Baseball honor for pickleball ambassador

Jack Hodges, the volunteer USA Pickleball Association District Ambassador for the State of Hawaii-West Region, will receive an honor on Friday — but not for pickleball.

Hodges, a former Saddleback College baseball coach, will be inducted into the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame during a dinner and induction ceremony at Pardini’s Restaurant in Fresno.

Hodges, who with his wife Stephanie now resides on Kauai, has been active with pickleball promotion. He successfully admitted the new sport to the Aloha State Games, or the Senior Olympics, at its tournament in Kona, July 10-12.

He also had the sport admitted at the Holua Tennis and Pickleball Center in Kona. He will also be hosting a free pickleball clinic from 10 to 11:30 a.m. May 30 at the Princeville at Hanalei Community Association Basketball Court Area-Emmalani Park, sponsored by the Princeville at Hanalei Community Association.

In a release from Saddleback College, Hodges will be joined by Orange Empire Conference coach Don Sneddon of Santa Ana College and Jerry Bartow of Southwestern College as the three inductees into this year’s CCCBCA Hall of Fame.

Hodges served as the head coach for the Gauchos for 22 years until his retirement in 2011, building a career record of 580-362 and four ties. During his tenure as coach, he led the Gauchos to 13 playoff appearances, including three Final Four appearances at the state championship.

The Gauchos won the state championship in 2004 while finishing as state runners up in 1998 and 2003.

Hodges, a four-sport letterman at Kamehameha Schools, earned a scholarship to continue his football and baseball careers at Stanford University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an English minor. He played professional baseball with the Kansas City Royals for two years before returning to Whittier College to earn his California high school teaching credential and a master’s degree.

His baseball coaching career spanned 41 years in Southern California at both the high school and college levels, where he collected 920 victories against 522 losses and six ties. He was selected as the California High School Coach of the Year in 1987, the Orange Empire Conference Coach of the Year in 1996 and 1998, and the Orange Register Coach of the Year in 2004.

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