Fifteen Newport Harbor High School alumni and former faculty members returned Thursday night to become part of campus history.
For the third year, the Newport Harbor High School Alumni Assn. added 15 names to the school’s Hall of Fame, a concept of current Principal Sean Boulton. Ten of the inductees are alumni and five are faculty.
Among those inducted during a ceremony at the school’s Robert B. Wentz Theater were Harvest Christian Fellowship senior pastor and Harvest Crusades founder Greg Laurie (class of 1971), former Costa Mesa Police Chief Roger Neth (class of 1944), former Orange Coast College President David Grant (class of 1956) and actor Ted McGinley (class of 1976).
“I love Newport Harbor like it’s an arm,” McGinley said with a laugh. “It’s such a part of me. I’m very humbled by this opportunity.”
Before McGinley landed a role on the TV sitcom “Happy Days” in the 1980s, his high school girlfriend talked him into working with a modeling agency and Newport Harbor’s drama teacher at the time, Bob Wentz — the campus theater’s namesake —who tried to rope him into doing school plays.
But being a committed water polo player for Newport Harbor, he never joined the theater program.
“I didn’t think I could do both,” McGinley said. “But [Wentz] kept telling me, ‘You can do this.’”
McGinley got into modeling and eventually into acting.
“I always had [Wentz’s] voice in the back of my head,” he said. “It’s funny how people I went through Newport Harbor with affected my life.”
Now McGinley is in the Hall of Fame along with his former water polo coach Bill Barnett, who was inducted in 2015.
“He taught me to show up on time, know my homework and to go in there and be fearless, which paid off in acting,” McGinley said of Barnett.
Even after graduating from Newport Harbor, Grant stayed right at home.
Grant, who often passes the school when he walks his Golden Retriever from his house three blocks away, said that while the campus hasn’t changed much, it’s the people – not the buildings – who make the place.
After growing up sailing in Newport Beach, Grant’s love for the sport carried over as he began coaching for Orange Coast College’s sailing team in 1963 and later served as assistant rowing coach for the U.S. Olympic team in the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Grant became Orange Coast College president in 1989. He is now retired.
“My time at Newport, being around good people, was very helpful when I became president of Orange Coast,” he said of the Costa Mesa college. “It’s good experiences in education that will encourage you.”
In January, Neth found out he was among this year’s inductees during a breakfast meeting at Mimi’s Cafe in downtown Costa Mesa attended by several Newport Harbor graduates.
While at the school, Neth played football and was on a 1942 championship team.
He was the second chief of the Costa Mesa Police Department, serving from 1964 to 1986.
Inductees are chosen by a Hall of Fame board consisting of faculty, alumni and former teachers.
Hall of Fame inductees
The 10 alumni and five former faculty members inducted this year into the Newport Harbor High School Hall of Fame:
Stuart Cooper (class of 1960): Attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and created the award-winning TV miniseries “The Fortunate Pilgrim.”
E. Gene Crain (class of 1951): Art aficionado whose collection of more than 15,000 pieces has been featured in books and two PBS documentaries.
Mahlon DeLong (class of 1956): Neurologist who won the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2014 and made discoveries helping in the understanding of body-movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Marshall “Duffy” Duffield (class of 1970): Nautical engineer and Newport Beach City Council member who founded Duffy Electric Boat Co.
David Grant (class of 1956): Former teacher, sailing coach and president of Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.
Greg Laurie (class of 1971): Senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Harvest Orange County in Irvine who founded the series of public events called Harvest Crusades.
Ted McGinley (class of 1976): Actor on “Happy Days,” “The Love Boat,” “Dynasty” and “Married with Children.”
Roger Neth (class of 1944): Served as the Costa Mesa Police Department’s second chief from 1964 to 1986.
Sandi Smith (class of 1965): Communications researcher who was appointed to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute in Washington, D.C.
David Thompson (class of 1974): Elected in 1997 as an Orange County Superior Court judge and appointed in 2012 to the California Court of Appeal.
Ken Bauermeister (1962-89): Social studies teacher who served in the Army before teaching at Newport Harbor. He also volunteered for Harbor Area Baseball.
Ellen Caricof (1950-88): First administrator of the Girls Athletic Assn. and a girls field hockey coach at Newport Harbor.
Marie Hiebsch (1930-64): Played violin with the Hollywood Symphony before creating the Newport Harbor music department.
Robert House (1955-94): Environmental educator who helped start the Orange County Science Fair and was honored by Newport Harbor faculty with the Bill Boyer Excellence in Teaching Award.
Jerry Tagami (1970-2004): Created electives at Newport Harbor such as Rock Poetry and American Film. He also was advisor for the student literary journal “Flotsam & Jetsam.”