Director of Athletics
Arriving in Newhall in 1965, Pete Reese took the reins of a fledgling athletic program at Los Angeles Baptist College and over the next 20 years transformed it into one of the most respected in Southern California. Overseeing the construction of Bross Gymnasium and developing other raw athletic facilities into some of the finest around were testimony to his attention to detail and quality. Everything enjoyed by coaches and athletes today at The Master’s College can be attributed in some way to this man and his work.
A 1960 graduate of Cedarville College, Pete established himself as one of the premier basketball players in Yellow Jacket history and was inducted as a charter member of the Cedarville University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984. Following graduation and after marrying Joyce in June of 1960, he taught and coached at the elementary and junior high levels in Flint, Michigan, while earning his master’s degree in education from Eastern Michigan University.
Accepting Dr. John Dunkin’s invitation to join the college in 1965, Pete, and his wife, Joyce, began a wonderful time of service that would change the lives of everyone they touched. In the early years, Pete was the athletic department, leading it as the athletic director, coaching the basketball team to new heights, and chairing and teaching in the Physical Education Department. In his tenure as head basketball coach, Pete led the Mustangs to over 200 wins, highlighted by the 1968-69 club that led the nation in scoring.
After the transition to The Master’s College, Pete was named Director of the Physical Plant and started to put his signature touches on all of the campus-wide facilities. In 1988, Pete and Joyce sensed the Lord leading them back to the Midwest and Cedarville University, where he was named Director of Athletic Facilities and baseball coach. Ten years later, Pete was appointed Athletic Director where he continues to administrate the Yellow Jacket program.
Pete and Joyce live in Xenia, Ohio, and have two married children. Their daughter, Kim Ray, and her husband, Ken, make their home in San Jose, California, while son, Chris, who is the athletic director and head men’s basketball coach at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is married to Cheryl and has two children.
DOLPHUS WEARY ’69
A native of Mississippi, Dolphus Weary entered Los Angeles Baptist College on a basketball scholarship in 1967. During his two-year stint at LABC, he was a standout point guard on teams that went a combined 33-11, including the 1968-69 squad that led the nation in scoring average at an eye-popping 104 points per game.
In his short career at the college, he averaged a double-double (10.8ppg, 10.3rpg, sixth all-time), and was the career record holder for assists (325) until 1973. He was voted in as an original member of the LABC Basketball Hall of Fame in May of 1971.
Graduating from LABC in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Dolphus went on to earn a master of arts in religious education from LABTS and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1973 and received his Doctorate of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, in May of 1997.
Following his time in Newhall, Dolphus returned to Mississippi to work with Mendenhall Ministries, a multi-faceted ministry, from 1971-1997. President George Bush named this ministry as his 541st Point of Light. In 1990, he published a book entitled I Ain’t Comin’ Back, which tells how his early life growing up in Mississippi and working in the cotton fields instilled in him the desire to run away from the problems of racism, poverty, and injustice.
Today, Dolphus serves as the Executive Director of Mission Mississippi, a racial reconciliation movement that encourages unity in the body of Christ across racial and denominational lines. It encourages the building of relationships so that communities throughout Jackson and Mississippi can see more clearly the message of Christ. Dr. Weary is a frequent speaker at various local and national conferences and has written articles featured in many renowned magazines.
Dolphus and his wife, Rosie, have three children: Danita, a medical resident at the University of South Alabama, Women and Children’s Hospital; Reginald, a graduate of Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, and Ryan, a high school student.
RICK SURLS ’78
Born in Elkhart, Indiana, Rick Surls grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and enrolled in Los Angeles Baptist College in the fall of 1974. Over the next four years, he developed into one of the finest all-around athletes in the history of the college, starring in soccer and baseball. Known for his aggressive style of play in goal and at the plate, Surls became one of the most feared players in the NAIA District III. He is one of only two male athletes in school annals to win the President’s Cup for Athlete of the Year twice, going back-to-back in 1977 and 1978.
After graduating from LABC in 1978 with a degree in physical education, he married his college sweetheart, Becky, and moved to Woodland, California, where he began a teaching career that is still flourishing at Woodland Christian School. Rick has coached baseball at WCS for 25 years and in 2001 was named Central Valley Christian League Coach of the Year.
Rick and Becky have three children: Sarah, Austin (a freshman at TMC), and Tyson. He attends First Baptist Church of Woodland where he teaches Sunday School, works with the youth, and serves on the church board. In his spare time, Rick plays men’s senior baseball, earning several all-star appearances since 1986.
WOODY SWENSON ’79
Woody Swenson grew up in Minnesota and attended high school and two community colleges in Southern California before coming to Los Angeles Baptist College in 1975. After sitting out a year, Woody’s booming left leg and legendary intensity led a revitalized soccer program to new heights.
He scored 12 goals in 1976, including an eye-popping six vs. Ambasssador College, and went on to earn All-Far West Honorable Mention honors. A year later, he moved up to the All-Far West Second Team and was an NAIA All-District 3 First-Team choice. Capping a brilliant career in 1978, he was a first-team selection for the All-Far West and All-District 3 squads, respectively. He is currently the 16th-leading scorer in school history with 78 points.
Graduating from the college in 1979 with a bachelor’s in biblical studies, Woody married Noreen Oda later that year and moved to Lancaster where he served in many aspects of ministry at Bethel Baptist Church from 1980-1994. In 1995, he was called to Fallon, Nevada, and continues to serve there as pastor at Parkside Bible Fellowship.
Woody and Noreen are proud parents of four children: Sam, Heidi, Kari, and Sara.
