Compiled by Zach Cavanagh
Paralympic gold medalist Brad Parks and former NFL lineman Brian de la Puente have been selected as the 2018 inductees for the San Clemente Sports Wall of Fame.
The sixth annual induction ceremony will take place at the Vista Hermosa Aquatic Center on Saturday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:00 p.m. The event is free to the public. Over 200 people attended last year’s event.
The recipients were chosen by the Friends of San Clemente Foundation in coordination with the San Clemente Sports Wall of Fame Committee for their unique athletic achievements.
Brian de la Puente grew up in San Clemente and graduated from San Clemente High School in 2003. While with the Tritons, de la Puente competed in football, basketball, volleyball and track and earned several first-team honors as a football player.
He continued playing football in college as a walk-on at the University of California, Berkeley where he eventually earned a full athletic scholarship. De la Puente served as a captain as Cal won the Pac-10 title in 2006. He graduated in 2007 with a degree in legal studies.
De la Puente signed in the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2008 with the San Francisco 49ers. He bounced around with four teams before solidifying a spot with the New Orleans Saints. In his four seasons with the Saints, de la Puente blocked for record-setting passing yard season for Drew Brees and earned the 2011 award for best offensive line. He played nine seasons in the NFL.
Brad Parks is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and is credited as the founder of wheelchair tennis with a 19-year competitive career.
Parks was injured in an amateur freestyle skiing competition at 18 years old, and after experimenting with tennis for therapy, created the wheelchair sport in 1976. With the first wheelchair tennis tournaments held in 1977, Parks founded the National Foundation of Wheelchair Tennis as the sport’s organizing body.
Parks was the No. 1-ranked wheelchair singles player in the world from 1980 to 1989. He won the US Open singles title three times and the double title 10 times. Parks was also accomplished at the Paralympics with tennis doubles gold in 1992 along with two gold medals and one silver medal in wheelchair track in 1980.