Vance Fisher’s family moved to Oildale in 1947 from his birthplace in McKeesport, PA (a suburb of Pittsburg). His father migrated west to take a job with a Title Search company here, then later started working with Union Oil Co. Vance attended Standard Jr. High and then entered North High in 1954, exactly one year after the school had opened.
Playing for legendary coach Turk Eliades, he started out as a tackle as a sophomore but later became an outstanding end. As a junior, Vance was named first team all-South Yosemite League. Then as a senior, the Stars won their first ever SYL Championship and Fisher was again named 1st team all-SYL. In addition, he was chosen on the 6th team of the National High School All-American team. This was the 2nd highest honor ever given to a Kern County football player. He also was chosen for the annual Kern County North-South game.
After high school, colleges came calling includingCal, Washington State and USC to play football. Instead he chose to attend Bakersfield College. Playing for another local legend, Homer Beatty, he was starting and playing both ways (offense and defense). But, as fate would have it, in his very first JC game, while attempting to block a punt, he severely injured a knee. He sat out tmost of the season, returning to play in the last two games and the Potato Bowl but had lost his starting position.
After the disappointment of that season, he decided to join the Air Force, where he played football for two years. His teams made the Air Force Championship in Alabama both years but came up on the short end of the
score each time.
In February of 1961, he received an honorable discharge and returned home to again play football for the Renegades and continue his education. BC went 10-0 during the regular season that year and allowed just 36 points. Playing against Cameron, Oklahoma for the National Championship in the Jr. Rose Bowl in Pasadena, BC was defeated 28-20, spoiling their perfect season. But Fisher caught a tying touchdown pass just before the end of the half.
Football scholarship offers came from Idaho State, Sacramento State and University of Reno, Nevada. Coach Eliades was a graduate of Reno and advised Vance to pursue his career there. Playing alongside of former North High teammate Bobby Ezell, he again was a two-way starter for two years. In all there were 13 players from Bakersfield and Kern County.
After graduation from Reno, he went to work in the Bay Area for Firestone then moved to the Los Angeles area to work for his good buddy and former high teammate Jim Anderson in the construction business. He retired in 2001 and moved to Bonita Springs, Florida where he had other relatives living. He’s now a golf nut like most Floridians.
He and his second wife, Linda, have been married 30 years with no children. He had two sons by a previous marriage, Scott and Chris. Scott attended UC San Barbara and was a standout basketball player, gaining MVP honors his last three seasons there. He had offers from the 76ers and a couple of other NBA teams but nothing developed. He now lives in Pebble Beach and is married to Clint Eastwood’s ex-wife.
Congrats Vance on an outstanding career and a very deserving welcome to the North High Athletics Hall of Fame.