For 12 years, I have been researching Salinas and its history. Over the decade, I have learned incredible stories from individuals who grew up in Salinas and overcame many obstacles to reach the highest levels of their respected professions. Growing up in East Salinas, I attended El Sausal College, but no one told me about Joe Garcia Kapp, perhaps the school’s most famous former student. The children of East Salinas are learning a lot about the courage and persistence of our parents and friends in the community. Joe, the child of a German father and a Mexican mother and the oldest of five siblings, had to grow up quickly to help his mother, a single mother, raise her children.
It is important for the community to ensure that Joe Garcia Kapp’s name is never forgotten and that it continues to serve as an inspiration to many future East Salinas students. This is why I joined with Joe’s son, JJ, and many other members of the community in asking that the Salinas Union School District recognize the legacy of Joe Garcia Kapp by naming the sports ground of the El Sausal middle school after Joe.
Our recommendation is based on Joe Garcia Kapp’s leadership and commitment to education, community service causes, social justice and a truly unique career. Since his days at El Sausal, Joe has never ceased to lead by example.
Joe always remembered his roots in Salinas, which helped propel him through his college years at UC Berkeley, and his career in professional football and later as a film actor. and television. He’s the only person on the Rose Bowl, Canada Gray Cup and Super Bowl quarterbacks. After a successful career in film and television, appearing in more than 50 television shows and seven feature films, he returned to Cal as a football head coach, where in 1986 he coached Cal to the biggest upheaval. of the 114-year history of the Big Game rivalry with Stanford: “The Play,” the last-second five-full-back upheaval of John Elway’s Stanford team. “The Play” was recently voted the greatest single game in the 150-year history of college football. During his subsequent career as an entrepreneur and speaker, Joe always gave credit to his roots. To this day, even battling dementia at the age of 83, Joe recounts how his life in the GI Housing Project in Alisal shaped his perseverance and positive character that guided his life.
Mr. Kapp’s time in Salinas helped shape his development as one of the toughest competitors and greatest leaders in the history of the sport. He credits an El Sausal teacher named Ms. Brunelli with encouraging him to date Cal and graduate. He set himself the goal of becoming the first in his family to graduate from college, a dream that came true when he graduated in physical education at Cal.
Mr. Kapp’s career spanned decades across the United States and Canada, but sometimes his pioneers are overlooked. He was the first professional Latino quarterback and the first Latino quarterback to debut in a Super Bowl game. He’s one of the few quarterbacks in the NFL to have managed seven touchdowns in a single game. He was also the first player to challenge the National Football League for free agency, winning a summary judgment by the league for his violations of antitrust law. The challenge cost him his playing career, but he always fought for a just cause. Today’s NFL players have benefited greatly from what he started in 1971 with his principled stance.
Joe has always said yes to helping others and has spent countless hours supporting and raising funds for many charities including the Boys & Girls Club, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), City of Hope and National Hispanic University.
Mr. Kapp has been inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, California Athletics Hall of Fame, Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame and Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame, and has been recognized by City of Hope’s Spirit of Life Award.
Joe Kapp’s roots in Salinas and his career are a testament to what is possible in life. Her personal story is one that we believe will inspire El Sausal students to pursue higher education and believe that they can make a difference for themselves and for others. It is the âSi Se Puedeâ attitude formed in East Salinas that Joe has taken with him wherever he goes. And it is for these reasons that we urge to commemorate the remarkable career and life of Joe Garcia Kapp by naming the El Sausal Athletic Field in his honor.