WeissCrax: What the Halleck?

What the Halleck?

Attended an awesome venue recently! At the Carriage Museum. Thought, at first, wrong spot and at a Halleck Family Reunion!

WHOA! They were everywhere!

Then, the most amazing thing — a San Marcos High School Athletic Boosters Club party broke out!

Turned out to be a spectacular evening of fun, family and friendship! About 250 people and a Lovefest for Royals Nation. All in celebrating legendary SMHS coaches Maury Halleck (hoops) and Jon Lee (volleyball). The previous night, the school’s extensively-renovated Thunderhut gymnasium was dedicated in Halleck’s name. The court floor dedicated in Lee’s.

Retired SMHS Coach and AD Maury Halleck thanked his wife and family for their incredible support, along with all his players.

Ever-the-kidder Jon Lee wore a Karch Kiraly name tag. Here is with WeissCrax writer and long time pal, Randy Weiss.

Dawn & Rich Schroeder

Team Ridgway - Jenna and Dad

In their memory. In their honor. In appreciation for their incredible commitment to young athletes over many years.

And all the stars came out – way too many to mention. Ah, here’s a few anyway: Vigna. Purcell. Rodriguez. Hillock. Nelson. More Hallecks (actually three generations). Pugh. Cotich. Ridgway (Jenna with dad)…

Plus, USA Olympic stars Holdren (Dax also an Inner Tube Water Polo Stud!), Todd Rogers and Swimmer Rich Schroeder and wife, Dawn, Momentum 4 Life Founder. UCSB’s NCAA Champion soccer coach Tim Vom Steeg was also in the ‘hood.

All traveled from near or far. Michigan. Midwest. LA. Locals, too. Some who never left.

All carried impressive life credentials.

“And the Grand Daddy of them all…” (as Sportscaster Keith Jackson calls the prestigious Rose Bowl football game)…Maury Halleck touched many lives as basketball coach and athletic director. Detroit’s Mark Mattos spoke of heart. Character. And how Coach consoled him after a tough loss. Young Mattos, then in tears, sniffled out, “I want us to win Channel League next year!”

“We will,” Coach replied calmly with a supportive arm around the shoulder.

They did.

Doug Little told a story about after his dad left when he was a young boy, his Mom moved the family to town. He played for Coach Halleck, who instantly became a father-figure to this very impressionable young man.

“I wished he coulda been my dad,” said Little, a former NBA player.

Forever memories of a kinder, gentler time shared together in sport. In life. Leaving handprints on the soul.

Whereas Halleck may have been as wholesome as vanilla; former Royals volleyball coach, English teacher and normally-Hawaiian-Shirt-Dude (though not tonight), Jon Lee added flavor and the color – like the TV commentary he provides for the AVP Tour.

Two of Lee’s finest achievements on the court and from Santa Barbara beaches – locals Holdren and Rogers – spoke of his lasting positive impact on their lives. As athletes. As real people.

Lee’s gem: “Volleyball is 90% mental and 10% physical” has stayed with Rogers since high school…through his Beijing march to Olympic Gold…and still today.

From Lee, Rogers netted important lessons about integrity…doing the right thing…“digging in” when you need to, even if it hurts – all points in the game of life.

And then he served up his own winner: he and Lee share an amazingly similar trait– always right!

And after celebrating past glory – it was never more “in the moment” with an eye on the future. with an appeal to replace the school’s beat-up football/soccer field with synthetic turf.

Rich Ridgway praised the teamwork amongst the Santa Barbara Soccer Club, SMHS and its Athletic Boosters to raise $850K to make The Field of Champions a reality.

Overall, this was an evening about real life. Love. Legacy. And family. Never more true as afterwards when Rogers was slipping out.

Lee kiddingly shouted to him to get his young kids to his beach volleyball camp this summer.

“They’re ready,” said The Coach.

“I know,” The Player responded.

Both right again!

What a wonderful family reunion after all…

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