Excerpts About YC Soccer Team In Recently Published Book
The book YC Memories was published by EMI Printworks of Prescott, Arizona in August 2010. From January 1974 to May 2009 Jim Hinton taught as a faculty member at Yavapai College. Some excerpts:
“Andre, what happened?” I asked.
Andre stared at the test I had just returned. It was covered in red ink which concluded with a score of 49%–not a score his coach would be happy to see. We both knew that.
“Well, Mr. Hinton. I just wasn’t ready,” was his reply. That was pretty obvious.
Andre Luciano was the goalkeeper on the soccer team, and from what I was hearing, he was a pretty good one, too. But this test result caused me to wonder about his academic skills.
“That score has placed you in a real hole,” I said, wanting to emphasize what was obvious but seemed to escape many students. “Do you think you can pull it out?”
“What do you mean “pull it out?” he asked.
“I mean, do you think you can do better in the future—enough better to pull this failing score to a passing grade.”
He flashed me that wonderful grin of his and said, “Mr. Hinton. I can handle this class. No problem. I just haven’t been doing the work. I’ll knuckle down and I’ll do better. You’ll see!”
I had heard this line before. I got it from many students. Few, however, came through, especially those with a first score below fifty percent. I told him that, too, but he was undaunted. He assured me he could raise his grade. So I waited and watched. His performance began an immediate upward turn, evidence that he was now doing his homework. He easily passed the class, yet at the end wanted to know why he hadn’t gotten an “A.” I explained that he had squandered too many points at the beginning. He flashed me that infectious grin of his and said, “But I turned things around, didn’t I?” He wanted me to “eat crow” over my statements early on implying he might not make it in my class. I liked kids with spunk like Andre.
Nineteen eight-eight saw the arrival of folks like Carol Hammond, Scott Farnsworth and Michael Pantalione. Coach Mike’s history is perhaps the best known. Between 1989 and 2009 Coach Pantalione’s soccer teams were to win 443 games, 63 championships, play in thirteen national championship games, and win seven national junior college titles.
Yavapai athletic teams put the college on the map in the 1990s. Coach Mike Pantalione’s soccer teams were not only winning conference titles but national championships, with national titles in 1990, 1992 and 1997 and finishing runner-up in 1991, 1994, 1995, and 1996. Players like Edson Rico, Kobie Washington, Kevin Jeffery, Ty Hibbert, Chris Sagar, Kelvin Jack, Darren Clare, Avery John and many others became heroes for local youth who came out in droves at Ken Lindley Field to watch their role models n action.
“Hi Jim. How’s it going?” It was Coach Mike (Pantalione) greeting me as I checked my college mail box.
“Good, thanks,” I replied. “Say, are you going to join us for basketball today?” I asked.
“Maybe,” came his reply, but I could see he had other things on his mind. “I’ve got a Canadian kid coming in; Rocco DeNardis is the name. He has an interest in criminal justice and will likely be taking some of your classes. I think he’s pretty solid academically so he should do just fine. I wanted you to be aware of him. Let me know if he has any problems. By the way, he’s a pretty good soccer player.”
It was the beginning of school in 1989, the first year of Yavapai College’s soccer program. Coach was looking out for the interest of his players. He wanted Rocco to get off to a good start at Yavapai. These were lean enrollment years in my Criminal Justice Program, so I was delighted to get a full-time student who might sign up for two or three of my classes. Rocco proved to be a great kid, a fine student, and, as coach intimated, a very good soccer player that first year. With him also came Joe Harmon and Andre Luciano.
Over the years at Yavapai I became acquainted with most of the coaches, and we had some very successful ones. None, however, achieved the success Coach Mike did. Mike was hired in 1988 to launch the men’s soccer program. I became acquainted with Mike right away because he occasionally played basketball in the afternoons with faculty and staff. We were of a first name basis right from the start, however after the first year or so our pates crossed infrequently. I often found his players in my classes and invariably they were good students. I knew that if one of his athletes had a problem, Coach Mike would be interested and would help. He was a no-nonsense coach who brought in great athletes. No coach from any other sport cooperated with faculty like Pantalione. He insisted his players toe the line and perform in class. Off the field Pantalione was a man of few words, but in his field, no one recorded details, stats and esoteric facts like Pantalione.