Monday, June 29, 2009

Orange County Sports in the 1960s

John Conover recollects memories of his sports and recreational activities in 1960s era Orange County...

more Santa Ana Sports in the 60's

I started surfing in 1961 and Santa Ana was a great starting point for travels to Newport, Huntington, Doheny or Trestles. Anyone remember The Orange County Surf Contenders? Still travel the globe in search of the perfect wave.

A day of golf started at Pine Tree for $1.00 where we played 18 holes then a mom took us over to Willowick where for $1.50 (after 1:00) we played another 18. Riverview was a fun 9 hole, family owned course on Santa Ana River...still there?

Baseball started at age 7 at Far West Little League where at age 12 I tied All-Pro NFL Isaac Curtis for the home run title. Pony League, Colt League, American Legion, Metro League (La Fonda) were great times but it was truly a joy to play for Bill Ross who coached at SAHS for 35 years.

Mixed in these years (age 10-20) was pool at Broadway Billiards; basketball, flag football, ping-pong at The Boys Club, which was a couple blocks from my house; skateboarding with steel skates we bought at Goodwill and screwed or nailed onto 2x4's...what a death machines those were; motorcycling with D Aldana; watching Aldana skate and win every race he entered at The Skate Ranch; hitchiking with fins to 17th St to bodysurf giant south swells; as kids, playing football with friends in the endzone at The Santa Ana Bowl during high school games; and most memorable, being part of probably the best footabll team in Santa Ana HS's history in the 1967 season.

John Conover


  1. I think Isaac Curtis still holds the record time for the 180 low hurdles. I ran against him in the 440 4 man relay at the Santa Ana relays. He was nothing but a streamline blur, kinda like Clark Kent on Smallville.

    There were some great OC HS football teams in the late 60's. Many of the players went to big football colleges, but many also played at Fullerton JC first. I would have to agree Mater Dei and SA Valley were the among the best anywhere. Villa Park, El Modena and Mission Viejo were smaller but fast and tough. I played at El Modena 66-68, then at Grossmont HS and JC in San Diego in 69-70. Those were some great times in my life.

  2. Anyone remember Santa Ana HS player Richard Tundag? Or Valley's QB Donnie Newman?

  3. Santiago High had some good teams around that time with Tod Friend as QB and Leonard Sims as a running back. They may have played in the CIF finals. Did you play against these guys?

  4. SANTA ANA HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Costa Mesa High School did the following in 1962:
    Won the CIF Baseball Championship and Eric Berge won State in the pole vault that year 14' 5 1/4", Mike Lange placed in the high jump as well. The Basketball team made it to the quarterfinals too losing to the eventual Champs. Not a bad year for their first ever senior class.

  6. I went ot McFadden Jr HS when Tundag was going to college - he was a teaching assistant at the time. Very nice as I recall.

    I went ot John C Fremont Elementary when I was Cub Scout age. Issac Curtis' mom was our den leader. Very nice lady. We moved out of the district and I lost touch with Issac.

  7. I did not play school sports much but I was in Lenard Sim's class (64) at Santiago High School and lived two blocks from in in "outer Santa Ana" during that time. He was a 3 or 4 sport Varsity player. He really had potential does anyone know what happended to Lenard Sims. thanks

  8. Remember Buena Park High upsetting Santa Ana Valley at the Santa Ana Bowl in '63 or '64, allowing the Coyotes to move on to the CIF playoffs.

  9. Does anybody remember much about Richard Tundag (Santa Ana High '64 and '65)as a player?

    1. He is my uncle, he just passed today. He was truly one of the greatest men I've ever known. I just saw a pic of him in college playing football.

  10. Gary Hall Sr was the first OC swimmer to make the olympics in 1968 and this was some years before Mission Viejo and much later Irvine.

  11. can anyone provide any information on Richard Tundag (Santa Ana Class of 65')regarding his playing days in OC?


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