EAST ORANGE, NJ - The late Hugh B. Mendez, an East Orange native and sports legend, was honored earlier this year with the Whittier College Baseball Stadium in Whittier, California, being dedicated in his name.
A graduate of East Orange High School and Springfield College in Massachusetts, Mendez devoted his life to coaching and education. After joining the Navy, he played professional baseball for the Cincinnati Reds for one year before he began a long and distinguished career, which included coaching positions in Long Branch, NJ, Germany, Austria, Italy, and most notably, at Whittier College, where he became the first American-American head football coach of a four-year institution in California.
His coaching legacy has produced an outstanding roster of sports players. During his tenure, Mendez coached nine Whittier College Hall of Famers, three All-Americans, and two NFL coaches, and as a baseball coach, he coached 13 All Americans, two first round draft picks, seven Whittier Hall of Famers and two major league players.