Mesa College full of rich history and famous athletes

Clayton Fawcette

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When coming to a community college, some athletes are bummed that they did not initially get scholarships to a four-year university.
Athletes want to be on the fast track to the “next level” otherwise known as professional sports. Many feel that attending a community college will hinder or even destroy any hopes of playing in professional sports.
Over and over again though, community colleges continue to churn out quality and even some superstar type athletes, and Mesa College is no exception.
To date Mesa College has produced seven National Football League players: Tony Banks, Darren Comeaux, Clifford Hicks, Matt Kofler, Jim Peterson, Tony Smith and Junior Young.
Tony Banks went on to Michigan State University after attending Mesa. He was a second round pick in the 1996 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. Banks then went on to play for 10 years in the NFL with the Rams, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and Houston Texans.
Darren Comeaux attended Arizona State University after his time at Mesa. Comeaux played 10 seasons in the NFL (1982-1991) with the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.
Mesa has also produced one of the most successful NFL coaches, Mike Martz. He played tight end at Mesa College and moved on to the University of California, Santa Barbara and Fresno State University. Martz then graduated summa cum laude from Washington University
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in St. Louis in 1972. Martz was a coach for the Olympians in 1974, 1976 and in 1977. After Mesa he went onto coach several Division I universities, most notably the University of Minnesota and Arizona State. Martz has been a NFL coach since 1992 with five different NFL teams (Rams, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears). Martz is best known for being the offensive coordinator of the 1999 Super Bowl winning Rams. Two years later, Martz lead the Rams to another Super Bowl appearance as the teams’ head coach.
Six Major League Baseball players (Jack Daughtery, Geoff Geary, Zach Larson, Tony Muser, Chris Richard and Brent Strom) have played for Mesa College.
Geoff Geary attended the University of Oklahoma after his time at Mesa. Geary was a 15th round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1998 amateur entry draft and debuted with the club in 2003. Geary is currently in the San Diego Padres organization.
Chris Richard went on to Oklahoma State University and was drafted in the 19th round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1995. He debuted for the club in 2000 and hit a homerun in his first major league at bat. Richard went on to play for three other MLB teams; the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and Tampa Bay Rays.
Three Olympic track and field superstars (Ramona Pagel, Arnie Robinson and Felix Sanchez) have all attended Mesa.
After Arnie Robinson attended Mesa College, he went on to San Diego State University and went on to win Olympic gold in 1976 for the long jump. He was considered the best world’s best long jumper from the 1976 Olympics to 1978. Robinson is currently a coach for track and field at Mesa College.
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Felix Sanchez went to USC after his time at Mesa College. Sanchez also won Olympic gold in 2004 for 400 meter hurdles. Sanchez was described as “the most famous athlete I have coached,” by Robinson.
Ramona Pagel competed in the shot put at the Olympics in 1984, 1988, 1992 and in 1996.
Pagel holds the United States record in both the indoor and outdoor shot put.
When attending Mesa College, you get a sense of why there is such a rich history of athletics. They give students a great environment to thrive and achieve their goals of making it to a four-year university and eventually making it to the professional level.
Mesa College has a state of the art track and football field that was recently renovated, a gym, pool and tennis courts.
Athletes at Mesa College have been highly successful in their respective sports, and now with the coaches and facilities/fields, the future of Mesa College’s athletics continues to be very bright.

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