When the Tracy Sports Hall of Fame was re-established last year, Hall of Fame committee member Ronnie Duncan discovered that Tracy High School’s athletic history included a glaring omission.
The coveted Blanket Award, which goes to the outstanding Bulldog athlete of the year at the end of each school year, was not awarded in 1960.
That was the year Loyce Singleton, then a senior at Tracy High, earned his 10th varsity letter. At the time, it was a record for varsity letters at Tracy High, establishing Singleton as one of the Bulldogs’ all-time top football, basketball and baseball players.
On Monday, Duncan and Bill Swenson, Tracy Sports Hall of Fame president, presented Singleton with the Blanket Award, 54 years overdue, as he and teammates and classmates recalled his accomplishments.
Duncan said the long-overdue award was intended to coincide with Singleton’s induction into the Tracy Sports Hall of Fame.
“If any one individual needed to be in the Hall of Fame, it was him,” Duncan said. “Nobody ever nominated him in the past. Loyce was my first pick all the way through.”
Singleton, who is unable to talk as the result of a stroke 10 years ago, was still able to express his gratitude to the friends and teammates who gathered Monday at the home of Joe Silveira, a fellow member of the Class of 1960.
Duncan said that when the Hall of Fame was re-established in early 2013, he immediately thought of Singleton, his friend since their days at North School and his teammate through high school.
He went to Singleton’s home in Sacramento last year to talk about his nomination and put together a list of his accomplishments, including all-league and all-tournament honors and the Bulldog football team’s Peter B. Kyne Award.
Singleton was also the student body president and senior class president at Tracy High for the 1959-60 school year. He went on to play running back at Monterey Peninsula Junior College and then played at University of California, Berkeley, on a football scholarship.
“We asked, and the biggest thing that was missing out of his heart and his whole life was getting that blanket,” Duncan said.
He informed Hall of Fame President Swenson right away, and the group planned to present Singleton with the green-and-gold blanket at the Hall of Fame banquet April 26, but the award was not ready at the time.
All these years later, it’s unclear why Singleton was overlooked for the award.
“When it came down to the blanket, they just didn’t have it,” said Cedric Trujillo, another of Singleton’s teammates. “That’s the only year that the blanket hasn’t been awarded.”
An article from the June 3, 1960, Tracy Press on spring 1960 athletic awards at Tracy High reported that the Bulldog coaches and principal had unanimously decided that there would be no outstanding senior athlete award for that year.
At the time, Swenson, then the athletic director at Tracy High, stated that “none of the eligible candidates came up to the standards considered necessary.”
On Monday Swenson, Tracy High’s varsity basketball coach from 1955 to 1966, presented Singleton with the belated award and said he couldn’t think of why Singleton was overlooked for the award back then.
“There could have been a reason, but I don’t remember it,” Swenson said, adding that Singleton was the nucleus of a basketball team that won two straight league titles.
“If you needed something, if you needed two points in a critical game, Loyce got it,” Swenson said. “He was one of the best all-around basketball players that I coached.”
Truillo said that Singleton was also a natural leader during the season and during the summer, when players continued to gather at the Tracy High gym to play basketball while other kids went on vacation.
“When the coaches weren’t around, Loyce would take over and tell us what to do, what to run, who to guard, who to watch out for.”
Contact Bob Brownne at email@example.com or 830-4227.