At a recent Glendale YWCA Quarterback Club meeting when he was the featured speaker, Damon Bame said some of his fondest memories were of growing up in Glendale.
The Oklahoma native earned All-CIF honors at Glendale High before turning in All-American seasons at Glendale College in 1960 and 1961 for coaches Mike Giddings and Don Bennett.
Pound for pound, Bame might be one of the best defensive players ever for the Vaqueros as he anchored a unit that helped turn around Glendale’s fortunes after they finished 1-8 in 1959.
The Vaqueros started the 1960 season with six straight wins and finished 7-2. The 1961 season turned out even better with a 9-1 record under Bennett led by Bame, who would earn a football scholarship to USC because of his efforts and was also named the Glendale College Man of the Year.
Once again at USC, Bame wasn’t the biggest player on the field as a 5-foot-11 inch, 192-pound linebacker but he played bigger and was a key ingredient to the Trojans winning the National Championship in 1962. An amazing statistic from that season is that the Bame-led USC defense shutout three teams that year and allowed just 55 points before beating Wisconsin, 42-37 in the Rose Bowl in front of almost 100,000 fans.
Amazingly enough, after two years as an All-American at Glendale College and two years as an All-American at USC, Bame was not drafted by any NFL teams but then embarked on a coaching odyssey that still keeps him close to the game today.
His coaching resumé includes stops at USC with the frosh team and coaching the varsity defensive ends; San Jose State, where at 22, he was the youngest defensive coordinator in the nation; Long Beach State; the University of New Mexico and staff member of the World Football League team based in Hawaii. He has also been the head football coach at El Segundo High and just last year, an assistant at Estancia High and helped coach the defense at Corona Del Mar High.
From 1979 until recently, Bame ran a precious metal recovery business but never strayed far from football as his love for the game and helping young people learn the nuances of it make him a much sought after coach as well as a former player who is one of the best ever to come out of Glendale College.