Happenings Knightline

Inaugural Rio Linda High School Sports Hall of Fame to be Enshrined

At halftime of this week’s Rio Linda Vs. Foothill football game, the first members of the Rio Linda High School Sports Hall of Fame will be honored.

The Sports Hall of Fame is a project that’s been tossed around for many years. Progress was halted for some time due to the COVID lockdown in 2020, but finally, the process bears fruit when the first class is inducted this Friday night.

The panel that selected the initial Hall of Fame entrants was made up of educators, coaches, and boosters, including Larry Bibayoff, Jarrett Black, Mike Fox, Jerry Huffines, and Rebecca Salaices, with Mike Morris facilitating.

The inaugural induction ceremony will take place on Friday September 16, at Rio Linda High School when the Rio Linda Knights take on the Foothill Mustangs. Game time for JV is 5pm, Varsity is 7pm. The ceremony will happen at halftime of the varsity game.

The first group of inductees includes a Division 1 Section champion softball team, three legendary coaches, and six of the best athletes RLHS has ever produced.

1976 Rio Linda Knights softball team

Rio Linda’s first Section Champion team

Coached by Judy Morris, this ladies’ softball team brought Rio Linda High School its very first section championship title.

Leading Scorer Kelly Ledford had three hits in the title game and led the Knights to an 8-7 win over Lodi in the final game of the section tournament.

Players include Kelly Ledford, Rita Marcott Thorson, Beth Brown Hawkins, Dawn Haslett Rogers, Debbie Kaufman Moseby, Judy King Salas, Sondra Stewart, Jaynie Gordon, Kristy Cox, Tammy Paige Winters, Jerry McCurdy, Rene Amaro, Diane Johnson, Shelly Rice, and Lisa Silva.

Coach Terry Ray

Terry Ray lived in Rio Linda and played basketball at Rio Linda high, graduating in 1965. He was 6th man on the 1964 Metro League championship team. He was All Metro 2nd team, and the 3rd leading scorer in the area.

Coach Ray led the Boys Basketball team from 1976 to 2014. During that time he compiled 433 wins, won the 1979 Section Championship and came in 2nd place for the section title in 86, 92 and 93.

He not only coached basketball, but softball as well where he won 450 games, the 1989 Section title, took second place in the 1998 Section title game, and won 15 conference championships.

Coach Michael Morris

  • Head Football Coach 1991-2013 (23 years)
  • Defensive Coordinator 2014
  • Track & Field Shot and Discus Coach 14 years
  • Boys Basketball JV and Freshmen Assistant Coach
  • Boys JV Golf Coach
  • Athletic Director 14 years

Coach Mike Morris began coaching football at San Juan High in 1984. In 1985, he graduated from CSU Sacramento, with a B.A. in History.

In 1986 Morris was hired by the Grant District, at Rio Linda Jr. High and the following year he started coaching at Foothill High. A year later he moved to Foothill High to teach.

In 1990 he moved to Martin Luther King Jr. Junior High to teach, and shortly after in 1991 he was hired as Head Football Coach and teacher at Rio Linda High school.

In 1998 he coached the Knights to a Sac-Joaquin Section Championship game, where the Knights fell to Oak Ridge 34-0

Morris guided the Knights to their first Sac-Joaquin Section Championship in 2004, and was named Sacramento Bee Coach of the Year.

In 2005 he was presented with the National Football Foundation’s “Red Smith” Award.

In 2007, he was the Optimist All-Star North Head Coach. He would be invited to coach again in 2013.

In 2011 Morris took over as Head Football Coach of the Law Enforcement (Hogs) team in the annual Pig Bowl “Guns & Hoses” charity game, and that continues to this day.

In 2013 Morris handed over the reins as head football coach after 23 years. He was also given the CIF Model Coach award.

Morris was given the “Michael D. Gebhardt” Coaches Award in 2014.

In 2015 he began coaching at American River College.

