Modesto Junior College sophomore Blake Evans said he hopes one day the Pirates hang up a banner in honor of equipment manager Ron “Reno” McGuire.
“For him to stick around this long and still enjoy being equipment manager for a JUCO in Modesto says a lot about his character,” said Evans, a Gregori High School graduate.
After nearly 45 years and countless memories, McGuire will retire Dec. 31.
“I work six days a week,” McGuire said. “I’m not leaving because I don’t love it. I am leaving here because it’s time at 62.”
It’s been a long journey at MJC for Reno.
It all started in the summer of 1974.
McGuire was graduating from Patterson High School and planning to work with his father when an MJC certified trainer came to visit the school.
The trainer needed an assistant and told McGuire that if he joined, the school would provide grants for his academic studies.
He graduated on June 6 and on July 1, 1974, he started working at MJC.
“When people come back and visit, the one constant about MJC is Reno,” MJC football coach Rusty Stivers said.
McGuire has plenty of memories from his time at MJC, but one that he’ll always remember happened in Pasadena.
“The 1980 National Championship,” McGuire said. “We went to the Rose Bowl and got selected to play Pasadena City College. It’s a beautiful stadium and we beat them, 20-10.”
The Pirates were victorious in the Metro-Valley Bowl over the Lancers and ended Pasadena’s perfect season.
The video from that game played on repeat in McGuire’s office.
“In 1992 when I played here, that game was constantly playing in the background in the locker room,” Stivers said.
Much like the 1980 football season, and 1992 when Stivers played at MJC, McGuire’s daily routine has pretty much stayed the same.
“I get here at 9:30-10 a.m. and I start washing clothes,” he said. “I’m here until 6 non-stop always doing something.”
McGuire, who manages equipment for all 11 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports, has only missed two football games in his career. One in 1980 and one a couple of years ago because he fainted at work and a doctor told him to stay home.
“He brought extra knee pads, girdles, mouth pieces and pretty much everything else you need for a player if they forgot their stuff for game days,” Evans said. “Knowing 18-21-year-olds, we are going to forget some things.”
Stivers said “you never realize how much someone has done until they are gone” and McGuire made life “pretty easy in practice and in travel” for the Pirates.
The decision to retire was made five years ago.
“I was starting to feel it then (getting older),” McGuire said. “Most schools have two or three equipment guys. I don’t have any assistants.”
McGuire probably won’t forget his last football game he worked as the Pirates beat the City College of San Francisco, 28-20 last Saturday for the first time in 60 years.
“I would say the win was a Reno win,” Stivers said. “It was even more special because it was his last (football) game.”
McGuire will work the MJC men’s basketball tournament this weekend before his final event, a basketball game against West Valley on Dec. 20.
He’s already started to think about Jan. 1, 2019, his first official day of retirement.
“I am going to get a fishing license and get a national parks lifetime pass,” he said. “I like driving and I am a member of a camping club.”
McGuire has left his mark at MJC and “it will be different around campus,” Stivers said.
“He is probably my favorite Pirate of all time,” Evans said. “Reno is the program.”
81st Annual Modesto Junior College Men’s Basketball Tournament
Location: Gymnasium on East Campus
Game Times: 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m., on Saturday
Participants: MJC, Columbia, Cosumnes River, Folsom Lake, Fresno City, Mendocino and Ohlone
Prices: $7 for general admission, $5 for seniors, veterans, and students. $15 for All-Tourney pass