Dismayed by the 9/11 attacks, professional football player, Pat Tillman shocked the sports world when he left the NFL to join the U.S. Army Rangers. Tillman was later tragically killed while serving in Afghanistan. Tillman's amazing commitment to our country and selfless act moved the entire nation and locally it served as an inspiration for resurrecting the Sportswalk in downtown San Pedro. His posthumous 2004 induction ceremony was such a moving experience that Sportswalk organizers decided to create an award in his name as a way of continuing to honor Tillman while also recognizing the bravery and service of other athletes.
PAT TILLMAN - After the 9/11 tragedy, Pat Tillman shocked the sports world when he announced that he would be foregoing a $3 million a year contract to play pro football for the Arizona Cardinals so that he could defend our nation by joining the US Army Rangers. Tillman was joined in enlisting by his younger brother, Kevin, a pro baseball player in the Cleveland Indians organization. The two of them were shipped to Afghanistan and, tragically, only Kevin returned. The sports world's shock was replaced with profound sadness when it was learned that Pat had been killed in action.
JOE ANZACK - Our nation held its breath when Joe Anzack and two other soldiers had gone missing in action while serving in Iraq. Tragically, the news was bad when Anzack was found executed in the Euphrates River. Beloved by teammates, friends and classmates at South High in Torrance, CA, Anzack epitomized everything great about playing football and was awarded All-League honors, South's defensive player of the year, and maybe most telling, the Coach's Award. This is what Coach Josh Waybright had to say about Anzack. "It was never about Joe. It was always about loyalty to the team. "
JOHN FER - John Fer, a long distance track star at San Pedro High, USC and the Air Force Academy, was a U.S. pilot in Vietnam when his plane was shot down and he was captured by enemy forces. Fer spent the next 6 years as a Vietnamese prisoner of war before being released in March of 1973. Among others, Fer bunked in a prison cell with Senator John McCain of Arizona. Although Fer ran track at USC, it is at the Air Force Academy where he blossomed. He ran in three NCAA Finals and still holds the Air Force record for the two-mile run. Fer mentions that he is honored to receive the Tillman Award because of the sacrifice that he and other men in the military have made.
PRESIDENT GERALD FORD - President Gerald Ford is best known as the only president that assumed office without being elected. In his first speech to the nation Ford said, "I am acutely aware that you have not selected me as president with your ballots, so I ask that you confirm me as president with your prayers." Ford entered Congress in 1949 after serving in World War II as a Lieutenant in the Navy, earning nine engagement stars for operations on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. Ford attended the University of Michigan where from 1932-1934 he played center and linebacker on the football team, including two national championships in 1932 and 1933. In 1934, Ford was selected to the East all-stars in the annual College Football Shrine Game and also played on a college all-star team that competed against the Chicago Bears in an exhibition game.
DAN GUERRERO - The current Director of Athletics for UCLA (2002), Dan Guerrero is also the current president of the Division I Athletic Directors Association. He also played baseball for UCLA in the early 1970s. In Guerrero's eight years as athletic director, UCLA teams have won 20 NCAA team titles (the highest total in the nation in that span) in 11 different sports, finished second 16 times and have had an additional 28 Top Five finishes (64 total). UCLA stands as the No. 1 University in the nation for NCAA team championships (106) won, a number that continues to grow under his direction. A staggering 152 teams (of 184 possible) have qualified for NCAA post-season competition and the football team has appeared in seven bowl games.
EDDY MASCITTO - Vietnam War vet, Eddy Mascitto was a center on the 1957 All-Marine League football team while attending San Pedro High, where he was also the student body president. Mascitto played college football at Navy and included two Heisman Trophy winners as teammates, Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach. Mascitto was awarded numerous medals in his 20 year Naval carrier, including various honors for submarine operations in the Vietnam War.
LOUIE ZAMPERINI - Louie Zamperini, a track star at Torrance High and USC, won the U.S. 1936 Olympic 5000 meter trials and qualified to represent the U.S. at the Berlin Olympics, where he finished eighth. After graduating from USC, Zamperini was drafted to serve in World War II. On May 27, 1943 while on a search and rescue mission Zamperini's B-24 crashed at sea. He spent the next forty-seven days with two fellow crew members in a raft floating in the Pacific Ocean. The Japanese subsequently picked him up and Zamperini spent nearly two-and-one-half years as a POW. In spite of the unspeakably cruel treatment at the hand of his captors, Zamperini's courage, strength of character, and self-discipline gave him the tools to survive until American forces liberated him.
The Trani Award is named after the San Pedro family that owned Majestic Café, a prominent local restaurant that served as the premiere hangout for all Los Angeles area athletes. It is given every year to honor the recipient for their contribution to local athletics.
NICK TRANI - In 1986 Nick Trani became the first recipient of the Sportswalk Trani Award. The honor was bestowed upon Trani in recognition of his thirty years of service as executive director of the San Pedro Boys Club where he initiated scores of innovative youth programs. He also was a highly successful coach with the Boys Club football team, the San Pedro Athletic Club (SPAC) and Mary Star of the Sea teams. His SPAC semi-pro team won 37 consecutive games while facing teams of all levels, including college. Trani memorialized the 1960 final season of Mary Star football (before it returned in 1974) in his book "Thin Ice on the Gridiron." That Mary Star team made it to the CIF Finals for the first and only time even though it was on the verge of becoming an all-girls school and had only 50 boys in the student body.
MARION ANCICH - Often called the Dean of high school coaches, Marion Ancich began coaching at Saint Paul High School in 1961 and had accumulated 333 wins out of 441 games at the time of his induction. Ancich began thinking about coaching as a career after he suffered an ankle injury while playing college football at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. His family moved to San Pedro when he was 12 years old, and he credits the San Pedro Boys Club with getting him into sports. "I can honestly say, without the Boys Club, I don't know if I would have kept going in the right direction."