In 2022, he retired from teaching.

In all, Mike Morris guided the Knights to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for 13 years and earned CVC Championships in 7 of those years.

His final win/loss tally was 148-103-1 overall, 86-30-1 in the CVC, with 10 total playoff victories.

Coach Judy Morris

Judy Morris taught and coached at Rio Linda High School from 1970 to 2002.

In 1971-72, Morris served on the Grant District committee to establish league competition for girls in basketball and softball. She began coaching that year.

From 1971 to 1986 she coached girls varsity basketball and won numerous league championships.
Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up in ’85 and ‘86

1987 Assistant Basketball Coach at Sacramento City College – 2nd place J.C. state championships

1972-1984 Coached Varsity Softball: Numerous league Championships, One section championship

3 yrs – JV Volleyball, 4 yrs – Varsity Volleyball
3 yrs -Swim Team Co Coach
1 yr. – Assistant Track Coach
6 yrs – Tennis Head Coach

Optimist All Star Coach in both Softball and Basketball
2002 CIF Model Coach Award

Teaching Awards:

1988 Director California State Physical Education Workshop (Cal Poly State University)
1992 Genevie Dexter Award for service to the State P.E. Workshop
1972-2002 RLHS P.E. Dept. Chair
1999 California League of High Schools Educator of the year finalist
2001 RLHS Teacher of the year

Darren Oliver

An RLHS Class of 1988 Graduate, Darren attended Rio Linda High School for three years playing basketball and baseball. 

Darren started on the Varsity squad for three years. He was 1988 Sierra Foothill league MVP, and All-League in 87 and 88. In 1988 SacBee named him to the All-Metro 1st team, and he was an Optimist all-star.

He planned to attend UNLV after high school, but his 90mph fastball caught the attention of the Texas Rangers who took him in the 3rd round of the 1988 MLB draft.

On September 1st 1993 he made his major league debut at Fenway Park in Boston. He was 22 years old.

In 1994, Darren was on the mound when Michael Jordan made his baseball debut. Oliver tagged Jordan out as he jogged to first base.

In 1996, Darren became part of the Rangers’ starting rotation and won 14 games. The Rangers made the playoffs and won their first American League Western Division title in franchise history. Darren started Game 3 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees. 

In 1997, Darren was the starting pitcher as Texas played San Francisco, and is credited with throwing the first pitch in the history of Interleague play. 

Darren would go on to pitch in the 2010 and 2011 World Series for the Texas Rangers.

He retired from baseball in 2013 and remains in the front office of the Texas Rangers.

I am proud to be from Sacramento and especially proud to be from Rio Linda.” – 2018 Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame induction.

Sheila Hudson

Sheila Hudson is a 1985 Rio Linda High School graduate, who excelled in both track and field and basketball.

She was 3-time Triple-Jump state champion, winning the title in 1983, 84, and 85. She also won the 1985 long jump state championship.

Dr. Hudson was a 3-time Sierra Foothill league champion in 83, 84, and 85.

Oh… and she played basketball on the varsity team for all four years. She was the leading scorer on the 1984 team, averaging 16 pts per game and led the Lady Knights to the Sac-Joaquin Section Semi-finals. She was named Sierra-Foothill League MVP for the 1984 season.

All the while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

In her senior year, 1985, she accepted a full scholarship to attend UC Berkeley.

At UC Berkeley, She won NCAA championships in the triple-jump event in 1987, ’88, and ’90, and went on to capture nine U.S. national titles — four outdoors, five indoors. She held the American outdoor record of 47-3 1/2 for 17 years until it was broken in 2004, and the indoor national record for 23 years until 2017.

She finished 10th in the women’s triple jump at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Hudson received her B.A. in architecture from UC Berkeley in 1990 and since then has gone on to receive her Masters and Doctorate from CSU-LA.

in 2014, she was named to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame.

