The sterling Class of 1955 at Newport Harbor High, which came to
produce a golden wave of national sports achievements and records
over the years, plans to celebrate its 50th reunion Saturday, Oct.
15, at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
Many harbor area sports fans still remember some of the most
notable individuals in four major sports.
The polished list still sparkles like a broad rainbow on the
It flows like this:
* Paul Neumann, who shined in basketball at Harbor High and
Stanford University, subsequently played professional basketball with
the Syracuse Nationals.
After that, he pursued a career in Christian ministry on an
* Dennis Fitzpatrick, an ace in basketball and baseball at Harbor,
first helped Orange Coast College to a junior college conference
He then helped the California Bears top the field at the NCAA
Final Four, winniing the championship defeating West Virginia in the
* Tod White, who sparked Newport track teams for years, broke the
national high school mile record at 4:20 flat in the Southern
California CIF finals in Los Angeles in late spring of 1955.
He also played halfback on the celebrated 1954 grid team.
* Jim Newkirk, who helped the OCC grid team of 1957 achieve an
incredible feat by defeating the national No. 1 junior college grid
team, the Santa Ana College Dons, in an Eastern Conference finale,
He then pitched OCC to the 1957 California state junior college
baseball championship under Coach Wendell Pickens.
Incidentally, the OCC gridders won the 1957 conference title.
* Bob Milum, who played superb football at Newport, went on to
play stout football for Oregon State College for several years and
was a member of the school's 1957 Rose Bowl outfit that was later
voted into the OSU Sports Hall of Fame.
Milum was one of the fastest sprinters on the Newport Harbor track
team in 1955.
* Glenn Thomas, an all-league guard at Newport, went on to star at
Occidental College. He later enjoyed two winning seasons as the head
grid coach at Magnolia High .
In time, his record came to feature more than 30 years of serving
as a top assistant on many champ teams at Loara High and Fullerton
* Bill Wetzel, a constant winner for Newport in basketball and
baseball, who helped lead OCC to championships in basketball and
He later became a successful coach at Estancia High and retired
with a laudable tribute.
* Bruce Knipp, a fine gridder and low hurdler, helped OCC win a
grid title in '56 and delivered an exceptional game at quarterback in
the second half against Stockton College in the Potato Bowl at
Bakersfield. OCC lost 20-12, but it won numerous big games during a
challenging season under Coach Al Irwin.
White, a member of the reunion committee, said the class is
expecting a positive turnout and noted the class is invited to attend
a Newport football game Friday night, Oct. 14, and is charting an
enjoyable harbor boat cruise on Sunday, Oct. 16.
White said the Class of '55 can be summed up in one word down
through the years and that is "togetherness." He said his mates have
always demonstrated that wonderful quality year after year in