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Clarence Inducted into High School Athletic HOF

It was one delightful encounter after another as we entered the newly expanded auditorium and area devoted to the athletic history of Albuquerque's oldest high school. The trophy cases occupy a hallway almost as long as a football field and adjoin a two tier wall-to-wall line of plaques honoring Hall of Fame inductees going back to 1914.

The first person we came upon was Bobby Santiago, the school's most celebrated football player. Santiago went on to have his jersey retired at the University of New Mexico, where he eclipsed the records of the storied Don Perkins.

Santiago had called to let us know that Clarence was to be inducted and invite us to this "Breakfast of Champions." (We had long ago given up the idea of Clarence being named to the Letterman's HOF. It was a wonderful surprise.)

The next person we met was the legendary Jim Hulsman, Albuquerque's "winningest" and perhaps most revered coach. With Hulsman at the helm, Albuquerque High School had 23 consecutive winning seasons. His teams won 660 games and lost only 222 for a winning percentage of 75%. Hulsman has gone on to become the historian of his players and many others. His sports history collection fills 26 boxes (15 cubic feet) at the University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research. The collection conveys the history of athletics and individual athletes, predominantly from Albuquerque High School, but by association, reaches across the State of New Mexico, covering from 1892 to 2006.

We were meeting Coach Hulsman for the first time and assumed that Clarence had just come to his attention. We were stunned by the first words out of his mouth: "You are famous! I devoted four pages to you!"

We later learned that Hulsman has chronicled Clarence's history beyond the athletic to his administrative activities at the state, regional and national level. His file even includes a letter of recommendation from strength coach Barry Rubin of the Green Bay Packers.

We knew that people love and admire Coach Hulsman and we are coming to understand why.  

Clarence and Coach Hulsman
Photo by Carol Bass

*  *  *

Each of the four inductees was given the microphone and invited to comment. Clarence was last. His remarks were short and to the point.

Thank you for recognizing my athletic achievements at Albuquerque High School.

Congratulations to the other honorees.

My first reaction was that 63 years is pretty long to wait. But I changed my mind when I learned that Robin Knight graduated the year before I was born. So on second thought, I did pretty well.

My time at AHS was very important. It set the stage for the rest of my life. It taught me that setting realistic goals and working hard to achieve those goals is the formula for success in life. Importantly, you must realize that a goal achieved is a goal lost. So you must keep setting goals and build on your success.

If you follow that formula—and believe in yourself—your odds of success will be very high.

It allowed me to succeed in law school, law practice, Olympic lifting, physique competition, and finally a career in writing.

I would like to think that my success will inspire others at AHS to succeed in whatever path they chose.

THANKS again to all of you.

Winning the state Pentathlon championship launched Clarence's lifetime of achievement.

October 1, 2018

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