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CENTRAL WILDCAT HOOP ALUMNI HONOR FAMED COACH
In the tournament that bears his name, Pueblo sports legend Jim Ranson was honored by Central Coach Bob Tyler and his Wildcats, and alumni basketball players from all eras who proudly wore the blue.
At the halftime of the final contest of the Jim Ranson Classic, alumni basketball players, those living and those who have passed on, were recognized for their commitment to Central basketball.
But before the honored Wildcats took to the center of Jim Ranson Court, a recap of the famed coach’s life was read over the public address system.
Jim Ranson: a true Pueblo sports legend. As a four-sport standout athlete at Canon City High School, he earned 11 varsity letters, competing in basketball, baseball, football and track. He continued playing those four sports at Colorado A&M, now Colorado State University, and played first base on the only CSU baseball team in school history to appear in the College World Series.
Inducted into the CSU Hall of Fame in 2003, Coach Ranson also is a member of the Greater Pueblo Sports Hall of Fame and the Central Hall of Honor.
After college, Coach Ranson was a player/manager for a semipro baseball team based in South Dakota. And while serving in the Marine Corps, he set a high jump record.
It was at Central, however, that Coach Ranson truly established his legacy.
For more than 30 years, he was a loyal and dedicated educator and coach, known for welcoming all students and making sure his athletes maximized their potential. His teams were known for class, sportsmanship and heart.
Coach Ranson’s Wildcat teams posted a 238-133 record during his tenure. In 1964, he was selected to coach the South all-state basketball team.
Coach Ranson’s son Brad went on to coach the Wildcats, and his grandson Mike was a Central standout who like his father, went on to play at the collegiate level.
Both Brad and Mike were scoring greats.
At South, Brad scored 50 points -- before the 3-point arc was instituted -- in a single game, with his son Mike, playing under his father at Central, bettering that mark with 59 points.
In attendance to honor his father was Clay Ranson, like Brad a basketball standout at South.
To honor Coach Ranson's memory, and his love and passion for the game, Central established The Jim Ranson Classic, played on the court that also bears his name.
It was on that court that past members of the Wildcats were acknowledged before the gallery:
- 2022: Final Four team -- Kadyn Betts, Syris Williams, Kyle Bigley, Arlo Martin, Jeremiah Padilla, Connor McDonald, Coleton Mayo
2021: Steven and William Hemphill
2018: Austin Eccher-Salazar
2017: Jarrod Garcia, Donavyn Nailor-Lewis
2012: Darrion Hatchett
2011: Kevin Torres
2010: Steven Starcer; Mike Hart, active duty Army stationed at Fort Hood
2009: Vic Reynolds, Ray Alvarez
2003: Nate Morrow
1994: TJ and AJ Rodriguez; Steve Betts, Marty Beltran
1982: Steve Garcia
1971: Alan Perryman, Paul Zobeck, Gary and Alan Kleinheim
1969: Paul Ball
1958: Frank Romero
Also present for the ceremony was Wildcat Joe Cervi (1984), who went on to cover Central and other D60 teams for the Pueblo Chieftain.