College of the Siskiyous has announced that its former athletic director and head baseball coach John Mazzei will be inducted into the California Community College’s Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame during the 2018 State Community College baseball championships that are scheduled for Memorial Day weekend in May.
Mazzei was born in McCloud and raised in Dunsmuir and was active in all sports and academics at COS. He served as athletic director from 1959 to 1993 and head baseball coach from 1959 to 1973) and was also head men’s basketball coach, golf team coach, and an assistant football coach for two seasons.
In the early years of Mazzei’s tenure, he was the only person in the COS Physical Education Department. He also taught English, Life Science, Health and Physical Education courses, and was recognized as one of the best instructors on the campus, according to information distributed by the college.
The term “student athlete” had true meaning to Mazzei, who was known for demanding that “his athletes” be committed in the classroom.
In its early years, COS had no facilities for physical education. Using off-campus facilities, he organized the first collegiate athletic teams for the college: basketball and baseball.
Mazzei retired from COS in 1993, after more than 34 years with the District. In 2003, he was inducted as a charter member of the COS Athletic Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the 1988 California Community Colleges Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame.
Mazzei is recognized for virtually single-handedly starting the COS baseball program in 1959. He was instrumental in the design of the baseball field and helped to build it on the Weed campus after having to play at the Weed Sons of Italy Park for the first few years of the programs’ existence.
He was also instrumental in the drive to create both DI and DII divisions at the California Community College level of sports, which created equity for smaller California Community Colleges.
In the words of Dennis DeRoss, a former player who went on to become the Eagles’ head baseball coach, Mazzei was the “John Wooden of small community colleges” in that what his teams lacked for talent, they more than made up for with preparation. “Coach Mazzei’s teams were always fundamentally sound and no team ever played harder and out-worked the teams that he coached,” said DeRoss.
The CCCBCA’s Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made an exemplary contribution to California Community College baseball and recognizes three categories: 1) coaches from the CCC system, both assistants and head coaches; 2) players who went on to play Major League Baseball and then returned to coach at one of the California Community Colleges; and 3) affiliates who provide support or promotion of the game, including athletic administrators, newspaper writers, sports information directors and sporting goods representatives.