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at the Claremont

Go Bears! Don’t miss Post Games at the Paragon, your Cal Basketball Season home base.

41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, CA 94705



ON THE COVER Back in Berkeley


The Degree Completion Program at Cal is designed to assist former student-athletes finish their requirements after having their academic careers, for whatever reason, interrupted. The number of Golden Bears back on campus after some time away continues to rise and includes some familiar faces who understand the importance a Cal degree carries for the rest of their lives.

FEATURES Can Magic Strike Twice? Perseverance and loyalty. No better words in the dictionary can describe the college baseball career of Cal senior first baseman Devon Rodriguez. Having experienced the high of perhaps the greatest clutch hit in program history to near career-ending injuries, Rodriguez’s love for Cal baseball has brought him back for his senior season in 2014.

Impact Performer

From the moment Malaina Payton stepped onto the track for her first season as a Golden Bear in the spring of 2010, she has found a way to make an impact both as a sprinter and a record-setting long jumper. Payton can trace her roots in the sport to her father, Norbert, who possesses his own track legacy.

Welcome, Sand Volleyball

Rich Feller is drawing a line in the sand. And his new players are following it. Cal’s volleyball coach of the last 15 years has a new sport to spearhead at Cal – sand volleyball. The athletic department added the sport to its roster of programs in January, which had its first intercollegiate season this spring.

Matching Gifts for Unmatched Excellence

When The William and Grace Ford Undergraduate Scholarship Matching Program gave donors a chance to double their already priceless support of Cal Athletics with matching gifts, dollar for dollar, in $100,000 increments to create 10 new athletic scholarships at the University, the response from the Cal Athletics community was swift. One million dollars was raised in very short order.

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Seeking the Hard Road



On the surface, the late Orlando Tafoya, who attended Cal during the days of Pappy Waldorf, and softball player Breana Kostreba may not appear to have much in common. But the two are inextricably linked through the Orlando Tafoya Memorial Scholarship, which is presented to a student enrolled in engineering interested in sports.

Navigating the Rough Waters



The waters haven’t always been smooth for senior rower Carter Crowe, but having lived through a life-altering experience, he has remained buoyant trying to find a way to come out on top. Most significantly, Crowe overcame a tennis ball-sized tumor in his brain to earn a place in Cal’s varsity eight boat.


Letter from the Director of Athletics........................................... 2 Sideline Report......................................................................... 4 Roll on You Bear...................................................................... 24 Academic Achievement............................................................ 34 Home Events Calendar............................................................. 36

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from Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour

s we near the end of our spring semester and our student-athletes scheduled to finish their degrees prepare for graduation, let us pause for a moment to reflect on the journey these gifted scholar-athletes have made during their time in Berkeley. We are extremely proud of the effort they have put forward to be successful in the classroom, on the field of competition and in their community.


We are also proud of how they came together and persevered during the worst possible tragedy a family, athletic program, campus and community could ever experience – the loss of a fellow student-athlete. On Feb. 7, we lost a wonderfully bright and talented student-athlete with the sudden and tragic death of Ted Agu. The way Ted lived his life and the positive impact he made on everyone he touched will change Cal Football and Cal Athletics forever. We will always honor number #35 and he will always hold a special place in our hearts. You should know the tremendous outpouring of support from our Cal Family, the Pac-12 Conference and so many more from around the country made a difference.

Academically, we witnessed the outstanding performance of several of our teams, including women’s golf, which led the way with a 3.54 GPA in the fall, while field hockey was at 3.34 and lacrosse and volleyball had 3.26 GPAs.

Athletically, our winter and spring sports captured four conference titles (as of our publication date) in women’s tennis, men’s indoor track & field, and men’s and women’s swimming & diving. Led by head coach Dave Durden and his staff, our men’s swimming & diving team also won its third NCAA Championship in four years, while Teri McKeever guided our women’s swimming & diving program to a third-place NCAA finish. Our women’s basketball team made the NCAA Tournament for a third straight year under the direction of Lindsay Gottlieb, and our women’s gymnastics team enjoyed its best season in 20 years, capped by a third-place result at the Pac-12 meet. Transition and change also impacted us this spring. Our 30th sport, sand volleyball, was introduced at Cal. And after reaching the quarterfinals of the National Invitational Tournament and six consecutive seasons of success at the helm of our men’s basketball team, our iconic head coach Mike Montgomery announced his retirement from the game to which he devoted more than four decades of his life. A short time later, we welcomed the arrival of new head coach Cuonzo Martin, who joins us most recently from the University of Tennessee. Finally, we are very excited about the return to campus of several of our former student-athletes. These individuals all enjoyed success at the professional level in their respective sports, but since retiring, have all made the decision to come back to Berkeley to finish their degrees. They are the focus of our cover story, and we hope you enjoy reading about how truly special they are, as much as we are honored to have them back on campus. Our student-athletes at this institution are incredibly gifted. Your support empowers us to strive for what is expected at the world’s No. 1 public university. Together, we will continue to work toward helping them achieve greatness. Go Bears!

Sandy Barbour

Director of Athletics


Dear Friend of Cal Athletics:


EDITORIAL STAFF 349 Haas Pavilion Berkeley, CA 94720 EDITOR: Herb Benenson

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Scott Ball, Dean Caparaz, Doug Drabik, Miquel Jacobs, Nicole Loscavio, Anton Malko, Wes Mallett, Kyle McRae, Tim Miguel, Jonathan Okanes, Mara Rudolph, Jordan Stepp DESIGN: Evan Kerr

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ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICE 195 Haas Pavilion Berkeley, CA 94720 (510) 642-2427

ATHLETIC TICKET OFFICE (800) GO BEARS For daily updates on Cal Athletics, including schedules, press releases and player profiles, visit the department’s official website at

ON THE COVER Jahvid Best, Tully Banta-Cain and J.J. Arrington are among a host of former student-athletes back on campus to finish their requirements through the Degree Completion Program, which is overseen by Athletic Study Center Director Derek Van Rheenen (far right). Photo by Don Feria.

General Manager: Mike Kohler (510) 643-4825 The Cal Sports Quarterly is published four times per year by the University of California Athletic Department.


cal sports quarterly

Cuonzo Martin Chosen to Lead Men’s Basketball Program


wo weeks and a day after Mike Montgomery announced his retirement after six years at the helm of the Cal men’s basketball team, the Golden Bears found his successor – Cuonzo Martin. A star player at Purdue and a winning head coach at both Missouri State and most recently at Tennessee, Martin possesses all of the attributes necessary for the position. But what made him rise above among all others was the commitment he has shown over the course of his career to the development of the young men in his programs, as well as deep involvement into the local community. “One of the things that stood out about Cuonzo Martin is his record – his record of success, his record of winning … and the comments every step of the way about who he is as a man and who he is as a coach,” Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour said. “Throughout the course of our conversations, community and family kept coming up. This is a man along with his wonderful wife and family, who is going to come to this community and really dive in.” An All-Big Ten player at Purdue, Martin helped the Boilermakers to a pair of conference titles and to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 1994. Following a four-year professional career, he returned to his alma mater as an assistant under Gene Keady and later under Matt Painter before taking the Missouri State position in 2008. Three years and a conference championship later, Martin moved to Tennessee, where his win total increased each of the past three seasons, culminating with a Sweet 16 berth this past March. “This is a wonderful place and we’ll continue to build on the success of Coach Montgomery,” said Martin, whose first name is pronounced KAHN-zo. “I think the biggest thing we are going to do is certainly reach out to the community, as well as the campus. But we’ve got to get out to the community. I take pride in that and it’s big for our program. “I’m a young man that comes from East St. Louis, Ill., and now I have the opportunity to coach at the No. 1 public institution in the world and that is very humbling,” Martin added. “There were a lot of great, qualified candidates and they chose me, so I don’t take that lightly.”

