Clark College to hold event to remember a legend - The Reflector: People


Clark College to hold event to remember a legend

Colleague. coach. mentor. Skeet O’Connell to be honored Sept. 13

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Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 9:00 am

In the athletics building which bears his name, Claude “Skeet” O’Connell will be honored during a remembrance and celebration of life on Thurs. Sept. 13.

The ceremony, which is open to the public, will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the gymnasium of the O’Connell Sports Center on Clark’s main campus. Clark College is located at 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver. Driving directions and parking maps are available at

Speakers will include Clark College President Robert K. Knight, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, former Washington state Rep. Robert Schaefer and former Clark College Athletic Director Dennis Huston.

A mentor to numerous alumni who still speak gratefully of his influence, Claude “Skeet” Wilson O’Connell was born in Concrete, Wash. on Jan. 8, 1916.  After graduating from high school in Odell, Ore., O’Connell received a bachelor’s degree in education from Western Oregon State University and a master’s degree from Washington State University.

His teaching career began in 1941 in Vancouver Public Schools. In 1946, he joined the staff of Clark College when it reopened after World War II.  He served as Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Clark for 41 years, coaching basketball, baseball and golf.

In 1960, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association, District II.  In 1981 and 1982, he was named Coach of the Year by the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC).  In 1989, he was inducted into the NWAACC Hall of Fame. Additional honors include inductions into the Clark County Rotary Club Hall of Fame and the Randy Myers Foundation Hall of Fame.

In 1986, the Clark College sports center was named in his honor. In 2009, the building was rededicated following a two-year renovation.

In 2012, O’Connell was inducted into the inaugural class of the Clark College Athletics Hall of Fame.

Skeet O’Connell died on July 14, 2012.

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