When West High opened in 1965, among the entering juniors was a South High transfer, John Mears, an outstanding athlete who would make a valuable contribution to the new high school’s athletic programs. John’s decision to transfer to West its opening year was certainly West High’s gain.
John played defensive back on West’s first football team and was named All-City defensive back. To say he also excelled that first season in basketball doesn’t adequately express his accomplishments. John was named 1st team All-State by Cal Prep Basketball, 1st team All-City, All-League, Most Valuable Player in the South Sequoia League, having led the league in scoring with an average of 25 points per game, and West High basketball MVP.
That first year at West, John also went out for the baseball team. He pitched a one-hitter game against Wasco. Unfortunately, he injured his shoulder and had to withdraw from the team.
In John ‘s second year at West, as a senior, he was once again a standout on the basketball team. He was the leading scorer in the SSL, averaging 21 points per game, was named MVP of the SSL, and MVP of the West High varsity.
John graduated from West in 1967. In the College, Pro, High School Basketball Yearbook 1967, John was recognized as one of the top 100 basketball players in the nation.
John’s athletic career in football and basketball continued at Bakersfield Junior College from 1967 to 1969. He was a starting safety under Coach Gerry Collis. His sophomore year, he was 1st team All-State safety, 1st team All-Conference defensive back, and recipient of the Captain’s Award for defensive player.
John received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he started as a strong safety in 1969 under Coach Pepper Rogers. In the game against Syracuse University, he intercepted a pass and ran for a 60-yard touchdown. During the fourth game of that season, he sustained a knee injury, ending his career at Kansas University. After leaving Kansas University, he played one year, 1971, for the University of Hawaii. He started as a strong safety and was named Outstanding Defensive Back for the then-named Hawaii Rainbows.