DON MENEZ ’82
When Don Menez enrolled at Los Angeles Baptist College in 1977, it didn’t take long for teammates and opponents alike to see an unparalleled, fiery competitiveness and intensity. Upon graduation five years later, those same characteristics served to label him as one of the finest multi-sport athletes in the college’s history. Never one to take it easy, Don went from one athletic season to the next, challenging himself to be the best at what he did.
Blessed with blazing speed, Don blew by opponents on the soccer field, scoring the fourth-most points (150) in the program’s history. In 1980, he set school single-season standards for most goals (26) and points (64) scored, marks that stood for seven years. Injuries sustained during soccer season kept Don from record-breaking accomplishments on the hardwood, but few who watched him will ever forget the chaos he caused on defense and the opportunities he created on offense.
On the diamond, he was just as disruptive, whether it was hitting at a .388 career clip, a school record that stood for a decade, or stealing a program-best 131 bases, a mark that lasted until 2000. A two-time recipient of the award for Best Academic Achievement, Don put an exclamation point on a standout career by being named Athlete of the Year in 1981.
Don married Mary Forbes in 1983 and started putting his degree in physical education to use immediately. His first stop was Anchorage, Alaska, where he taught and coached basketball at Grace Christian School for five years. Following that time in the nation’s largest state, he moved south to Redding, California, to coach and teach for six years at Liberty Christian School. In 1994, he continued his southern migration, landing at his alma mater, Berean Christian High School, where he taught and coached through last spring. He continues to serve as the school’s Director of Development but has taken his coaching skills to the collegiate level at Los Medanos Junior College.
Don and Mary live in Clayton, California, with their son, Drew, and two daughters, Audra and Karley. Don teaches fourth-grade Sunday School at North Creek Church and has led missions trips the past two summers to Ecuador and Kazhakstan, using sports and, specifically, basketball as an avenue to present the gospel.
CHRIS PALM ’90
Parlaying outstanding speed with excellent technical skills, Chris Palm may have been the most complete soccer player in TMC history. Certainly, he is the most prolific with his name etched at the top of all the major statistical categories. However, what he is most proud of during his four-year stint at the college was being on the front end of a soccer revolution that took the Mustangs from also-rans to regional and national titlists.
Palm’s lightning-quick assaults on goal fueled the 1987-90 Mustang squads that won 56 matches, an NAIA Region II title that produced a first-ever appearance at the NAIA National Championships, and a pair of NCCAA National Championship crowns. Palm racked up college single-season records for goals scored (34 in 1987), assists (39 in 1989), and points (78 in 1987). He is the all-time leader with 80 goals, 70 assists, and 230 points, outdistancing his closest competitor by nearly 70 points. The most decorated athlete in the annals of the program, Palm was a three-time NAIA All-American, including a first-team selection in 1988, a four-time All-District 3 selection, and the MVP of the 1987 NCCAA National Tournament.
After graduating from the college in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in communication, Chris married Melody Machiela and moved to the Tri-Cities area in Washington where they have lived since. Chris works in the insurance and financial services industry and thoroughly enjoys his career.
Chris and Melody have two children, Danika and Dawson. They attend Bethel Church where they serve as small group leaders in a vibrant community of believers.
MIKE PENBERTHY ’97
Following a stellar prep career in Fresno, Mike Penberthy enrolled in The Master’s College in 1993 with high expectations. He didn’t disappoint. After learning the college game during his freshman campaign, Mike exploded over the next three years to establish himself as, arguably, the greatest player in the history of the program.
Leading the Mustangs to the first four of seven consecutive appearances in the NAIA National Tournament, Mike burst on the national scene with a lethal jumper and the ability to change the course of a game in just a few trips down the court. As a senior during the 1996-97 season, he was the second-leading scorer in the nation (27.5ppg), established a new single-season scoring mark with 852 points, and earned NAIA First-Team All-American honors for the second consecutive year. Mike owns career records for points scored (2,616), three-pointers made (444), and free throw percentage (87.9).
Graduating with a bachelor of arts in biblical studies in 1997, Mike began to pursue a professional basketball career immediately. He started in Germany, played some for AIA, had a brief stint in the CBA with Quad Cities, and then returned to Germany before getting his big chance. Fresh off an outstanding summer league performance in 2000, Mike landed a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers and earned an NBA championship ring in June of 2001. Released the following season, he headed to Naples, Italy, with his wife, Wendy, where he has been playing for Pompea Napoli.
Although, he has not been able to really serve in a local church due to his travel, Mike has been able to use his job as a professional basketball player as a platform for the Gospel. Many players, teammates and opponents alike, have asked him why he leads the life he does and he is able to share his faith. Mike and Wendy have two sons, Ty and Jaden.
WENDY PENBERTHY (JONES) ’97
Wendy (Jones) Penberthy started her collegiate career at The Master’s College in 1993 and proceeded to become the most prolific and one of the greatest volleyball players to ever wear the blue and gold. A native of Visalia, California, Wendy was part of the two winningest squads in school history as the Mustangs posted 35 wins in 1993 and 31 victories in 1996.
In an outstanding four-year career, she literally rewrote the volleyball record books, etching her name at or near the top in several statistical categories. A three-time NAIA All-Far West First-Team honoree, Wendy set standards that may never be broken for total kills, total service attempts, total attacks, and digs.
Wendy graduated from the college with a degree in Liberal Studies (teacher education emphasis) in May of 1997 and married Mike Penberthy a few weeks later. For the past six years, Wendy has been faithful in supporting her husband’s professional basketball career, traveling throughout the United States and Europe.
Wendy and Mike have two sons, Ty and Jaden, and are currently living in Naples, Italy.