O'Brien and Co. head NCSA Hall of Fame inductees
Scholarship fundraiser on tap Saturday
For decades the Northern California Sports Association has been honoring special athletes from the region at it's annual Hall of Fame Awards Dinner.
This year, the group outdid itself.
On Saturday, the NCSA will induct it's 40th class. And all 12 of the area greats that will be honored have one thing in common — they've been to the top.
The theme of the 2010 class is "Pro 'Major League Level' Only.' The gentlemen who will be giving acceptance speeches inside the multipurpose room at St. Isidore's church either played or coached in the highest possible level for their sport.
This year, in addition to being legendary on high school fields and college stadiums, this group boasts resumes glimmering with NFL, MLB and PGA references.
One of those whose star shines brightest is former New York Jets quarterback Ken O'Brien. A standout at Jesuit High in Carmicahel, O'Brien moved on to a Hall of Fame collegiate career at UC Davis before being taken as a first round pick by the Jets in the 1983 NFL Draft.
During his 10-year tenure in the league, O'Brien made the Pro Bowl twice (1985 and 1991), was the league's highest rated passer (96.4) in 1985 and set an NFL record in a quarterback duel with Dan Marino in a game that is highly regarded in NFL lore.
On Sept. 21, 1986, O'Brien's Jets topped the Dolphins 51-45 with both signal callers combining for 927 yards.
But O'Brien is hardly the only inductee with an impressive list of accomplishments.
Rolf Benirschke was a highly successful place kicker for the San Diego Chargers who retired in 1987 as the third most accurate kicker in NFL history after his collegiate days at UC Davis.
Red Bluff's Bob Grim had a decorated collegiate career and moved on to the NFL after a successful stint on the Oregon State football team. Craig Penrose played for the Denver Broncos and New York jets after his high school days in Woodland.
Harry Dunlop now resides in Elk Grove after decades of coaching at the MLB level following his "All-City" years at Sacramento High. Aaron Thomas' prep days at Weed High eventually led to being drafted in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers.
They will all share their stories on Saturday along with the rest of their class, which has Mid-Valley ties and will be previewed
The event at St. Isidore Church in Yuba City kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and all proceeds go directly to the scholarship funds that will be announced at the dinner. Call John Rice at (916) 296-1501 or Joel Guthrie at 743-2089 for more information.