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James "Jim" Basso, Contributor
Jim Basso is an alumnus of the University of Southern California and as such he is an avid Trojan football fan. So it was a simple transition to add Ventura College Football to the mix. From 1964 until today Jim has been a major contributor to the VC Football program. He was a significant part of the renaissance of VC Football that occurred during the reign of Coaches Jim Moore and Bob Long. Through it all Jim and his son, Steve, continued to actively be a part of the football program for more than 30 years.
Jim, along with John Masterson, brought together a group of Ventura businessmen and formed the Pirate Bench Club. This football booster organization was one of those groups that, if you weren't a member, you just weren't part of the family. As one of the founding fathers, Jim served as the first president of the organization. The Bench Club meetings were held every Tuesday evening in the VC cageteria at 7:00pm. There were times when the cafeteria couldn't hold all of the folks who attended. During the early years of the Bench Club, VC football responded to this fan base by winning numerous conference championships and bowl games while becoming a major force in Southern California community college football.
It didn't hurt that Jim and his brother Mike owned a loval beverage distribution company. There is never an event where one doesn't need something to wet his or her whistle. And no mater how many times they were aksed, the Basso brothers were alwyas quick to provide whatever was needed. They provided beverages for Bench Club meetings, team barbeques, high school football coaches socials, and even when George Hoffman did his annual equipment showings. And if you didn't have a place to meet, well, Jim would provide a room at the distribution center and still provide the drinks.
The Bench Club initiated a program of selling season tickets to raise funds early each year for needed equipment. Jim and Basso Distributing were always first in line to buy far more tickets than they needed and Jim continued to remind all his associates that they needed to get their tickets for the upcoming season. Through those efforts and the efforts of his loyal supporters, it was common to find Larrabee Stadium fill for a Saturday night VC football game.
It would be difficult to even attempt to outline all of the tings that Jim Basso has done to support Ventura College Football and the many athletes who have participated in the program over the last 30 years. At the end of many seasons, Jim would provide needed funs to purchase player awards and to provide a banquet for the players. But in the truest sense of being a booster and supporter, Jim never asked or expected anything in return. he did what he did because he believed in the program and the student athletes. he and his wife Genevieve have lived in Ventura for over 50 years and today the distributoship continues to thrive under the watchful eye of his son Steve.
Co- Founder of the Pirate Bench Club, John Masterson sums it up best when he says, "Jim supported VC football for over 30 years offering his business wisdom, enthusiasm for college football, and his financial contributions."