It is a connection that defies imagination.
A city that in 1950 stood under 20,000 in population that, by 2000, was in excess of 60,000, has developed quite a remarkable distinction for producing top-flight athletes and those connected to major sports. There was no master plan. Children were born to parents living in the city, and those children grew up, learned, trained, and made a place for themselves in the competitive world of sports.
There is a good chance that all the top athletes from Redlands will never be featured on this website. In fact, count on it. Most won’t even be listed. There are great soccer midfielders, water polo goalies, football fullbacks, along with some catchers and pitchers, hurdlers and pole vaulters, gridiron and diamond hitters, rebounders, shooters and great glove men, plus swimmers and tennis stars who won’t make it to print.
In over 100 years of Redlands High School and close to a century of athletic competition at the University of Redlands, some of sports’ most cherished and respected names have touched the lives of local spectators. Their accounts might even have been published in the local newspapers.
Brian DeRoo may be the best example of a Redlands native who connected.
Megastar commentator Howard Cosell once described DeRoo on an ABC-TV Monday Night Football halftime highlight – a 66-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Greg Landry to the former Terrier and Bulldog player known to his pals as “Nipper.” There was, of course, Cosell’s signature catch-phrase:
“HE COULD … GO … ALL … THE …. WAY!”
DeRoo, outrunning defenders, could be seen by millions en route to the end zone, escorted by Cosell’s narrative. In his three-year NFL career, that was likely DeRoo’s greatest achievement.
For Redlands, it was a showcase.