50-year reunion upcoming for Sailors' Class of 1955


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

international scale.

* Dennis Fitzpatrick, an ace in basketball and baseball at Harbor,

first helped Orange Coast College to a junior college conference

basketball title.

He then helped the California Bears top the field at the NCAA

Final Four, winniing the championship defeating West Virginia in the

1959 final.

* 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

consistent reunions.

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