Former Greyhound still ranks No. 3 in rebounding, No. 9 in scoring for ‘Stangs
Former Atascadero Greyhound all-time great Sherrie Atteberry was one of seven athletes inducted into Cal Poly’s Athletic Hall of Fame for its 2019 class and was honored at halftime of the Mustangs game against Montana State on October 5. Attebery was honored along with Ramses Barden (star receiver drafted in the third round of the 2009 draft), Brittany Blalock Huang (women’s tennis), Mark DiGirolamo (wrestling), Garrett Olson (baseball) and Mathyas Michael and Maggie Vessey (track and field).
Atteberry has a legacy in Atascadero that reaches back to the 1980s and was part of the first class of former Greyhounds that were inducted into Atascadero’s first ever Hall of Fame class in 2007. Atteberry was a dominant basketball player in high school and continued to excel in college for the Mustangs where she is still No. 3 all-time in rebounding, No. 9 all-time in scoring and has the highest average number of rebounds per game for a season.
Atteberry graduated from Atascadero in 1983 and made a habit of breaking down doors during her time on the Central Coast. The former Atascadero great was the first girl to play on a youth basketball team in the city before entering junior high school and needed her father to petition just for her to be allowed to play the sport that was only being offered to the boys.
“And all the boys were playing basketball and I told my dad, ‘Dad, I don’t want to be a cheerleader I want to play basketball.’ So my dad had to petition to allow me to play. So they let me try out and Jerry Clay was one of the coaches at the time and he picked me.”
“I went to go try out for cheerleading to cheer for the basketball teams or football teams or whoever at the time,” Atteberry remembered. “And all the boys were playing basketball and I told my dad, ‘Dad, I don’t want to be a cheerleader I want to play basketball.’ So my dad had to petition to allow me to play. So they let me try out and Jerry Clay was one of the coaches at the time and he picked me.”
A few days later the youth teams had their draft and Atteberry was officially a part of the team, albeit the only girl on said team, and on her way to becoming one of the best hoopers the county has seen.
“I was kind of the first one to get that started because after I played there were more girls that wanted to play,” Atteberry said. “So eventually they came up with girls teams as far as basketball.”
During her four years at Cal Poly Atteberry had huge games including pulling down 24 rebounds in a single game, currently the second most ever in a single game for the Mustangs, and scored more than 1,000 points but when she graduated there was no professional basketball league for women, so she tried something else that she had never played before, handball. Following her senior season in 1987 Atteberry’s coach Marilyn McNeil received word that team USA was looking for potential handball players from college basketball teams because the skills sets translated.
“Marilyn McNeil told me she got this request letter asking if anyone was interested and she thought I would be great for it,” Atteberry recalled. “She told us that there was going to be tryouts down in L.A. and she gave me the dates to go try out and so I went and tried and I made the West Team at the time.”
A few weeks later Atteberry was back in Colorado Springs training at a team USA facility and training for the US Olympic festival where she would get a shot to make the Olympic team. Ultimately, Atteberry was not chosen but made it as close as one can and did so on only a few weeks of practice.
Atteberry was able to bring a few invited guests with her to the ceremony on Friday night and elected to choose several pillars of the Atascadero athletic community who were instrumental in helping her succeed.
“My guests were all from Atascadero High School,” Atteberry said. “Donn Clickard, Jim Stecher, who was my basketball coach in high school, Coach Welsh — he coached track back then as well as football and was my coach for track — and had invited other people as well like Sam Derose but with it being on a Friday night several couldn’t attend.”
Aside from being one of the greatest athletes to come out of Atascadero, Atteberry has also taken pride in giving back to her community and served as a member of the Greyhound Foundation and was president of the Atascadero High School Athletic Hall of Fame from 2013-15.
“It is very surreal,” she said of the induction. “And I don’t even know that it has actually sunk in yet. But being able to give back to the community and see the kids and just have the relationships that I still have in this point in my life just makes me feel good.”