FIRST CLASS: LeDuc, Miller, Rush and Warren left their mark on Nevada Union and beyond
NEVADA UNION’S INAUGURAL HALL OF FAME CLASS
Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series profiling the first class of inductees to the Nevada Union High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Featured today are Louis LeDuc, Guy Warren, Bob Rush and Max Miller.
Nevada Union’s athletic lore reaches far and wide and has no shortage of star athletes to boast about. That’s why a hall of fame to acknowledge and commemorate those who have built that lore and brought joy to the community through their athletic endeavors was long overdue.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Nevada Union athletic director Jeff Dellis. “It’s the right thing to do. We need to acknowledge the contributions these people have made to our culture and history.”
So, on Saturday 15 players, coaches and community contributors will be recognized for their efforts at the first Nevada Union High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Here’s a look at four of the 15 that will be inducted Saturday:
Class of 1955
Football, baseball, basketball, track
By many accounts Louis LeDuc is one the best athletes to come out of Nevada County since Albert Ali.
LeDuc was a four-sport star, excelling in football, basketball, baseball and track.
“(Sports) was the only thing to do in Grass Valley and I did them all,” LeDuc joked.
He also did them incredibly well.
This 1954 article in The Union noted LeDuc’s ability on the football field.
“The Miners drew first blood in the second quarter when LeDuc grabbed a punt on his own 28 and ran 72 yards for the score through an Indian team that seemed bewildered. Lou took the ball about 10 yards from the sideline, headed for the middle and then cut to the right. Only a couple of Indians had a shot and they didn’t get very close.”
While at NU, LeDuc was an all-league football player in 1954 and 1955 under head coach Art Hooper. LeDuc was also a captain on the basketball team in 1954 and was voted Nevada Union’s Best Athlete Class of 1955.
LeDuc’s football prowess spread throughout the land, garnering him offers from USC, Stanford and Cal. He would end up playing at San Bernardino Valley College, where he was awarded Most Outstanding Player in two games. A knee injury sustained during a game would put an end to LeDuc’s time on the gridiron, but he was far from done.
LeDuc then turned to baseball, where he played Class B professional baseball for the Eugene Emeralds and the Fresno Red Sox.
LeDuc would later find a home in the Placer-Nevada semi-pro league, playing for various teams in Grass Valley, Nevada City, Lincoln and Roseville.
In addition to his ability to play the outfield and hit, LeDuc was also a talented pitcher and threw a perfect game in 1955.
“The dear Lord was on my side that night,” LeDuc told The Union in 2009. “It was hoppin’ that night, kid. Man, it was hoppin’.”
LeDuc’s induction to the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame is not his first such honor as he is also a member of the Sacramento Hall of Fame and the Sacramento LaSalle Club/Christians Brothers Hall of Fame for his baseball contributions, and he is in the Nevada County Hall of Fame and the Sacramento Hall of Fame for his work on the softball field.
LeDuc and his wife, Beverly, raised four children and now live in Folsom.
Class of 1958
Football, baseball, basketball, track
Max Miller has found great success in his career as a high school coach and it has led to several hall of fame inductions, but none have meant as much to him as his induction into the Nevada Union High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
“I’m real excited about it,” he said. “I’ve been inducted into several hall of fames, but this one means the most because it’s where it all started.”
Miller speaks fondly of his time at Nevada Union, where he played football, basketball, baseball and ran track.
“I enjoyed growing up there,” he said. “Every day was fun. You just went from one sport to the next with your buddies.”
After playing all four sports for all four years of high school, Miller attended Sierra College where he played football and baseball. Miller then attended UC Davis where he again played on the football and baseball teams.
Miller would make the transition from player to coach, and would go on to be one of the winningest football coaches in Sac-Joaquin Section history.
Miller tallied 266 wins as a football coach in the Sac-Joaquin Section and led a Cordova squad that was named the team of the decade for the 1980s. Miller’s 266 wins was a record until 2014. He won 18 Conference Championships, one section title and reached the section championship game four other times as a head coach.
In his 50 years as a high school teacher, athletic director and coach, Miller has earned multiple honors and awards such as being inducted into the Cordova High School Hall of Fame (2014), the Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame (2012), the Northern California Sports Association Hall of Fame (2011), the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2009), the California Coaches Hall of Fame (2008), and the LaSalle Club/Christian Brothers Coaches Hall of Fame (2006). He has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Football Foundation (2008), was named the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Model Coach of the Year (2008), received the California Coaches Association Mentor Award (2004), and was named the Rancho Cordova Citizen of the Year (2000).
Miller also won Educator of the Year from the Rancho Cordova Rotary Club (1999), being named the California Coach of the Year (1985) and also named the Sacramento Metro Coach of the Year (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 2001, 2002).
Miller retired in 2008, but returned to the sidelines in 2010 to be the defensive coordinator for the Folsom Bulldogs, who went on to win their league, the section title and the California State Championship in Division II.