A Special Season for Women’s Gymnastics


he Cal women’s gymnastics program completed its most successful campaign in more than two decades, a season that included the team’s highest-ever finish at the Pac-12 Championships (third). In addition, Justin Howell was tabbed the NCAA regional coach of the Year and senior Alicia Asturias was named the women’s gymnastics Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The Bears were ranked 16th in the final standings, up a remarkable 33 places from just two years ago. Overall, Cal posted team meet scores of 196.00 or higher during the season – an unprecedented total in school history. At the individual level, Asturias and Dallas Crawford both qualified for the NCAA national meet, with Asturias becoming a second-team All-American.


cal sports quarterly

Alicia Asturias

Men’s Swimming & Diving Claims 5th NCAA Title with Big Surge on Final Day


ed by record-setting freshman Ryan Murphy and an inspired 1650-yard freestyle swim from senior Jeremy Bagshaw, the Cal men’s swimming & diving team captured the 2014 NCAA Championship with an inspired performance on the meet’s final day. Trailing host Texas by six points after the first two sets of finals, the Golden Bears roared out of the gate when Bagshaw smashed the Cal record by 10 seconds on his way to a runner-up finish in his distance free event. Virtually all of the Bears improved from their morning prelims on the last night, including Murphy, who won the 200 back crown in a meet-record 1:37.35 to complement his The Golden Bears celebrate their third NCAA crown in the past four years. 100 back title a day earlier. “I felt if we were within 20 (points), we were going to be in good helped the Bears to a more than 50-point final advantage over shape,” head coach David Durden said after the final night. “We Texas, 468.5-417.5. were going to be in good shape within six. That felt good. We felt With victories in both 2011 and 2012, Cal has won three of like we just had to outscore Texas in every swimming event.” the last four NCAA championships and five in its history (also In addition to Murphy, Cal earned its place atop the platform 1979 and ’80). Durden was named NCAA Coach of the Meet with three relay victories over the course of the meet – the and Pac-12 Coach of the Year, and Murphy picked up the Pac200 and 400 medley relays and the 200 free relay. The results 12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year honor.

Women’s Swimming & Diving Earns Pac-12 Crown with 8 Individual and Relay Victories


ed by freshman Missy Franklin’s three victories in the 100, 200 and 500 free – all in meet-record times – Cal secured its third women’s swimming & diving Pac-12 title in school history March 1. The Bears prevailed in the 400 and 800 free relay and the 400 medley relay, while sophomores Rachel Bootsma (100 back) and Elizabeth Pelton (200 back) defended their crowns from a year ago. Franklin picked up Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet honors, the first of several individual recognitions during the month of March. At the NCAA Championships, she set an American record in winning the 200 free Cal’s jubilant squad points out who is No. 1 in Pac-12 women’s swimming & diving. and brought Cal’s 800 free relay back from a 2.5-second deficit with a blistering anchor leg for March 26 – the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year – the win, helping the Bears to a third-place national team finish. during a ceremony in Malaysia for her outstanding 2013 acTabbed the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, complishments, which included six gold medals at the World Franklin received perhaps her most distinguished award Championships.

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Bear Backers Honored At Annual Luncheon


Seamus Kelly

Kelly, Fellow Bears Help USA into World Cup


dding to his already historic collegiate legacy while representing his country on the international stage, Cal rugby captain Seamus Kelly joined alumni Eric Fry, Blaine Scully and Louis Stanfill as all four started for the U.S. National Team in a must-have win over Uruguay on March 29 to qualify for the next Rugby World Cup. Kelly, his three fellow Bears and their teammates hunkered down for the 32-13 victory in Marietta, Ga., to lock up a spot at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, where the Americans will be seeded behind South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and a final Asia qualifier in Pool B of the fourpool, 20-team tournament. The Rugby World Cup is the third-most-watched sporting event in the world behind two other quadrennial events, the Summer Olympics and FIFA World Cup. This latest international appearance with the national team for Kelly was his eighth, joining those made by Fry (22), Scully (16) and Stanfill (45) to increase the number of national team 15s appearances by Cal players to 615 all-time. The first three-time captain in the history of the oldest intercollegiate sport at the University, Kelly graduates this spring with a degree in political economy. Stanfill, Fry and Scully have all played professionally overseas, with the latter two currently under contract in the English Premiership.


cal sports quarterly

al Athletics offered its heartfelt best to its most avid supporters during the annual Bear Backer Luncheon held Feb. 18 at the Claremont Hotel. “You are essential members of our Cal family,” Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour told the crowd. “You pick us up when we’re down. You encourage us to be resilient. And you show your gratitude to our student-athletes for how they represent this university by contributing your time and money to support their pursuit of excellence.” The annual luncheon is a way for the Cal athletic community to express its gratitude for those alumni, fans and community members who support the 30 sports teams on campus. Coaches and student-athletes from different teams were on hand, as well as several members of the department’s administration and staff. The highlights of the day are the

awards, given to a handful of Bear Backers in different categories for their special contributions to Cal’s athletic department. This year’s recipients Nick Brereton were: David Eckles – Bear of the Year (for outstanding contributions toward the continuing excellence of Cal Athletics) Nick Brereton – Golden Bear of the Year (for volunteer service) Andy Rogers – Cub of the Year (to a young alumnus for volunteer service) Bob Calonico – Cal Spirit Recognition Thank you to the award winners, everyone in attendance at the luncheon and to all of those who enable Cal Athletics to support its 30 teams and more than 850 student-athletes every day.

Members of the 1964 Cal crew donated a new racing boat on the 50th anniversary of their national title.

Cal Crew Celebrates 50th Anniversary of 1964 Championship


he annual Alumni Day for Cal men’s and women’s crew featured some special guests during the event on March 8 at the T. Gary Rogers Rowing Center. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 men’s Varsity 8 that captured the national championship, and 16 members of the varsity and junior varsity boats made the trip to the Oakland Estuary for the day’s ceremonies. The 1964 team decided to honor its accomplishment with a $40,000 donation to Cal crew for the purchase of a boat that will benefit the program for years to come. The boat, named “The Brother of ’64,” was christened with the customary bottle of champagne in front of the large gathering of alumni and their families. Former rowers Steve Johnson and Jim Libien spoke to the group and shared some of their experiences as members of the team, as well as their excitement for Cal Crew as a whole. Libien said it best when he stated that “the brotherhood between these guys is really something to cherish.”

Varsity Boat Malcolm Thornley Alan Mooers John Sellers Mike Page Ed Bradbury Scott Gregg Gus Schilling Steve Johnson Jim Libien Junior Varsity Hal Eastman Don Wiesner Ron Sellers Eric Van de Water Frank Brown John McConnell John Gregory Bob Cross Dan Phillips

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Back in Berkeley Degree Complete Program Helps Former Student-Athletes Return to Campus to Earn their Degrees By Herb Benenson


trolling through Berkeley nearly 12 seasons since he last suited up for the Golden Bears, Tully Banta-Cain recalls the familiar sights and sounds of the University of California campus and the surrounding area.

