Assistant varsity men’s basketball coach Mike Bannister’s 2015 State Championship ring is back where it belongs – on his finger.
But it took some sleuthing on the part of a retired policeman, Rex Osborn, to get the ring back to its rightful owner.
“I came across the ring at an auction company in Stockton that sells things that are seized by the police,” he said.
Osborn purchased a bag of miscellaneous jewelry on March 17, and as he was examining the items he came across what he initially thought was a class ring.
“In 1976, I lost a ring given to me to represent my class ring by my mother. It had belonged to my father who passed away a few years prior. I have always wondered what happened to it, so when I see a class ring, I buy it and hope to return it to the rightful owner,” he said.
That same day, Osborn set to work trying to identify the owner of the ring. Fortunately, the ring had Bannister’s last name engraved on the side and O’Dowd State Champions across the top.
Osborn located a roster for the 2015 State Championship team and found that Bannister was a coach. He immediately e-mailed Principal JD Childs who delivered the good news to Bannister as the team was preparing for the NorCal Open Division championship game.
On March 20, Osborn came to campus to meet Bannister and return the coveted memento. He declined to accept compensation for his purchase of the ring. “This is my gift to you because I know coaching isn’t easy,” he said.
A coach at O’Dowd for 30 years, Bannister was thrilled to have the special ring back. It was stolen over two years ago out of a lockbox in his car, along with some gift cards and other miscellaneous items. “I thought somebody probably just threw it in the river or pawned it off for a few bucks,” he said. “I filed a police report but never heard anything more – until now.”