Thirty years ago the California State University, Stanislaus men’s basketball team made a memorable run, reaching the 1982 Division III Final Four Tournament for the first and only time in the school’s history. On Saturday the former Warriors returned to Kirkpatrick Arena to be honored for their achievement during Stanislaus’ game against Cal Poly Pomona.
Doug Cornfoot and Dave Walls may be the most recognizable of the reunited bunch, Cornfoot as the head coach of Turlock High’s boys basketball team and Walls as Pitman’s athletic director and assistant coach for the girls basketball team, but in 1982 they were just a couple of college kids looking to make a name for themselves on the court. Five other Warriors from the ’82 team also made the transition from player to coach including the recently retired Curtis Wooten who helmed the Denair boys basketball team for some time.
Although the Warriors finished fourth in the National tournament they have been remembered as winners in Turlock. Those who were around to experience the excitement of the ’82 season don’t remember the semi-final loss to eventual champions Wabash University, 68-64; instead they recall close victories against Whittier in the first round, 62-60, and Capital in the quarter finals, 61-60. They remember the pride associated with the team’s success and how the community rallied behind the players.
On Saturday the community was able to once again show their appreciation for the squad. As the bunch gathered at half court during halftime they were met with applause and cheers, perhaps not as loud as the 1982, season but undoubtedly just as appreciated.
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