Pima Community College sports

Induction into Pima Community College Athletics Hall of Fame an honor for family

Honored to be flanked by Pima’s interim chancellor Dolores Duran-Cerda, Ph.D, and athletic director Jim Monaco (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

The Pima Community College Athletics Hall of Fame trophy reads “Javier Morales/Media Service Award – Hall of Fame Class of 2023 – December 10, 2023.”

What is most special to me is “Morales” and what’s at the top of the trophy: “Pima Community College Aztecs.”

Pima College embodies what Tucson and Southern Arizona is all about — a community of different walks of life, including those less fortunate and in need of opportunities, taking advantage of its resources for a higher quality of life.

Pima is a beacon of hope for young student-athletes — most of them from Southern Arizona — who were either overlooked by four-year universities or they need those extra couple of years in junior college to refine their skills while improving their academics.

Many strengthen their schoolwork with the credits used toward a future bachelor’s degree.

Larry Toledo is the man behind the evolution of the athletics department at Pima after 297 of 382 students (75.1 percent) voted in 1970 for the school to include athletics one year after its inception.

I remember my father Hector A Morales, Jr., talking about his old friend, Toledo, who became Pima’s first athletic director after he was a quarterback who became an all-state pick at Pueblo High School and small-school All-American at Cal Western University.

“It’s Tah-lehd-oh, not Tah-lee-do,” my dad would correct me about the pronunciation of Toledo’s last name.

My dad, a former city councilman and local leader of the War on Poverty in the 1970s, was very active in the community at the time Pima became an essential element to this area.

“We feel Tucson is an untapped source of athletes,” Toledo told the Tucson Citizen in 1973. “Tucson has never had a program at this level and the opportunities have always been limited: Now the local kids can continue their academic and athletic educations.”

Local kids

Untapped source of athletes in Tucson …

Opportunities …

Pima embodies all of that with its athletics department to this day.

To be inducted into the school’s hall of fame carries a lot of meaning and significance for my family because of my dad’s background with Toledo and my brothers Hector and Carlos earning their associate’s degrees at Pima College.

Hector passed away in June at age 67 from kidney failure.

My mother gave me some of Hector’s possessions after his passing and among them was his associate’s degree certificate from Pima.

I took that with me to the hall of fame induction ceremony Sunday night and carried it to the podium when I spoke.

My brother Andy, instrumental in the community-focus development of AllSportsTucson.com, was there.

My sister Debbie, our oldest sibling now on Earth, was there.

Hector was there. My dad was there. Mr. Toledo was there.

With such a momentous occasion at Pima, their spirits were around.

My daughter Mackenzie’s support helped me get to the point of representing AllSportsTucson.com while reporting on Pima athletics.

My mom couldn’t make it because she was in California at a book-signing event for her boyfriend James De La Rosa, who recently published a book titled “Building the Apollo Capsules,” which details a team of Hispanics (including himself) who helped NASA’s development of the Apollo 11 Mission.

She will always share in the joy and sense of pride of my hall of fame honor at Pima.

It is also the college where I earned my special education teaching certificate, of which has made it possible for me to be an educator at my alma mater Sunnyside High School.

Pima College is a very special institution.

It’s everything my dad and community activists, including Toledo, envisioned at the time of its inception.

Holy Tah-leh-do, it’s like home to me.

2023 Pima Athletics Hall of Fame Class:



  • George Arias
  • Gil Heredia
  • Jack Howell
  • Jason Jacome

Men’s Basketball:

  • Ben “Murphy” Gershman
  • Deion James

Women’s Basketball:

  • Abyee Maracigan
  • Tia Morrison
  • Sydni Stallworth


  • Brian Hare
  • Mickey Pimentel
  • Wesley Payne

Women’s Golf:

  • Desiree Hong

Men’s Soccer:

  • Hugo Kametani
  • Minh Vu

Women’s Track & Field:

  • Kaysee Pilgrim
  • Brianna Rodriguez


  • Joann Rust



  • Jeff Scurran


  • 1972 JUDO Team
  • 2006 Softball Team
  • 2018 Men’s Soccer Team


  • Damien Alameda
  • Greg Hansen
  • David Kelly
  • Javier Morales


  • Ted Chapman – Chapman Automotive
  • Neb Yonas – Chapman Automotive

This will be the second Pima Athletics Hall of Fame class. Below is the first Hall of Fame class:

  • Lawrence R. Toledo – Administrator
  • Abdi Abdirahman – Athlete (Track & Field)
  • Horacio Llamas – Athlete (Men’s Basketball)
  • Yuliana Rodgers – Athlete (Track & Field) 
  • Eddie Urbano – Athlete (Wrestling)
  • Rich Alday – Coach (Baseball)
  • Stacy Iveson – Coach (Softball)
  • Jim Mielke – Coach (Cross Country/Track & Field)
  • Maureen “Murph” Murphy – Coach (Women’s Basketball and Volleyball)
  • 1980 Men’s Cross Country – Team
  • 2003-04 Softball – Team
  • Ben Carbajal – Service (Head Athletic Trainer)


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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