The Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) has announced the 2016 Hall of Fame Class. This is the second class since the inception of the Hall of Fame in 2015. Former Yavapai College Athletics Director and Men’s Basketball Coach, Dave Brown, was the sole Yavapai inductee in the first class.
In this second class, former baseball coach, Gary Ward, and current men’s soccer coach, Mike Pantalione, were voted in from Yavapai. Others that were named were: Ray Butcher (Football and Athletic Director, Arizona Western College); Charles Dine (Softball, Arizona Western College); James “Bo” Hall (Baseball and Athletic Director, Cochise College); Jerry Hekekia (Volleyball, Eastern Arizona College); Lin Laursen (Women’s Basketball, Central Arizona College); Heinz Mueller (Softball, Phoenix College); Greg Silcox (Women’s Basketball – Glendale CC and Athletic Director – Paradise Valley CC); George Young (Track and Cross Country Coach and Athletic Director, Central Arizona College).
Gary Ward pushed Yavapai College into the national spotlight with two National Championships in 1975 and 1977. While at Yavapai, Ward had an overall record of 240-83 and was named the NJCAA National Coach of the Year in 1975 and 1977. Ward started the baseball program at Yavapai in 1971 and departed Prescott after the 1977 Championship to take over the helm at Oklahoma State University where he had an overall record of 953-313-1. While in Stillwater, Ward’s teams won 16 consecutive conference titles. He also led the Cowboys to 10 trips to the NCAA College World Series. Ward retired after the 1996 season and came out of retirement to become the head coach for two seasons at his alma mater New Mexico State University leading the Aggies to an NCAA World Series appearance. His overall coaching record a the NCAA level is 1,022-361-1, 24th best all-time in the NCAA record books in wins.
Mike Pantalione’s storied career at Yavapai College goes unprecedented. In his 27 year-career at Yavapai College, Pantalione has developed the most successful Junior College soccer program in the nation. His team’s have won 73 championships including 7 national titles, 41 region and district crowns and 25 ACCAC titles. He currently has the best winning percentage of any collegiate men’s soccer coach (574-50-27/.902) and is the all-time leader in the JUCO ranks in wins. Pantalione has been honored with 7 NJCAA National Coach of the Year awards and has been named the NSCAA national Coach of the Year 5 times. Moreover, Pantalione has been selected to the NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame and has received numerous national awards for his contributions to soccer.
The recipients will receive their plaques via mail. Yavapai College will recognize all three recipients at the 2017 Yavapai College Hall of Fame Inductions on January 20, 2017. The 2017 inductees to the YC Hall of Fame will be announced in September.