Chris Goodman

Chris Goodman attended Rio Linda High School from 1996 to 1999. He participated in wrestling for 3 years, and he excelled in football for all four years of his prep career.

  • 3-time CVC wrestling champion
  • Team Captain and Offensive MVP
  • CVC Football Conference MVP
  • Led team to 1998 Sac-Joaquin Section title game, scooping up 4 fumbles and returning them for touchdowns during the playoffs.
  • Optimist All-Star
  • All Metro first team
  • Cal-Hi All-State First team Defensive Back

After leaving Rio Linda, Chris has spent his entire career serving our country.

He served with the:

  • United States Navy
  • United States Special Operations Command
  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • He is currently and has been a Special Agent with the FBI for the past 13 years.

Alex Newman

  • Played softball at Rio Linda from 2006 to 2009.
  • Capital Valley Conference MVP
  • Cal-Hi Sports All-State Team
  • 2x CVC Champion ‘07,’08
  • Sac Bee All-Metro 2nd Team
  • 4-year softball scholarship (2009-2013) at New Mexico State
  • Recorded 58 career wins as a pitcher
  • Set the single-season win record with 23 in 2011, then broke that record by winning 24 in 2012
  • WAC 1st Team All-Conference (2013)
  • WAC All-Tournament team (2011, 2013)
  • Two-time WAC Pitcher of the Week (2011, 2013)
  • 4 time WAC All-Academic Team (2010-2013)
Alex Newman, left, with the 2018 Lady Knights softball team. >

“I am still heavily involved in the sport of softball and the community of Rio Linda. I was the Assistant Varsity Softball coach for Rio Linda High School from 2015-2021. I am currently the softball program coordinator for Davis Sports Academy in Natomas. I give pitching lessons along with coaching one of our softball teams.

Being able to teach the next generation of the sport and give them all the knowledge I have gained and learned from my coaches is something I really enjoy being able to do. The sport of softball is continuously growing and I am grateful I get to be a part of it, especially in Rio Linda.”

Ryan Sowles

  • Played Basketball at RLHS 1998-2001
  • 4-year varsity player
  • 2001 CVC League MVP
  • 2001 1st team SacBee All-Metro
  • 2000 2nd team SacBee All-Metro
  • Back-to-Back scoring champion 2000-2001
  • 2001 Sacramento area leading scorer 27.3 ppg
  • Set a record scoring 63 points in a single game.
  • Ranked 2nd Statewide all-time for 3pt made
  • Ranked 4th Nationally for 3pt made
  • Career points: 2536
    • Career 3pt: 497
      • Career assists: 790
  • Jersey retired in 2002

Played one year at Sierra College and one year at Yuba college. Currently an assistant coach for Rio Linda High softball team.

Samantha McMahan

  • Played at Rio Linda 2005-2008
  • 4-year Varsity Softball player
    • 3-time CVC All-League selection
    • 2 Time SacBee All-Metro 2nd Team
    • Optimist All-Star selection
  • 3-year Varsity Basketball player
    • 2-time CVC All-League selection
    • SacBee All-Metro Honorable Mention
    • Optimist All-Star selection
  • 3-year Varsity Volleyball player
    • 2-time CVC All-League selection
  • Won CVC titles in all three sports

Sam continued her academic and athletic career at Sierra College for 2 years. Took second in the state to a Southern California team – ranked number 1 in Northern California. Transferred to William Jessup University. Lead the team in batting average and was named the conference MVP and fell one game short of the NAIA national tournament.

Editor’s note: This article is the result of a three-day process of research and information gathering. I thank all of those who contributed; Jerry Huffines, Mike Fox, Mike Morris, Larry Bibayoff, Jerrett Black, Rebecca Salaices, Ryan Sowles, Judy Morris, Alex Newman, Chris Goodman, Samantha McMahan, Shiela Hudson, Maxpreps.com and Newspapers.com.

Published 09/15/2022

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