By Brandon HENSLEY
The memory of James Jenkins lives large in at Crescenta Valley High School, and every year the basketball program holds a golf tournament in his name. This year’s James Jenkins Falcon Golf Classic will be held Oct. 22 at the La Cañada Country Club, with registration beginning at 11:30 a.m.
The tournament is not for the current boys basketball players in the program, but for fans and parents to come together and raise money for the team.
“It’s nice because you get former principals, former players, former athletic directors [to attend], and it’s just a good opportunity to hang out,” said Head Coach Shawn Zargarian. “And then they play golf 18 holes. They’re going all day.”
Zargarian has asked former coach and current CVHS teacher Jim Smiley to speak at the event.
“The tournament is held to remember an outstanding young man and a great athlete in James Jenkins,” said Smiley, who coached Jenkins in high school.
Jenkins was a standout basketball player as well as a swimmer at CVHS. He graduated in 2001 and played basketball for San Jose State his freshman year. He passed away in the spring of 2002.
Jenkins’ mother Mary is a former booster club president of the program, and the Jenkins family is a sponsor of the event, one of 11 community sponsors.
“She’s been so supportive … she goes out of her way to always help in any way she can,” said Zargarian, who was Smiley’s assistant coach when Jenkins played.
Along with playing 18 holes there will be lunch, dinner and a silent auction. “It’s an upbeat event,” said Smiley. “Mary comes out every year and his family members come out, and it’s a great time to remember someone who had a big impact on the school and somebody whose positive influence still lives today.”
Not everyone will be found on the course, though. Zargarian said he prefers to stay off the green.
“I played two years ago, I’m horrible at golf,” he said. “But again, it’s about the atmosphere and seeing the people you haven’t seen in a long time. … People are able to reminisce about the past and about the program.”
More than 10 years after his death, Jenkins remains a key figure at CVHS and a lesson on how coaches try to raise the current players.
“It was really an honor to be able to watch him play and watch all the stuff he did,” Zargarian said.