Home to one of the largest athletic programs in the state, the Palomar athletic family extends far. From Major League pitchers to ESPN analyst Comets alumni are representing throughout professional sports.
Baseball has had a long history of success and has produced a handful of big leaguers including Milwaukee Brewers infielder Tyler Saladino.
Following high school teammate Matt Frankfurth to Palomar from University City High School in San Diego Saladino quickly found success in the baseball program under head coach Buck Taylor.
“You have to take care of your business.” Saladino said in regards to what he learned during his time at Palomar that he still uses today in his professional career. Taking care of business is just one thing he did well.
While in a Comets uniform Saladino had two first- team all-conference honors and as a sophomore was PCAC Player of the Year, a first-team All-State and All-West Coast selection and Community College All-American. He had a career .399 batting average making him number five on the Palomar all-time list. Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2010 it took Saladino five years to make it to the big leagues.
Pitcher for the San Francisco Giants Nick Vincent is one of three active pitchers in the majors that once took the mound for the Comets.
In his Comet’s career Vincent was an All State and All American Pitcher posting a 20-6 record with a 2.11 ERA before moving on to Long Beach State. He was then drafted by the San Diego Padres were he pitched out of the bullpen for four years before he was traded to the Seattle Mariners in the spring of 2016. Now with the Giants he holds a 2.03 ERA.
James Hoytt, who was most recently with the Cleveland indians and Tim Hill who is currently in the bullpen for the Kansas City Royals are a few more notable Palomar alum.
Another athletic alumni that graced the fields here at Palomar is Austin Early, son of football’s Head Coach Jon Early. In his time as a Comet he completed 134 of 235 passes with a .570 average for 1,548 yards and 10 touchdowns.
In six starts at Palomar Early threw 1,386 yards and ten touchdowns and was voted MVP by his teammates. He continued to impress after transferring to Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. At Southwester he set a school record for passing yardage throwing 456 yards and six touchdowns in a game.
Early looks back on his time at palomar saying,” I definitely figured out what tie management was.” in regards to what he learned during his time at palomar. “ Going to classes and having practice everyday made sure you have to spend your time wisely and be self disciplined.”
Playing for his father, Joe Early, and uncle, Dan Early is one of his favorite parts of his college football career, but his greatest accomplishment to date has been breaking the Southwestern record for passing yards in a single game.
While some of the athletes continue on in their sport, others make a career switch like Tom Lungibill who after a successful college football career and an 11 year coaching career Lunginill moved to a player personnel position that has lead him to his now position as an ESPN analyst and now as a broadcaster.
In his time with the Comet’s Luginbill says his favorite memory is, “ Winning the national championship in 1993 and breaking the national passing record.” He set the record with 4,044 yards with 36 touchdowns. Like Saladino, Luginbill says he learned how to manage his time and how to juggle a lot of things at once.
As the list of alumni working in the professional sports world continues to grow, Palomar has proven to be a leading force.. “Nothing trumps work ethic.” Luginbill said, “ If you are willing to work and outwork others, you can overcome a lot.”