Marana set to honor former standout athletes Friday nightby Andy Morales on Oct. 18, 2012, under Sports
Marana had one of the most successful athletic programs in the country in 1968-69 when they won state championships in football, basketball, baseball and track. It is believed to be the first and last time a high school had ever accomplished the feat.
The school and the community will hold day-long activities this Friday leading up to their home game against Canyon del Oro. There will be a “meet and greet” and a pregame ceremony as well as a halftime program.
There will also be activities that are not open to the public and that I have been sworn to keep secret!
Here are some of the quotes from the game program that will be made available:
“Tonight we welcome home the greatest generation of athletes to ever walk the halls of Marana High School. These Tigers broke down racial, cultural, and athletic barriers that existed across the United States, not only accomplishing athletic fetes unmatched in Arizona but unmatched anywhere in the entire nation. These men, led by faithful coaches and supported by our beloved community, marched on to a long list of state championships including four championships in football in the years ’63, ‘64’, ’67 and 68’.”
“…After his stellar career at Marana, Sonny Campbell went on to star at Northern Arizona University as a running back on the Lumberjack football team. He later went on to play in the backfield for the Atlanta Falcons during the early 1970’s. When you ask him what contributed to his unprecedented success, he is quick to point out the influence coaches such as Don Hawkins and Norm Patton had on his life…
“…Leroy Peoples may have been the most talented running back to ever come out of…the entire state of Arizona…By far the fastest athlete in Arizona, he was clocked at running the 100m in under 10 seconds, which at the time, was on par with the very best college athletes in the country. Leroy went on to star in track at Phoenix College and is still referenced to as one of the greatest all around athletes of his generation by Arizona sporting enthusiasts…
“…Paul Robinson not only is remembered for what he did as a running back at Marana, but for what he did professionally. After starring on the University of Arizona football and track teams, Paul went on to play professionally for the Cincinnati Bengals earning the 1968 AFL Rookie of the Year award and playing in the AFL all-star game. In his rookie season alone, Paul rushed for over 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns taking the league by storm in only his first season of professional play….
“..Who could forget Frank Ard running for twenty yards against the stellar Parker defense to spark the march that secured the championship in 64? Or Lacey Coulter’s legendary defensive tenacity and appearance as the first Marana athlete to play in the North-South All Star Game? We welcome home Cleo Robinson, who not only starred on the Tiger football field but went on to become one of the most respected referees in all of college football. Jerry Robinson also made the trip home from his residence in San Diego to be recognized as one of the premier two sports athletes in Tucson history, starring at quarterback for the Tigers while also being remembered as one of the most dominant basketball players in the state, earning scholarships to play both sports at the university level…
“…The boys of Marana’s 68-69 school year were the first team in the history of the nation to win every men’s major state championship in a single year. Starting with the football team, the Tiger’s went on to dominate the state in basketball, track and baseball, convincingly securing titles in all four sports. These teams were led by such legendary athletes as Tony Komadina, III (future professional baseball star), Ed Campbell (among the greatest of the era), Ray Alexander (state basketball player of the year) and the late, Cleveland Coulter (whose legacy can be seen in his posterity, star-athletes and citizens across Arizona), constants in all four sports and household names throughout the state.
Their football team ran all over the competition, and their basketball team scored over 100 points on six different occasions during their undefeated season, setting the state scoring record with 130 points in a single game. It was right here in our beloved Marana that these men made history, not soon to be matched by any other high school in Arizona or elsewhere.
“…We are proud to welcome home the Tiger faithful of the 1960’s. Once a tiger, always a tiger. Tiger pride.”