Five more members will be inducted into the Amador Valley High School Athletic Hall of Fame next Thursday (Jan. 26) at halftime of the Amador basketball game.
The inductees are Eugene Vargas, Jackie Gilbert, Don Underwood, Bill Selway and the 2014 girls’ softball team.
The AVHS Athletic Hall of Fame was started in 2021 and is set to be an annual fall induction ceremony at an Amador football game.
Since there was a change in the Amador Valley Boosters’ board that delayed the selection process, this group will be the 2022 class, with the 2023 class to be inducted in the fall of this year.
As a 1979 Amador graduate, it is tremendous to see this taking place.
As I look back to the time I was growing up in Pleasanton, to my high school years, to the 35 years I have written about high school sports, I could come up with five inductees per year for probably 25 years! The pool is that deep and deserving.
Here is a more in-depth look at this year’s group, with bios supplied by the Boosters’ board.
Don Underwood: Underwood had a record of 484-233 over 25 years, winning 10 East Bay Athletic League titles in basketball. His teams also won four North Coast Section Championships and one NorCal Championship.
Underwood was enshrined into the Tri-Valley Hall of Fame in 1995 and earned East Bay Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1985.
Underwood retired with the most wins in the history of the EBAL.
Eugene Vargas: Vargas graduated from Amador in 1946, where he was known throughout the area as a dominating blocker and tackler on the football field.
Former coaches and players from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s called him the best “pure” football player of the era.
Vargas earned a scholarship to play football for St. Mary’s College in Moraga, where he also earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry. Het then joined the Army where he played for the Army Expedition team serving his country around the world.
When Vargas came back from the Army, he got his administrative credential from San Francisco State. He returned to Pleasanton to teach and had a long tenure as an elementary school principal in the Pleasanton school district.
Jackie Gilbert: Gilbert played varsity lacrosse at Amador from 2012 to 2015. She earned many accolades as a high school player, including two-time captain, two-time team MVP, EBAL MVP and U.S. Lacrosse All-American.
Gilbert was the 2015 AVHS Female Athlete of the Year and led California in points scored during the lacrosse season.
Her skill set translated to travel lacrosse as well as she was the first lacrosse player west of Pennsylvania to have been selected for the USA Women’s U19 National Team in 2015.
In college she played for USC and was awarded captain in her senior year, as well being part of the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team.
2014 softball: The team accumulated amazing stats for the season.
Amador Valley outscored its opponents 149-26 and posted a whopping 15 shutouts on the way to a perfect season. The team led 192 innings of the 198 innings played.
This was truly one of the best teams — boys’ or girls’ — the school has ever put out.
Bill Selway: A tremendous inductee in the “Community Service” division, Selway might as well been known as Mr. Amador throughout his tenure with the Amador Boosters Club.
He excelled at raising money for the athletic programs and facilities. Selway was the driving force behind the building of the Amador snack bar and restroom facilities at the football complex.
Selway passed away in April 2021, but his legacy will continue through his projects at Amador.
Foothill boys’ soccer
The Falcons dropped three games last week but played inspired ball throughout.
On Jan. 10, the team dropped a tough 3-1 loss to San Ramon Valley. Matthew Tahir got the lone goal of the game for Foothill.
Two days later the Falcons got a pair of goals from Anthony Bonev but fell 3-2 to Granada. Tahir had an assist on one of the goals.
The final game of the week saw Foothill drop a shootout to Dougherty Valley, falling 4-3.
Falcons’ goalie Aiden Ahmad suffered a broken jaw during the game. Alejandro Ramirez, Elias Rousta and Bonev scored the goals.
Editor’s note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]