JACK BOGDANOVICH - A celebrated high school basketball player and community college coach, Jack Bogdanovich was the San Pedro Athlete of the Year and made the All L.A. City Basketball Team in 1959 while playing for San Pedro High School. As a coach, Bogdanovich was the head basketball coach for Cerritos Community College in Norwalk, Calif. from 1983 - 1998, with an overall record of 411 wins, 91 loses, and three State Championships.
JERRY LOVAROV - The list of prominent baseball players coached by Jerry Lovarov in his 30 plus years of baseball coach at San Pedro High include Sportswalk inductees Alan Ashby, Brian Harper, Eddie Jurak, Garry Maddox and Andy Lopez. In the 1991 Season, Coach Lovarov passed another benchmark when he posted his 400th career win as San Pedro's Varsity Baseball Coach. Over the years, his teams have won 16 league titles. When you add Bee and Cee Basketball games, he has coached more than 1000 games. In 1992, he was named L.A. City Coach of the Year and his Varsity baseball team was the L.A. City 4-A Champions.
RAY MARTINEZ - Ray Martinez, the 1989 recipient of the Trani Award, was widely known for his fairness and love of children as the executive director of the San Pedro Boys Club where he influenced thousands of youths under his leadership. Martinez established the very popular Biddy Basketball Program, which helped to introduce thousands of youngsters to the many positive programs at the Boys Club. In 1967, Martinez was presented with an honorary life membership to the San Pedro High School PTA and in 1968 he was named San Pedro Man of the Year.
BOB MOULTON - A man who worked with the youth of San Pedro for 42 years, including coaching the Barton Hill Cougars playground club from 1940 to 1967, Bob Moulton was the 1990 recipient of the Trani Award. Thousands of boys revered Moulton for his efforts on their behalf. Past Sportswalk inductees who were coached by Moulton include: Bob Petrich, Garry Maddox, Joe Amalfitano, Don Shinnick and John Werhas.
ANTE PERKOV - A San Pedro resident and owner of Ante's Restaurant, the late Ante Perkov was a longtime supporter of youth activities and organizations. The consummate humanitarian, the San Pedro Lions Club named its annual humanitarian award after him. His involvement with supporting youth athletics began when his three sons started going to the San Pedro Boys Club and continued for many years thereafter. Perkov has raised tens of thousands of dollars for charitable causes and Pepperdine University granted him an honorary doctorate. He also has prepared and delivered countless meals for those who are ill or disabled and has fed the hungry that appeared at his door.
JOE RADISICH - Joe Radisich was the head football coach who in 1974 resurrected the Mary Star of the Sea football program after the school started admitting boys again. Radisich, known in coaching circles as a defensive guru, quickly returned Mary Star to its winning tradition when his 1975 team made the playoffs. The highlight of Radisich's 11 seasons at Mary Star was 1977 when the Stars made it to the CIF Semifinal. The Stars got to the semis with a quarterfinal victory over El Dorado, a school with over 3,000 students. Radisich quipped, "I think they had more people in their band than we had in our total enrollment." Radisich also led the Stars to the semifinals in 1983.
BILL "TIGER" REESE - The late Tiger Reese announced football games in the Harbor Area for well over half a century. His career began in 1946 at a San Pedro Athletic Club game at Daniels Field and he has not relinquished the microphone since. He began announcing games for San Pedro High School in 1947 and for Mary Star High School in 1950. He also has announced for Miraleste High School, Harbor College and for the annual Lions Club charity High School All-Star game. In 1982, Reese was selected as San Pedro's Citizen of the Year.
FLOYD "SCRAPPY" RHEA - Scrappy Rhea could always be found at one athletic field or another at LA Harbor College. The former professional football player who suited up for old school teams such as the Brooklyn Tigers, Chicago Cardinals, Detroit Lions, LA Dons and Hawaii Warriors coached tennis, golf and baseball at Harbor, but he was best known for coaching football. The landmark season for Harbor under Rhea was 1964 when the Seahawks went 9-0, but were still denied a spot in the Junior Rose Bowl because they couldn't guarantee 10,000 tickets sold and didn't have a marching band.
BILL SEIXAS - Bill Seixas coached football and track at San Pedro High School for 28 years. As a player, Seixas was a running guard at USC in the old single wing offense and made the All-Coast League teams as a senior in 1942. In that same season, Seixas Trojan teammates voted him the most inspirational pl2ayer on the team. Seixas coaching highlight occurred in 1961 when his San Pedro Pirates football team won the Marine League title, only giving up seven points in the entire season.
GENE VOLLNOGLE - A longtime high school football coach for Carson and Banning, Gene Vollnogle had a 289-73-1 record over his 38 year career, including 10 Los Angeles City championships. In 1990, when Vollnogle retired as head coach at Carson, he was the all-time winning football coach in California, but rather than drift off into the sunset he agreed to take an assistant position at Los Alamitos so that he could keep teaching kids. "If I had to choose one person who meant the most to me in my career, he would be at the top of the list," said New York Jets three-time All-Pro wide receiver, Wesley Walker.
JOHN "RED" ZAR - Voted one of San Pedro's 100 greatest athletes of the century, John "Red" Zar played baseball in the New York Yankees farm system, making it all the way to the Triple A team before World War II called and he ended his career. Zar's biggest sporting impact in San Pedro was his 22 years as a baseball coach. Between 1946 and 1968 he was instrumental in helping scores of young baseball players get signed to professional contracts, including future major leaguers such as Garry Maddox, Alan Ashby, and Joe Lovitto.