Academics, Attitude, Athletics : Three words that describe a history committed towards excellence.
The Blue Devils went 172-87 between the years 1969-70 to 1977-78. The Blue Devils had their only losing season ever in 1971-72, when they finished 12-18. The 1973-74 season saw the Blue Devils win their most games ever with 27. The '73-'74 Blue Devils went all the way to the State Championship game , losing to Menlo College. Coach Bill Russell made his first appearance here at Merced College as a player on the '73-'74 team. The following year, the Blue Devils went 27-6, losing in one of the most exciting State Tournament games ever played. The Blue Devils lost to eventual State Champion Butte College. Bill Russell left Merced College with a 1st Team All-Conference and California JC All-American selections. The '73-'74 team was the first of 17 teams in a row to win 20 games or more.
1977-78 was the first of two "Dream Years." The Blue Devils defeated Menlo College at the Long Beach Arena to win their first-ever State Championship. The Blue Devils won 26 games and lost 8 on their way to the championship. The Blue Devils were led by California JC All-American and State Tournament MVP selection Calvin Roberts.
1978-79 was an encore performance to the 1977-78 team. The Blue Devils led all teams in the nation with 34 wins and 1 loss. The Blue Devils won 27 games in a row on their way to the State Championship. The Blue Devils beat Butte College in the finals held at Cal. State Fullerton. The Blue Devils were led by California JC All-Americans Ed Saunders and Doug Cherry (Willie Cherry's nephew). The Cherrys, and Malcolm Person and his uncle, John Stafford are the only family to have two people play at Merced College and have them win the All-America selection.