious service in Southern California.
He has worked at the Sylmar Juvenile Hall and at the Optimist Youth Home for Boys in Los Angeles, offering words of wisdom and serving as a role model for teenagers.
"Out of six kids in my family, I am the third," said Williams, a linebacker who played football at the college in 1978-79. "I'm the oldest boy. I always enjoyed being the big brother."
Williams' mother, Bernice Hicks, said her son has always had a heart for others.
"He's always been a giver," she said.
The 2002 baseball team joined Williams in the hall of fame.
Under Jon Strauss, the Vaqueros posted a school-record 34 wins and won the conference's Southern Division title for a second straight year. Strauss was named the conference's coach of the year and pitcher Jon Felfoldi was the co-player of the year. Thirteen players from that team earned all-conference honors, including relief pitcher Marco Estrada, who is now a relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers.
"I knew we were talented," said Strauss, whose team also featured a standout offense that featured Al Quintana, Evan Shahak and Fernando Valenzuela Jr.
"I knew if we played hard, we would win."
No athlete trained harder than Berg, who lives in Sweden and could not attend the ceremony.
Berg was one of the most successful female distance runners in school history. She was the top runner for the 2007 state championship women's cross-country team and won two individual state titles in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in track and field in 2007 and 2008. She holds school records in the 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 events.
"She was a nice person, but she was also very competitive," said Eddie Lopez, the Vaqueros' cross-country and track and field coach. "Whatever work we gave her, she wanted to do her best and run the fastest."
Logie worked hard for a second opportunity to play football.
After starring at Franklin High, Logie, who also coached at Flintridge Prep, played at Arizona State University for a year before returning home with a shoulder injury.
"I was going to give up football," Logie said.
But he met Sartoris and knew he wanted to play for a coach who cared.
Logie, a linebacker, earned All-American honors for Glendale in 1972 under Sartoris before transferring to play for John McKay at USC, where he was a part of the 1974 national championship team.
Logie said he was proud to be inducted in the same year as Sartoris.
"Jim should've been in the hall of fame a long time ago," Logie said. "I feel very fortunate that I'm being inducted with him."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times