Howard Lyon Gymnasium
Millikan High School
Long Beach basketball fans need to know the late Howard Lyon. There’s a reason his name is tied to the Millikan High School gymnasium. During Lyon’s 12-year tenure as Millikan’s head basketball coach, the Rams never had a losing season and reached the post-season seven times. He went 234-97 during that span and led Millikan to the 1970 CIF championship past Monrovia High School. In the 1970 CIF title game, Millikan held Monrovia to just 11 points in the first half, leading to a 68-37 blowout win.
“He was a guy that just wins,” former Millikan baseball coach Dan Peters, who also played for Lyon, said. “It was the simplicity of his system that made his teams so consistent.”
In 2006, Lyon was inducted into the Long Beach State Sports Hall of Fame because of his contributions to the entire Long Beach community. He was born in Long Beach and graduated from Poly High School before attending Long Beach State. Lyon was the leading scorer on the first-ever LBSU basketball team in 1950 when the 49ers went 3-14. The next season Lyon captained the 49ers to a 10-13 mark in the school’s third year in existence.
Lyon began his coaching career at Washington Junior High before taking over the job at Avalon High School in Catalina. He returned back to Long Beach where he coached Poly from 1957 to 1959 before his tenure at Millikan. He left Millikan for a better career opportunity as the head coach at Biola University where he spent 17 seasons from 1971 to 1988.
"Leaving Millikan is a lot harder than people think," Lyon said at the time of his departure. "Whatever success a coach has is due to the people he works with.”
Although he left the city he grew up in, he would come back to contribute on an even larger scale. He became the Long Beach Unified School District’s middle school sports director and the Moore League secretary. He was the Moore League's unofficial historian while also keeping track of its schedules and competition.
More than just a name on the Millikan gymnasium, Lyon was a champion for the Long Beach basketball and sports community.
Dick DeHaven Stadium
Millikan High School
Drive on Palo Verde along the campus of Millikan High School and the name “DeHaven Stadium” hangs above the Rams football field. However, this name was a long time coming. Last September, Millikan honored the legacy of the late head coach Dick DeHaven after his many years of success with Rams football. DeHaven took over a relatively unsuccessful Millikan football program in the 1970s and turned it around using a two running back veer offense utilizing the Rams’ speed. Prior to 1977, Millikan hadn’t won a playoff game, but DeHaven brought success to the program leading the Rams to two CIF Coastal Division championships in 1977 and 1979.
“He was the greatest in-game high school football coach of all time,” said Dave Radford, who played and coached with DeHaven and led the charge to rename the stadium. “Monday through Thursday there might be a better coach out there, but never on Friday nights.”
Coaching ran in the family as DeHaven played for his father Jeff at Sandusky High School in Ohio. He later played both offense and defense at Ohio Wesleyan University before playing for the Dallas Cowboys in the early 1960’s. DeHaven set the standard for his sport in the city of Long Beach. The efforts and teachings like his is what make high school football so meaningful to the youth. But it was the players developed off the field that was even more meaningful to DeHaven
“People would ask us, ‘Did we have a good team this year?’ and we would say, ‘We won’t know for about 20 more years’,” Radford said. “Now I look out at all of my guys and we have teachers, coaches, police officers, businessmen and now I know. We did have a good team.”