The Press presents the second in a series of profiles of these outstanding athletes:
No Antioch High alumna had ever received an athletic scholarship until Sue Cottier came along. The 6-foot-1-inch basketball player was part of the 1976 league championship team (coached by Mario Tonin) that brought the four-year, 26-game winning streak of Clayton Valley High to a screeching halt.
Sue played varsity center all three years of high school, from 1974 to '76. She was MVP in 1975 and Co-MVP as a senior in 1976. She averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds per game, and posted a high game of 27 points. Sue first attended DVC, earning All-League and Most Valuable Player in 1977 and '78, averaging 19 points per game and recording a high game of 35 points.
The University of San Francisco offered her a scholarship, and at USF Sue pushed her team to second place in the Nor-Cal League. The 1979-80 Lady Dons won the AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) Western Small College Regionals in USF's final year of eligibility, guaranteeing a berth in the AIAW National tournament.
Sue's skills placed the Lady Dons first in the Nor-Cal League in 1979-80, 12th best in the nation and the No. 1 seed in the AIAW's Region 8, Division 1 group, beating Stanford and UCLA along the way.
Basketball continued to play a primary role in Sue's life. After earning a B.A. at USF, a teaching credential at St. Mary's and a special graduate credential in adaptive P.E. at Sonoma State, she came back to Antioch as a coach and teacher.
During her 12-year AHS tenure, the women Panthers were BVAL Co-champions in 1988-89, and placed second at North Coast in 1989, '90 and '91. Top players Vanessa Selden and Stacey Johnson learned their basketball fundamentals from Sue. Her attention is now turned to teaching P.E. to disabled K-12 students in the Antioch school district.
Leo FontanaIf the title Father of Modern Antioch existed, Leo could easily claim it. His behind-the-scenes involvement goes back six decades.
He had a hand in bringing County East Mall, East County Bank, Delta Memorial Hospital and the Antioch Senior Citizens Center into existence.
He's served on the boards of several local charities and organizations. Antioch's voters elected him to the Antioch City Council, on which he served from 1982 to '86. He was also an Antioch planning commissioner, parks and recreation commissioner and charter president of the Antioch Merchants Association.
The Chamber of Commerce honored him twice as Antioch Citizen of the Year.
Leo might easily be called the Cal Ripken, Jr. of service club members. He has 59 years and counting of perfect attendance; 29 years with the Lions Club, and 30 years with the Rotary Club of Antioch.
Sports and recreation programs in the city all seem to trace their origins back to Leo. He participated in the creation of the Antioch Hornets football team, Lob Ball league, Antioch Softball League and Antioch Babe Ruth Baseball, for which he served as its first president.
An athlete himself, Leo played catcher for the Antioch Merchants team and left halfback for the Antioch Alumni Football team in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He was chairman of a committee that created a new corporation to run the Antioch Municipal Golf Course, and helped establish the Antioch Bocce Ball League.
His love of sports and his community led to his involvement in assisting in the creation of the Antioch Sports Legends Program and display in 2007, for which he was co-honored, with the other four founders, as Antioch Citizen of the Year.
Greg has served with the U.S. Secret Service since 1985, protecting the president and supervising terrorist investigations following the 2001 World Trade Center attack. Greg's drive and accomplishment was evident as a young athlete in Antioch, where he played in Little League with the Beswick Bears, as an All-Star with the Riverview Lodge Babe Ruth team in 1968 and as a Panther pitcher from 1969-71.
As a senior, the 6-foot-4-inch right-hander was baseball's MVP and averaged 13 points per game on the basketball court. Greg threw a shutout during the 1970 Northern California championships as his Panther team defeated the Fremont High team of future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Under Coach Bill Snelson, Greg's power pitching enabled him to post a career 11-2 two-year record.
Greg's accomplishments led to his inclusion on the All-League Second Team. He received the Contra Costa Times Super Sport Award in 1971 for his DVAL record-setting 28 scoreless innings. As a senior, he threw 48 innings, allowing 35 hits, struck out 57 batters and recorded a DVAL 1.16 ERA. His post-prep career led to DVC, where he went 3-1 for the Vikings in 1972.
Several big colleges offered Greg scholarships, but major league organizations wanted him, too. The Philadelphia Phillies selected Greg in the second round as the 25th overall pick of the draft. Greg played on three Phillies farm teams: Clearwater, Fla., Auburn, N.Y., and Spartanburg, S.C.
A serious arm injury ended his pro career in 1976, after which he went back to college and graduated from Sacramento State University in 1977. Following graduation, Greg returned to Antioch to serve as a police officer and help found the popular Pig Bowl charity football games in 1979. When not in uniform, he returned to the diamond, earning a silver medal in softball in the 1979 State Police Olympics.
Rachelle emerged as possibly the premier scholar-athlete of the 1980s at Antioch High. Academics and class president duties shared equal time with softball, but the 1989 Contra Costa Times Player of the Year managed to squeeze in some remarkable athletic accomplishments.
Her prep softball career began as a Park Junior High ninth-grader. She was Student Body President and was named Athlete of the Year. At AHS, Rachelle batted .423 as a sophomore and was named All-League at second base as a junior (stealing 22 bases), while serving as class president both years.
Rachelle was an All-League pitcher, and as a senior, was named MVP in volleyball and softball, where she posted a 13-1 pitching record in her 1989 senior year. Also in 1989, she was named Tribune Player of the Year in softball, finishing with a 13-1 pitching record.
Rachelle continued in softball at Sacramento State University as a four-year starter, attending on a full scholarship. Years of student leadership experience made her an obvious candidate for team captain as a freshman.
By her junior year as a Hornet, Rachelle had compiled a 4.0 GPA and had started in every game. She captained her team to a ranking of 16th nationwide in the NCAA Division 1 softball poll, and made the NCAA regionals. In four years, Rachelle never missed a game 215 in all and took the mound as a starter in 203 contests.
Her softball eligibility ended in 1994, and Rachelle shifted to basketball, where she played point guard while finishing her degree in sports marketing and business.
The scholar-athlete continued to prove herself as a graduate student, achieving a perfect 4.0 at the University of Tennessee, where she earned a master's degree in sports management in 1995. Rachelle's academic and athletic expertise is put to good use at Wilson Sporting Goods, where she currently works as national accounts manager.