by Kelly Boulger ’73, President of Servite Alumni Association
In 2003, the Class of 1973 added a new tradition to
Servite’s storied football history by establishing the annual
Honored Jersey Award in memory of our classmate, Kevin
Stephenson ’73. Kevin was a Captain for the Friar Class of
1973, earning All-CIF, All-County, All-League honors, and was
named 1973 Athlete of the Year. He was a member of the first
Curia. His senior season was highlighted by a 12-0 victory over
rival Mater Dei (the first in eight years), and a return to the CIF
playoffs. At the time, our team was credited with returning a
tradition of excellence to Servite Football and reclaiming the
school’s prominence in Southern California high school sports.
He went on to play football at Washington State and later
became a lawyer in the San Diego area. Kevin passed away in
2004 after a long battle with cancer. In tribute to Stephenson’s
quiet leadership, unyielding strength and loyal friendship, the Class of 1973 established the ‘Kevin Stephenson Football Endowment Fund.’ His #78 is now given annually to the player that best exemplifies Stephenson’s leadership and character.
Zachary Shallcross proudly wore the No. 78 Honored Jersey for the 2013 Football season.
Tim Brundige, Sr. ’73 (also known as the “Voice of the Friars” for his role as the school’s sports announcer) remembers how hard Stephenson worked on the field and how he inspired his teammates. “He stepped out of his quiet character when we were behind against Pius X. We huddled to start an offensive drive and, with his hands on his knees trying to catch his breath, Kevin looked down at the rest of the line and screamed, “WE WILL WIN THIS GAME…DO YOUR JOB…WE WILL WIN THIS GAME!’ It gave me and the rest of the team the drive to dig deep and overcome a huge deficit,” said Brundige. “We did and won the game. That is one example of his leadership and will to win. It’s no surprise that he was named the Athlete of the Year for the Class of ’73.”
Kevin was well liked and respected by all of his teammates. He was relentless in practice, always prepared for his opponent, and absolutely dominated both sides of the line. Off the field, Kevin was quiet and humble. He was our leader, but he hardly ever had to open his mouth, except when he was encouraging his teammates. He led by example.
Each year, teammates from the Class of 1973 attend a pre-season football practice to share stories about Stephenson and present the award to the newest recipient. An on-field presentation is also held at the first varsity home game each year. “It is a true honor to wear the #78 jersey because for me as it symbolizes the Servite characteristics of discipline, dedication, and selflessness,” said Nicholas Ramirez ’16, the honored jersey recipient for the 2015 season.