Sierra College dedicates its stadium to Buzz Ostrom
Although their Wolverines didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard, Sierra College football fans had reason to celebrate beyond a 3-0 win Saturday against Sacramento City College.
Sierra College hosted a ceremony dedicating its new football stadium in the name of former head football coach and athletic director Homer “Buzz” Ostrom due to his leaving an indelible mark at Sierra College.
Ostrom, who came out of Grass Valley, won more than 150 games and four conference titles between 1958 and 1975. He died in February 1997.
Ostrom’s athletic career began at Grass Valley High School where he played offensive guard and linebacker in football in addition to boxing and running track. He graduated in 1946 and went on to Sierra College.
“He really believed in the community college system,” said his oldest daughter, Dawn Brown, of her father earlier this year in a story announcing his induction into the Sierra College Hall of Fame. “He was the son of a hard rock miner and his family was very, very poor. The college afforded him an opportunity to get an education.”
He played for Sierra (then Placer College in 1946-48), where he lettered in football, boxing, and track and field before transferring to Chico State and eventually returning to Sierra College to become the head football coach in 1958.
In 1950, Ostrom graduated from Chico State and returned to the foothills to coach football and track at Grass Valley High from 1950 to 1952 and then at Nevada Union through 1956.
After a long tenure as junior varsity football coach at Grass Valley and Nevada Union, Ostrom replaced longtime Miners coach Art Hooper in 1956, leading NU to a 5-2 record. A year later, he became the head football coach at Placer High School.
In 1958, his first year on board as head coach at Sierra, Ostrom took a team with a record of 12 consecutive losing seasons and transformed them into the Golden Valley Conference champions.
Ostrom spent 20 years coaching the Sierra College Wolverines and seven more as the athletic director. Throughout those years he led his team to win the Golden Valley Conference title in 1958, ’61, ’66 and ’73 and recruited new players from every socioeconomic and geographic corner of the Sierra College District.
He is given credit for inspiring and launching the careers of more than 30 high school, collegiate and professional football coaches, including those of Max Miller, Rex Chappell, John Volek and Rich Brooks.
“Buzz was my mentor. He helped mold my career and taught me values that helped me live my life,” commented John Volek, current athletic director of Sierra. “He also is the foundation for the excellence that Sierra athletic teams represent today. Dedicating this stadium to him is the least we can do.”
The $6 million stadium, which features a turf field and seating for 1,500 fans, was slated to be ready for the 2005 season. But delays led to the Wolverines playing their entire season on the road. With Saturday’s win against Sac City, this year’s team is off to a 2-0 start.
According to Sierra College officials, Ostrom also was instrumental in convincing Bill Walsh, then coach of the San Francisco 49ers, to hold their summer training camp at the Sierra College Rocklin Campus.
He retired from Sierra in 1982, but continued to serve as the 49ers training camp coordinator though 1994. In 1995. Ostrom was inducted into the California Community College Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
The Sierra College Rocklin Campus is located at 5000 Rocklin Road in Rocklin. For more information about the Dedication Ceremony, call the physical education and athletics division office at (916) 781.0583. For information on the athletic programs offered at Sierra College, visit http://www.sierracollege.edu.
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