Former GJ mayor Bruce Hill to be inducted into NJCAA Hall

Superior Alarm Inc. owner and former Grand Junction mayor Bruce Hill highlights a class of four to be inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame this spring.

The NJCAA released the names of the inductees Thursday.

Former College of Southern Idaho coach Jim ‘Skip’ Walker, former Miami-Dade (Fla.) College coach Steve Hertz and former Jefferson State (Ala.) Community College coach Donald Green will join Hill for induction at the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series pre-tournament banquet May 24 at Two Rivers Convention Center.

“I’m excited,” Hill said. “I feel like it’s getting a prize for liking chocolate.”

The Grand Junction native joined the tournament committee in 1987, assisting Dr. Hurst Otto with the qualifying teams and their hotel and travel arrangements. Otto died last week.

Now, Hill is vice chairman of the committee. He assists Chairman Jamie Hamilton in dispersing direction to the rest of the 80-member volunteer committee and communicating with the National Junior College Athletic Association, the governing body of junior college athletics.

“It’s a lifetime of being a part of it from a fan side growing up, then being able to be on the committee to help take it to the future,” Hill said. “I turn 54 this year, and 27 of my 54 years have been on the committee.”

Walker led the Golden Eagles to the JUCO World Series eight times in his 30 years at Southern Idaho, including the 1984 national title. Colorado Mesa University coach Chris Hanks played for Walker in the 1988 World Series. Southern Idaho won 12 Scenic West Conference titles under Walker, who was also an assistant for Team USA at the World Games in 1980, ‘87 and ‘88. He retired in 2004 with an overall career record of 1,061-349 (.752) and is one of 22 coaches in NJCAA history to reach 1,000 career victories.

Hertz coached Miami-Dade (Fla.) College for 25 years, leading the Sharks to 19 district tournaments and one World Series appearance (2001). He was chosen the Southern Conference Coach of the Year 10 times and retired after last season with a career record of 945-325 (.750). He is one of 36 coaches in NJCAA history with 900 or more victories.

More than 150 of Hertz’s players signed professional contracts, including four currently in Major League Baseball: Placido Polanco, Andres Torres, Jon Albaladejo and Jesus Feliciano.

Green directed the Jefferson State program for 28 years, winning two Region 22 titles and was a two-time region Coach of the Year recipient. He compiled a 622-428 (.592) career record and was inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Alabama Community College Conference Hall of Fame in 2004.

Green died April 14, 2011, after a long battle with cancer.

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