Last week was the 63rd annual Long Beach Century Club Sports Night banquet, one of the biggest events on the local sports calendar each and every year. As usual, the club gave away more than $50,000 in scholarships, recognized a pair of Athletes of the Year, inducted four new Hall of Famers, and took time to honor the best high school and college athletes from around the city, as well as several key community members.
Many in attendance agreed that the beyond-sold out banquet, with more than 500 guests, was one of the finest in the club’s history.
“I’m not sure how many of the 63 Sports Night I’ve attended,” wrote longtime Press-Telegram sports editor and Hall of Famer Jim McCormack in a Facebook post about the event. “I’m guessing it has to be in the forties–but the 63rd annual may have been the best yet. ”
Century Club president Ben Goldberg was happy with the event as well.
“I think this is a great way for the community to see what we’ve been doing to support amateur athletes since 1957,” he said. “We’ve been growing, we’re over 400 members for the first time in the club’s history.”
The two Athletes of the Year were Long Beach State men’s volleyball setter Josh Tuaniga and Poly football alum Jurrell Casey, who tied the Long Beach record for most Pro Bowl honors this year with his fourth.
The Hall of Famers were Jerry Tarkanian, Glenn McDonald, Jim Knaub, and Tony Hill.
Hill, a Poly football alum who was a star at Stanford and with the Cowboys, brought 50 guests and gave a great speech covering his entire career. Tarkanian’s wife, Lois, accepted the award for him, and gave a humorous and rousing acceptance that made it clear her family’s beef with the NCAA hasn’t passed away with her husband.
The club’s Coach of the Year was Alan Knipe, who helped lead the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team to the NCAA title; a video also showed highlights from the team’s win over UCLA.
The Hank Hollingworth Award for unique achievement in sports went to Poly alum and NBA champion Jordan Bell and Wilson alum and NCAA champion Zach D’Sa.
The citizens’ awards went to retired LA County Supervisor Don Knabe, rugby advocate Stu Ledsam, Dede Rossi, Sue Breuklander, William Frankenfeld, Tyler Schaefer, and John Gean. The Long Beach State Athletes of the Year were Tuaniga and golfer Jennifer Yu, and the overall high school Athletes of the Year were Frankenfeld and Wilson’s Rachel Glenn. The club also recognized the top high school athletes in each sport.
In addition, the Mayor’s Scholarship of $1,000 was presented to a boy and girl from each high school in the city, marking more than $100,000 that’s been given away through that program.