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2013 Glendale Community College Hall of Fame: Stokes perfected art of intimidation

Former Glendale Community College standout football player will be inducted into college's athletic hall of fame on Saturday

March 06, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • Former standout GCC football player Bill Stokes will be inducted into the college's athletic hall of fame on March 9.
Former standout GCC football player Bill Stokes will… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

It became a familiar story line each time Bill Stokes took the field. Call it the art of intimidation.

Get to the line of scrimmage and quickly try to find a way to upset the timing of the opposing teams' offensive line before ultimately finding a hole to make life miserable for a quarterback by recording a sack.

Stokes mastered that talent throughout his high school and college careers, which included a stellar two-year stint as an outside linebacker with the Glendale Community College football team. Whatever path Stokes took to get to a hurried quarterback, it usually ended with a positive result for the Vaqueros.

The tackles and sacks piled up, forcing opponents to continuously center their game plans around Stokes.

“There was nothing better when I took the field then trying to find that hole and doing something good for my team,” said Stokes, who will be inducted into the college's athletic hall of fame Saturday along with Joe Staub, Dave Greenbaum, Hal Sears, Terry Coblentz and the 2005 men's tennis team at the college's J. Walter Smith Student Center. “We had a lot of success, but I was a small part of it.

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“Whatever I had to do to make us successful and give us a chance to win, I would do.”

Stokes achieved plenty of success and praise at Glendale college, capped by helping the Vaqueros win the Potato Bowl in 1985 and earning Junior College Grid Wire All-American and All-Western State Conference honors. He still holds the program's record for most sacks in a season with 17, set in 1985.

Yet, getting to Glendale college from the neighboring San Gabriel Valley had a couple of twists and turns.

A remarkable two-sport athlete, Stokes initially planned for a lengthy career in baseball and following the path of his uncles, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. When he encountered some right-shoulder trouble while playing for the Pasadena High baseball team, Stokes needed to steer himself in a new direction.

“I've been around sports my whole life, so it was in my blood and pitching is what I wanted to do,” said Stokes, who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1984. “I wanted to go and pitch at USC and then have a 20-year career.

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