The view from the Lawrence Hall of Science high above the bay, the boats docked at the Berkeley Marina on the waterfront and even certain smells trigger memories from his days as a Golden Bear more than a decade ago when he prowled the gridiron as an All-Pac-10 defensive end on the football team. But Banta-Cain is back at Cal for more than just reminiscing. He is here to finish something he started when he first enrolled in the fall of 1998. Following an eight-year NFL career that netted two Super Bowl championship rings while with the New England Patriots, Banta-Cain wants to earn his college degree. “I felt like it was something I had to finish,” Banta-Cain said. “Leaving early for the NFL was an opportunity for me. I felt like it was something that was lingering on my to-do list. Why not get it done while I’m still young and in a mode of transitioning careers from the NFL to whatever I do next? I felt like it would be a perfect opportunity to get back in and finish.” Banta-Cain is not alone as a former student-athlete in the classroom. He, along with dozens of others, is taking advantage of Cal’s Degree Completion Program (DCP), a coordinated effort that includes support from the Athletic Study Center, Cal Athletics, the Office of the Registrar, college and major advisors, and, of course, the student-athletes themselves. The focus of the program is the conclusion of the degree process for former student-athletes who, for one reason or another, had their academic careers interrupted. “I fully believe from a moral and ethical standpoint that we need to commit ourselves institutionally back to them,” said Derek Van Rheenen, the director of the Athletic Study Center who oversees the Degree Completion Program. “Not in the short run, not just while they’re participating in sports,


Derek Van Rheenen (standing) oversees the Degree C o m p l e t i o n P r o g r a m t h a t i s a s s i s t i n g s u c h f o r m e r stu d e n ta t h l e t e s a s ( f r o m l e f t ) J . J . A r r i n g t o n , T u l l y B a n ta - C a i n a n d Jahvid Best earn their Cal degrees.

but in the long run. If someone is not ultimately graduating while they’re here and eligible, that offer continues to remain throughout their lives. They decide when it’s the right time to come back.” Among those currently on track to finish after time away are more than half a dozen football players. Besides Banta-Cain, the list includes former running backs Jahvid Best and J.J. Arrington, as well as receiver Nyan “One of the most important things we do in our proBoateng and linebackers Ryan Davis and Devin gram is to welcome former players back and make Bishop. Beyond football, many others are taking adthem feel at home. It’s a credit to them for wanting to vantage of the opportunity to earn their degrees come back, and it’s a credit to our administration for years after leaving Berkeley. Former soccer star encouraging them to come back.” Megan Jesolva and former basketball Pac-10 Play– football coach Sonny Dykes er of the Year Sean Lampley, for example, are also close to completing their requirements.

cal sports quarterly

In recent years, three of the more high profile student-athletes to pass through the DCP are Shareef Abdur-Rahm (basketball), Todd Steussie (football) and Anthony Ervin (swimming). All fulfilled their requirements more than 10 years after departing from Cal and enjoying long careers in sports. Today, Abdur-Rahim serves as director of player personnel for the Sacramento Kings and general manager of the Kings’ Developmental League team in Reno, while Steussie is a management consultant in St. Louis after earning an MBA at Northwestern. Ervin is back in the pool after a period out of the water and earned a spot on the 2012 USA Olympic team in the 50 freestyle. But for every well-known student-athlete, there are many more lesser-known individuals who more quietly return to school. The reasons why they left early vary widely and not all were to play professionally.

“Some of these students have already had successful careers,” Van Rheenen said. “They are ultimately transitioning from one profession, and they’ve decided now that it’s time to ultimately get done what they weren’t able to get done.” Once back on campus, the former student-athletes often have a fresh perspective on their studies. Older, more mature and unburdened from the commitment to train and compete, they often find more satisfaction the second time around. “Your time management is better,” said Arrington, who led the nation in rushing in 2004 and was a second-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals before a series of knee surgeries ended his playing career. “This is my first time going to school without playing a sport. Part of the reason I signed (with Cal) was for the education. Like the NFL was a dream, to finish school was a big dream, too. I’m going to be the only male in my family to graduate from a four-year college.” From the moment Sonny Dykes took over leadership of the Cal football program in December 2012, improving the culture around academics has been a major focus. Results for the present players can be seen in significantly higher GPAs and Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores over the past year. But part of his philosophy extends to former student-athletes, offering them an invitation to be a valuable part of the Cal football family. “One of the most important things we do in our program is to welcome former players back and make them feel at home,” Dykes said. “They’ve invested a lot into this program and this university. It’s a credit to them for wanting to come back, and it’s a credit to our administration for encouraging them to come back.” With the average NFL career about 3 1/2 years, many players who first earn their place in the professional league are on the outside by the time they’ve reached their mid-20s. “What are you going to do for the next 50 years?” Dykes said. “That’s why it’s so critical in today’s day and age to get that degree.” Take Jahvid Best, for example. A first-round draft pick after a record-setting career at Cal, Best left school following his junior year for the NFL. But after parts of two seasons with the Detroit Lions, injuries ended his playing days and by January of 2014 – just before he turned 25 – Best was re-enrolled at Cal and working on his degree requirements. “The first couple of weeks were the toughest, just waking up and getting back into the routine of going to class and taking notes,” Best admitted. “I kind of forgot what that was like. I came back to finish my degree. That was the first thing I wanted to do after my football days were over.” In addition to his schoolwork, Best is also giving back to the football program, working with the coaches as a student assistant. Banta-Cain and Arrington are also helping as mentors to the players in the program, offering advice on how to handle

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themselves and setting expectations a specific class or assignment or even for their careers after college. an online course. Van Rheenen and his “The message really radiates with staff at the Athletic Study Center are our players,” said Ron Coccimiglio, diready to help navigate the terrain to rector of career development for Cal ensure all of the necessary measures football. “It’s great when somebody are taken. The list includes such areas has walked in the path previous to as registration, advising, tutoring, cathem. To see them come back really reer counseling and simply learning confirms the importance of getting the how to fit in again on campus. Addidegree.” tionally, a supportive team culture That sentiment certainly extends within each sport program is importthroughout Cal’s 30 intercollegiate ant to let the former student-athletes programs. Jesolva was an All-Pac-10 know that they are welcome any time performer for the Bears’ women’s they want to return. soccer team in 2010, then left school “A lot of these individuals will nevduring the spring of her senior year to er count in terms of graduation rates,” try her hand at the pro game, a chance said Van Rheenen, noting the six-year of a lifetime, she said. But by the next window student-athletes have to finfall, the league had folded and she ish their degrees in order to be concame back to school to take care of her sidered in NCAA graduation rate data. degree requirements. “Is it the right thing to do? Yes. Is it “Soccer had been a big deal for me – important that we’re still here to supit got me into Berkeley – but my educaport them? Absolutely. It’s a matter of tion is what is going to get me through doing what should be done.” the rest of my life,” said Jesolva, who is Given that they possess more life exnow working as a personal trainer and periences than the typical college stumanager of a sportswear shop in Mandent, those in the completion program hattan Beach. often make time to help guide current Similarly, Demetrius Omphroy had a student-athletes through the difficulchoice to make after his senior soccer ties and decision-making process that season in 2011 when he was drafted come with being an undergraduate at into Major League Soccer. Over the the world’s No. 1 public university. next couple of years, he played for Megan Jesolva “What has been most successful Toronto and DC United, as well as for is when they find their place back the Filipino National Team. In 2013, “Soccer had been a big deal for me – it on campus, how incredibly valuable he had a chance to return to Cal with got me into Berkeley – but my educa- they can be as mentors to young stua scholarship to help defray the costs, dent-athletes, regardless of what they and he took full advantage of the op- tion is what is going to get me through went on to do, whether they had sucthe rest of my life.” portunity. cessful career in the pros, whether “One of my bigger goals was to get they took a break because of finan– former Cal soccer star my degree,” Omphroy said. “Playcial reasons or family issues,” Van Megan Jesolva ing professional soccer and traveling Rheenen said. “They come back and around was a huge accomplishment, they’re more mature. They’re coming but getting a degree from UC Berkeley is worth a lot more in back with a different engagement level oftentimes into their my opinion. You hear so many stories about guys who leave institutional academic work. They become very good role to play pro and never go back. I didn’t want to be one of those models and are respected by young student-athletes.” kids.” Banta-Cain, as with many of the former student-athletes on Under the Degree Completion Program, which was created campus, fits that precise description. Not only has he stood bewith a gift in memory of David Paul Ross (Class of 1984) and fore the Cal football team to offer his perspective on life in the continues to receive financial support from the Ross family, the NFL with all the pressures and obligations that come with it, number of “those kids” has the potential to drop dramatically but he has found that he enjoys school far more than he did the over the upcoming years. Through improved tracking, partly first time around. as a result of recent NCAA academic reforms, advisors, coach“I’m a lot older now, so some of the things that are going on es and athletic department administrators have a better idea in class are a lot more relevant to me than they were just afwhere each student-athlete stands in relation to their degree ter high school,” Banta-Cain said. “I’m enjoying all my classes. requirements every semester. The athletic department also I’m sitting in the front. I’m answering questions. It’s good to be helps with outreach and financial resources to encourage for- more interactive with the whole educational process.” mer student-athletes to return to school. Through the Degree Completion Program, more and more As a result, it has become easier to work with students to former student-athletes are getting the opportunity to expefinish their final steps – whether it’s a full semester in Berkeley, rience just that.