Miller is once again retired, but still runs Max Miller’s Clinic of Champions, which has a location in Reno as well as Sacramento.
He said the clinic keeps him busy, but he still has plenty of time to travel with his wife Sally and spend time with his grand kids.
Class of 1953
Track, cross country
Rush is a member of Nevada Union’s first graduating class and one of the first athletes to help bring home a Sac-Joaquin Section championship to the school.
But before Rush became Nevada Union’s first elite runner he was a fledgling athlete who tried his hand at football, basketball, tennis and golf, but didn’t find those to be a good fit. Then coach Roger Snipe took notice of him in sixth period P.E.
During Rush’s sophomore year, Snipe had everyone in sixth period P.E., which included the cross country team, run 1,320 yards. Rush beat everyone.
“Snipe came up to me and said, ‘I think we found your sport.’” Rush recalled. “It changed my life.”
Rush went on to lead the 1952 NU cross country team to both the Sierra Foothill League and Sac-Joaquin Section titles. From 1951-52, Rush lost only two races, both of which were at the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships. Rush also tallied the fastest mile in the Sierra Foothill League in both 1952 and 1953.
Snipe is also being inducted into the Nevada Union Hall of Fame.
After high school, Rush attended Sacramento City College for two years, where he qualified for the state meet in the mile and the two mile races.
Rush then attended San Jose State University, where he ran track and cross country for National Track and Field Hall of Fame coach Bud Winter. Rush would earn his Masters Degree in Physical Education from San Jose State in 1958.
After college, Rush coached sophomore football and was an assistant coach for the track team at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento from 1959-63. Rush then became the head track and field coach at San Mateo High School and eventually the athletic director until 1969 when he moved up to the college ranks.
Rush took over the head coaching job for the College of San Mateo track team in 1969 and remained there until his retirement in 1995.
During his time at the College of San Mateo, Rush invented a revolutionary timer called the Chronomix, which was the first electronic recording timer for cross country and track. The timer was used around the world in cross country races, marathon races, road races, and track and field races. The Chronomix has the ability to print the name and place on a tape for thousands of runners with the push of a button and is still used in many parts of the world.
Rush’s contributions to the cross country, and track and field worlds are numerous and include being a member of the USATF Hurdle Development group, being an assistant coach in 1993 and a head coach in 1994 for the Western United States team for the Olympic Festival, being a delegate for the Pacific Association to the USATF convention and being an official at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
For his many efforts, Rush has been inducted into the California Community College Track Coaches Hall of Fame, the San Mateo High School Hall of Fame, the College of San Mateo Hall of Fame, The Northern California Sports Association Hall of Fame and the Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame.
But, Rush was quick to say the induction to the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame stands above the rest.
“It’s sentimental,” he said. “It ranks number one. The fact that my coach Roger Snipe is also being inducted is very special. He had the greatest influence on my life other than my parents.”
Rush currently lives in San Carlos with his wife of more than 50 years, and added that he has no plans of complete retirement as long as the brain and the legs keep working.
Guy Eugene Warren
Class of 1953
Baseball, basketball, football and track
Guy Eugene Warren has the distinguished honor of being part of Nevada Union’s first graduating class in 1953.
He was a top tier athlete when it came to basketball, baseball and football, and when called upon he helped out on the track team.
“They needed somebody to pole vault so coach (Roger) Snipe had me come out and I think my best was 10 feet, 6 inches, and that was with a bamboo pole. I wasn’t much of a pole vaulter, but I wanted to help the team and it got us a few points.”
On the baseball diamond, Warren played shortstop and led the 1953 baseball team to a league title. He was named to the all-league team for his efforts. In 1953, he was also a member of the track and field team that won a league title.
While his pole vaulting days were limited, Warren continued to play baseball, basketball and football at Sierra College. In baseball, Warren led the league in extra base hits and boasted a .460 batting average while helping his team to a share of the league championship.
After Sierra College, Warren joined the Army where he found his way onto a regimental football team in Germany.
“I thought anything would be better than doing formation drills and picking up cigarette butts,” he joked.
Warren became a running back and a free safety on the team and set a record for interceptions in a game with four.
Warren also played on the regimental basketball and baseball teams. After his service, Warren turned his attention to golf, where he was a two-time golf club champion at Oakgrove Golf Club, and had a 4 handicap.
His game has slipped some since then. Now, in his 80s, Warren joked, “If I shoot my age I’m tickled about it.”
Sports have always held a special place in Warren’s heart.
“Sports are good for you physically and mentally,” he said. “They are a good place to learn about teamwork and sportsmanship. Sports is family and I loved it.”
Warren said he is excited and honored to be part of the inaugural class inducted into the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I know the other people going in are outstanding athletes and guys,” Warren said. “It’s a real honor.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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