Two Chieftains Named to the 2017 Salinas Valley Sports Hall of Fame
Among the nine athletes and one team selected to be inducted into the Salinas Valley Sports Hall of Fame will be two Chieftains; Bob Burlison ’74 and Dave Esquer ’83. This fifth Salinas Hall of Fame class will be inducted on August 26, 2017, at the Storm Center in Salinas.
Bob Burlison ’74 was league MVP in basketball in both 1973 and 1974 and was Palma’s all-time scoring leader. Burlison was chosen first-team All-CCS and first-team All-NorCal in his senior year. During his first year of college at SDSU the team won the Pacific Coast Athletic League Association title and qualified for the NCAA tournament. The next year, he transferred to Hartnell where he was named to the All-American Conference team. He played his junior and senior years at Point Loma College, helping the team advance to the NAIA tournament both years. He returned to Salinas to coach both Palma and at Hartnell. He led the Chieftains to the state Div. IV title in 1992 and Hartnell College to 20-win seasons two seasons in a row, along with a conference title. After Hartnell, Burlison coached at MPC where he led the Lobos to 20-win seasons four years in a row. Before retiring from coaching, he lead the CSUMB team to conference and tournament championships, qualifying them for the NAIA tournament.
Dave Esquer ’83was a three-sport athlete at Palma. In his senior year, he was named Athlete of the Year; team captain and MVP in football, basketball and baseball; and graduated as valedictorian. He went on to play shortstop for Stanford and was a member of the 1987 National Championship team. He earned all-tournament honors batting .350 and driving six RBIs. He also recorded All-Pac-10 Southern Division honors batting .318 with 41 RBIs and 16 stolen bases that season. He played at the professional level for the Baltimore Orioles, California Angels and Milwaukee Brewers before becoming an assistant coach on the collegiate level. For three seasons, Esquer was chief recruiting coordinator at Pepperdine along with filling duties as hitting instructor, infield and third base coach. He then moved onto assistant coach at Stanford and helped the Cardinals to five NCAA postseason appearances and a trip to the College Word Series in 1995. Now at Cal, Esquer coached the the 2011 Bears to the College World Series and was named National Coach of the Year in 2011. He has had four players selected in the first round of the baseball draft, coached 11 All-Americans and has seen 66 of his players on the field in Major League Baseball.
Congratulations Bob and Dave! Your inductions are well deserved.
Palma is a private, college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 through 12 owned and operated by the Christian Brothers Institute of California. Palma School is dedicated to providing young men an excellent education in a Roman Catholic environment that embraces the Essential Elements of an Edmund Rice Christian Brother Education and challenges each individual to develop spiritually, intellectually, morally, physically, and socially.