SPRING 2015 / ATHLETICS
Influential coach, three athletes inducted
into Cal State L.A.’s Athletics Hall Of Fame.
BY PAUL HELMS
John Herbold, left cheers on a player after a homerun versus Montclair State in this archive photo from 1990. (Photo courtesy of Division of Intercollegiate Athletics)
How does Cal State L.A. honor a longtime baseball coach beloved by his players and admired by his peers throughout a remarkable 49-year career?
By retiring his No. 28 jersey.
“John Herbold is a coaching legend in Southern California and this tribute was certainly well-deserved,” said Cal State L.A. Director of Athletics Dan Bridges.
The moving tribute took place in February during Cal State L.A.’s Athletics Hall of Fame 2015 induction ceremony. Herbold, who couldn’t attend due to illness, was represented by family at the event.
“Our family is so honored that our father has been inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame,” said Herbold’s daughter, Shele Herbold-Tamaki. “His years coaching at Cal State L.A. were a very special part of his life, so it was very rewarding to see all those people whose lives he impacted, too.”
The ceremony also celebrated two-time volleyball All-American Korina Kemp, men’s soccer sensation Morten Marthinsen and women’s basketball career scoring leader Monica Tokoro. The Athletics Hall of Fame was instituted in 1985 to honor the outstanding achievements of individuals who have participated in intercollegiate athletics as student-athletes, coaches, administrators or staff.
The Class of 2015 was the 23rd to be inducted and brings the total membership to 116. The foursome joins tennis legend Billie Jean King, two-time Olympic track and field gold medalist Mal Whitfield, former Major League Baseball outfielder Jay Gibbons, pitcher Mike Burns and longtime pitching coach Bob Apodaca.
Cal State L.A.'s Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees
Herbold was Cal State L.A.’s baseball coach from 1984 until his retirement in 2004. He held the program record with 455 wins, and led the Golden Eagles to California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championships in 1997 and 1998 and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) playoffs in 1998, their first in 21 years.
During his tenure, Cal State L.A. ranked among the top 25 schools in the nation, regardless of division, in sending players to the pros.
Before coming to Cal State L.A., Herbold had a 28-year coaching career at the high school level and guided teams from Long Beach Poly and Lakewood high schools to 18 Moore League titles and three CIF championships.
“John never cared about wins or losses or all that stuff,” said Doug Deutsch, son of former Cal State L.A. head coach Jack Deutsch, who spoke at the induction ceremony. “One thing mattered above all else and that’s how the kids turned out.”
Deutsch noted that Herbold’s former players are doctors, lawyers, executives, teachers and professional baseball players.
“John touched their lives,” he said.
In 1994, Kemp (’96) became the first Cal State L.A. volleyball player to earn first-team All-America honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. An excellent all-around player, Kemp is still ranked on two Cal State L.A. career lists: No. 2 all-time in career aces and No. 5 all-time in kills.
She was presented for induction by her former coach, Mark Massey, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
“There was only one Korina; she was really unique,” Massey said. “She was a human tornado. She had a great spirit and energy and a big personality.”
The volleyball team had only one winning season before 1992, when a sophomore Kemp and the Golden Eagles went 25-10 and advanced to the national semi-finals. As a senior, she led the team to a program-record 18 consecutive wins to start the season and the Golden Eagles reached the regional championship match for a third straight season.
“Our team was unique; we didn’t have any egos. We had one goal, which was to win,” Kemp said. “When I first came to Cal State L.A., I saw a plaque in the lobby (with Hall of Fame members listed). Now my name is next to Billie Jean King’s. That is really cool!”
Marthinsen (’08) was a scoring dynamo during his four-year career, and is largely credited with helping return the men’s soccer program to national prominence. He earned All-California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) and All-West Region honors all four years with the program and earned All-America recognition in 2006. He was also the CCAA Player of the Year in 2005.
“Morten was the building block upon which we rebuilt the soccer program,” said head coach Chris Chamides, who introduced Marthinsen at the ceremony. “He was a model student in the classroom and one of the very best soccer players I have ever coached. Morten helped springboard us into a nationally-ranked, championship-caliber program.”
In Marthinsen’s junior season in 2006, he led the Golden Eagles to their first regional championship match since 1992. That appearance began a streak that has now reached six regional championship appearances in nine years, including regional titles in 2011 and 2014.
“Ten to 12 years ago, I wanted to do something different than stay in Norway,” said Marthinsen, a Norwegian native. “Thankfully, Chris answered one of my emails. I was as green as it gets. My teammates treated me like a brother. I spoke mostly with my hands. Yes, they made fun of me, but that’s what teammates do. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
Tokoro (’06) had an outstanding four-year basketball career and led Cal State L.A. to its first NCAA playoff in women’s basketball. She led the CCAA in scoring in 2002-03 with 25.1 points per game, and still holds Cal State L.A. records for career points and assists.
She became only the third player in program history to earn All-America honors with second-team recognition in 2003.
“If you saw her play, you were treated to an exciting show,” said former women’s basketball coach Marcia Murota, who likened the 5-foot-4 Tokoro to “Stephen Curry without the dunk.” “She was a coach’s dream and an opposing coach’s nightmare.”
Tokoro, who originally is from Honolulu, said she was motivated throughout her career by people who doubted her.
“I always heard, ‘You’re too short. You can’t play high school ball. You can’t play college ball.’ [Murota] believed in me, even as a freshman,” Tokoro said.