Sherman Cocroft still considers his two seasons at Cabrillo College during the early ‘80s under coaches Joe Marvin, Gene Johnson and Don Montgomery as some of the best years of his life.

“Cabrillo was my springboard,” Cocroft said. “Coach Marvin, Johnson and Montgomery changed my life. Without those coaches there would be no Sherman Cocroft.”

The former Cabrillo and Watsonville High great will be enshrined with his heroes on Jan. 20 at the Seascape Resort when the Seahawks’ athletic program welcomes its second-ever class into its Hall of Fame.

Cocroft will accompany three other athletes, a pair of coaches and the 1978 Women’s Volleyball State Championship Team, as well as Community Contributor Marc Monte as the class of 2018.

The new inductees will join the inaugural Hall of Fame class inducted in 2016 that featured the Ayanbadejo brothers, the Bailey brothers and coaches Marvin and Johnson, along with four others.

“I’m pumped,” Cocroft said. “I figured when it didn’t happen last year that it was a matter of time.”

Johnson said if he had it his way Cocroft would have been inducted into the Hall of Fame before him.

“Of all the players I coached in 62 years, he really stands out because of where he came from,” Johnson said.

Cocroft played basketball and football while at Watsonville but his focus shifted over to the gridiron when he attended Cabrillo in 1980. Cocroft had hopes of playing receiver for the Seahawks but Johnson convinced him to switch to cornerback.

He led the nation in interceptions during his two seasons at Cabrillo — hauling in 23 picks — and earned a spot in the California Community College Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame before heading to San Jose State University and starring for the Spartans, who later inducted him into their Hall of Fame.

Cocroft went undrafted but managed to carve out a steady five-year career in the NFL — three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, one with the Buffalo Bills and another with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“He was a leader and he had a lot of confidence in himself,” Johnson said. “Anytime that ball was in the air he was there. I remember a game against Monterey, their coach told the quarterback to make sure he knew where Cocroft was before he snapped the ball on every down. Sherman, I think, had five interceptions that game. That quarterback definitely knew where Sherman was that day.”

Today, Cocroft lives in Orange County with his wife, Lisa, and puts on youth football camps throughout California. One of his top stops is Santa Cruz County and his hometown of Watsonville.

“I love Watsonville and I love that area,” said Cocroft, who grew up on Elm Street and lived on Jefferson Street when he attended Watsonville. “There’s a lot of good memories there.”

Cocroft said he plans to make the trip to Aptos and has already begun writing his speech. At the top of the list of people he wants to thank are his parents Lewis and Gwendolyn and his four siblings, Gary, Melina, Anthony and Angela. And, of course, Marvin, Johnson and Montgomery.

“I get to be in the Hall of Fame with coach Marvin, Johnson and Montgomery,” Cocroft said. “Shoot, nothing else mater more to me than that.”

Here is the rest of the Cabrillo College Athletics Hall of Fame class of 2018:
• Pat Lovell (Coach): Still a fixture in the Santa Cruz County sports scene today as the commissioner of the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League for the last 28 years, Lovell coached wrestling at Cabrillo for 24 years, while also spending time on the sidelines with the football team and in the dugout with the softball squad. Lovell, who was a member of the Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team in 1964, was recently honored with the Central Coast Section’s Distinguished Service Award and has also been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as an official.

• Ted Bockman (Coach): Bockman, who died of cancer in 2014, started the swimming, diving and water polo programs at Cabrillo. His tenure started in 1961 and ran for 40 years until his retirement in 2001. He coached 27 conference championship teams and 107 All-Americans, while also teaching close to 9,000 students as an instructor. He was voted the Community College Swim Coach of the Year in 1995 and founded the Cabrillo Threshers Program in 1963.

• Cristin Murphy French (Athlete): An Aptos High alumnus and member of the Mariners’ Hall of fame, Murphy French played soccer at Cabrillo for two years and led the Seahawks to a conference title in the early 2000s before transferring to San Jose State and becoming an All-Western Athletic Conference selection.

• Dr. Mike Gruber (Athlete): The coach of the Harbor High Pirates for 28 years before retiring in 2011, Gruber was a star basketball player for Cabrillo during the early ‘70s. He also excelled at Aptos before his time with the Seahawks and with Gonzaga in his time after.

• Michael Haschak (Athlete): At the weight class of 190 pounds, coached by Pat Lovell, Haschak was a conference champion and Small College State Champion. He was fifth overall in the California Sate Junior College Championships and a California Junior College All Star Dual Meet participant. Haschak attended UCLA and became the California Collegiate Heavyweight Champion pinning all of his opponents.

Editor’s note: Tickets for the Hall of Fame ceremony are $125/person or $880 for a table. Information on purchasing tickets can be found on the Cabrillo College website >>

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