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Cal Athletic Hall of Fame: Three Olympians Lead Six-Member 2022 Class of Inductees

Swimmer Nathan Adrian, softball player Valerie Arioto and water polo player Gavin Arroyo elected.

Three former Cal athletes who combined to participate in six Olympics are are among six Golden Bears elected to the 36th class of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.

Swimmer Nathan Adrian, softball player Valerie Arioto and water polo player Gavin Arroyo all represented the U.S. at the Olympics. Ray Lehner powered Cal to three rugby national championships, Peter Wright coached the Bears to 25 NCAA tournament appearances and football player Ahmad Anderson introduced to Cal fans the “Bear Territory” chant four decades ago.

All six will be inducted into Cal’s Hall of Fame on the weekend of Oct. 21-22 in Berkeley. Those six and the 10 (led by Marshawn Lynch) who were elected a year ago, when the pandemic canceled festivities, will be enshrined at a banquet on Friday, Oct. 21. 

The new inductees will be honored on the field during Cal’s football game against Washington at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Cal’s Athletic Hall of Fame now includes 331 individuals and seven rowing teams.

Cal's six new Athletic Hall of Fame members

Clockwise rom top left: Valerie Arioto, Nathan Adrian, Gavin Arroyo, Ahmad Anderson, Peter Wright and Ray Lehner.

Here are the new new Hall members:

— NATHAN ADRIAN – Men's Swimming & Diving (2007-11)

One of the swimming world's most prolific sprinters in history, Adrian is an eight-time Olympic medalist, including five gold medals, and has competed in three Olympic Games (2008, 2012, 2016). He won gold in the 100-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Games and more recently captured four medals at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. In addition, Adrian has captured 32 medals in major international swimming competitions. As a Golden Bear, Adrian helped lead Cal to the NCAA team championship in 2011. He is a five-time individual NCAA champion, winning the 50-yard freestyle in 2009 and 2010 and the 100-yard freestyle in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He also swam on five NCAA-title-winning relays. At the conference level, Adrian captured seven individual Pac-10 crowns and contributed to six Pac-10 relay titles. Named the 2011 CSCAA Swimmer of the Year, Adrian was chosen the Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year in 2009 and 2011. Adrian earned his bachelor's degree in public health in 2012 and was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American. As a senior, he received the Tom Hansen Conference Medal as Cal's outstanding senior male student-athlete and was named the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for men's swimming & diving.

— VALERIE ARIOTO – Softball (2008-12)

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A 2020 Olympic silver medalist with Team USA and the 10th softball Olympian in school history, Arioto was a three-time NFCA All-American and three-time All-Pac-12 first-team selection. The 2012 Pac-12 Player of the Year led the Golden Bears to their most-recent conference title during her 2012 senior campaign. One of the three finalists for USA Softball Player of the Year in 2012, Arioto tops the charts on the Cal softball career record list in runs scored (222) and total bases (431), while also ranking second in walks (264), RBI (186), slugging percentage (.656) and tied for second in home runs (54). In 2012, she received both the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and the Tom Hansen Conference Medal as Cal's outstanding senior female student-athlete.

— GAVIN ARROYO – Men's Water Polo (1990-93)

A two-time All-American (1992-93) and three-time NCAA champion (1990-92), Arroyo played a critical role in Cal's undefeated campaign in 1992. In addition, he established as a valuable member of the U.S. National Team during his time with the Bears and had an eight-year run with Team USA (1993-2000) – a stint that included Olympic appearances in 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney). Arroyo also helped lead the United States to gold medals at the 1994 and 1998 World Championships, the 1997 FINA World Cup, and the 1995 and 1999 Pan American Games. He played seven years abroad for five professional teams in Greece and Spain. Arroyo has served as the Long Beach State men's head coach since 2006 and was the LBSU women's head coach from 2009-20. He is currently the acting ODP technical director, overseeing the USA Men's Development and Junior National Teams for the past five years. In March of 2020, he was selected for the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame.

— RAY LEHNER - Rugby (1989-93)

Lehner led Cal to three consecutive national championships in 1991, 1992 and 1993, and the Bears' team captain was named an All-American three times during his career. Lehner earned four Oxford Blues from 1997 to 2001 He also played professionally for the USA National Team, making his first appearance for the Eagles in 1995, and earned his cap 37 times, including at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Lehner assisted the Cal coaching staff from 1994-96, and again in 2003-04. He earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Cal and a master's in history from Kellogg College at Oxford. Since 2002, he has taught social studies at Bishop O'Dowd High School.

— PETER WRIGHT – Men's Tennis Head Coach (1993-2021)

Wright won 383 dual matches as head coach of the Golden Bears and led Cal to the NCAA Tournament 25 times, including a semifinal appearance in 2016 and a quarterfinal trip in 2003. A two-time ITA Regional Coach of the Year (1994, 2016), he was also a three-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year (1997, 2001, 2016). Wright received the ITA Meritorious Service Award in 2017 and in 2015, he was inducted into the USTA NorCal Hall of Fame. Over the years, Wright's student-athletes earned All-America selections 20 times. The Berkeley native earned a BA in social science from Cal, where he played tennis as a four-year letter winner before competing as a professional player, Irish Davis Cup player and Davis Cup captain. In 1996, he served as the Irish Olympic tennis coach.

— AHMAD ANDERSON – Football (1979-82) – Hall of Fame Service Award

Anderson helped popularize the "Bear Territory" chant frequently recited by Cal teams after victory to this day. The chant belonged to his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. Anderson altered the words and introduced it to Cal fans at a pep rally. A defensive back for the Cal football team, Anderson created the chant during the 1982 season. The four-year letterwinner received the Stub Allison Award as Cal's most inspirational football player his senior year and he served as defensive captain for the 1982 Big Game famous for The Play. Outside of football, Anderson was a student-athlete peer advisor and a member of the Californians and Oski Dolls Association. Since graduating, he maintained a long association with the campus, including as a student-athlete academic advisor for the College of Letters and Sciences for 12 years, and as a member of Chancellor Michael Heyman's Diversity Committee and the admissions committee.

Cover photo of swimmer Nathan Adrian by Aaron Doster, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo