Los Alamitos Football Coach John Barnes and produce mogul Frieda Caplan will be this year’s inductees to the Los Alamitos Hall of Fame, the Los Alamitos Museum Association announced Tuesday.
The museum association released biographies of this year’s honorees written by Anita Schommer:
Frieda Rapoport Caplan, a native of Los Angeles and a UCLA graduate, is recognized as one of the nation’s most successful female entrepreneurs. She became the owner of a small produce specialty company opening in 1962. Her first marketing success was introducing the California brown mushroom. In conjunction with this, Frieda needed an entrance sign for her burgeoning enterprise. Her decorator advised her that the only color available to him at the moment was purple. So purple it was and still is today - the signature color for Frieda’s Finest/Produce Specialties, Inc.
Frieda became known worldwide for her marketing abilities when a retailer asked her if she had ever heard of the Chinese Gooseberry. She did not know of the gooseberry, but she was going to avidly investigate it for her specialty market. She found the ‘gooseberry’ in New Zealand several months later. A New Zealand grocer had begun to identify the gooseberry as a Kiwi fruit because of its shaggy appearance resembling the Kiwi bird, which is native to New Zealand. And Kiwi it is today. By the early 1970’s the New Zealand Kiwifruit was catching on worldwide with 700 new California Kiwifruit growers. And Frieda’s has developed The Purple Kiwi Cookbook with many recipes containing exotic fruit and vegetables.
Frieda is considered by many as a pioneer in the male-dominated produce industry receiving a great number of awards and honors for her achievements, too numerous to mention. One achievement is noted: in the January 1, 1990 issue of The Los Angeles Times, Frieda’s was designated as one of twelve Southern California businesses who shaped the course of American business. Her name was up there with Michael Eisner, the CEO of Walt Disney.
Last and certainly not least, Frieda's is the first wholesale produce company in the United States to be founded, owned, and operated by a woman. We honor her today.
Most everyone in the Los Alamitos community knows of the incredible John Barnes, the “winningest” coach in Orange County High School history as well as in all of Southern California. This accolade was accorded to John Barnes while being a coach, teacher and mentor to Los Alamitos High School and to the Griffins. His 295 career wins are the most of any coach in Orange County history. Reaching beyond that, John Barnes places fourth among California State History for all-time wins, his treasured accomplishment.
From 1991 to 1994, the Los Alamitos Griffins amassed a 47-game winning streak playing against the toughest football division in the country. This was accomplished under the guidance of John Barnes.
He has been honored with numerous coach of the year awards such as West Region Coach, All-American Football Foundation Coach, California State Coach and Orange County Coach, to name a few. The Press Telegram named him their Dream Team Coach of the year in 1991, 1993 and 2002 not forgetting that once upon a time, he was a Press Telegram delivery boy. For five years, he was named The National Football Foundation Orange County Chapter Coach.
In 1979, he took over the head coaching assignment at Los Alamitos High School, a role that he has maintained ever since for a total of thirty-three years. Approximately twenty years ago, Los Alamitos High football coach John Barnes would not have guessed that a Griffin team ball boy would some day be the coach of a top-ranked team in Orange County. Even though that ball boy was his son, Brian. Brian went on to become a football coach like his dad and one year coached the number one football team in the county, the Tesoro High School Titans, with the second place winner that same year being the Los Alamitos High School Griffins, coached by his father, John Barnes.
The Los Alamitos Museum is having a Hall of Fame Day on March 18, 2012 from 2 to 4 P.M. Refreshments will be served. The Museum is located at 11062 Los Alamitos Boulevard in Los Alamitos.