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Can Strike Twice? Senior Devon Rodriguez Wants to Help Bears Return to College World Series

Perseverance and loyalty. No better words in the dictionary can describe the college baseball career of Cal senior first baseman Devon Rodriguez. During his time in Berkeley, the Golden Bears’ slugger from Newhall has experienced the exhilaration of producing what many consider the greatest clutch hit in the history of Cal baseball. He also suffered a series of injuries that not only could have ended his baseball career, but included one that was potentially life Devon Rodriguez threatening. Through it all, the love of his team and the Cal program has brought Rodriguez back for his senior season in 2014. “I finally feel normal,” Rodriguez said. “I know people were going to be doubting me entering this season after coming off injuries the past two years. That’s where it’s been fun. Having the opportunity to prove people wrong and have some fun out there. I’m finally healthy and feeling good.” It has been more than two years since Rodriguez has felt completely healthy and good. To understand the Cal slugger’s odyssey that has put him where he stands now, a step back in time is in order.

First, the good times for Rodriguez. On June 5, 2011, in Houston, the Bears were playing Baylor in the NCAA Regional championship game at Rice’s Reckling Park. Baylor had opened up a 7-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning, but Cal came back with two runs in the bottom of the frame, and Rodriquez smacked a two-run homer in the eighth inning to set the score at 7-5. Baylor padded its lead with a run in the top of the ninth inning for an 8-5 advantage, but the Golden Bears were not finished, especially with all they had gone through during the 2011 campaign. Cal scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to get within, 8-7, but was down to its final out with Rodriguez at the plate. Facing a two-strike count, he lined a shot into right field, scoring Austin Booker and Tony Renda with the winning run, causing pandemonium (with KALX announcer Danny Freisinger’s frantic call later being aired on ESPN) and sending the Bears to their first-ever Super Regional and an eventual berth in the 2011 College World Series. This was all amidst the backdrop of the announcement the previous fall that Cal baseball would be dropped at the end of the campaign due to athletic department budget cuts, thus making Rodriguez’s

spring 2014


“I remember the Baylor game like it was yesterday … It’s just awesome to know I was able to be a part of something so special.” – Devon Rodriguez

Video stills from the 2011 N C AA Regional final show Devo n Rodriguez’s big hit agains t Bay lor and the ensuing celebrat ion.


cal sports quarterly

hit that much more poignant. The issue of the program’s demise has since been thoroughly resolved through impressive fundraising spearheaded by the Cal Baseball Foundation. “So much emotion came into that final atbat in Houston,” said Rodriguez. “It wasn’t just for me; it was for all the donors and people who had supported us.” Rodriguez was part of a strong returning nucleus in 2012 that had head coach David Esquer optimistic his program could make a return trip to Omaha. But on a rainy day of practice before the start of the season, Rodriguez made a diving attempt at a ball and came down hard on the ground. He suffered a knee injury that originally was supposed to keep him out of action 4-6 weeks. However during his rehabilitation, he developed a blood clot and got into just four games before being forced to shut down for the year. “It was one of the most serious things I’ve ever dealt with,” Rodriguez said. “I had heard of blood clots but I didn’t really know the significance of them. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t get hit by anything. That kind of put everything in perspective. Now, I don’t really take it for granted. Every day that goes by I try to live to the fullest.” Rodriguez recovered and was playing as well as he had in his entire career that next fall, according to Esquer. But during the Bears’ final scrimmage before the spring, Rodriguez hurt his shoulder sliding back into first base as a ball was thrown in behind him from the outfield. “I knew as soon as it happened something was wrong,” Rodriguez said. “I couldn’t even get up off the ground.” Rodriguez probably should have had surgery, but that would have put him out again for an extended period of time. He had enough of sitting out and decided that his team needed him too badly, electing to play the entire season through the pain. “He played on one arm essentially because of his loyalty to the team,” Esquer said. “You’d see him swing and miss, and he would wince in pain. He’d have to go days without taking batting practice just to make sure he could make it to the weekend and play in the game. At the end of the year, I just said thank you.”

Despite his physical limitations in 2013, Rodriguez was still productive. He batted .277, was ninth in the Pac-12 with seven home runs and had 40 RBI. But everyone watching knew he wasn’t himself. “At any point in time, Devon could have had surgery and taken himself out for the season,” said Esquer. “He just wouldn’t do that.” During those rough days in 2012 and 2013, Rodriguez always had something that would help motivate him. “I would just go on YouTube and watch my hit against Baylor,” said the Cal first baseman. “Those rough days you have coming back from surgery, those days where you’re wondering if you’re ever going to get back to your old self, those are the kind of days you go look at that video and it kind of serves as motivation. I kept telling myself, ‘Let’s keep pushing through it so once I get healthy, I can get another situation like that and hopefully come through again.’ “I remember the Baylor game like it was yesterday,” Rodriguez continued. “I can walk through that whole inning and everything I was thinking from the start of the inning to when I got on the on-deck circle to when I was up to bat. I remember the pitches he threw me, the count, everything. “It’s just awesome to know I was able to be a part of something so special - just that whole year from the team coming back after getting cut. I felt like I had the whole year on my back the entire at-bat. It’s just how special that team was, that season. It brings back all the good memories that I have with all the guys.” Now in 2014, Rodriguez shares his Houston Regional, Super Regional and College World Series memories with teammates Kyle Porter, Vince Bruno, Michael Theofanopoulos and Derek Campbell – all members of the 2011 squad – with hopes of again returning to the postseason and making all his trials and tribulations worth it. He would also like to share that championship feeling with all of his current teammates. “I just want to get us back to the top,” said Rodriguez. “Whatever it takes, I am going to do all I can to get us there.”

