BEN AGAJANIAN – An Honorable Mention All-American in 1941 as a kicker and lineman at the University of New Mexico, Ben Agajanian had a long association with sports. In 1945, he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers as the National Football League’s first kicking specialist. In 1956, he was the kicker for the New York Giants world championship team. In all, Agajanian played 17 years and was the oldest active player in the NFL (age 45) until George Blanda. In 1964, Agajanian became affiliated with the Dallas Cowboys as kicking team advisor.
GEORGE ALLEN – A Pro Football Hall of fame coach, George Allen coached the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins in the NFL and the Chicago Blitz and Arizona Wranglers in the USFL during his fourteen year career. Allen holds the NFL’s third best winning percentage behind Vince Lombardi and John Madden. Allen never had a losing season in the NFL or USFL and was twice named coach of the year. The pinnacle moment of his coaching career occurred in the 1972-73 season when his Washington Redskins team won the NFC title before losing to the unbeaten Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII.
HENDIE ANCICH is a longshoreman from San Pedro, was an NFL referee for twenty- one years, including Super Bowl XXIV, two Pro Bowls, two Canton Hall of Fame games, and six years in the replay booth. Ancich, a graduate of San Pedro High, began officiating football games in 1961, starting with Pop Warner, then gradually moving up the ladder, doing high school games, junior college, Pac-10 and finally the NFL in 1981. At San Pedro, Ancich was a four-sport varsity letterman in baseball, football, track and tennis. He was an All-City lineman in football, played at Harbor College, and was the starting center for three semi-pro teams, the Longshoreman A.C., South Gate A.C., and the Anaheim Rhinos.
JON ARNETT is a Los Angeles football hero, who played most of his career in the Southland. A graduate of Manual Arts High School, Arnett was a running back for the USC Trojans, where he earned first-team All-American honors, and was presented the Voit Trophy, in 1954 and 1955, as the Pacific Coast’s outstanding football player. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. The Los Angeles Rams drafted Arnett with the second pick in the first round of the 1957 NFL draft. He played for the team from 1957 to 1963, during which time he made five Pro Bowl teams. In 1964, Arnett moved to the Chicago Bears, where he concluded his career in 1966.
GARY BEBAN – Known as the “Great One,“ Gary Beban excelled in academics and sports during his career as quarterback at UCLA. In addition to being named all-conference three times, Beban was the recipient of the 1967 Heisman Trophy, awarded to the college football player of the year — the only Bruin to ever win the award. During his career at UCLA, Beban led the Bruins to a 24-5-2 record and set a record for total offense that lasted fifteen years. The team’s biggest win was over #1 Michigan State in the 1966 Rose Bowl 14-12 with Beban scoring both Bruin touchdowns in the victory. After graduating from UCLA, Beban played two seasons in the NFL for the Washington Redskins.
JOHN BRODIE – A fantastic athlete, John Brodie enjoyed a 17-year career as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL and was later a regular on the PGA Senior Golf Tour. In college Brodie was a two-sport star at Stanford. Brodie’s Cardinals golf team made the NCAA finals and in 1956 he made the All-American football squad while leading the nation in passing. He was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In 1970 Brodie led San Francisco to the NFC title game and he earned the league’s player of the year award. After his football days were over, Brodie joined the PGA Senior Tour, where in 1991 he became the first former athlete from another sport to capture a title. Brodie was forced to quit the tour in 2000 when he suffered a stroke.
VINCENT CARRESI – Born on August 13,1905, Vincent Carresi played varsity football and baseball for San Pedro High School in 1923,1924 and 1925 and was the first athlete in school history San Pedro to make All Bay League. Carresi attended the University of Santa Clara on a football Scholarship, playing guard for four seasons. Carresi was on the 1927 Santa Clara team that played in the Hula Bowl, the school’s first ever bowl game. After graduating he coached the Longshoremen’s football team called the Blue Tide for a number of years and later coached varsity football, baseball and track at Banning High.
SAM “BAM” CUNNINGHAM – Sam “Bam” Cunningham capped a great career at USC by scoring four touchdowns in his last game as the Trojans beat Ohio State in the 1973 Rose Bowl to capture the national title. Although Cunningham won All-American honors that season, the African-American fullback might be best remembered for his first USC game in 1970 against Alabama. The Trojans walloped the all-white Tide squad 42-21 and after the game Alabama’s legendary coach Bear Bryant invited Cunningham into his team’s locker room so that his players “could see what a player looked like.” That game is often called the catalyst for Alabama’s decision to start recruiting black players the next season and integrating football squads in the South.
