EL CERRITO -- El Cerrito High has inducted 24 athletes and four teams, including its powerhouse 1983 football and baseball teams, into its athletic Hall of Fame.

The class, the third in the three years since the Hall of Fame was founded in 2009, was honored at a gala Sunday at the school gymnasium.

The latest group was made up mostly of athletes from the late 1970s and '80s but also included a few from earlier periods, such as Richmond City Councilman Nat Bates for his performance in football and basketball in 1950 and El Cerrito Mayor Bill Jones for excelling in football, basketball and baseball in 1967 and 1968.

"Many of us haven't seen each other for years," said Jones, one of the inductees who still lives in El Cerrito. "These are really good people that I admire."

Perhaps the most distinguished inductees in terms of on-field accomplishments were the members of the 1983 baseball team that finished with a 27-1 record overall and a 14-1 record in what was then known as the Richmond-Berkeley Athletic League.

That team also won the North Coast Section Championship may have been the best high school baseball team ever in Northern California, according to the team's coach Larry Quirico.

The team included Brian Nichols, Steve Pearse, Antoine Pickett, James (Pops) Mitchell and Steve Walker, who were also inducted for their individual accomplishments.

Nichols, Pearse and Mitchell received college baseball scholarships. Nichols is the current El Cerrito High baseball coach and Pearse is baseball coach at Reedley College in Reedley.


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"That team hit throughout the lineup with good defense, outstanding pitchers and even a genuine closer," Quirico said. "Seven players eventually signed professional contracts."

The 1983 football squad finished with an 11-2 record overall, 5-0 in the RBAL. That team included Pickett, a defensive back, Mitchell, a nose guard, and Walker, a linebacker, tight end and kicker.

Walker went on to play football at Columbia University, a perennial Ivy League underachiever.

"Going from El Cerrito to Columbia was character building in a different way," Walker said. "Here we didn't lose and there we didn't win."

Eight women were inducted, including Dawn Furseth for tennis and softball in 1982, Mary Gaffield for cross country and track in 1981, Lauren Strickland for basketball and track in 1987, Erika Hardwick for volleyball and basketball in 1989 and Lisa Leal for basketball, softball, cross country, track and volleyball in 1980.

Lisa Nakamura was inducted for basketball and volleyball in 1987, Linda Schultz for basketball, softball and tennis in 1987 and Cynthia Jackson for basketball, volleyball and softball in 1985.

Other inductees included basketball and track star Daryle Morgan from 1976, basketball and baseball star Ron Harper from 1978, along with baseball and football player Ken Harris from 1978 and football tailback and baseball player Todd Spencer from 1980.

Morgan and Harper went on to play basketball at Stanford and Washington, respectively, while Harris played baseball at Arizona and Spencer football at USC.

Bill Hardin, a basketball and baseball player from 1974, Rod Jones, a football tight end and defensive end from 1982, Nathan Redditt, the East Bay Football Player of the Year in 1982, and Anthony Robinson, a basketball star from 1983, rounded out the class.

Two other teams were inducted, including 21 El Cerrito Relays queens who were chosen annually to help promote the school's regional track event from 1950 through 1971, and the 1971 state champion boys' 440 relay team.

Dennis Abel, a longtime baseball coach and teacher at El Cerrito High, was inducted as a coach, and Scotty Stirling, an El Cerrito graduate and school sports sponsor who served as general manager of the Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors, was inducted in a special category.