FIVE MOST INFLUENTIAL IN GUAM SPORTS

FIVE MOST INFLUENTIAL IN GUAM SPORTS

📅01 August 2014
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By Patrick Lujan

Guam is crazy about its sports!

But behind all the thrills of victories and the agonies of defeats, there are those who are in positions (selected or not) that have great influence in our sporting community.

Breaking down the true definition of the adjective – having the power to cause changes – GSPN has selected five individuals who have the most impactful positions on island. We took into account the level of competition, the amount of athletes they affect and the residual effects they’ve had in their respective sports.

#5 Gary White, GFA Technical Director and Men’s National Team Head Coach

The Great ‘White’ Hope has done wonders since his hiring. The cultural transformation from the developmental stages to the national programs have The Gaffer’s fingerprints all over it.

The Men’s National Team has gone from #192 in the world to its highest ranking at #160 with first-ever wins over the likes of Macau, Chinese Taipei and Cambodia while recruiting professional players A.J. DeLaGarza, Ryan Guy, Shawn Nicklaw and Doug Herrick to play for Team Guam – unprecedented before his arrival in Feb. 2012. They are currently ranked #174.

The fruits of his labor is evident and much has to do with vision. Coach White has been instrumental in the development of a 10-year plan called Project 2022. Now what sports organization has a long-term plan like that?

Let’s just hope Coach White sticks around long enough to continue the building and strengthening of the sport.

And to think that the Guam Football Association did this after deciding to step away from the shadows of the Guam National Olympic Committee. Sure they can’t participate in the Olympics via the GNOC, but the freedom they’ve found on their own has resulted in an explosive step forward that now has approximately 5000 participants with the GFA.

AFC MNTO Gary White

Guam Soccer Head Coach Gary White

#4 E.J. Calvo, PXC CEO/Guam Men’s Basketball Head Coach

The impact that Pacific Xtreme Combat has made on mixed martial arts in the Pacific has been tremendous. It has clearly been the region’s top MMA promotion – even before they ventured and conquered the Philippine market.

PXC is a household name now in the Philippines, thanks to CEO E.J. Calvo and his team. The competition is much higher as other Asian countries have joined in the fight. The stable it holds and the talent it’s exported to the UFC and other big MMA promotions are world-class.

To add to Calvo’s impact is his love for basketball. The former Guam National Team point guard stepped up last year to take on the helm as the men’s national team head coach. Guam men’s basketball has always been one of the island’s pride and joy. Coach Calvo has plans to keep it that way and then some. They just returned from Pohnpei winning Gold yet again in the 8th Micronesian Games.

A huge success in the FIBA Pacific Oceania Tournament in December was a huge indicator that men’s hoops can leap forth under the guidance of Calvo. It helped big time as well when he recruiter old buddy and former Guam resident Mekeli Wesley to play for us.

As for vision, Calvo has led the Guam Basketball Federation into a partnership with GovGuam to take over the old Tiyan gym and renovate for Guam Basketball to play and train. Huge accomplishment there!

EJ Calvo Screenshot

 #3 Joe Taitano, Coaching Legend (Basketball/Running)

To me, Joe Taitano is the best athlete ever from Guam! What he’s done as a coach is just as unprecedented, if not more.

Coach Taitano started his coaching career at JFK, he’s surpassed more than 50 championships in more than four decades of coaching basketball and running at JFK, GW and now Guam High.

And here’s the evidence with the Joe Taitano Coaching Tree:

BasketballMelvin Jamindang, middle school champion; Neil Pineda, middle school champion; Jin Han, high school champion; Ben Leon Guerrero, high school varsity coach; Julito Tingson, middle school and high school coach; Arleen Mad, high school and Women’s National Teams; Erwin Villa, 9-time middle school champion; Ian Inocencio, high school coach; Desmond Mandell, high school coach; Johnmyre Zapanta, middle school champion; Paul Pineda, high school champion; Stu Schaefer, high school coach; Joey Santos, high school coach, Jocelyn Pardilla, high school champion; Mike Cabral, middle school and high school coach.

Running (Cross Country and Track): Jay Antonio, numerous high school championships; Eladio Manansala, numerous high school championships; Melvin Jamindang, numerous middle school championships; Desmond Mandell, high school coach; Arleen Mad, middle school coach; Jose Sumbang, middle school coach; Marissa Peroy, high school champion; Albert Juan, middle school coach.

If that’s no influential, I don’t know what is. And I’m sure there’s more names that fell through the cracks.

Coaching legend and one of Guam's all-time greatest athletes Joe Taitano

Coaching legend and one of Guam’s all-time greatest athletes Joe Taitano

Joe Taitano#2 Marty Boudreau: IIAAG President

High school sports on Guam is golden. No other league or level attracts as much attention as our high school athletes. Putting all these sports and leagues together for the IIAAG is President Marty Boudreau.

He’s been at the helm for almost 10 years now and deals with everything from rescheduling games to dealing with protests and even being the spokesperson for the organization – all while doing his day job as the Athletic Director at GW High School.

“I just do what is required and necessary, not worrying about how long I have been doing something,” the 55-year-old Boudreau said.  “I want to keep the IIAAG organized and search for improvements.”

Boudreau was instrumental in requiring all IIAAG coaches to complete the concussion course at the National Federation of High Schools that was mandated just this past school year.

For the thousands of high school athletes that dawn their school’s colors, it is the coordination and logistical maneuvering of Boudreau and his IIAAG board made up of other athletic directors that gets things done.

In the future, Boudreau hopes to have the Guam National teams be more involved with high school sports and find sponsors for the IIAAG.

“Are there organizations and/or businesses that can assist the IIAAG so that all schools can benefit?”

IIAAG President Marty Boudreau

IIAAG President Marty Boudreau

#1 Rick Blas, GNOC President

You can’t get any higher athletically than competing at the Olympic Games and that road goes through the Guam National Olympic Committee headed by Rick Blas. The GNOC President is tasked with upholding the charter of the International Olympic Committee and holds the key to so many athletes dreams. He runs a tight ship, leaving no room for error/misinterpretation of rules and is not afraid of holding federations accountable for their actions –  just ask the track & field federation who were not invited to the 8th Micronesian Games after allegedly violating GNOC standards.

He’s been re-elected to the helm of the GNOC for a couple of decades  and has even risen to the rank of Secretary General of the Oceania National Olympic Committee, the second highest rank in the Oceania region. With his ONOC role, Blas’ influence spans beyond Guam’s borders and has built strong relationships with NOC heads throughout the region and across the world.

Blas was a member of Guam’s first Summer Olympic team in 1988 in judo and his son, Ric Jr., followed the legacy and became the first athlete from Guam to win a match at the Olympic Games.

And it goes beyond the patriarch as wife Anita and daughter Kelly carry their own weight of authority at GNOC.

Now if he can only be more media friendly and transparent with GNOC events and information, a lot of the chatter from the sports community would subside.

 
Rick Blas Sr

GNOC President Ricardo Blas

 

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