where credit is due, Knox acknowledged he walked into a great situation
when he spoke to the many on hand for the opening ceremonies which
preluded a tri-meet won by OCC over Saddleback and Irvine Valley.
The Pirates' victory was the climax of this story, which included
smiles galore from everyone involved with the track and field program to
the college's academic administration.
A good story always comes with drama: The OCC track was set to open
last year, but the inside lane did not meet regulation standards.
However, that didn't stop the Pirates. They worked to get the opening
ready before this track season.
And a great opening it was. Coach Dave Salo's men's and women's swim
teams broke out of their practice to join the fun, as did Coach Chuck
Cutenese and his men's volleyball team. The Pirates' national champion
cheer and dance teams also attended the ceremony.
Jim Carnett, the director of community relations, opened the ceremony,
eyes beaming with pride. Carnett has been working at OCC for 30 years and
he was one of many happy to see the new track put to use.
Carnett introduced OCC president Margaret Gratton, who cut the ribbon
at the finish line to symbolize the opening of the track.
Knox then made his debut.
"I feel like Lou Gehrig at Yankees Stadium saying I'm the luckiest man
alive," Knox said, moments after his track and field athletes gave him a
jubilant ovation. "I walked into a great situation. The athletic director
(Fred Hokanson) was my former coach and someone I can turn to when I need
help. Walking out here, it's nice everyday and I walk with a smile on my
Knox presented a special award to Jim McIlwain, who coached the track
and field team from 1975-78. McIlwain, OCC's vice president of
administrative services, is known as the person most responsible for the
all-weather track. He followed through on keeping the track idea alive
when so many obstacles came his way.
Knox also named McIlwain, Hokanson and Gratton honorary captains for
Fittingly, Gratton ended the ceremony by saying, "Let the games