On Monday, NASA announced the names of four astronauts scheduled to fly around the moon by the end of next year in a 10-day mission called Artemis II, and one member of the quartet is a Southern California native.

Victor Glover, from Pomona, is a U.S. Navy Captain, a pilot and the first man of color to work on the international space station. He was also 1994 Athlete of the Year at Ontario High School. 

“I don’t think there is anything he couldn’t do, honestly. He was amazing,” Dave Cook, who was Glover’s pole-vaulting coach in high school, said. “If we were doing a drill, he would want to do it over and over until he could get it right, the way it should’ve been done. So, he was driven, no doubt.”  

Cook said he recently reunited with Glover at the National Pole-Vault Summit where the astronaut was the keynote speaker and surprised his former coach with a flag that was on the international space station. 

“I was moved, to say the least,” Cook said. “To say that I’m proud of him, that doesn’t even do it justice.”  

Humility seems to be a throughline for Glover. When he stood on stage with his lunar mission crew members Monday, he shifted the spotlight once again.  

“We need to celebrate this moment in human history because Artemis II is more than a mission to the moon and back. It is the next step on the journey that gets humanity to Mars,” Glover said at Monday’s press conference.  

The Artemis II announcement follows years of work in Washington, D.C., trying to get the program funded and off the ground. The first flight around the moon in 50 years, the mission will pave the way for a moon landing in 2025.  

“I also pray that we can continue to serve as a source of inspiration, cooperation and peace, not just between nations, but in our own nation. Thank you and God bless us all,” Glover said at the NASA news conference. 

Glover’s crew mates, Reid Wiseman and Christina Koch of NASA, along with Jeremy Hansen of the Canadian Space Agency, were honored guests at Monday’s NCAA Championship game.