ANTIOCH -- LeRoy Murray was rolling. The longtime teacher at Antioch Junior High School and coach in various programs was jumping from memory to memory on Saturday in his acceptance speech for induction into the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame.
Murray spoke about a double-reverse pass he wanted the Antioch High varsity and junior varsity football teams to try. Then he was talking about coaches. Then, he did a 180 and told the crowd he shouldn't be talking about coaches.
"I should be mentioning the team mothers," he said.
It was a goofy, rambling and delightful speech and it capped a fine evening at Lone Tree Golf Course.
Murray was one of 14 new members along with one team -- the 1984 Antioch High School baseball team -- that was honored at the dinner, the seventh class to be inducted in the program.
Football player Scott Freier spoke first and told the crowd, "I hadn't had a shave and a haircut in 19 months."
Fellow football player John Joseph followed. He was once named one of the greatest tackles in school history. However, he insisted in his speech, "I was only as good as the teams I played on and I played on some pretty good teams."
Dawn Hilgenberg was honored for being one of the best softball players at Antioch High, specifically for her efforts on the 1984 team, which won the first North Coast Section championship in school history, recording a 24-1 record as a pitcher and hitting .370. When she apoke about her deceased parents -- "the two most important people in me playing softball" -- she choked up.
Hilgenberg's coach on that team, Andria Edwards, was also honored. Edwards shared an avalanche of memories, including, "my kids being locked up in the batting cage. We couldn't get a baby sitter that day."
Joe Bonanno was inducted for being one of the greatest long sprinters in school history. Part of a family who starred in sports in the area, he told how in sixth grade he injured his neck playing basketball and found out he had a birth defect around his spinal cord and wasn't prevented from playing contact sports. After a couple of months of pouting, "my mother and father called me in for a family meeting. They told me in no uncertain terms to end the pity party."
Jack Hannigan was honored for his swimming career as well as giving his life protecting fellow soldiers during the Vietnam War. His brother Mike accepted and said, "I think it says a lot about a community that remembers and honors the past," before choking up.
Golfer Scott Olds once defeated Phil Mickelson at a state tournament. He told listeners about how he always wanted to beat his brother in sports and how that developed him.
Margaret Georgen, a champion discus thrower, thanked all of her coaches at Antioch High. Robbie Adams was honored for his all-around prowess. He said his father worked as a counselor at Antioch High.
"I got to go to all the games," Adams said. "My first heroes were all Antioch High School athletes. These guys were stars to me. They were gods."
Dennis Opsal, aka "Big Opie," was honored for his play on the football field. Elray Laughlin was a top pitcher for the Panthers in 1963-64. He talked about the growth of the city.
"When I grew up in Antioch, the biggest thing was bales of papers burning," he said. "The whole town would come down to watch the fire department put 'em out."
Now, he lamented, kids only exercise their thumb muscles playing video games.
Wrestler Anthony Camacho told the crowd how he wasn't the best athlete in his family. "I want to thank my mom for signing me up for wrestling," he said. "Because she was really embarrassed when my cousin Nikki beat the crap out of me."
Jon Fontana might have summed up the night when he said of the Hall, "I can't believe what Antioch has done. Only in Antioch would something like this happen."