Pima Community College Inaugural Athletics Hall of Fameby Andy Morales on Apr. 06, 2013, under Sports
Lawrence R. Toledo’s tenure as the Pima’s first Director Athletics is officially listed as beginning in 1973 but he was part of the program before there even was a program. Larry was a member of the original group of dreamers who began the college in 1970 in what was an empty hangar at the airport and he then went on to hold his official position until 1997.
In many ways, Pima’s Inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame was celebration of his life, a life that was cut short last August. Larry may not have lived to see himself inducted into Pima’s Hall of Fame but he was a member of both the Pima County and the National Athletic Director’s Hall of Fame before he passed so he knew how much his work had meant to countless others.
But Larry was a contemporary of and a close friend of my father so I know he would have been even more pleased to see his coaches and, more importantly, some of his many athletes inducted Friday night at the West Campus Gym.
His daughter Andrea accepted the award on his behalf and she talked of family and how much of a story teller her father was. Andrea also thanked the audience for allowing her to “take a walk” with her dad one more time.
Current Athletic Director Edgar Soto presided over the event and he noticed some major local athletic figures were in attendance including Jerry Stitt, Mike Candrea and Jim Wing.
Soto also introduced the first winners of the “Lawrence R. Toledo Leadership Awards.” Those were athletes who displayed excellent academics while overcoming some sort of obstacle along with their athletic and leadership accomplishments.
Yahya Hadia Kane won for soccer and Da’Monique Davis for basketball. Runner Up nominees were baseball player William Andrew Holbrook (Sabino) and athletic trainer intern Megan Nichol.
Horacio Llamas was the first NBA starter born in Mexico and he began his career at Pima before moving on to Grand Canyon. He played in 28 games for the Phoenix Suns while starting in two of them. Former Pima coach Mike Lopez accepted the award on his behalf since Llamas was in the middle of playing another professional season.
Abdi Abdirahman was a four-time Olympic Team member and four-time national champion in the 10,000 meters. He was also a PAC-10 champion but that was after he was a two-time champion at Pima.
Abdirahman went to Tucson High.
Eddie Urbano was a two-time NJCAA champion before moving on to wrestle and win at ASU. He was Pima’s first athlete to win a national title. Urbano won two titles while wrestling at Sunnyside and the legendary Don Klostreich was present to see Urbano recognized.
Also present was championship coach Chris Antoniotti and Urbano’s long-time friend and current Amphi coach Sam Portillo. Urbano passed away last August and daughters Elizabeth and Gabrielle accepted on his behalf.
Former Pima and Rincon coach John Radspinner accepted the award for triple jumper Yuliana Rodgers. Rodgers was on the east coast and could not be present. Rodgers was a triple jump champion and a member of the US Olympic Team in Greece.
Maureen Murphy began the athletic program with Toledo in 1973 with volleyball, softball, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball as the flagship sports.
Murphy coached the first women’s basketball and volleyball teams until she was elevated to assistant athletic director in 1975. She also worked in the Sport Science Department until she retired in 1996.
Rich Alday coached baseball at Pima from 1974-1989 with a record of 496-220. He took Pima to three World Series appearances and went on to coach Olympic teams to Gold and Bronze medal finishes.
He also coached at New Mexico and surpassed the 1,000th win mark in April of 2007. Alday is now working with the local youth as an umpire. Alday was a baseball and football standout at Tucson High.
Jim Mielke coached cross country from 1975-2000. He coached the first national team championship at Pima in 1980 when the men’s cross country team won in Idaho.
That team was also inducted with both Ed Felix (Baboquivari) and Felipe Campoy (Marana) present at the ceremony. Thomas Bush (Cholla), Manny Parra (Bisbee), Pat Listo (Florence), John Begay (Chinle) and Paul Trask (Salpointe) were also members of that team.
Softball coach Stacy Iveson (289-47-2) coached at Pima from 2002-2007, winning national titles in 2004 and 2006. Iveson later won a title at Yavapai before going back to her home at the University of Arizona.
Iveson was a state champion volleyball player at Catalina under the legendary Mary Hines and she also played baseball and softball at the school. She went on to catch for Candrea’s first four teams.
Her 2003-04 team was also honored and that team included members Ashley Monceaux (Flowing Wells), Lisa Parks (Sahuaro), Kendra Palmer (Salpointe), Kristina Schmallen (Westview), Rebecca Lebsack (Salpointe),Veronica Ralston (Catalina Foothills), Miriam Romero (Douglas), Heather Straight (Sabino), Angela Guerra (Santa Rita), Kim Bower (Canyon del Oro), Angelica Mendez (Tucson High), Danitha Aldecoa (Mountain View), Jackie Martinez (Salpointe), Nina Lara (Salpointe), Nicki Johnson (Sahuaro) and Beth Stewart (Buena).
Finally, Head Athletic Trainer (1979-present) Benjamin L. Carbajal thrilled the audience with two rap songs based on his experiences at Pima but only after he accepted his spot in Pima’s Hall of Fame for his long and continued service to the program.