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image of Phil Pesco

Phil Pesco

Phil Pesco

Olympic College
Class of 1989

One of the most respected men’s basketball coaches in OC history, Pesco coached 14 seasons for the Rangers, winning or sharing six conference championships and three times guiding teams to the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas. He would have taken more teams to the championships, but the Washington schools voted against further participation in the national program.

Pesco’s best team was the 1948-49 team that posted a 32-2 record and finished third at Hutchinson. All five starters were recruited by four-year colleges. The Rangers carried a 29-1 record into the tournament, their only loss was to an unbeaten University of Washington frosh team which they later avenged.

Compton (Calif.) College beat the Rangers 62-61 on a last-second shot in overtime during the semifinals of the national JC tourney. OC had the lead and was trying to run out the clock, but a turnover led to the heartbreaking loss when a Compton player spun and threw in the winner at the buzzer.

Pesco passed away in 1962.

Pesco was inducted into the NWAACC Roll of Honor in 1989 and the Olympic Hall of Fame in 2017 (inaugural class). The Men's MVP of the NWAC Basketball tournament receives the Phil Pesco Award.

OC Basketball Championships: 1948, 1950, 1951, 1957, 1959, 1960

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