Pitman High will host honor the best of its former athletes — including the Pride’s most famous alumnus Colin Kaepernick — during the school’s inaugural Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Nov. 3.
Along with Kaepernick, other Hall of Fame inductees include Anthony Harding, Spencer Snodgrass, Lesley Young, Tiare Jennings, former principal Rod Hollars, former athletic director Jim Parker and announcer Craig Rojas.
“I think that it is exciting because it is those types of individuals that laid a foundation for where we are at with the school and it’s fun to bring back Mr. Hollars and Coach Parker and publicly thank them for all they did to get Pitman rolling,” said Pitman athletic director Dave Walls.
“It’s a surreal and amazing feeling and blessing to be honored in a class with so much history and still crazy to think about that I'm in the Hall of Fame,” said Harding. “It's very special being the first and something I'll truly cherish. It is definitely amongst the very best awards I've ever received. It's also special because this high school created many opportunities for me then and now.”
Harding was essential to the Pride’s success on the football field during the fall of 2004 and 2005.
In 2004 he helped the Pride in going a perfect 5-0 in the Central California Conference, winning league and rushing for 1,710 yards in 201 carries while scoring 17 touchdowns.
It was during that year that Harding cemented his legacy as the most rushing yards in a single game by any Pride player with 279 yards on 24 carries back on Oct. 1, 2004.
“In my mind what led me to a historical career was just the hunger that I had to be the best,” said Harding. “I was in a daily competition within myself to better myself every day and truly took it upon myself to set the example the right way by how hard I worked on and off the field. Also, being surrounded with a great mother and father who supported me with all the tools and guidance I needed to be successful. Lastly, my older brother Will who pushed me every single day at a young age and instilled my work ethic to not just be great, but be the best.”
That record stood until Jakob Partida broke it this year on Aug. 24 against Lincoln of Stockton. Partida rushed for 303 yards in that game after carrying the ball 21 times and scored four times.
Following his great career at Pitman, Harding went on to earn a full ride scholarship to Fresno State.
“Being inducted and remembered in Pitman Athletics history is a tremendous honor and am super grateful that I attended this high school,” said Harding. “The people that I have met and the long-lasting memories here I have already cherished but now being inducted in the Hall of Fame puts the icing on the cake that all my hard work was worth it.”
Harding said his most memorable moments of playing football were his first ever game in Nipomo and both Harvest Bowls, where Pitman faced off against crosstown rivals Turlock High.
Harding’s quarterback during that time was Kaepernick.
In that time frame, they went 9-1 in CCC contests, including back-to-back eight-win seasons.
During his two varsity seasons at Pitman, Kaepernick tossed for 13 touchdowns his junior year followed by 25 TD passes as a senior in 2005 after playing in 12 games.
This earned him a scholarship to University of Nevada-Reno, following a successful career in baseball and basketball as well.
During his four years at UNR, Kaepernick started and played in all games, passing for 10,098 yards and 82 touchdowns with 24 interceptions.
He also rushed for 4,112 in four seasons, including 59 rushing touchdowns. He had three straight years of 1,000-plus rushing yards and over 2,000 passing yards in the same season.
Following his successful collegiate career, Kaepernick was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2011 NFL draft in the second round with pick No. 36.
Kap helped the 49ers reach Super Bowl 47, where they faced the Baltimore Ravens and fell 34-31.
In six seasons with the 49ers, Kap was 28-30 as a starter, passing for 12,271 yards and tossing for 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
“Colin is one of several, about five. He is a part of a special evening. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the rich history of Pitman and athletics,” Walls added. “We are pretty excited, we think it’s a great opportunity to honor some student athletes that contributed greatly to the history of athletics at pitman, we are excited about that.”
Walls said the school is also hoping to raise funds through the Hall of Fame dinner and dance ceremony for continued facility improvements at Pitman.
For information on tickets and sponsorships for the event, call 209-678-6550 or visit www.pitmandevelopmentfoundation.com.