Join the fun
What: Davis High School Hall of Fame 2013 induction ceremony
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14
Where: Freeborn Hall, UC Davis
Tickets: $65 each; visit www.dhsblueandwhite.org
* Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of stories profiling the 2013 inductees to the Davis High School Hall of Fame.
For so many years — through multiple generations of students, in fact — the Davis High School outdoor stadium, track and bleachers left something to be desired.
Lynne Unger Yackzan ran on that track when she was a student at DHS back in the late 1960s and early 1970s and remembers well how it would become rutted and muddy in inclement weather. Three decades later, with the facilities virtually unchanged, she watched her own children running on the same track, and recalled her oldest son, Trent, picking bits of decomposed granite out of his knees for weeks after falling during the hurdles.
Yackzan also recalls sitting in the old bleachers, with their torn vinyl seats, and wondering “if they were going to hold you or not.”
And perhaps more than anything, she recalls her father, Dean Unger, being unable to watch his grandson play football at DHS because the stadium seating wasn’t handicapped-accessible.
“He could only go to the away games,” she said.
Things have certainly changed for the better.
Yackzan’s children have long since graduated — her youngest, Scotty, is in his last year at Cal Poly — but in no way does that diminish the joy and satisfaction she feels when she now drives past Ron & Mary Brown Stadium, which opened in 2010 with all-new bleachers, a state-of-the-art track, all-weather field, new lights, concessions and scoreboard, largely thanks to the Davis High Blue & White Foundation, of which Yackzan was the founding president.
Now, Yackzan attends home football games in handicapped-accessible bleachers that bear the names “Unger” and “Yackzan”; she sees the lacrosse players practicing, the pole vaulters vaulting, the runners running and often, she said, “it brings tears to my eyes. It’s an outdoor school. I see it used in so many ways.”
For her efforts in creating the foundation and spearheading the drive for a new stadium, Yackzan will be inducted into the Blue & White Foundation’s Davis High School Hall of Fame on Saturday, Sept. 14.
“I am honored to be honored, but I feel like it’s an honor to be shared with a lot of people,” she said recently.
It was back in 2001 when Yackzan and her husband, Randy — also a Davis High graduate — started talking about the need to refurbish the stadium.
They had attended Davis High at the same time and Lynne said Randy stood out from the start — he was an Alabama native with a Southern drawl who played football. He would go on to attend UC Davis and Lynne the University of Puget Sound, but they stayed in touch, she returned to Davis, and they married in 1978.
Together they raised four children — Lisa, Kim, Trent and Scotty — and run the Yackzan Group, which focuses on development and property management. Theirs was a background that likely helped out when they decided to spearhead a drive to build a new stadium.
The school district was still in the midst of building what would become the Brunelle Performance Hall at Davis High and wasn’t able or willing to take on the task, Yackzan said. So she turned to fellow community members — Dar Hunter and Brian Ziser, in particular — and they started developing the idea of creating an alumni foundation.
“The people who graduated from here have achieved so much, and their kids are so amazing,” she said.
Surely there would be alumni support.
And indeed with the foundation formed, the initial fundraising for a new stadium came pretty quickly and easily, with local businesses in particular throwing their financial support behind the plan and the school district administration coming on board.
But then the economy tanked “and it got really tough,” Yackzan said.
Fortunately, there were many people willing to keep the plan alive: Rochelle Swanson, Nancy Peterson, Jason and Miriam Fisk, and Ron and Mary Brown are among those Yackzan cites.
Also Marty Morse, Mike McDermott and Mike Satre, who along with Swanson and Peterson, spent time as foundation president after Yackzan’s term ended.
“I planted the seed and we got the foundation up and running and since then, so many people have carried the ball,” she said.
“And the people who came after our original board all brought their own energy and carried the ball to the goal.”
Now she gets to sit back and enjoy the result. And while her own children aren’t competing on the track or field any more, she still has hope:
“I have grandkids,” she noted. “I’m looking forward to them participating (in athletics at DHS) if that’s what they choose to do.”
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at email@example.com or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy