- Bill Jenkins
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Memories of Bill Jenkins
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Dec 20, 1999 Bill Jenkins, Millennium Hall of Fame
During spring practice at USC in 1970, legendary former head coach John McKay, as football lore has it, once turned to an assistant after hearing a "splat," figuring it was that defensive back from Orange Coast College again, killing some poor Trojan wide receiver going over the middle."Is that," McKay reportedly said upon hearing the midfield crash,"that kid (Bill) Jenkins again?"
Jenkins, you see, was penciled in to start in the secondary that fall
for USC, but a tragic automobile accident in the summer at Mammoth Lake ended his life.Jenkins, a two-sport standout at OCC and the Pirates' Athlete of the
Year in 1968-69, redshirted his first year at USC, then "McKay told me he
was going to start the next year," said Tucker, who added that Jenkins
"was one of the greatest kids I've ever known, a natural born leader."
Craig Zaltosky won OCC's inaugural Bill Jenkins Memorial Award in
1970, which is given annually to the Pirate who most typifies his style
Jenkins, a defensive back for OCC in 1967 and '68 and a former
Huntington Beach High standout, was also Tucker's backup quarterback and saw plenty of game-time snaps. He was a first-team All-South Coast Conference selection on defense in '68."I've been around a long time, and he's a guy, I think, who could have
had a great career at USC and I think he stood a chance, or at least the possibility, of being a pro," Tucker said. "But I don't know. He didn't have blinding speed, but he was big, about 6-foot-3, and wasn't real heavy (about 210 pounds). He was a good offensive player, but a great defensive player."Tucker, a Daily Pilot Sports Hall of Famer, said he was close to Jenkins' parents, Maynard, his father, and his late mother, Jane."Boy, they were good people and supporters ... just solid parents," Tucker said.Jenkins was also a baseball player who was once offered $25,000 to
sign professionally out of OCC, but turned it down (at the time an
enormous sum) to play football for USC.Jenkins played baseball at OCC in 1968 in Coach Wendell Pickens' final
season after 20 years and in '69 in Coach Dale Wonacott's only season and the Pirates' first in the new South Coast Conference. Jenkins is among OCC's all-time leaders in doubles (11), accomplished in 61 games."(Jenkins) was one of the finest young men I have ever had the pleasure of coaching," Tucker once said. "He could have played either professional football or baseball. He was a fine leader, an excellent student and an outstanding citizen."
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