His name is emblazoned on the Clovis High baseball scoreboard, and now it will forever be logged in the Clovis Unified Athletic Hall of Fame. Baseball great and Cougar alum Lloyd Merriman will be among seven people and two teams to be inducted this fall into the district’s Hall of Fame.
More than 2,000 nominations were submitted for the selection committee to consider, making the selection of the second round of Hall of Fame inductees a difficult choice. The Athletic Hall of Fame was created in 2016 to honor and recognize legendary athletes, coaches and teams that hail from Clovis Unified.
“The 2017 Clovis Athletic Hall of Fame class embodies all the characteristics we strive for in our student-athletes,” said Joe Aiello, CUSD’s director of educational services and Hall of Fame organizer. “Their success on the playing field is a direct result of the character and competitive drive they exhibited in all aspects of their lives.”
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Inductee: Lloyd Merriman
School: Clovis High
Merriman went on to play baseball and football at Stanford University and served as a naval aviator during World War II. Because of his wartime service, he didn’t make his MLB debut until 1949, for the Cincinnati Reds. He played for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs to close out his MLB career in 1955.
Inductee: Joan Pitcock
School: Clovis West
Pitcock was the 1985 CIF Southern California Individual Golf Champion for Clovis West. She played in the LPGA Tour for 17 seasons. In 1996, she won the LPGA Jamie Farr Classic and had 23 top-10 finishes while on the tour. Pitcock earned $1.3 million in prize money on the LPGA Tour.
Inductee: Martin Simpson
Decade: 1980s, ’90s and 2000s
School: Buchanan and Clovis West
Simpson is a track coach and cross country coach, with 20 section titles in boys and girls cross country. In 2000, his Buchanan girls track team won the section championship. In 1994, his girls cross country team won the Division 2 State Championship.
Inductee: Adrian Williams-Strong
School: Clovis West
Williams was a standout basketball and track athlete while at Clovis West. She earned All-League, All-Section and All-State honors in basketball and was a member of two section championship basketball teams. Williams earned a scholarship to USC where she was named 1st Team All-PAC 10. She was the No. 21 draft pick in the WNBA, selected by the Phoenix Mercury. She played eight seasons in the WNBA for the Mercury, Silver Stars, Lynx and Monarchs. In 2003, she was named a WNBA All-Star.
Inductee: Steve Baxter
Decade: 1990s and 2000s
School: Clovis West
Clovis West’s legendary swim coach Steve Baxter built a dynasty in the pool for the Golden Eagles. During his tenure, his boys and girls teams won 30 conference titles and 28 section titles (out of 30 opportunities). According to media reports, he helped develop 88 individual and 54 relay champions in his time at Clovis West.
Inductee: Jamie Southern
School: Clovis High
Jamie Southern was a constant difference-maker for the Clovis High softball team as a standout pitcher and strong performer at bat. She was the 2000 CalHi Sports Miss Softball California Player of the year. At Fresno State she was a four-time All-American and four-time WAC Pitcher of the Year. Southern was a World Champion with Team USA. She was a 1st Round draft pick in the National Pro Fastpitch League and two-time National Pro Fastpitch League Champion.
Inductee: 1974 Clovis High Wrestling Team
It was Clovis Unified School District’s first State Championship team.
Inductee: 1997 and 1998 Clovis High Baseball Teams
The teams were back-to-back CalHi Sports Baseball Team of the Year and USA Today’s No. 1 team in the nation both years.
Doc Buchanan Award: George “Tink” Kastner
The Doc Buchanan Award is given to an individual who has made an impact on Clovis Unified’s athletics program through his or her involvement and support with athletics. Named after founding
superintendent Dr. Floyd “Doc” Buchanan, the inaugural award was given posthumously to Buchanan.
Buchanan’s Sparthenian philosophy of developing the best in students in mind, body and spirit
inspired excellence at multiple levels throughout the district, including athletics. He believed
competition, whether academic or athletic, made students and teachers strive to greater heights.
It is his high expectations and standards that set the stage for CUSD’s rich legacy in athletics, and he was considered one of Clovis Unified’s teams biggest fans. He regularly attended athletic events weekly long after his retirement.
This year the Doc Buchanan Award will be presented to George Kastner, for whom Kastner Intermediate School is named. Kastner was a successful athlete at Clovis High and later at Fresno State.
He earned varsity letters in track and football, and he was the 880 track record holder for Clovis High. In 1936 and 1937 he was the Fresno County Half-Mile Champion. In college he earned three varsity letters in track and in 1939 was the Far Western Conference Champion Miler.
After college, Kastner served in the U.S. Army Air Corps flying missions in World War II and U.S Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He returned to Clovis and worked for Clovis Unified in many capacities that included history teacher, football coach, track coach, vice principal and principal of Clovis High. He was the first assistant superintendent for the district and also an associate superintendent. Kastner was the president of the North Sequoia League and of the North Yosemite League, chairman of the Central Section CIF Track Committee and Track Commissioners for 10 years.
▪ This year’s inductees will be celebrated in the fall through a variety of events that culminate in an ESPY-style award ceremony held Nov. 4 at the district’s Performing Arts Center on the Clovis North Educational Center campus.