Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee: Travis Pinick '05

It is not uncommon for high school athletes to compete in multiple sports. But for Orange Lutheran alumnus Travis Pinick ’05, his time as a Lancer athlete was marked by outstanding performances in both basketball and volleyball.


Pinick was a member of OLu’s 2005 CIF championship volleyball team, the first in school history for the sport. That same year, he was the CIF Boys Volleyball Player of the Year.


As successful as he was on the volleyball court, Pinick was also a standout on the basketball court and was named league MVP and 2nd Team All-County in 2005. He averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists during his senior season and went on to have a successful collegiate career at Yale University.


In recognition of his achievements across both sports, Pinick will be honored this summer as one of 11 inductees in the Orange Lutheran Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023.


Pinick’s freshman year at OLu was the first year the school offered boys volleyball. A basketball player for many years, he joined the volleyball team as a complementary sport. The left-hander discovered he loved the competitive nature of volleyball and found a fit as an opposite hitter.

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He and his teammates learned the game together as the program was established, and by the time the Pinick was a senior, the Lancers brought home OLu’s first boys volleyball CIF title. Despite never having played volleyball before high school, he was named 2005 CIF Player of the Year.


An eclectic group of players that were as intense during practice as they were during matches, Pinick credits former head coach Marc Laulhere for teaching he and his teammates to embrace the sport and commit to each other.


“Coach Laulhere is a phenomenal coach and a phenomenal motivator,” said Pinick. “I give a lot of credit to [him] for that because he just had a unique way of motivating and getting [us] to put aside our differences. We knew that when we stepped on the court as teammates, whoever we played, we were going to get the job done.”


While Pinick saw significant success in volleyball, basketball was his primary sport, and he was an elite player on the court for the Lancers. In his senior season, he was named league MVP and was recruited by all eight Ivy League schools to play at the collegiate level.

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Pinick chose Yale University and made his way into the Bulldogs’ record books as fifth all-time in career field goal percentage (.532), tied for eighth all-time in career steals (123), and he finished his collegiate career with 826 points, 518 rebounds and six double-doubles. He was a two-time 2nd Team All-Ivy League selection, all while only missing one game in his four college seasons.


Arriving in New Haven from Orange County was a bit of a culture shock for Pinick, and after a rough first semester as a student athlete and a change of major to psychology, he found his rhythm in his new home.


“I had a phenomenal experience,” said Pinick of Yale. “There were some great people…and it challenges you. It really prepared you for the real world.”


The spiritual foundation he received during his years at OLu was instrumental in preparing Pinick as he experienced life in the Ivy League.


“Having background and the faith-based education that Orange Lutheran provided I think really helped me navigate that environment,” said Pinick. “Spiritually, you're tested to conform, you're tested to think about things differently. But to have that foundation was immensely helpful in a place like that.”


Coming out of college, Pinick had his heart set on playing professional basketball. He was picked up by the Lakers G-League team in 2009 and was one of the last players to be cut before rosters were finalized.


With few options remaining to continue his path as an athlete, Pinick headed into the workforce by joining a fellow OLu alum at his aerospace defense company as a project manager. The job took him and wife Sara (George) Pinick ’06 to Florida, and the couple returned to California in 2016 when Sara accepted her current position at OLu as an English teacher. He now works locally as a project manager at Capital Group and enjoys being a father to their three children, ages seven, five and two.


Pinick’s high school experience was unique, not just because he excelled as a dual-sport athlete for the Lancers, but because the years he was a student at OLu, his father, Gregg Pinick, served as the school’s principal.


One of his most significant memories from that time was that his dad gave him the keys to the gym, allowing him the ability to train and practice whenever he wanted. It was a choice that left a monumental impact on Pinick, both as an athlete and a son.


“I think that was instrumental in my growth and development as an athlete, and I can't thank him enough for that,” said Pinick. “I look back now, and how awesome was it that he got a front row seat to my high school experience? How many parents would kill for that chance? He gave me the keys, he entrusted me, he got me connected to great people and he brought over great coaches. That is probably my fondest, overarching memory.”


When Pinick reads the names of the Orange Lutheran Athletics Hall of Fame members, and he sees the list of fellow 2023 inductees, he can’t help but be humbled to share this distinction with so many Lancers that left an indelible mark on the school.


“It's truly an honor to be up on the wall with those people because I know what they did in high school, what impact they had, the type of athletes they were and the type of people that they were and are,” said Pinick. “I got to come here, I got to play sports and do it at a high level, and now to be recognized for those achievements, it's awesome.”


Above all, Pinick cherishes his distinct history and ongoing connection with OLu. He admits didn’t want to leave St. Louis when his father got the call in 1997 to come to Orange County. But now he can’t imagine life without the Lancer family.


“I consider myself very blessed to be as connected to Orange Lutheran as we have been,” said Pinick. “The ‘Lancers for Life’ mantra is not just words on paper. It really is a community. It's going to be OLu till I die, and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.”

Topics from this blog: Athletics Alumni Stories