JOE & MARIO DANELO — USC kicker Mario Danelo had just completed his junior season after helping his Trojans team beat Michigan in the 2007 Rose Bowl when he tragically died in a fall off the Point Fermin cliffs in San Pedro. Less than a year later, Mario and his father Joe Danelo, also a kicker, were honored together in one of the most poignant induction ceremonies in the history of the Sportswalk. Mario was often said to respond with “Living the dream,” whenever asked by his coaches how he was doing. Danelo, a graduate of San Pedro High, was one of the rare few at the football powerhouse to make the team as a walk-on and perform so well that he was later offered a scholarship. During his tenure as USC kicker, Danelo set the NCAA record for most PATSs with 83 in 2005 and he showed amazing accuracy in 2006 when he booted 16 of 17 field goal attempts through the uprights. Mario is joined on their plaque by his father, Joe Danelo, a great kicker in his own day. After three seasons at Washington State, where he was first Cougar kicker to ever boot a 50 yard field goal, Danelo had a 10 year NFL career kicking for the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and Buffalo Bills. in 1981, Danelo tied an NFL record for most field goals in a game without a miss when he kicked six for the Giants.
FRED DRYER – A native of Hawthorne, Fred Dryer was a junior college All-American at El Camino College and an All-American at San Diego State. He is only one of three San Diego State Aztec to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Dryer had a 13-year professional career as an All-Pro defensive end for the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams. Dryer set an NFL record in 1973 with two safeties in a single game against Green Bay and was accorded AII-NFC honors in 1970 and 1975. After retiring from football, he went into acting and became a star of the “Hunter” television series.
VINCE FERRAGAMO – Vince Ferragamo was named City Player of the Year while playing for Banning High and later won All-American honors as quarterback for the University of Nebraska. Ferragamo had a nine year quarterback career in the NFL for the Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers. The highlight of his career was in leading the Rams to their only Super Bowl appearance while the franchise was in Los Angeles. The Rams lost Super Bowl XIV in a thriller, 24-19 to the powerful Pittsburgh Steelers. During his Rams career Ferragamo completed 730 of 1288 pass attempts (57%) for 9376 yards and 70 touchdowns.
JOHN FERRARO – A native of Los Angeles, the late John Ferraro gained All-American honors in football at USC in 1944 and 1947. He played for the Trojans in the Rose Bowl games in 1944, 1945, and 1948 and played in the 1947 East-West All-Star Shrine game. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1974. In 1972, the NCAA presented him with the College Athletics Top Ten Silver Anniversary Award. He was a member of the Los Angeles City Council.
MIKE GARRETT – Mike Garrett established a three year collegiate rushing record of 3,221 yards while playing for USC. A two-time college All-American, Garrett ushered in the advent of “Tailback U” at USC by breaking 14 NCAA, conference, and Trojan records and winning the 1965 Heisman Trophy as college football’s most outstanding player. He played eight years with the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers, including two All-Star selections and two Super Bowl appearances. In 1985 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Garrett later became the Athletic Director at USC.
JOHN GLIGO – Voted one of San Pedro’s Top 100 Athletes, John Gligo played center for the San Pedro High football team and first base on the baseball team from 1940-42. He was an All Southern California Football Scholar in 1941 and named top athlete in Southern California. A highly sought after player, he was offered football scholarships to USC, UCLA, Loyola, St. Mary’s, Santa Clara, Alabama, and accepted at the University of San Francisco. He played four games for USF before joining the Army during World War II. When he returned home, he was offered a baseball contract by the Cleveland Indians. Gligo played center for the semi-pro San Pedro Athletic Club from 1944-49.
PAT HADEN – The current Director of Athletics for USC (2010), Pat Haden quarterbacked the USC to three Rose Bowl appearances and two national championships and was named co-MVP of the 1975 Rose Bowl. He was inducted into the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame in 1988, and the National High School and Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1995. A six-year veteran of the NFL, he played with the Los Angeles Rams from 1976-81. He was the Rams’ 1976 Rookie of the Year, was named to the Pro Bowl in 1977 and was named the NFC Player of the Year in 1977 by the Washington, D.C., Touchdown Club.
