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Notable Alumni - Stan Smith Class of 1964
Looking back - Notable Alumni memories
Stan Smith -Tennis Champion
Pasadena High School Class of 1964
I have many fond memories of my time at Pasadena High School. Everything was pretty new when I attended with the class of ‘64 fresh from Wilson Junior High School. It was nice to get to know the kids from the other Jr. High Schools like Marshall, but I was closest with the kids not only from Wilson but even more with those from the Eugene Field Elementary school who were from my neighborhood in Hastings Ranch.
I was on the basketball and tennis teams, sang in the choir, and active in the Key Club. Because of these activities I was always pretty busy and happy. I also attended Pasadena Presbyterian Church in downtown Pasadena. I do remember as a junior, November 22, 1963 the day that JFK was shot. I was in a classroom in the early afternoon overlooking the athletic fields and the announcement spread quickly. It was one of those sad dramatic events when everyone seems to remember where they were at the time.
My most memorable coaches were Bob Blake for tennis and George Terzian for basketball. I think Tom Hamilton was the athletic Director and/or football coach. George was at Wilson Jr. High school and came over to PHS the same year that I did. He successfully coached at PHS for many years and then went on to Pasadena City College- where my father coached for several years when I was very young. George was a very good tennis player and understood my love for both sports. I played basketball through the first half of the season my senior year and quit to concentrate on tennis. It was the biggest decision of my life to that point and very difficult because I loved the game, and we had a good team that went to the semi finals of CIF that year. One of the guys on the team, Jim Marsh, went to USC with me and another, Bill Sweek, went to UCLA. Both had good college careers.
The tennis courts were a kind of peach color with hard wire nets that would never wear out. I spent time on those courts with the team and trained on Saturday mornings in a clinic started by the Pasadena Tennis Patrons (parents from the area). Pancho Segura was hired to coach us. He happened to be one of the best coaches in the world, so I was very fortunate. He later coached many other players including Jimmy Connors and Michael Chang. I couldn’t have done what I have if it wasn’t for spending so many hours on those peach-colored courts!!
One of my favorite memories was graduating in the Rose Bowl and going to Disneyland for grad night. It was pretty amazing to be able to go there from 11pm to about 3am in the morning and share the park with several other high schools doing the same thing. Unfortunately, I left the lights on in my car in the PHS parking lot so by the time we got back in the early morning I had to call my parents to come get me and my date Judy. Another memory was that the campus parking lot was where the post Rose Parade was held so we got to view the floats for several days after New Year’s Day.
We had a great athletic tradition, and several athletes went on to play in college. Our big rival was of course John Muir High School and we always want to win against them. Dick Railsback was one of the best pole vaulters in the US, and he let me use his new fiberglass pole one day and I think I cleared 10 feet which was exciting for me but nothing close to anything special. The football team had some good seasons and of course the Drill Team became famous, and it was the goal of many of the girls to make the team. It certainly was one of the groups in which all of us had great pride.
I always look back with tremendous respect for all the teachers and administrators that gave us a great foundation for our next stages in life. There were those teachers who would help us with after school student government activities and who made sacrifices to help us. Of course, I didn’t appreciate all that was done for me and my classmates until looking back years later. Unfortunately I have been living on the east coast for the last 50 years so have not kept track with the school but you cannot take away those memories. I hope that PHS is continuing to make an impact on the students of today as much as it did for us back in the day.
The picture is of Stan and his wife Marjory at the Class of 1964 50 year reunion.