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Impact Performer

Malaina Payton Makes Her Presence Known on the Track and in the Field By Jordan Stepp


rom the moment Malaina Payton stepped onto the track at Edwards Stadium for her first season as a Golden Bear in the spring of 2010, she has found a way to make an impact. A sprinter and long jumper in high school, she immediately put both of those skills to use for Cal. During that freshman year, Payton ran the leadoff leg on the Bears’ 4x100-meter relay that qualified for the NCAA Championships, and she established a school freshman record in the long jump, breaking the mark of 20-0.25 set by Hall of Famer Sheila Hudson nearly 25 years prior. Over the seasons since, Payton has continued to establish herself as one of the top sprinter-jumpers in Cal history. She has qualified for both the NCAA indoor and outdoor meet in the long jump multiple times and this past February, earned the indoor conference title at the MPSF Championships. The fact that Payton has excelled in track & field should come as no surprise to those who know her family history. In particular, her father, Norbert, has had the greatest influence on her competitive career.


cal sports quarterly

In the early 1970s, Norbert Payton was a long jumper and ran track at Washington State, similar to what his daughter does today. He is entrenched in the Cougars’ record books in the 100-meter dash, with his best time coming in 1971 when he was clocked in 10.40, which to this day stands as the 10thbest mark in WSU history. He then went on to the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1972 in Eugene, Ore., competing with some of the best athletes in the country. Norbert’s background in track & field led him into coaching, which quickly developed into a passion. Nobody felt and experienced that fervency more than his own children, Malaina especially. “My Dad is the one who actually got me started running track because he long jumped and ran the 100 meters when he was young and throughout college,” Malaina said. “It was definitely his dream to have all of us become successful track athletes.” At an early age, Malaina sought out other athletic outlets, desiring to participate in activities such as gymnastics and cheerleading. Even still, the drive to have his daughter become successful in track & field was a priority for Norbert. “I think I was the most successful out of all of us, but trying to live up to what he has accomplished and expected was tough,” Malaina recounted. “Even though I was participating

Malaina Payton excels in the long jump, as her father, Norbert, did before her at Washington State.

Malaina Peyton

Norbert Peyton

in other sports, I always was going to track practice afterwards.” Malaina’s path to Berkeley started to take shape during her high school years. Before her senior year, she transferred to Fremont High School in Oakland in order to reunite with her father, who served as the school’s track & field coach. Together, they believed the move could pay dividends as far as her future in the sport was concerned. The two were a team again, and as a result, they saw one clear path to an elite university to pursue her higher education. “I think trying to “Having gone to school (in balance athletics Oakland), where the academand academics is ics weren’t necessarily a high the most difficult priority in some cases, my Dad aspect of being a and I knew that if I wanted to student-athlete ... go to a great school like Cal, I But once you get would probably have to do so by earning an athletic scholarship,” the hang of it, you Malaina recalled. understand what Once at Fremont, Malaina’s you have to do and performances gained notice, if you want it, you with bests of 19-9.50 in the long will achieve it.” jump and 12.10 in the 100-me– Malaina Payton ters. However, the coach-pupil dynamic soon threatened to force a wedge between father and daughter. “I think in high school, he approached certain things from the point of view of my track coach, rather than just simply as my father,” said Malaina, who noted that their bond has now fully mended. “I think today there is much more of a balance between the two. “He’ll try to calm me down and provide good advice,” she added. “I am happy that we can have that type of relationship now. During high school, at times it was more of a coach-athlete relationship. Even at home, he was still coaching me at the dinner table and there were some times that I had even wanted to quit, because it got to be overwhelming.” Now, Malaina is thriving on the track & field team at Cal. She ranks among the top 10 performers in the long jump in school history and has earned the right to compete at the highest

collegiate stage at the NCAA Championships. Last year’s Big Meet at Stanford provided a perfect example of Malaina’s capabilities. She captured the long jump with a mark of 21-1.50 while also establishing a new personal best in the 100-meter dash, running an 11.92. Not only has Malaina shined in her chosen sport, she has also leant her time to working within Cal Athletics as a valued member of the events management student staff. “Malaina has worked diligently during her time at Cal to become an outstanding student-athlete,” director of track & field Tony Sandoval said. “She’s seized the opportunity to attend Cal and utilized all the resources both academically and athletically to her advantage. She’s an All-American in the long jump, has run the lead off leg on the 4x100 and the 100 meters in most of our meets. We are so proud of her time with us, and she is a great leader and valuable Golden Bear.” With the outdoor season in full swing, Payton has her sights set on several lofty objectives before her collegiate career ends in June. At the top of the list is Hudson’s school record of 22-1 in the long jump, a mark that dates back to the 1990 campaign and stands as one of the oldest standards in the Cal record book. If Malaina is able to reach her target at the NCAA meet, it could put her in line for a coveted national title. “I was able to break her freshman record, so hopefully I’ll be able to break her overall record as well,” Malaina said. “That will then lead to going professional afterwards, which is also one of my goals.” Having conquered the challenges of being a student-athlete at Cal, the interdisciplinary studies major has grown to become comfortable in her role with the Bears and is on track for her degree, which will complete her old high school aspiration of graduating from a highly regarded institution. “I think trying to balance athletics and academics is the most difficult aspect of being a student-athlete,” Malaina said. “It was a big challenge in both my freshman and sophomore years, but once you get the hang of it, you understand what you have to do and if you want it, you will achieve it.” As Malaina Payton prepares to enter the post-collegiate world, she does so with full confidence and knowing that the will to succeed instilled by her father has paid many dividends in the long run.

spring 2014


Welcome Sand Cal Adds Fast-Growing Sport to Intercollegiate Lineup By Jonathan Okanes


ich Feller is drawing a line in the sand. And his new players are following it. Cal’s volleyball coach of the last 15 years has a new sport to spearhead at Cal – sand volleyball. The athletic department added the sport to its roster of programs in January and is having its first intercollegiate season this spring. Feller serves as the head coach and the roster is made up of almost exclusively players from the Bears’ indoor team in the fall. Sand volleyball is the fastest-growing sport in Division I athletics, according to the NCAA’s most recent participation survey. Around 40 programs across the country now sponsor sand volleyball, including eight in the Pac-12 Conference. The addition of sand volleyball now gives Cal Athletics 30 sports. It came as a way to allow the University to continue to comply with Title IX requirements by accommodating the interests and abilities of the underrepresented gender on campus (also known as Prong III). “I am very excited for the beginning of sand volleyball here at Cal,” Feller said. “The sport of sand volleyball has grown so much in just four years or so that it’s been in existence in the college realm. It’s just growing and growing and growing.” The excitement surrounding the growth of sand volleyball has been evident at the Clark Kerr Sand Courts this season. Crowds have come out on sun-splashed afternoons to watch each of the Bears’ doubles


cal sports quarterly

teams wage battles against their opponents. With only two matches taking place at once, players who aren’t participating at the time line up to watch along with fans, creating a festive, intimate environment. In collegiate sand volleyball, teams play five doubles matches against each other, with the school winning three or more earning the overall victory. Matches are a best-of-three format, with the first two sets being played to 21 and the if-necessary third set going to 15. And while there are some similarities between sand volleyball and the indoor game, they are two distinctly different sports. “You have to be a good all-around player,” said former Cal star setter Holly McPeak, who went on to become one of the United States’ most decorated sand volleyball players ever and a three-time Olympian. “If you can’t pass, forget about it. You’re done. If you can’t set, you’ll never win. You have to do everything.” Indeed, in some ways sand volleyball is more demanding than the indoor game in that it requires participants to perform every skill in the sport. In indoor college volleyball, athletes that play in every rotation and therefore are called upon to master every aspect of the game are becoming more of an exception than a rule. Most players perform only in the front row or back row. The libero plays defense only. Some teams use two setters so they are always in the back row, thus not forcing them to block taller players. “These days, girls are getting bigger and bigger and it’s becoming very specialized,” McPeak said.

