Golden Eagles: Multisport athletes from 1960s highlight new Del Oro HOF class

Rob Bonner: 'Everyone played three sports in those days'
By: Mike Ray / Gold Country News Service
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Del Oro High Hall of Fame Inductees


Tom Hogan, Class of 1966

Rob Bonner, Class of 1968

Ron Sittman, Class of 1969

Dave Cox, Class of 1969

Teri O’Laughlin, Class of 1986

Autumn Hollyfield, Class of 1991

Scott Auerbach, Class of 1994

Amber Oliver, Class of 1997

Bob Corbett, Class of 2000

B.J. Mitchell, Class of 2001

Micah Ferguson, Class of 2005

1990 Del Oro softball team

1991 Del Oro baseball team

For the Loomis area, and Del Oro High School in particular, the 1960s were a different time.

In the ’60s, the Sierra Foothill League was just a twinkle in the Golden Eagles’ eyes. With the school still in its infancy, Del Oro athletic teams competed with the likes of Colfax, Wheatland, Lincoln, Truckee and Colusa in the Pioneer League.

With a student body of about 800 students, the Golden Eagles were the second largest school in the Pioneer League. Wheatland, with the bulk of its students coming from Beale Air Force Base, swelled to around 1,000 students during that period because of the Yuba County military facility on alert during the Vietnam war.

Four members of the 2014 Del Oro High Hall of Fame Class, which will be inducted this Friday night at the Blue Goose in Loomis, came from that era.

For Tom Hogan, (’66), Rob Bonner (’68) Dave Cox (’69) and Ron Sittman (’69), playing sports in those days at Del Oro meant playing sports in the fall, winter and spring.

“Everyone played three sports in those days,” said Bonner, who competed in baseball, track and basketball at Del Oro but earned his stripes as an all-Superior California football player as he helped lead the Golden Eagles to back-to-back Pioneer League championships in 1966 and 1967. “It’s just something you did then.”

Bonner, who was also an all-Northern California pick by the San Francisco Chronicle, will be the third member of his family joining the school’s Hall of Fame. His brother Ed, a track and football standout, was inducted in 2010 along with their late father Bob, Del Oro’s first football coach.

“I can remember being at the first Del Oro football practice,” Bonner said. 

These days Bonner, who was a founding member of the popular band South Loomis Quickstep, teaches music in Colfax and lives in the Dutch Flat area of eastern Placer County.

“Looking back, it doesn’t seem like it was fifty years ago,” he said.

Hogan was another three-sport standout for the Golden Eagles.

“I was just average in football and basketball,” said Hogan, modestly. “I guess track was my best sport.”

Considering that Hogan still holds the school’s shot put record and was Del Oro’s first ever CIF State Track Meet competitor, his words are an understatement.

At the 1966 CIF North Section track championship meet at Chico State, Hogan put the shot 55 feet, 1 inch, which today is Del Oro’s longest standing school track record.

Hogan also started for Del Oro’s 1966 Pioneer League championship basketball team and then went on to play on two championship teams at Sierra College, one in football and another in basketball.

After a year at Nevada where he played both football and track, Hogan was drafted into the Army before finishing his track career at Chico State.

“I remember Loomis being a small farming community,” said Hogan, who still has property near Downieville in Sierra County. “It was a nice place to grow up.”

Sittman transferred to Del Oro in his junior year from Hawaii. In two basketball years for the Golden Eagles, he was a two-time all-Pioneer League selection and helped the 1967-68 team win the Pioneer League championship.

In the 1969 Del Oro High Invitational, Sittman, without the benefit of a three-point line, scored 100 points in three tournament games. It’s another record at Del Oro that has stood the test of time.

“It’s nice to have the record but we lost in the finals on a half-court shot,” Sittman said. “I would have rather been part of the team that won the tournament.”

Sittman went on to be an assistant coach at Del Oro and in 1989 helped coach the Golden Eagles, including his son Rodney, to a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section crown and a final four berth in the state.

Cox was also a three sport – football, basketball and baseball – standout for the Golden Eagles who graduated in 1969. An outstanding running back-linebacker in football, Cox still holds the school record for 100 meters with a 10.75 mark.

Also being honored Friday are Scott Auerbach (’94), Bob Corbett (’00), Micah Ferguson (’05), Autumn Hollyfield (’91), B.J. Mitchell (’01), Teri O’Laughlin (’86), Amber Oliver (’97) and the school’s CIF section championship 1990 softball and 1991 baseball teams.