If anyone doubts that Chris Ferragamo is serious about revitalizing the football program at Harbor College, they should consider his early fund-raising efforts.
At typical full-throttle pace, the new coach set a goal of $40,000 for equipment, uniforms and a weight room. Then he began formal fund raising a month ago with the formation of a booster club and an auction.
That meeting raised about $17,000, and four weeks later the boosters have raised about $20,000.
A state-of-the-art weight room--which cost $15,000--will be dedicated today, with a public display from 7 to 8 p.m. Weekly bingo games add additional income. Another boosters sign-up dinner will be held in San Pedro on May 9, and Ferragamo hopes to appeal to former Harbor players, particularly those now working in the harbor area as longshoremen.
Diane True, wife of Ferragamo's strength and weight coach Jim True and acting publicist for the boosters, said participation has been enthusiastic.
At the first club meeting, jackets, T-shirts and hats were given to major contributors. Jimmy Suggs bid $1,350 for a gold boosters jacket and is listed as the first member of the Gold Key Club and the school's No. 1 booster. Jack Gamble, owner of a pizza restaurant in Wilmington and a major booster of Banning High football for years (he has provided thousands of pregame pizzas to Ferragamo teams) is also a charter booster.
Another active booster is Ferragamo's younger brother, Vince. The former Rams quarterback is contributing appearances as well as money and is expected to help out informally in practices next fall.
As was usually the case when he was at Banning, it's not smart to bet against Ferragamo.
Signings: Loyola Marymount University has announced the signing of two basketball players and one local baseball star, while Cal State Dominguez Hills has signed a men's basketball player and a women's volleyball-softball player.
The Loyola basketball signings are 6-8 forward Chris Knight from Los Angeles High and 5-10 guard Terry Mister from St. Joseph's High in Chicago.
Loyola's baseball team signed pitcher-outfielder Tim Williams from nearby St. Bernard High and pitcher-outfielder Joe Summers from Royal High in Simi Valley.
Loyola Coach Paul Westhead feels he may have signed one of the area's sleepers in Knight, who averaged 12 points and is a relative newcomer to basketball, having only played since he was a sophomore. Knight reportedly has sprouted eight inches since then and may still be growing.
Mister, a candidate for the point guard opening the team will have after next season, is a product of the high school that produced pro star Isiah Thomas. His coach, Gene Pingatore, is a 1953 alumnus of Loyola and was Thomas' coach.
Williams, St. Bernard's hard-throwing 5-10 left-hander and switch-hitter, has been the Vikings' best player since he was a sophomore, having earned Camino Real League most valuable player honors the last two seasons. As a junior he set a CIF record with an 18-strikeout game, and he no-hit St. Anthony in the league championship game.
Summers, a hard-throwing 6-3 right-hander, is batting .441 for Royal and has homered in four straight games. He also has a good eye at the plate, with 16 walks and an on-base percentage of about .600. However, his coach, Mike McCurdy, said his future at Loyola may be on the mound. "The type of arm he has, you can't coach," he said.
Those signing with Dominguez Hills are basketball player Bryan Dell'Amico from Bishop Montgomery and two-sport star Debbie Olinger out of North High in Bakersfield.
Dell'Amico, a six-foot guard, averaged 17 points and 8 assists. He was an All-Angelus League selection the last two years despite playing on troubled Knights teams that finished last. Toros Coach Dave Yanai considers Dell'Amico one of the South Bay's "hidden" players because of Bishop Montgomery's lackluster program.
Olinger, a 5-10 outside hitter in volleyball and infielder in softball, will play both sports under Lady Toros Coach Jennifer Gorecki, who said the newcomer will "immediately have an opportunity to contribute."
Around the horn: Pepperdine junior Steve Dell'Amico has made a smooth transition to the mound after playing outfield for two seasons in Malibu. The St. Bernard High graduate leads the third-ranked Waves with a 7-0 record and 3.06 earned-run average. He also has 34 strikeouts in 47 innings. . . . Cal State Los Angeles freshman Debbie Higa out of North Torrance High is having a solid season as the No. 2 singles player. Cal State is ranked in the Top 10 in Division II. . . . Inglewood native Kim Casey has emerged as the top softball pitcher at Cal State San Bernardino, with a 9-7 record and 2.53 ERA through last week. The San Bernardino program is in its first season and Casey, a Hawthorne High graduate, has been the pitcher of record in every game. . . . Freshman guard Ken Horton out of Westchester High was named most improved player for the Cal State Los Angeles basketball team. Horton set a freshman record with 39 steals and added 70 assists.