Volleyball T h e C l a r k K e r r S a n d C o u r t s h a v e b e e n b u s t l i n g w i t h a c ti vi ty th i s s p r i n g w i t h t h e a d d i t i o n o f s a n d v o l l e y b a l l a s a n i n t e r c ol l e g i a te sp o r t.

“You might be a fantastic hitter and blocker but play just in the front row. There’s no hiding in sand volleyball. Even if you are a huge hitter, you have to pass the ball. They may serve your partner and see if you can set the ball. You have to play defense. You have to perform every skill. It’s a huge physical challenge.” The differences with sand volleyball affect Feller and the coaching staff as well. Feller has sought insights from some of the sport’s greats like McPeak and Barbara Fontana, who helps McPeak run a sand volleyball club in Southern California. Feller also hired volunteer assistant coach Nicole Walthall, a AAA-rated competitor in the California Beach Volleyball Association who has been a fixture at the Clark Kerr Sand Courts for years, coaching numerous CBVA players to prepare them for competition. “There are a lot of little things that the coaches are doing,” Feller said. “It’s great because you can draw a line in the sand. There are a lot of things where you are drawing a line in the sand and saying this is the direction you want to get off the net, this is the direction you want to come back. It’s a totally different involvement, but there is a lot of coaching in the practices.” Feller said the introduction of sand volleyball has rejuvenated him as a coach. With only two players on the court at one time, more focus is on team dynamics and managing personalities. And coaches aren’t allowed much interaction with players during matches, so there is an even greater emphasis on preparation. Feller also now attends club tournaments to recruit sand-only players.

“The sand is a challenge, and it makes me look at coaching a little bit differently,” Feller said. “A lot more of just managing personalities is part of the sand game because there are only two people out there on the court. It’s much more how you directly relate to just one other person. For me, it’s figuring out who can relate best to one other person. I’m excited. I’m enjoying some of the challenge of it.” The university was able to add sand volleyball at a minimal cost. There are no new paid coaches or new scholarships, and all of the Bears’ opponents in 2014 reside in Northern California, keeping travel costs low. Schools like Saint Mary’s, Stanford, Santa Clara, USF and San Jose State are on Cal’s 2014 schedule. Many other schools are expected to add sand volleyball in the coming years, and an NCAA Championship event is likely a year or two away. McPeak, who has seen it all in the sport, says it has never been this popular. She said she expects there to be over 100 college programs in three years. “It’s the biggest grass roots effort in junior beach volleyball I have ever seen,” McPeak said. “The amount of young players playing in clubs is unbelievable. When I grew up, I couldn’t find any high school kids to play with me. Now a lot of kids playing indoor are trying sand and finding out that they love it.”

spring 2014


Matching Gifts for Unmatched Excellence Donations Double Through The William and Grace Ford Athletic Scholarship Matching Program

By Anton Malko


hen The William and Grace Ford Athletic Scholarship Matching Program gave donors a chance to double their already substantial support of Cal Athletics with matching gifts, dollar for dollar, in $100,000 increments to create 10 new athletic scholarships at the University, the response from the Cal Athletics community was swift. One million dollars was raised in very short order. The results – 10 new endowed athletic scholarships – will have an exponential impact on the programs involved, as well as on the lives and families of the student-athletes who receive them. Cal was a long-lasting love for the Fords. Grace Haldeman grew up in Oakland and earned a degree in art from the University in 1937 before meeting her future husband, Bill Ford, two years later. After successful careers and a nearly 60-year marriage that included loyal attendance together at Cal football games for almost as long, the Fords included a significant bequest to benefit the University in their estate plan. After Grace passed away, in appreciation of the University and to honor Grace’s memory, Bill generously supported the California Memorial Stadium renovation project, among other activities on campus. Upon Bill’s death, the athletic scholarship matching program was established with a portion of the Ford’s bequest. Although neither is alive now to appreciate the results of their matching program in person, Grace and Bill would clearly be overjoyed to provide such priceless educational opportunities to Golden Bear student-athletes. Continued on page 22


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Continued from page 20

The James McManus Scholarship

Jill Costello Memorial Athletic Scholarship

Among the 10 new athletic scholarships is one in memory of James McManus, a two-time tennis All-American who reached the NCAA doubles final in 1961 and graduated from the University in 1963. Also a two-time U.S. Hardcourt champion, 1968 Olympian and fourth-round singles player at Wimbledon in 1972, the same year he co-founded the Association of Tennis Professionals, McManus will be further remembered thanks to his widow, Carole, and brother, Tom, who teamed with the Fords to create The James McManus Scholarship for men’s tennis. “My husband loved being a Cal Bear,” said Mrs. MacManus, who credits to her brother-in-law for helping to guide the process. “It’s a wonderful way to honor Jim’s life and what Cal meant to him.” On April 12 at the annual McManus Legends Day, which began in 2010, the Cal tennis family celebrated Jim’s legacy and this new scholarship for members of the men’s tennis program. “I know how excited Jim would be to see the Cal tennis family grow through a matching opportunity like this to create a scholarship that helps another family,” men’s tennis coach Peter Wright said. “A matching opportunity challenges people.”

Like Jim McManus, Jill Costello holds an important place in the history of Cal Athletics. Costello, a coxswain from San Francisco, guided her boats in three Pac-10 and NCAA Championships before succumbing to lung cancer just after her senior year in 2010. Her courage and determination in the face of death made her the conference Rower of the Year and hero to all in the fight against her disease. Glenn and Bettina Duval of Santa Monica were profoundly moved by Costello’s life. When they heard about this scholarship matching opportunity, it was a perfect chance to double the value behind a plan they already had to create a scholarship in Jill’s memory. Now, with the Duvals’ generosity matched by The William and Grace Ford Athletic Scholarship Matching Program, another women’s rower will get an opportunity to attend the University in Costello’s name through the Jill Costello Memorial Athletic Scholarship Fund. “Ultimately, it’s about the kids,” said Bettina Duval (nee Scott Baig), who earned her BA in Rhetoric from Cal in 1982. “We’re people donors who want people to achieve their dreams.” Her husband, Glenn, is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and their family’s support of education extends elsewhere in the UC system. Their daughter, Anne, is a current junior on the women’s rowing team, and it was Costello who taught Annie to row when she attended a Cal Women’s Crew Camp. Most important to the Duvals, Bettina said, is that “Jill’s legacy lives on. She was an amazing young woman.” Bettina Duval calls the matching structure “a wonderful way to set up a donation program, and you can’t miss the chance to take advantage of such a great opportunity to double your money and make an impact on a young rower.”

