|Year:||Class of 2013|
Fred Arnold was a tall, skinny junior classman at Novato High School when a new coach at the school approached him in the hall one day and asked him what sport he played.
It was John Panagakis, a new basketball coach at the school who instructed Arnold to be in the gym after class. “Don’t make me start looking for you,’” he said.
As a senior, Arnold helped push the team to a championship tie with San Rafael High School. It was Novato’s first championship ever. His court prowess, which included record rebound scoring, earned him some attention from Southern California college recruiters, but they were no match for College of Marin’s Coach Cal Riemcke who showed up at his home to court his parents. When Riemcke left, Arnold’s father said, “I think College of Marin is where you’ll be going next year."
In his sophomore year at COM, Arnold, a record-holding rebounder, managed to draw the attention of well-known recruiter “Tex” Winter who was at a game to watch another player. It was a losing game but Arnold had 33 rebounds and scored 23 points that day and he ended up being recruited by Kansas State University, a basketball powerhouse at the time.
In his senior year at Kansas State, Arnold won the Big 8 Championship title. At that time, he also gained brief but national attention for his musical talents. Arnold and some Kansas State teammates had a post-game tradition of singing together. They were good enough to sing at awards ceremonies and sporting events and Coach Winter invited them to play on his television show. Sports Illustrated picked up the story and described them as “the tallest singing group in the country."
Looking back at his basketball years, he says he is really fortunate. “In the six years I played organized basketball, I played on four championship teams. I always managed to be in the right place at the right time with wonderful people helping me along the way. That kind of stuff happened to me and one of them was ending up being in the College of Marin at that time.” It was, Arnold says, the best team he ever played on.