DICK HARRIS – Harris played football at San Pedro High School, Harbor Junior College and McNeese State University. Drafted by the San Diego Chargers of the American Football League, he was named All-Pro Defensive Back in 1960, 1961, and 1963. He was a member of San Diego’s 1963 championship team which also included Lance Alworth and John Hadl, In 1961, he returned three interceptions for touchdowns setting a new pro record, which stood for 15 years.
CHUCK KNOX – An old-school football coach that emphasized the running game and defense, Chuck Knox led three NFL teams in his 22 seasons as a professional head coach to numerous playoff appearances. He is the only coach in NFL history to lead three separate teams to division titles. Knox launched his NFL coaching career in 1973 with the Los Angeles Rams, leading that team to five straight NFC Western Division titles and three appearances in the NFC championship game, but was never able to get to the Super bowl. He also later led resurgences with the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks, guiding those two previously hapless squads to the playoffs in six seasons.
MANUEL LARANETA – One of USC’s all-time athletes, Manuel Laraneta was the first person to score a touchdown at the L.A. Coliseum, which he did as a freshman in a game against Pomona on October 6, 1923. In 1926, his senior year, he was the leading ground gainer in the nation, gaining 1,165 yards from scrimmage as a fullback. He and fellow Trojan Morton Kaer were asked to flip a coin that year to determine who would be named to the All-American team. Kaer won the toss. In addition, Laraneta shared the USC record for career pass interceptions with 13 that stood for 40 years. Laraneta, a native of San Pedro and onetime San Pedro High Football Coach, died in 1969.
TOM MACK A native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a former All-American tackle from Michigan, Mack was the Number 1 draft choice in 1966 of the Los Angeles Rams, whom he remained with for 13 years until his retirement in 1979. An All-Pro offensive guard, he participated in the post-season Pro Bowl classic 11 times. He was recognized as one of the top offensive linemen in the NFL. Named team co-captain in 1976, he had the distinction of never having missed a game, playing 184 straight games, second only in club history to a record 198 set by Merlin Olsen.
MARLIN MCKEEVER – Marlin McKeever was named All-American at USC in 1959 and 1960. In 1971 the Los Angeles Rams sent six players and a draft choice to Washington in exchange for seven draft choices and one player – McKeever. He became a defensive leader for the Rams at middle linebacker. He is the only player in Rams history to win Ye Olde Rams awards on both offense and defense. The All-Pro originally played for the Rams as a tight end before being traded to Minnesota and later Washington.
RENE MONROY – Nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” by the L.A. Press & Sportswriters, Rene Monroy, a 5’6” 165 pound dynamo, was a star on the championship San Pedro High School (1941) and Compton Junior College football team where he earned All-Conference honors. Monroy played in the first ever Junior College “Junior Rose Bowl” and later became an outstanding lineman for Loyola University and a standout single wing quarterback and defensive lineman for the storied San Pedro Athletic Club.
HAVEN MOSES – A graduate of Fermin Lasuen High School in San Pedro, Haven Moses went on to become an All-American wide receiver and defensive back at San Diego State. His professional career included four years with the Buffalo Bills and ten years with the Denver Broncos. During that span he made the all-star team in the old AFL in 1969 and the NFL Pro Bowl in 1973. His career reception total of 448 ranked 20th in all-time NFL history. He retired after the 1981 season.
JIM OBRADOVICH — Many USC football fans might know Jim Obradovich as the guy that owned Julie’s Restaurant across from the Coliseum, but fans from the 1970s recall Obradovich as a Trojans tight end that was All-Pac 8 in 1973-74 and All-American in 1974. Obradovich, who went on to play nine seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was known as a fierce competitor that never missed a practice or game in high school, college or the pros.
BOB PETRICH – A native of San Pedro, Bob Petrich played college football at West Texas State University. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1963 where he earned the position of starting end. That year, the Chargers claimed the AFL Championship against the Boston Patriots 51-10. In 1967, he joined the Buffalo Bills for one year, and then moved to the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts for his final year, retiring due to recurring injuries.
ROBERT RADOS – A San Pedro native, Rados played on the San Pedro High School 1940 championship football team and the championship track team. He received two football scholarships and played on the University of Santa Clara’s football team. While in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II, Rados transferred to the University of Texas, playing on the 1943 Southwest Conference championship team, which appeared in the 1944 Cotton Bowl. During that season, he led the conference in scoring and made three touchdowns in each of the games with Arkansas, Texas A&M and TCU.
