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Don Downey- Athlete, Contributor
Don Downey played three sports for the Pirates, however, he is probably best remembered as one of the most versatile running backs who has ever worn the orange and black. In 1947 and 1948, Don was the principal running back on the Pirate football team, where by all accounts, he could run and catch the ball with the best of them. He was named to teh All Western State Conference First Team at the conclusion of the 1948 football season.
While Don was one of the best running backs of his era, he was also an outstanding athlete in not only football, but starred on the VC basketball team in 1947 and 1948 and the Pirate baseball team in 1948. It was highly uncommon for an athlete to participate in two sports, much less three, and to do so withthe excellence and determination that Don Downey displayed in each. As #17, Don was truly a gifted athlete at Ventura College and his coaches and teammates were highly respectful and appreciative of his outstanding skills and abilities.
Upon graduating from Ventura College, Don continued to play wherever he could, and was honored wiht the Outstanding Player of the Game award following the Ventura College Alumni Game in 1950.
Don's conncetion to Ventura College continued after his playing days with his long time involvement in the Pirate Bench Club and PResident of the Ventura College Alumni Association. The Bench Club was a support organization for VC football and Don was an acitve and vital part of that organization for over twenty-five years.
Don and his wife of 57 years, Ruth, produced two additional Pirate standouts, with the birth of sons Darrell and Dennis. Both Darrell and Dennis have been nominated for the Ventura College Athletic Hall of Fame after outstanding careers at Ventura College and at the Univeristy of Washington and Oregon State University, respectively. Ther is little doubt that sometime in the future, ther ecould be three Downeys as members of the Ventura College Athletic Hall of Fame.
After thirty-two years with the US government, Don retired but continues to be a regular at Pirate football, basketball and basebal contests.