“I know how excited Jim would be to see the Cal tennis family grow through a matching opportunity like this to create a scholarship that helps another family. A matching opportunity challenges people.” – men’s tennis coach Peter Wright


cal sports quarterly

The Newmark Women’s Golf Scholarship

Henry S. Barbour Family Athletic Scholarship

Adding to their array of gifts to Cal Athletics, Kent and Pat Newmark have further underscored their passion for academic and athletic achievement by joining forces with The William and Grace Ford Athletic Scholarship Matching Program to create a scholarship for women’s golf. “Knowing there was an extra $100,000 out there to match my gift made a big difference,” said Kent. “It triggered the timing to do it this year rather than several years in the future.” The Newmarks’ latest act of generosity adds to their legacy, the tangible results of which can be seen in the short-game facility for the golf programs, the capital improvements to tennis facilities and the annual Newmark Award for best and most-improved team GPAs. Mr. Newmark is member of the Benjamin Ide Wheeler Society and the Big C Society who lettered in tennis for three years, threw the javelin for one year and graduated from Cal in 1960 with a degree in philosophy. He returned to Berkeley after his military service to earn his MBA in 1964. “These monies were earmarked in my will but I’ve taken them out in my lifetime,” said Kent, who added that he and Pat have been gratified to the impact of their gifts. “It makes it a little more fun.”

In addition to the unrestricted athletic scholarship she has created in tandem with The William and Grace Ford Athletic Scholarship Matching Program, Sandy Barbour has committed to many areas of support, many of them privately, over more than nine years as the Director of Athletics. As she has guided the 30-sport department at Cal through some challenging times, Barbour has remained most committed to the nearly 850 student-athletes whom the department serves, and the Henry S. Barbour Family Athletic Scholarship she and her family created in her father’s name is just one more example of that commitment. “I believe very deeply that athletics is a mirror of the comprehensive excellence that exists across campus, and we support that as individuals and collectively in any way we can,” Barbour said. A four-year letterwinner and captain of her field hockey team at Wake Forest, where she also played varsity basketball, Barbour sees a special value in the doubling effect of a matching opportunity to create a scholarship. “Credit to the Ford family and credit to our development office for putting together a very compelling program that has successfully matched up these families,” she said. Matching challenges across the Cal campus have consistently shown to be extremely effective motivators for giving, with recent examples including the Hewlett Challenge and the New Alumni Challenge. Like other matching programs, the structure of The William and Grace Ford Athletic Scholarship Matching Program has proven itself as a surefire method to inspire others to give. Additional donors and families who have created scholarships for Intercollegiate Athletics through The William and Grace Ford Athletic Scholarship Matching Program will be featured in the next issue of Cal Sports Quarterly. For more information about matching gifts and other ways to support the Department of Intercollegiate visit

“Knowing there was an extra $100,000 out there to match my gift made a big difference. It triggered the timing to do it this year rather than several years in the future.” – Kent Newmark

spring 2014




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spring 2014FINAL 25 MECHANIC

Roll on you bear Alissa Finerman Serves Ace in ‘Your Top 1%’ By Anton Malko


ennis players employ all their skills sets, physical and otherwise, to achieve success under pressure. But success, measured easily on the court, can be much harder to experience, much less enjoy, everywhere else. Sure, it can be easy – if you know how. Since her collegiate career ended after four trips to the NCAA Championships and a 1989 All-America selection, former Golden Bear Alissa Finerman has continued to excel both between the lines as a player and off the court as a business/ life coach, helping others with her know-how to a lead a life of success and enjoyment. Finerman has remained a winner, ranked No. 1 by the U.S. Tennis Association in the Women’s 40 Doubles division three times, and No. 1 in Women’s 45 Doubles in 2013. In April, she

Top 1%” by saying, “It’s not about living for your résumé or other externalities of your life. Do you feel alive? Do you feel engaged, do you feel passionate and are you doing meaningful work? By doing those things, you are living in your top 1%.” Finerman has become a sought-after speaker across multiple industries with clients including the Milken Institute and Prostate Cancer Foundation, both created by fellow Cal and Wharton graduate Mike Milken. In his endorsement of the book, Milken said, “Everyone has the capacity for greatness. Alissa’s book provides an authentic and realistic path toward that goal – a way of life and a choice we can all make. She delivers her uplifting message with passion and clarity, and shares key insights to help others reach their highest potential.” That praise comes as no surprise to Finerman’s head coach at Cal. “Alissa was one of the best athletes and smartest players on the team,” said Jan Brogan, who helmed the women’s tennis team at Cal from 1978-2006. “’Fine,’ as we called her, was the definition of a student-athlete, striving for excellence in the classroom as well as on the court. I was not surprised by her success in the business world nor her turn to motivational speaking and life coaching. It’s Former Cal All-American Alissa Finerman competed in April at the World Championships. something that she is very passionate competed for the USA at the World Championships in Florida. about sharing with others.” Outside the lines, the Scarsdale, N.Y., native took her bacheFinerman said that the University of California as a whole lor’s in social sciences from Cal and moved to New York City, represents “a quality group of people. When I tell people I went where she worked in commercial real estate for five years be- to Cal, it gives me instant credibility and carries a lot of weight.” fore entering the Wharton School of Business, receiving her It’s been 25 years since her Berkeley days and Finerman MBA in 1998. is still “like family” with her former teammates, including Finerman served in the finance sector for nine more years Jean-Marie Lozanom Karen Shin and Caroline Scherman (now until she decided to change her grip, so to speak, and become Nelson). a business/life coach, earning credentials from New York UniThe rituals Finerman recommends in her book resonate parversity and the International Coach Federation. In 2009, she ticularly well with everyone in the Cal Athletics family. Among returned to California and launched her career as a writer, them are “Embrace a Can-Do Mindset,” “Go for the Goal” and speaker and motivational coach. “Think Without Obstacles.” Her book, “Living in Your Top 1%,” published in 2011, is a Words like those make it clear that throughout her journey template for others to identify their best lives and succeed at back to California, Alissa Finerman has always had Cal withliving them. in her, and always will. To learn more about her work, visit In an interview, Finerman explained the meaning of “Your


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n the surface, the late Orlando Tafoya and Cal softball player Breana Kostreba may not appear to have much in common. For starters, Tafoya was 80 when he passed away in 2011. Kostreba, a junior, is younger than even Tafoya’s youngest daughter, Michele, known by many for her broadcast work on the NFL sidelines. Orlando Tafoya was a track & field athlete for the Golden Bears, while Kostreba hates running. Instead, she prefers a bat and a glove as a starting utility player. How then could someone who attended Cal in the days of Pappy Waldorf and a 21-year-old young woman be kindred spirits? The answer lies in complicated math equations, in efficient and functional designs and in a passion for engineering. When it Breana Kostreba came to choosing a recipient for the Orlando Tafoya Memorial Scholarship, Kostreba was the perfect fit. A longtime Bay Area sports fan, Tafoya supported the Golden Bears, 49ers and Giants through and through, even after moving to Manhattan Beach after graduation. That included in times of crisis. Wilma, his wife of 56 years and college sweetheart, recalled a time when their house caught fire, and one of his main priorities was securing his season tickets. “He made a mad dash to his desk and brought out his 49er season tickets,” she said. He was especially fond of the Cal track & field program, despite only participating as a freshman at Cal in the late 1940s. “One of his greatest memories was competing in the Big Meet against Stanford’s great pole vaulter at the time,” Wilma said. “He didn’t win anything great, and at the time he wasn’t very proud of his track record, but he did earn his letter. It was just the fun of being there competing, running sprints and hurdles.” Equally as great to his love for sports was his love for engineering. “He found engineering a challenging major and worked very hard on it,” Wilma said. After graduation, Orlando Tafoya found a job in aeronautical engineering, working with Douglas Aircraft and Lockheed Martin while still supporting his beloved Golden Bears and remaining involved in amateur sports, even coaching his kids


cal sports quarterly

Seeking the Hard Road Orlando Tafoya Memorial Scholarship Encourages Softball’s Breana Kostreba to Pursue both Sports and Professional Career

through years of youth basketball and baseball. He suffered a stroke in 2005, and passed away in 2011. “Toward the end of his life, we tried to think of all the things that were important to him,” Wilma said. “I knew that engineering was, and he’d loved track & field and he was a Bear booster.” And so the Tafoyas – Wilma, son Matthew, and daughters Meg, Julie and Michele – created a scholarship in his honor, with the same stipulations. Preference would be given to a student enrolled in engineering interested in sports and, if possible, a track & field student-athlete. “He would have wanted to share that you can both be an athlete and a professional,” Wilma said. “He was an athlete his whole life, and sports were really his life outside of his profession.”

