VARSITY TEAMS: 26 INTRAMURAL SPORTS: 15
FAMOUS ALUMNI: KEVIN JOHNSON, LEIGH STEINBERG
EXTRA CREDIT FOR: VIEW FROM FOOTBALL STADIUM
This is an article from the April 28, 1997 issue
If you don't believe Cal is a sports hotbed, check the center of
the wooded, rolling campus: There, in lieu of a monument to the
free-speech movement or the school's legion of Nobel Prize
winners, stands (well, actually kneels) a statue of Pappy
Waldorf, the revered Golden Bears football coach.
If you still don't believe it, consider the mark Cal alumni have
left on the sports world. Helen Wills Moody Roark won eight
Wimbledon singles titles. Matt Biondi and Mary T. Meagher
dominated swimming. Pitcher Andy Messersmith won the landmark
arbitration case that opened the era of free agency in baseball.
Ray Jacuzzi developed the whirlpool that bears his name.
Consider too that Cal is one of just four schools to have won
national championships in baseball, basketball, football and
track and field. This year the football team went to the Aloha
Bowl, and the men's basketball team made it to the Sweet 16.
(Some professors brought TVs to their morning classes to watch
the first-round win over Princeton.) Junior Jeremy Sampson,
sports editor of The Daily Californian, attributes Cal's recent
surge of athletic success to the arrival in 1992 of point guard
Jason Kidd, now with the Phoenix Suns, who led the Golden Bears
to the NCAA tournament in both of his seasons before jumping to
the NBA. "Jason changed the entire athletic program," Sampson
says. "He made it cool to go to Cal."
Three years after Kidd's departure, it's still hard to get a
ticket to watch the men's basketball team, which plays in Harmon
Gymnasium, a notorious bandbox where students in the late 1940s
and early '50s would drop a dead duck from the rafters when the
gun sounded to end the first half. Seating is in such demand
that the place is being rebuilt to double its capacity of 6,578.
If the football rooting section at Memorial Stadium isn't as
teeming, it's because Tightwad Hill rises above the northeast
corner of the stadium and offers the best free view in college
football--a vista that encompasses not only the game but also
the San Francisco skyline and bay, and even the Golden Gate
Bridge (page 84).
For exercise, students head to the Recreational Sports Facility,
which pulsates with pickup basketball, racquetball, volleyball
and weightlifting, or take part in intramurals or any of 23
student-run club sports, including ballroom dancing and
triathlon. The Cal Adventures program offers instruction in fly-
fishing, kayaking, rock climbing and other outdoor pursuits.
Students who venture off-campus need not go far to boardsail
under the Golden Gate Bridge or ski at South Lake Tahoe.
All Cal students agree on one thing: Beat Stanford! The
importance of this cross-bay rivalry can be measured by its
singular adjective: It's the Big Game, the Big Meet, the Big
Splash. The high point of the rivalry, at least as viewed from
Berkeley's Campanile, was the Play, the clock-beating,
five-lateral kickoff return through the Stanford band that won
the 1982 Big Game. In Berkeley students are still celebrating.