JOHN ROBINSON – John Robinson, longtime head coach at USC, is the fourth winningest active coach in the NCAA and 15th all-time with a ten year record at 74.1% of 104 wins, 35 losses and 4 ties. He owns a 7-1 post season record with a 4-0 mark in the Rose Bowl. In 1978, Robinson led USC to a national championship and in 1979, he was selected as National Coach of the Year. Robinson was head coach of the Los Angeles Rams from 1983 to 1991, leading them to the playoffs in six seasons.
JERRY RODICH was a two-sport star in football and baseball at San Pedro High and Los Angeles Harbor College before moving on to play center and defensive end for the New Mexico State Aggies. At Harbor, Rodich was a two-time All Western States Conference football member and was a key player on the undefeated 1964 Harbor squad that many consider one of the premiere JC football teams of that era. Rodich led Harbor in tackles for two seasons before getting the chance to be a starter at New Mexico State under College Football Hall of Fame coach, Warren Woodson.
JOE SCIBELLI – Joe Scibelli, a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, and Long Beach resident played football for Cathedral High and the University of Notre Dame. The long-time right guard of the Los Angeles Rams was drafted by the team in 1961. He was first named co-captain of the Rams in 1966 and was the Rams’ longtime offensive team leader. The All-Pro never missed a game until midway through the 1969 season when he was temporarily sidelined with a knee injury. He and Charlie Cowan became permanent fixtures for the Rams in a winning era, playing in more than 200 regular season games.
DON SHINNICK – A football standout at San Pedro High, Don Shinnick went on to UCLA where he played offensive guard, defensive back, running back and linebacker. As a senior, he was an honorable mention All-American. The second draft choice of the 1957 Baltimore Colts, he played 13 seasons as a starting linebacker, intercepted 37 passes – which remains the National Football League record for that position. He then became linebacker coach for the New England Patriots.
GEORGE TIMBERLAKE – A native of Long Beach, George Timberlake played football for Jordan High, Long Beach City College, and USC. He played in the Junior Rose Bowl for Long Beach City against Boise College. In 1953, Timberlake played for the Trojans in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin. He was tabbed on All-American that year. Timberlake was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1954, playing linebacker for the Pack through the 1956 season. In 1975, he was named to the all-time National Junior College All-American starting team.
“DEACON DAN” TOWLER – The number two all-time ball carrier for the Los Angeles Rams, “Deacon Dan” Towler was one of the most feared rushers in professional football from 1950-1955. Part of the “Bull Elephant” backfield along with Paul Younger, Towler finished his career with 3,493 yards on 672 attempts. He was named to the All Pro-team four times and received the Most Outstanding award in the 1952 Pro Bowl game. Towler was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.
MIKE WALSH – Mike Walsh is this year’s Trani Award winner for contribution to local athletics. He will forever be known in the Harbor area as the man who brought a Los Angeles City football title to San Pedro High School – and he did it five times. Walsh began his career as the head coach of San Pedro in 1991 and led the Pirates for twenty five years before retiring after the 2015 season. In that span he won 227 games and five city titles. The Pirates were back-to-back champions twice — 3A champs in 1992 and 1993, 4A champs in 1996 and 1997, and they shared the Division 1 championship in 2008 after tying Narbonne in a thrilling come from behind game at the Coliseum.
TIM WRIGHTMAN – Named the South Bay Player of the Year as a senior at Mary Star of the Sea High School in San Pedro, Tim Wrightman went on to become only the fifth player in UCLA history to receive unanimous All-American honors. While at college, he was also named an Academic All-American. Originally drafted by the Bears in 1982, Wrightman opted to sign with the Chicago Blitz and became the very first player in the USFL. When the league folded, he switched to the Chicago Bears and played with them as a tight end when they won the 1986 Super Bowl. Wrightman retired in 1988.
PAUL “TANK” YOUNGER – The first free agent signed in professional football and the first black pro player from an all-black school (Grambling), Paul Younger was a standout fullback for the Los Angeles Rams from 1949-1957. During that time, he gained 3,640 yards and was named All-Pro three times. Younger was part of the Rams’ celebrated “Bull Elephant” backfield, which also included Dick Hoerner and Dan Towler. That tandem helped lead the Rams to the 1951 World Championship title.