Judy Byer – basketball, softball
Byer, a 1983 graduate, entered Liberty having already proven herself an outstanding softball and basketball player in elementary school. As a freshman, she helped the Lions’ junior varsity team win its third straight championship. As a sophomore, Byer was the varsity basketball team’s point guard and named the team’s MVP. She lettered in varsity softball, excelling in both sports throughout her time at Liberty.
Byer was also a star in other pursuits: an honor roll student, Block L treasurer, student council member and band member for all four years. After leaving Liberty, Byer played basketball and softball at Los Medanos College and is now an Oakland police officer, a member of the Honor Guard, a hostage negotiator and emergency medical technician.
David Dyer – football, basketball, baseball
Before graduating from Liberty in 1962, Dyer earned 10 varsity letters in football, baseball and basketball. In his senior year, he lettered in all three sports, earned MVP honors and was named to the all-East Bay Athletic League first team for football and baseball. Dyer was also active in student council as the student body president, the rally committee, Block L Society, honor roll and band.
He played quarterback and catcher for Diablo Valley College’s football and baseball teams, plus quarterback, defensive back and punter for University of Nevada, Reno. After serving 25 years in the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, he retired as a Deputy Sheriff and now lives in Brentwood with his wife, Sharon. They have two children, Mary Chantelle and Matt.
Dan McLain – track
McLain transferred to Liberty from Rio Vista High in 1950, and was talked into going out for the track team by close friends John and George Henry. In his junior year, McLain broke the school’s record for the mile, which had lasted almost 20 years. That season, he was the league champion in the mile and named the Outstanding Trackman of the varsity team.
As a senior, McLain won an NCS title and also competed in the All-Star meet in Berkeley, placing fourth overall. At the Stockton Relays, he broke his own record in the mile, clocking in at 4:30.9. After graduating from Liberty, McLain attended Diablo Valley College, then worked for the DuPont plant in Antioch for 39 years.
Haley Pantle – swimming, water polo
Pantle started playing water polo for the first time as a Liberty freshman, splitting time between the varsity and JV squads. She moved to the goal in her senior season and was named to the all-Bay Valley Athletic League team, also earning Most Versatile Player honors. She also swam for the varsity team all four years, becoming a team captain as a junior.
Pantle was a championship finalist at the BVAL meet and a member of the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams that broke school records and qualified for NCS. As a senior, she was a championship finalist in two BVAL meet events, named first-team all-league and was named a distinguished individual scholar-athlete by NCS. She went on to earn medals at Grossmont College in San Diego and DVC.
She now works as a flight attendant for Virgin Airlines and is a substitute teacher, personal trainer and swimming coach at Liberty.
Kevin Johnson Jr. – basketball
Kevin Johnson Jr., better known as KJ, earned the Liberty boys varsity basketball coach’s award as a junior, plus a spot on the BVAL all-league team as an honorable mention. Johnson Jr. was voted team captain as a senior, and earned first-team all-BVAL honors, averaging 15 points and 16 rebounds per game as a center and power forward for the Lions.
KJ was known for his amazing athleticism, at one point rebounding his own missed three-pointer and slamming it home for two points. After graduating from Liberty, he attended Humboldt State, where he helped the Lumberjacks earn a berth in the NCAA Division II Final Four in 2004. He led the conference in rebounding for three consecutive years and earned a truckload of collegiate awards. He is now playing for Yulon Luxgen in Taiwan, but hopes to someday return to Brentwood so he can give back to the community.
Greg Patterson – baseball
A 1988 Liberty graduate, Patterson played outstanding baseball in his four years on campus. He made the varsity team in his sophomore year as an outfielder and pitcher, earning Foothill Athletic League Honorable Mention. The following season, he became one of the top pitchers and hitters in the league – accruing a 1.22 earned run average and a .315 batting average. As a senior, he was the FAL’s top pitcher and hit .411 for the season. Patterson earned first-team all-league, team co-MVP, team captain and All-Northern California Baseball team honors.
After Liberty, Patterson was the ace pitcher for Los Medanos College and later the closer for Sonoma State University. As a senior at Sonoma State, he pitched in the rotation and out of the bullpen, going 8-1 with a 2.90 ERA. He’s currently a baseball and softball instructor and has helped 26 local athletes advance to Division I or I-AA schools.
1946 Liberty football team
The Lions’ 1946 football team, coached by Irwin Diamond and Frank Vonder Ahe, claimed the EBAL title in the first year after the end of World War II. The unit played together for three years and was especially solid on defense. Key players included Ray Hiratsuka, Russell Phillips, Doyle Gibson, Vernon Pitau, Bob O’Hara, Walter Davis, Alfred Kalmin, Bill Matsuda, Nick Papadakos, Dewey DeMartini and Tony Ghiozzi. Following graduation, many of the team’s athletes entered military service.
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