Newport Harbor announces first Hall of Fame class

Al Irwin taught and coached at Newport Harbor for eight years.
(DON LEACH, Daily Pilot)

Newport Harbor High School has announced its inaugural class of the Newport Harbor High School Hall of Fame.

The first class features 10 alumni and five faculty.

The alumni are Al Irwin, George James, Greg and Dr. Barbara Smith MacGillivray, Frank Marshall, Misty May-Treanor, Dr. Don Miyada, Jim Newkirk, Rear Admiral James Seely, George Yardley and Anthony Zerbe.

The faculty are Sidney Harold Davidson, Webster J. Jones, Ralph King Reed, Ruth Stover Fleming and Robert B. Wentz.

While Aaron Peirsol, the five-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke, is missing from this year’s list, Principal Sean Boulton said the Backstroke King will be inducted next year.

Ten alumni and five faculty will be inducted annually, until the school is “caught up” for obvious choices, then each class for the Hall of Fame, a product of Boulton and the school’s Alumni Assn., would include two alumni and one faculty.

Boulton said the Hall of Fame is a concept long overdue at a school with such a rich tradition.

“The first day I walked in [the school’s Heritage Hall], I thought there needs to be more to speak to it because there is a significant history here at this school,” he said.

He wants to enhance Heritage Hall and highlight the Hall of Fame in the building.

The first members of the Hall of Fame will be inducted in a special presentation at 11 a.m. June 19 in the school’s main theater.

Seating at the public event is on a first-come first-served basis. Visitors can tour Heritage Hall, which chronicles 84 years of Harbor history through photos and memorabilia. The inductees will also be recognized at the school’s official graduation at 4 p.m. that day on Davidson Field.


NHHS Hall of Fame bios

The following information was provided in a news release from Newport Harbor High School Principal Sean Boulton.


•Albert Irwin, Class of 1937, was Harbor’s first four-year, five-sport letterman, and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He taught and coached at Harbor for eight years, and went on to coach football and swimming at Orange Coast College, and then swimming and water polo at UC Irvine, where he brought the men’s water polo team to its first NCAA victory in 1965.

•George James, Class of 1950, innovated a new era in watercolor art while encouraging future artists as a professor at Cal State Fullerton. His work has been published in many magazines and books, and won awards from more than 60 prestigious art contests, including the National Watercolor Society’s Silver Star.

•Greg and Barbara Smith MacGillivray, Class of 1963, innovative filmmakers and stewards of the environment, met at Harbor. Barbara worked with youth with the OC Health Care Agency, while Greg made successful surf documentaries, such as “Five Summer Stories.” They went on to produce IMAX films like “To Fly” and “Everest,” received two Academy Award nominations, and founded the One World, One Ocean campaign.

•Frank Marshall, Class of 1964, renowned movie producer and director, is known for his five Academy Awards, and films like the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Empire of the Sun,” the “Indiana Jones” trilogy, “The Sixth Sense,” “Seabiscuit,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “War Horse,” “Arachnophobia,” “Eight Below,” “Alive” and “Congo.” He founded the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, and served on the U.S. Olympic Committee.

•Misty May-Treanor, Class of 1995, three-time Olympic gold medalist in women’s beach volleyball (2004, 2008, 2012), brought Harbor girls’ volleyball two state championships from 1991-95, and Cal State Long Beach to an NCAA championship in 1998. She contributes her time to the Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation and her own educational and clinic work.

•Dr. Don Miyada, Class of 1942, served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which received the Congressional Gold Medal for its efforts in World War II. He missed his graduation when his family was relocated to Poston, a Japanese internment camp, in 1942. After the War, he earned a doctorate in chemistry and became a professor at UC Irvine.

•Jim Newkirk, Class of 1955, athlete, philanthropist and educator, returned to Harbor as a social studies teacher after excelling in college sports. He spearheaded the preservation of the Ruth Stoever Fleming Collection of Southern California Art on campus, and generously contributed to new facilities at OCSA, Harbor, OCC and UC Irvine, as well as to Hoag Hospital and the Etruscan Museum at the Vatican.

•James Seely, Class of 1950, a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, earned his Navy pilot wings in 1956 and flew 447 missions through six tours in the Vietnam War. He commanded an A-6 squadron, the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island, Wash., and acted as joint analysis directorate. He earned more than 50 combat awards, including four Distinguished Flying Crosses and seven Navy Commendation Medals.

•George Yardley, Class of 1946, basketball legend, went on from Harbor to shoot hoops at Stanford University, the U.S. Navy, and the Pistons and the Nationals. He was an All-American and All-Star player, went to the NBA Finals twice, and was the first to score 2,000 points in a NBA season. He died from ALS in 2004. Harbor’s basketball courts bear his name.

•Anthony Zerbe, Class of 1954, is known for his roles in classic films like “Cool Hand Luke,” “Papillon,” “They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!,” “License to Kill,” two of “The Matrix” movies and “American Hustle.” On television, Zerbe earned recognition in “Gunsmoke,” “Mission Impossible,” “Bonanza,” “Columbo,” “Murder She Wrote” and “Judging Amy.” He won an Emmy in 1976 for “Harry O.”



•Sidney Harold Davidson, Harbor’s first principal from 1930-54, worked for seven months without pay as he established the school’s foundation of excellence during the Great Depression. He inspired the Ruth Stoever Fleming Art Collection, served as superintendent of the Union High School District from 1930-58, worked to acquire land for OCC, and is the namesake of Harbor’s football field.

•Webster J. Jones, a math teacher from 1949-82, inspired students to use their math skills for success with quality curriculum and extra tutoring. He served as math department chairman as well. In 1980, he helped found the school’s Heritage Hall museum, and worked as the main curator for 20 years, even after he retired from teaching. His vision preserved Harbor’s rich history in Heritage Hall, which will soon carry his name.

•Ralph King Reed, athletic director, coach and teacher from 1930-62, was one of the first staff members hired, and built the athletic program by initially coaching every sport. He led Harbor to many victories, especially in basketball and track, and inspired students, like Yardley, to greater success. After retiring, he still attended school athletic events each week.

•Ruth Stoever Fleming was Harbor’s first librarian in 1938, and worked tirelessly to bring quality visual art to the school. She helped found and organize the Newport Harbor Art Exhibition from 1946-66. Her art contest achieved national fame, and the magnificent collection of winning paintings lives on in the library as the Ruth Stoever Fleming Collection of Southern California Art.

•Robert B. Wentz, drama and speech teacher from 1947-79, also taught at OCC, and brought out the best in students, like Marshall, Paul LeMat, Kelly McGillis, Ted McGinley, Zerbe, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton. He acted on New York stages in “The Caine Mutiny,” “The Seven-Year Itch” and “Harvey,” and on screen in “Melvin and Howard,” “Jimmy the Kid,” “Long Hot Summer,” and “A.D.” He died in 1994. Harbor’s theater bears his name.