KATHLEEN THOMSON (SIMON) ‘79
Volleyball, Basketball, Softball
It’s very rare these days to see a student-athlete participating in multiple sports on the college level. Schedules and coaches, as well as off-season conditioning, don’t allow for it. But, a generation ago it wasn’t surprising to see an athlete move from one sport to another without any restrictions.
Kathleen Thomson was one of those athletes, making the most of her time and abilities to become a three-sport contributor and standout at Los Angeles Baptist College. From 1975-79, the diminutive, fiery competitor played four years of softball, three years of volleyball, and two years of basketball.
And, she didn’t just play. She excelled. In the spring of 1978, she was the MVP of the softball team, playing three positions and hitting over .400. The following fall, she earned a similar award for volleyball. Only a knee injury, sustained while playing basketball, kept her from another outstanding softball campaign in her final semester at the college.
But even that didn’t keep her from being named Woman Athlete of the Year for 1978-79, the second time in three years (1976-77 was her first time) she was so honored while becoming the first and only female athlete in school history to earn the award twice.
Graduating in the spring of 1979 with a degree in Physical Education, Thomson returned to Northern California where she taught junior high English and physical education for three years at Woodland Christian School. With a strong desire to continue her education, she moved back to Southern California and started work on a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at Chapman University.
While attending Chapman, she was hired to come back to teach and coach (1983-86) at the college, piloting the softball squad for two years and the volleyball team for three. After marrying David Thomson in January of 1986 and delivering the first (Anna) of four girls the following December, Thomson and the family joined The Master’s Mission and spent the next three years in Kenya with two more (Abigail and Amy) girls arriving.
Returning to the States and the Santa Clarita Valley, Thomson settled in as a homemaker and went back to work as a substitute teacher when her youngest (Allison) started kindergarten.
Ministry has always been a priority in Thomson’s life and it showed through with her participation in the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) program at Grace Baptist Church, Santa Clarita, and her leadership role as area coordinator for the Santa Clarita Valley for Moms In Touch International.
The family moved to Port Angeles, Washington, in 2007 and Thomson has been teaching junior high and high school at Olympic Christian School along with leading a small group in the women’s Bible study at Independent Bible Church.
Thomson sums everything up by saying, “My greatest desire, like that of Paul, is to see my children walking with the Lord. By God’s grace, all four of our daughters have chosen to follow Christ. We are greatly blessed!”
DENNIS LORD ‘72
Dennis Lord wasn’t your typical big man, at least not in the late 60’s and early 70’s. That was the era of the stereotypical center who played with his back to the basket, rarely ventured outside the key, and had no shooting range whatsoever.
Lord was the very antithesis of this with his love for the perimeter shot. Frankly, he had no choice but to develop an outside game during his first two years since fellow 6-10 big man, Mike Basarich, was patrolling the middle on most nights, eating up space and opponents.
So, Lord stepped out to the perimeter and started to contribute right away. In his freshman year (1968-69), he averaged nearly nine points per game and just over nine rebounds per outing in limited playing time on of the college’s greatest teams.
A year later, he earned a spot in the starting lineup and didn’t leave it for the next three years. He put up just over 15 points per game as a sophomore but what really stood out was his work on the boards, grabbing an unbelievable, school-record 539 rebounds (16.8rpg) in leading the Mustangs to their first 20-win (21-11) season in school history and earning All-Southern California Conference first-team honors in the process.
With Basarich graduated, Lord became the club’s “big man” in 1970-71 and he responded with another stellar campaign. Averaging 18ppg and 15.7 rpg, the lanky post man was part of a terrific trio (along with Jerry Owens and Harry Taylor) that fueled a 19-10 finish. Lord led the club in free throw percentage (73.8), field goal percentage (49.8), and rebounds (456), and was a second-team All-Southern California Conference selection.
Lord capped a Hall of Fame career in 1971-72 in style, leading the Mustangs to their second 20-win (20-10) season in three years. He averaged a career-high 18.6 ppg and yanked down 15.1 rpg en route to permanently etch his name in the college’s record books.
It will be hard for anyone to dislodge Lord from his standing on some of the all-time lists. His 539 rebounds in 1969-70 have stood for nearly 40 years as a single-season standard, one that will never be erased. He’s No. 2 in career rebounding average (15.5rpg), rebounds (1626), and free throws made (384). In addition, his 1747 points still rank ninth on the career scoring list.
Following graduation in the spring of 1972 with a degree in Physical Education, Lord traveled to 52 countries as a member of three U. S. amateur basketball teams playing the Olympic and National teams of those countries.
Returning to the States, he continued his work at the Southern California Gas Company, for whom he has been an employee for 43 years. More importantly, he married his college sweetheart, Crystal Flint, starting a 35-year relationship that God has blessed with two children, Christopher and Vanessa, and two grandsons.
The Lords’ live in Long Beach and attend SeaCoast Grace Church in Los Alamitos.
1968-69 MEN’S BASKETBALL
If there ever was a “Dream Team” at The Master’s College (in this case, Los Angeles Baptist College), a strong argument could be made for this squad that boasted some of the program’s best-ever players in just its sixth year of competition.
Featuring an athletic backcourt and a huge front line, the Mustangs used a potent inside-outside game to overwhelm opponents en route to an 18-6 record. Even more startling was the prolific fashion in which they beat teams, averaging a jaw-dropping 104 points per game.
Led by all-time greats Jimmy Walker and Mike Basarich , the Mustangs went over the century mark 12 times and scored 120 or more points on six occasions. They put up 153 points (a school record at the time) against Pacific Christian, 134 at Life Bible, and 124 vs. Southern California College.
Not only did the squad, coached by Pete Reese, set the school record for scoring average, they also established a trio of other single-season standards that may never be broken: 2,422 field goals attempted, 1,179 field goals made, and 729 assists.
Walker, who averaged a stunning 31.4ppg, was named the MVP of the Southern California Conference and was joined on the first team by Basarich, who posted a double-double average of 24.1ppg and a whopping 21.9rpg.
Down the road, these two were joined in the original Mustang Basketball Hall of Fame by teammates Dennis Lord, Jerry Owens, and Dolphus Weary. Putting an exclamation point on one of the most dazzling seasons in school history, the high-powered Mustangs were featured in Sports Illustrated.
Mike Basarich Jon Dunkin, Jr.
Dennis Lord Jerry Owens
Norm Scheib Willie Thomas
Jimmy Walker Dolphus Weary
Pete Reese, Coach