Mark Drennan was one talented athlete and the youngest from a talented family of seven boys, all raised on Castaic Avenue in Oildale. The Drennan name was synonymous with athletic excellence at North High during the 50’s and 60’s. Oldest brother George was an excellent two-year varsity starter in three sports (football, basketball and baseball) and each of the other siblings, John (deceased 12/1/12), Jim, Dave, Bill, Mike and of course Mark, made the Drennan name famous on the North High athletic fields and in the classroom.
Their father, William, was a decorated Navy Veteran and a local contractor until his untimely death in 1965. Mother Evelyn (Hadlock) Drennan was a school teacher. It was an amazing family.
Mark graduated in 1971 after excelling in football, basketball and track. He played two years of varsity football and quarterbacked the SYL Championship team in 1970. On that team was future NFL player Randy Rich. Mark was named First-Team All-SYL at free safety in 1970.
In basketball, he was a two-year varsity starter and was a standout on the track team as well. He set the school record in the long jump at 19’11½” as a freshman! He was named the winner of the prestigious Sam Lynn Award for 1971 and still found time to serve as North High’s senior class President.
His track exploits started as an 11-year-old when he set a national record in the Long Jump and anchored the 220 relay team to another National Record at the Jr. Olympics.
After graduating from North High, Mark received a football scholarship to the University of Washington and started on the “Scout Squad” as a freshman. In those days, freshmen were not allowed to play with the varsity. He played wide receiver, free safety, kick and punt returner and back-up punter. He scored all 20 points in 21-20 loss to Oregon that year. The school has named an award in his honor: The “Mark Drennan Defensive Scout Squad MVP.”
On Aug. 11, 1972, following his freshman year at Washington, this talented young man’s life came to a tragic end in an automobile accident here in Bakersfield. It was just days before his return to school. He was going to be a 2-way starter in 1972 for the Huskies.
His brother, Dr. Mike Drennan, believes some of Mark’s fondest memories would have been playing drummer in a four-man garage band “Mother’s Mess.” They played at the Friday night school dances his freshman year. The band practiced endlessly in the father’s old general contractor’s office, their garage. The neighbors probably loved that.
Congratulations to Mark and the entire Drennan family. They are a very special piece of North High history and we are proud to honor one of the greatest of that family, Mark Drennan.