Sig Lien: A great athlete

To the Editor,

I wish to thank Mary Miller Jones for her May 2 letter regarding the 1967 item about Sig Lien in my April 13 local history column. In it she mentioned a 1946-47 controversy at Watsonville High in her freshman year when she and other students rallied behind Sig and fellow instructor Jean Pogue to help them be granted tenure. That was especially newsworthy to me because years later Miss Pogue was my algebra teacher, and a great one!

I can only include things in my columns that were reported in Pajaronian news articles, but I’ll add something that wasn’t in the news story about Sig’s 1967 retirement as County Superintendent of Schools: He was a great athlete. His play in football and basketball at St. Mary’s College in Moraga east of Oakland earned him many honors, and induction into its Sports Hall of Fame. He later served with Tracy High School in the 1930s as coach of its basketball team which was then in shambles. Under Sig’s masterful coaching, Tracy’s teams went on to win 11 league championships, and Sig was honored with an induction into Tracy’s Sports Hall of Fame.  

After his 1967 retirement Sig retained his interest in sports, and in the early 1990s served on Watsonville’s Parks and Recreation Commission with my wife Alice. One day they were helping at a sports event in Callaghan Park when Sig decided to join a youngster in a sack race competition. They took a spill, and there was a brief panic when people realized Sig was about 90 years old. But Sig bounced right up, dusted himself off, and resumed helping.

Sig Lien: An administrator, an athlete, and amazing.

Steve Bankhead

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