SANTA CLARA - Mission College in Santa Clara named its first-ever Athletics Hall of Fame class featuring two-time state champion baseball coach Sam Piraro (1980-86), 1981 All-American and state championship MVP John McLarnan (1980-81), basketball's all-time leading scorer and Coast Conference MVP Felicia Anderson (2011-13), all-state softball player Stephanie Silva (1981-82), and Coast tennis champion Lu Tang (2010).
The Hall of Fame ceremony was postponed from November to a date later in Spring 2021. More information about attending can be found at missionsaints.com
ABOUT THE HONOREES
Anderson was a two-time all-state player (2011-12, 2012-13) who averaged 21.3 points per game in her sophomore season after 22.0 points per game as a freshman. She led the Saints to the 2012-13 Coast title behind a Coast MVP season. She left as the single-season and third-highest point totals for a season. Her 1266 career points continue to be a school record. Her 41 points against Los Medanos on November 29, 2012 were a single-game record until it was broken by Alyssa Springs in 2016-17. She went onto transfer to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
"Athletics saved me from a life of poverty. It kept me disciplined, busy and it allowed me to meet the very best people I have in my life," said Anderson. "Coach (Corey) Cafferata showed loyalty and support on and off the court. From the very beginning, he saw something in me that I didn't see.... his confidence in me, instilled confidence in myself."
Anderson is currently is a PE teacher at Academies of Math & Science - Flower in Phoenix, Arizona.
McLarnan led the Saints to the first of two state championships in 1981, the team's second year of existence. An All-American and all-state player that season, he left with 157 strikeouts over two seasons over 195 innings. He had 15 complete games, including three shutouts. The program went 24-11 in 1980 and 31-8 in 1981. He went onto transfer to San Jose State and was later drafted in the 20th round by the Phillies (1983). He played seven minor league seasons. John's daughter, Dakota, played for Sierra College (2012-14) continuing the community college tradition.
"Getting the call from Coach Piraro in July 1979 opened up my understanding, not just of the game of baseball, but in life," said McLarnan. "Sam was not much older than us, but I carry on his lessons today... come early, come prepared and work your ass off."
McLarnan has been working at Western Tool and Supply for the past 27 years.
Piraro, the Saints' first baseball coach, won state titles in 1981 and 1983 for a young college just off of Highway 101, which was established in 1975 and added athletics in 1979-80. Mission went 190-70-3 during Piraro's time with seven playoff appearances. The Saints won five Coast titles in seven years before Piraro took a job at San Jose State. He is a member of the California Community College Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame (1996).
Piraro led San Jose State for 25 years (1987-2002, 2004-12), going 806-632-6 (.560) including a 2000 College World Series berth. He recently coached at Willow Glen High.
"Coach Sam was like a father to many of his players that needed guidance, discipline and direction," said one of his former Mission players Steven Koontz. "To many of his former players, he is considered the 'best coach they ever had' and a needed mentor during the formative years."
Silva was a two-time All-NorCal selection (1981-82) and an all-state player in 1982. She hit .386 in her career and had a 22-9 record on the mound. That Saints finished 30-9 and third at the NorCal playoffs in 1981, in their second year of existence, and then followed that up with a 32-6 mark, a Coast title, and a fifth-place finish at NorCal. In 1981 she drove in a team-best 48, double anyone else on the team, and hit .312. She hit a team-high .443 with 41 runs, 35 RBIs in 1982. In the circle, she was 8-6 as a freshman with a 1.35 ERA and 14-3 with a 1.39 ERA as a sophomore. She was a perfect 7-0 in Coast play her final season, as the Saints went undefeated at 16-0 in conference play.
Silva is currently a sales and marketing representative at Sager Electronic.
"There are a few women players who could have been the first-ever inductee into the Mission College Hall of Fame from Softball, but Stephanie's qualifications were the best of the best," said Mission College's Softball Coach Gary Cunningham, who started the program. "Besides Stephanie's outstanding softball skills and statistics, it was her calm yet unbelievably competitive spirit that contributed to her strong leadership abilities. Though it takes 'an entire talented team' to acquire all these magnificent accomplishments, Stephanie has definitely earned the right to be the first softball player inducted into the Hall of Fame."
Tang is the Saints only Coast champion, finishing 11-0 and No. 15 in the state in singles and 8-3 with a No. 7 state ranking in doubles. The team finished No. 6 in the state. Tang went onto start the Lu Tennis Academy in Saratoga, sending many players to the next level of collegiate tennis. One player, Aryan Chaudhary, has been training with Tang since he was 10 and in February accepted a scholarship to play at Stanford.
Tang is also a former international student at Mission. He and his sister both came to Mission College from Vietnam.
"Lu is the most hardworking and dedicated coach I have ever encountered. He helped me push myself on the court, while also instilling values of respect and perseverance off the court. I would not be where I am today without the countless hours that Lu has put into my performance," said Chaudhary. "Every day at Lu Tennis Academy is a new challenge that we face together with sweat and laughter. Attending this academy for the last seven years has been a wholesome experience that I would fully recommend to any players seeking a higher level of training."
(Niall Adler, Mission College)