Yuba Hall to get hit by a ‘Cyclone'
Cloy “Cyclone” Stapleton did not go straight from Willows High to Yuba College.
Instead, after receiving a scholarship from California Teachers' Association and being offered another to run track at San Jose State, Stapleton decided to head from the farms of Glenn County to the sunny South Bay.
But after receiving word that Wolf Olgesby, Stapleton's high school boxing and football coach, had been hired as the new football coach at Yuba, Stapleton decided to pack his bags and come north again, accepting Olgesby's invitation to come play football for the 49ers.
“The people were different in San Jose,” Stapleton said. “Coming back I was with kids from farming communities like my own. It was like coming home.”
Stapleton is one of 11 former athletes who'll be inducted into the Yuba College Athletic Hall of Fame at a banquet at Peach Tree Golf & Country Club on Feb. 25. The 1971-72 basketball team also will be honored.
He came to Yuba in the fall of 1949 and attended for one year before moving on to Chico State.
Stapleton was a blocking back for the 49ers in the fall and ran track in the spring, but really made his mark in the boxing ring, compiling a 34-1 record en route to a state junior college championship at 155 pounds and a trip to the junior college boxing championship in Salt Lake City.
Stapleton likes to say he was defeated by a young boxer named Cassius Clay, but in truth, lost the national title to a boxer from McNeese Junior College (Louisiana).
“Olgesby was also the boxing coach, and he didn't know all that much about the sport,” Stapleton said. “His strategy was to get us plenty of fights so we could learn to stand in there and take it. So he drug us up and down the state to box. I think I had fights two or three
times a week.”
Olgesby dubbed Stapleton “Cyclone” in high school for his enthusiasm and spirit.
“I was the guy who kept people fired up,” Stapleton said. “Wolf called me ‘Cyclone' one day, and it stuck.”
Stapleton boxed and played football for Chico State during the 1950-51 school year before joining the U.S. Marines Corps., where he became a sergeant and a drill instructor.
He left the military in 1955 and returned to finish his degree at Chico State. He again played football and boxed, scoring a notable defeat of Frank Luduca, a middleweight boxer from Cal Poly who went on to win the national championship.
Stapleton graduated from Chico State in 1957 and took a job as a teacher at Quincy High. He stayed there until 1964 and coached football, wrestling and track.
He also completed a master's degree at Chico State in 1963 and a doctorate in education from Nova University in 1978.
“I think that was a real turning point in my life, getting the doctorate,” Stapleton said. “Education-wise getting to the apex, it really opens up a lot of doors for you.”
He moved south to be an assistant football and track coach at Sacramento City College in 1964. He later started a boxing team at the college as well as an athletics program for the physically handicapped and a self-defense program for women.
Stapleton became the dean of the men's physical education department at Sacramento City in 1985 before retiring in 1990.
He resides with his wife in Sacramento and says he spends much of his time working to restore 1959 Cadillacs.
“I never did any of it with the idea that I would be recognized,” Stapleton said of his athletic endeavors. “It's like a dream come true for me. It's a once in a lifetime thing and I'm very appreciative.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Nathan D. Collier can be reached at 749-4714. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.