Raising Stockton | Visit Stockton

Raising Stockton

Local celebs highlight Stockton’s diverse roots and soaring potential

The people of Stockton, California, are as cultured as its diverse neighborhoods suggest. Over the years, the city of Stockton has raised and hosted many successful individuals who have gone on to achieve great success in representing Mudville around the world.

It’s important to appreciate and celebrate all that Stockton stands for, be it for the sake of fun facts or a sense of pride in knowing that these men and women will always call this waterfront city in the San Joaquin Valley home.


The National Football League is full of native Stockton blood. Brandin Cooks, a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, went to Lincoln High School in Stockton before he left for college in Oregon.

Greg Bishop was born and raised in Stockton, attended Lodi High School and played college ball at the nearby University of the Pacific. After six seasons with the New York Giants and one season with the Atlanta Falcons, Bishop came back to Stockton to teach high school football on his home turf. Today he’s the assistant football coach at Lodi High School and has been inducted into the University of the Pacific Hall of Fame.

Brian Goodell has never made a touchdown, but he is a two-time Olympic champion. Goodell was born in Stockton and went on to win gold medals for finishes in the 400-meter and 1,500-meter freestyle swimming events at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. In 1977, Swimming Magazine named him swimmer of the year and he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1986.

And for you golf fans, Ricky Barnes is a Stockton native, currently touring with the PGA. Fun fact about Ricky: his father, Bruce Barnes, is a former punter for the New England Patriots.


Leonard Gardner currently lives in Larkspur, but before he became a famous American novelist and screenwriter, he grew up in Stockton. Gardner’s work has appeared in publications like Esquire and The Southwest Review. He won accolades for his novel-turned-screenplay Fat City, which takes place in and around Stockton.

Maxine Hong Kingston was awarded the 1997 National Humanities Medal by former President Bill Clinton; she was also on the committee that designed the commemorative California state quarter. Kingston’s writings are known for their unique Chinese-American perspective (she was born in Stockton to first-generation Chinese immigrants) with a focus on gender and ethnicity as they related to her upbringing in Central California.

One of the most prolific writers to emerge from Stockton is Daniel Goleman, who wrote for The New York Times for 12 years and authored several books on psychology, science, education and leadership. Goldman received his PhD from Harvard University after he spent time traveling India and Sri Lanka developing his work on consciousness. His most famous title, Emotional Intelligence, was on the Times’ bestseller list for more than a year.


Ace Andres has influenced the community of Stockton for almost three decades. Born at Dameron Hospital in Stockton, he attended A.A. Stagg High School with fellow musician Chris Isaak (also born in Stockton). Isaac went on to have a very profitable music career, while Andres focused on getting involved in local politics.

Andres once lived next door to US House Majority Whip John J. McFall, and in 1972 he became a team leader for the George McGovern for President campaign. More recently, you may have heard his music single A Terry Anderson Song or seen him appear alongside Anthony Bourdain in Travel Channel’s No Reservations.

Those who enjoy the sounds of indie rock from the 1990s will be happy to know that the group Pavement was founded in the late ’80s in Stockton as a studio project between Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg.

Both Malkmus and Kannberg grew up around Stockton and kept true to their roots despite great underground success during a 10-year run that included five full albums and nine EPs. Despite success, the boys never signed to a major record label, but did manage to go mainstream long enough for their single “Cut Your Hair” to make waves in 1994.

Stockton has all kinds of interesting celebrity connections—this is just a sample. To learn more about Stockton, go to our Fun Facts page at visitstockton.org or Stockton’s Facebook page.

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