SACRAMENTO – Longtime coach, administrator and conference commissioner John Keever, former football standout George Jones, accomplished basketball coach Ernie Marcopulos and devoted academic counselor Evans Roderick comprise the distinguished 2020 California Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame Class which will be enshrined in April in Ontario, it was announced on Friday.
The CCCAA Sports Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed in California community college athletics. It honors those who have made the most of their experiences as California community college student-athletes, coaches and administrators while maximizing their own potential to better themselves along with those with whom they come in contact.
The four honorees will be inducted during ceremonies on April 1 at the Doubletree by Hilton Ontario Airport during the CCCAA’s annual convention. Their induction builds the prestigious Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1984, to 144 members.
“This year’s Hall of Fame Class embodies the spirit of the CCCAA and the opportunities for excellence that it provides,” said Jennifer Cardone, Interim Executive Director. “We’re thankful and proud of their contributions and achievements and look forward to their induction in April.”
JOHN KEEVER (Moorpark College, Orange Empire Conference; Coach, Administrator, 1969-Present)
When John Keever interviewed for an assistant football coaching position at Moorpark College in 1969, he was asked to be the head wrestling coach as well. “If it means I get the assistant football job, well then sure,” he answered.
And so began a life in community college athletics that’s spanned more than 50 years with tenures as football, track and field and – most notably – wrestling coach, as well as service as Moorpark’s athletic director and in his current role as the Orange Empire Conference Commissioner.
Keever is one of the most successful wrestling coaches in CCCAA history, winning two state championships and 17 Western State Conference titles over 27 years while mentoring 11 individual state champions and 53 All-Americans. He was twice selected as the state wrestling coach of the year and earned honors from the WSC an impressive 17 times.
Keever moved over to the athletic director’s chair in 1992 prior to his retirement in 2006. During that time, he was President of the California Community College Athletic Directors Association, chaired the CCCAA Management Council and served as the WSC President. His colleagues at Moorpark recognized him as Faculty Member of the Year while the CCCADA honored him as the Athletic Director of the Year in 2005.
His impact on Moorpark’s athletic program is recognized annually with the John Keever Character of Champion Award which is given to a male student-athlete who exemplifies responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship, trustworthiness, citizenship, respect and caring.
GEORGE JONES (Bakersfield College; Football Student-Athlete, 1993-94)
Pro Football Hall of Fame member Marshall Faulk remembers meeting George Jones, who starred as a running back for the Bakersfield College football team from 1993-94, during Jones’ recruiting trip to San Diego State. Faulk, who held SDSU’s single-season rushing record at the time, said he jokingly told Jones that he may not want to play for the Aztecs since he’d have to live in his shadow. Jones confidently replied that he would break all of Faulk’s rushing records. It would prove to be a prophetic statement.
As Faulk noted in his nomination letter supporting Jones for the CCCAA Hall of Fame, it was an incredible work ethic combined with that level of confidence that helped Jones succeed. His sophomore season at Bakersfield was particularly noteworthy, featuring a national record 1,567 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns.
He was a first-team All-America, the Junior College Player of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports and was honored with similar awards from the WSC and Potato Bowl in addition to being selected the Renegades’ MVP. In all, Jones rushed for 2,600 yards and 41 touchdowns during this two-year community college career.
Those exploits set the stage for an incredible career for the Aztecs where he eclipsed Faulk’s single-season rushing record (1,630 yds) with 1,842 yards in 1995. Jones also had 23 touchdowns. He broke the school record despite having his jaw wired shut after breaking it late in the season.
Jones was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round of the 1995 NFL Draft where he played alongside Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, who recalled Jones as a strong team player with an amazing work ethic. Jones played three seasons with Pittsburgh.
ERNIE MARCOPULOS (San Joaquin Delta College, Coach, Athletics Director, 1962-1996)
Ernie Marcopulos was not only synonymous with the San Joaquin Delta College men’s basketball program between 1962-1979, but his 13 Valley Conference championships in 17 seasons made him synonymous with winning as well, and helped highlight a career that culminated with his induction into the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1976.
Marcopulos didn’t waste any time establishing his legacy, leading the Mustangs to a 23-6 record in his first season. That set the stage for a run of six conference titles over the next eight years, including back-to-back undefeated league seasons from 1965-67 that were highlighted by the “Century Kids”, players so nicknamed for averaging more than 100 points per game.
His commitment to San Joaquin Delta extended beyond the hardwood when he became athletic director in 1972 until his retirement in 1996. Besides setting standards for student-athlete welfare that continue today, Marcopulos was also an early proponent of Title IX, implementing 11 women’s sports at the college by 1979.
He was inducted into the Stockton Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992. San Joaquin Delta’s homecourt was renamed Marcopulos Gym in his honor five years later.
EVANS RODERICK (Mt. San Antonio College, Academic Counselor, Coach, 1975-present)
Evans Roderick’s four-decade association with Mt. San Antonio College began in 1972 when he was hired as an assistant coach for the football and track and field teams, as well as Assistant Director for the world famous Mt. SAC Relays. But it’s a tenure that has also been indelibly marked by his devotion to the academic success of thousands of student-athletes, not just at Mt. SAC but throughout California and the country.
As a coach, Evans saw unique academic challenges facing community college student-athletes so when he was hired as the school’s first full-time academic counselor it was a perfect fit and he was able to develop a program suited for them. It became a model for other schools throughout the nation and was further developed through the Community College Counselors/Advisors Academic Association (3C4A), which he founded and served as president for 30 years.
Evans served nationally with the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) and the NCAA. The 3C4A named him Counselor of the Year in 1988 and the N4A recognized him in 1995 with the Distinguished Service Award. He is the only community college counselor to receive the prestigious honor. Mt. SAC inducted him into its Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
Despite retiring from the college in 2006, Roderick continued as a part-time counselor and continues today as Associate Head Football Coach for the Mounties.