Del Oro set to induct first Hall of Famers
Del Oro High Athletic Hall of Fame inductees
Athletes: Butch Enkoji (Football 1961); Tom Cooper (All sports/baseball 1961); Ed Bonner (All sports 1969); Randy Hansen (Track/Cross country 1969); Kurt Richter (Tennis 1975); David Johnson (Basketball 1976)
Staff: Bob Bonner (coach, teacher, counselor); Jun Takuma (groundskeeper)
Community: Paul Yokote
This Sunday, Del Oro High will host its inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony and reception. The first class will focus on the decades of the 1960s and 70s.
“These awards are long overdue,” stated Del Oro athletic director Monte White. “These are the athletes, coaches, and community members who laid the ground work for who we are today.”
Some of the inductees, including Ed Bonner, Butch Enkoji, and Randy Hansen still live in the area. Bonner is Placer County’s top law enforcement officer. Hansen lives in Placerville and runs an agricultural consulting firm. Others such as Tom Cooper and David Johnson will be traveling from out of state to attend the ceremonies.
All share an unending affection for their days at Del Oro — days on the campus that would dramatically affect their lives. They also carry with them memories of their high school days that are as fresh in their minds today as if the events had happened yesterday.
Cooper, a member of the first graduating class, student body president, and class valedictorian, attended Cal where he played baseball for three years. After graduating from Cal with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, Cooper went on to work for the U.S. Government in the field of research, development, and intelligence matters. After leaving the Air Force, Cooper was GE’s Vice President for Washington operations for 21 years.
“Playing at Del Oro gave me the opportunity to blossom,” Cooper said. “It offered me the opportunity to participate. I played football, basketball, baseball and track. It was the single most influential year of my life.”
Del Oro’s first varsity football victory came at the expense of Folsom. Cooper recalls that evening.
“We had beaten Folsom at their place,” he said. “After the game there was a cavalcade of cars returning to Loomis. Everyone poured into the cafeteria… it was a big deal. That scene reminded me of the movie, ‘Hoosiers.’ It was a special feeling, a feeling rarely felt.”
Fellow inductee Johnson attended Weber State on a basketball scholarship. He started for three years during his college career and was ultimately drafted by the Dallas Mavericks. At 6-9 but only weighing 185 lbs, Johnson was a deadly outside shooter. He eventually played professionally overseas for five years.
“Del Oro basketball my senior year was my most favorite,” Johnson said. “It was the last time it was enjoyable.”
Johnson led Superior California with 27 points per game, and 14 rebounds per game.
“I remember as a junior at Del Oro watching a kid from Paradise High win the ‘Triple
Crown’ award at the Kendall Arnett,” Johnson said. “That’s where a kid leads the tournament in scoring and rebounding and must be on the winning team. I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ The next year, as a senior, I won the Triple Crown at both the Del Oro Invite and Kendall Arnett.”
Hansen attended Cal along with fellow 1969 graduate Bonner. The two roomed together at Cal and ran track and cross country. Over the years, Hansen has remained close to Bonner, former coach Jack Sanchez, local attorney Tom Leupp, and Rich Nelson.
Hansen fondly recalls a Del Oro track memory that has stayed with him over the years.
“In our junior year at the state track meet in Berkeley, our mile relay team was in first place in the trials at the end of the first lap — thanks to a great first lap by Ed Bonner — and halfway through the second lap. After the announcer said ‘Del Oro High School of Loomis is in the lead!’ for the third or fourth time, he thought he had covered the microphone when he asked, ‘Where the hell is Loomis?’”
No one this Sunday will be asking where Loomis is.
Ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. at the Del Oro Theater. A reception will immediately follow at the Blue Goose in Loomis.