West Hills College Coalinga celebrates annual Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner slated for Oct. 26

From West Hills College
West Hills College Coalinga celebrates annual Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner slated for Oct. 26

West Hills College Coalinga will induct several of its former athletes and one staff member into its WHC Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 26, at the West Hills College Coalinga gymnasium. This year’s 23rd West Hills Hall of Fame will begin with a 6 p.m. social hour in the gymnasium on the West Hills Coalinga campus.

The Hall of Fame will honor Exmae, Lee & Nelson Hao with a special recognition award. Other inductees include W.C. Halliman, Pernell Halliman, Woodrow Harrison, Jackie Ponciano-Babb, and Robert Virden.

“This is an exciting time of year for our department as we honor our former student-athletes,” said Gina Jason, athletics secretary, and event coordinator. “Their success on and off the playing field is proof that once you go here, you can go anywhere.” 

To RSVP and to purchase tickets, please contact Gina Jason at (559) 934-2452. 

The inductees will be recognized during halftime at the Falcons’ football game against Modesto College on Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. The Hall of Fame banquet will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and inductions.

Here is this year’s class:

W.C.  Halliman Basketball 1972-1974 

W.C.  Halliman played basketball at West Hills College Coalinga from 1972 to 1974.  Halliman was a forward and earned All-Conference Basketball honors while at West Hills College Coalinga.  He had previously earned All-League honors while at Dos Palos High School.  Halliman was a part of the Amateur Athletic Union.  He graduated from West Hills in 1974 with his degree in Physical Education and Recreation.  He is retired from the Fresno Unified School District as a Resource Lab Assistant, where he assisted students in improving their academic skills and helped instructional staff assess student needs.   He currently volunteers at Fresno’s Frank H Ballpark. 

Pernell Halliman Baseball 2005-2007 

Pernell Halliman played baseball at West Hills College Coalinga from 2005 to 2007.  He was a pitcher and 1st baseman.  He served as the Team Captain and was also named Most Valuable Player, Utility Player of the Year and All-Conference while at West Hills College Coalinga.  He also earned the honor of Batting Title Champion and was a record holder for most wins in a baseball season.  He attended Jackson State University for one season before being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2008, where he played two seasons.  The Pittsburgh Pirates also selected Halliman during the 2006 first-year player draft. 

For the past five years, Halliman has worked as a probation officer.  He is still involved with sports as a coach at Sunnyside High School.  

Woodrow Harrison Football, Track 1985-1987 

Woodrow Harrison, affectionately referred to as “Woody,” moved to Coalinga to attend West Hills College Coalinga in the fall of 1985.  Harrison played running back at West Hills in the fall of 1985 and 1986.  He was also a member of the track team in the spring of 1986 and 1987.  During the fall 1986 football season, Harrison served as Team Captain as well as earning the award of MVP for Special Teams.  Woody also received a 3 .5 GPA while attending West Hills, earning him numerous academic honors. 

After graduating from West Hills, Harrison went on to play football for California State University, Chico, under Hall of Fame Coach Mike Bellotti.  He graduated from Chico State with a BA in Social Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice in the spring of 1991.  In the fall of 1993 and 1994, he played with the Fresno Bandits Minor League Football Team.  During his time with the Bandits, they won the AFA National Championship in 1994.  After his playing days, he remained involved in football as a coach. 

He gave back to West Hills College Coalinga and shared his knowledge as an Assistant Running Backs Coach during the 1996 through 1997 football seasons under Head Coach Mark Gritton.  During the 1997 through 1999 seasons, he coached in the Coalinga Oilers Youth Football Program.  During those seasons, he was instrumental in helping the Coalinga Oilers capture championships.  Throughout this period, from 1991 through 2000, Harrison served the citizens of Coalinga as a Peace Officer / Public Servant while employed with the City of Coalinga. 

After 15 years, Harrison moved his family back to his home city of Houston, Texas.  In 2013, continuing his love of community service, he began coaching in the Northeast Oilers Youth Football Program, where he had much success with helping turn the program around and with mentoring troubled youth.

Jackie Ponciano-Babb Volleyball 1984-1986 

Jackie Ponciano-Babb played volleyball at West Hills College Coalinga from 1984 to 1986.  Ponciano-Babb garnered many honors during her time at West Hills College Coalinga, including Central Valley All-Conference Honorable Mention, a three-time Player of the Week, and serving as Team Captain.  She came to West Hills with substantial volleyball experience, having played in high school from 1980-1984 and as part of the Kamehameha Volleyball Club in her native Hawaii.  

After West Hills, she went on to California State University Sacramento from 1986 to 1989.  She was red-shirted from 1986-87 and served as a setter/defensive specialist from 1987 to 1989.  At CSU Sacramento, she served as a walk-on in 1987 and was part of a team that earned the Most Inspirational Team Award in 1988.  The CSU Sacramento team excelled while Ponciano-Babb played, taking the NCAA Division II Regional Runners-Up (CSU, Northridge) in 1987 and the NCAA Division II Regional Runners-Up (Portland State) in 1988.  

Jackie earned her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from CSU Sacramento in 1991 as well as her master’s degree in Sports Performance in 1997.   Due to her love for the sport, she went into coaching after graduating.  Jackie served 22 years as the head volleyball coach at Diablo Valley College and has served as DVC’s men’s and women’s tennis coach for nine years.  Through her tenure at DVC, she has coached multiple All-Conference players.  

Robert Virden Football 1963-1965

Robert Virden attended West Hills College Coalinga, then Coalinga College, from 1963-1965.  Virden was a graduate of Lemoore High School before coming to Coalinga College to play football.   He played two years on the defensive line, where he garnered honors including Most Valuable Defensive Lineman (1964), most tackles (134) and most quarterback sacks (21) in a season.   He was named to the All-Conference Defensive Team/Defensive line in 1963 and 1964, All-American in 1963 and 1964 (Honorable Mention) 100%er club for the Falcon Football Team, and Team Captain in 1964.   He went on to play semi-professional football with the Fresno Raiders from 1970 to 1971.   In 1998, he was inducted into the West Hills Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the 1964 Football team.  

After graduating, he went on to Arizona State University and then enrolled at California State University, where he earned his BA in Physical Education as well as degrees in Mathematics and Biological Sciences.   He then earned his Master’s in Education and an Administrative Credential from Fresno Pacific University in 1988.   

He is retired from a 35-year educational career.  He served as a math and biology teacher, the wrestling, tennis, and football coach as well as serving as principal of Los Banos High School and Reedley High School.  His coaching career spanned 25 years that included head football coach at Madera, Reedley, and Lemoore High School.  From 2008 to 2015, he served as an educational consultant. 

As a coach, he’s earned honors, including Football Coach of the Year in the West Yosemite League in 1984. 

In 2005 & 2007, he went on mission trips to the Tongan Islands to help in establishing two solar water wells that provided clean water for one of the small islands.  He also helped create several libraries and computer labs for the Island schools as well as consulting in their educational system working with their teachers.

He is active in his community, including in his Rotary Club as the Sanger Rotary Club Secretary.

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