“It is nice to be able to walk up to a professor and say ‘I’m an athlete’ and they say, ‘Wow. In this major?’ It feels nice to have people without even knowing you, respect you.” – Breana Kostreba It goes without saying that at one of the world’s top universities, admittance into the engineering program is challenging. Within the last three years, less than 20 percent of the College of Engineering’s roughly 9,500 freshman applicants were admitted. It’s even rarer to find a student-athlete who can manage the time commitment of such a demanding engineering major on top of exhausting practices, games and travel. For Kostreba, it was a worthy commitment. Growing up, Kostreba was more into Legos than Barbie dolls, and enjoyed designing roller coasters and theme parks with the Roller Coaster Tycoon computer game. She made model cars, even a racing car, and once helped her dad build a retaining wall.

Kostreba was a perfect fit for the Orlando Tafoya Memorial Scholarship after excelling on the field and in her mechanical engineering classes.

“It’s not exactly my major now, but I found that I’ve always enjoyed building stuff,” she said. At Aptos High School, Kostreba was a two-year member of the Aptos Robotic Club, where her team built underwater robots and qualified for national contests twice. In her senior year, Aptos claimed first place in the international Marine Advance Technology competition held at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab. The team built a model of a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, that could stop the oil gushing from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, and beat out students from 28 schools and nine different countries, including China, Russia and Scotland. Kostreba even found her interest in math, science and engineering creeping its way into her softball swing, picking up a new style her Sorceror Softball club team coach suggested based on a double pendulum. “It was based on physics. I found an interest in that,” she said. “It was backed by science, and it made sense to me. That was easier for me to understand than it was for most people.” Kostreba even based her college entrance essay on it, which was fitting because she could not imagine a college career without softball. She saw Cal as the perfect fit for her journey, ready to rise to the challenge when head coach Diane Ninemire told Kostreba that she would be the softball program’s first engineering major.

“Being in the softball community, I definitely knew that I had a high standard of education for myself,” Kostreba said. “I knew going into it that it wasn’t a common thing to go into and do a ‘hard’ major, especially in college when it’s even more of a time commitment than high school travel ball.” So far, Kostreba’s two-pronged commitments are paying off. On the diamond, she’s one of Cal’s leading power-hitters, batting over .320 as of the end of April. In the classroom, where she’s pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, her dedication has earned her the respect of classmates and professors alike. “My classmates think me being a student-athlete and engineering major is cool, but they don’t understand the commitment as much,” Kostreba said. “But it is nice to be able to walk up to a professor and say ‘I’m an athlete’ and they say, ‘Wow. In this major?’ It feels nice to have people without even knowing you, respect you.” Tafoya’s legacy lives on in Kostreba and keeps her motivated. “Sometimes, it’s tough and I wish I’d picked an easier major, but in the end I remind myself that it will all pay off,” Kostreba said. “I would not be happy doing something else. My parents have always pushed me to do everything my best. If I had a different major or took the ‘easy’ path -- a less time-consuming major -- I wouldn’t have been happy. I wouldn’t have been proud.”

spring 2014


Navigating the Rough Waters Carter Crowe’s Path to Redemption Courtesy of Cal

By Nicole Loscavio


he waters haven’t always been smooth for senior rower Carter Crowe, but having lived through a life-altering experience, he has remained buoyant trying to find a way to come out on top. Crowe grew up the middle child of three boys and has always been competitive. When he was a kid, that meant constantly trying to one-up his brothers and friends, whether on the playground or seeing who would practice violin the longest. Crowe took that same drive to Santa Barbara High School, where he was determined to prove himself in the classroom and on the water polo and swim teams. But in the fall of 2007, during his junior year, Crowe’s world changed dramatically. “I was having trouble getting work done and focusing, and then it progressed to having headaches, these throbbing headaches that felt like a pressure change in my brain any time I would go from laying down to sitting up,” Crowe said. Doctors wrote it off at first, telling Crowe he was eating too much sugar. So he cut sugar from his diet, but the headaches returned. Crowe was playing water polo at the time and noticed he couldn’t throw or catch the ball properly. “One day in mid-December, I was swimming and someone pushed me under, and I went to swim up but hit the bottom of the pool,” Crowe recalled. “I opened my eyes and thought to myself, ‘Gosh, there’s something seriously wrong with me.’” The next day, Crowe underwent an MRI and was shocked to find out he had a tumor about the size of a tennis ball in his left cerebellum. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls motor skills, thus explaining why he struggled with his athletic performance. Luckily for Crowe, the tumor was benign and encased in a cyst, so it did not spider into his brain. He was immediately sent to Children’s Hospital LA to have it removed and was determined to not let it dictate his life. Within two weeks of his surgery, Crowe was back in the pool and back to his studies. He started slow, swimming one lap a day and attending one class a day, building up to full swim workouts within five weeks. “I


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rowing machine, because of his physical fitness. Learning how to transfer his skills from the erg to the water took more time, but it was clear to Long-Lerno that Crowe was a natural in the sport. After Crowe met the national team standard of 19:30 on a 6k-ergometer test, Long-Lenro sent him to the USRowing Men’s Identification Camp, which was hosted at Cal’s Ky Ebright Boathouse. The camp made a huge impression on Crowe and put him under the eyes of Cal’s coaching staff. Once the opportunity to transfer back to Cal and join Cal crew presented itself, Crowe was sold and Long-Lernoe was supportive of the move. “He said that’s the kind of place where you’re going to be dropped into an extremely competitive and talented group of people,” Crowe recalled. “He said being on Crowe earned a spot in Cal’s top boat, the varsity eight, in his first season with the Bears. the Cal rowing team was one of the best was just trying to make sure I didn’t fall behind with my athlet- experiences of his life, and I wanted that for myself.” “I had always regretted leaving Cal in a major way because ics and my school work,” Crowe said. “There had been so much hard work put into everything that I didn’t want to let anything I left the best public institution in the world, and I was very aware of that,” Crowe added. “I had left behind a lot of great keep me back.” Crowe decided not to play sports his senior year and got in- opportunities, so it was a chance to redeem myself in a way.” Now a junior and back at Cal, Crowe began to thrive. He exvolved in theater. He had always been interested in musicals and enjoyed singing, so he jumped right into the new environ- celled in school and was committed to proving himself to his ment and figured out how to work with people in a different teammates and coaches. Crowe admits that he was intimatway. Crowe fit right in, starring in the school’s spring produc- ed at first and that it took some time to feel like he belonged. “They are some of the best guys in the world at our age, so it tion of Footloose as Ren MacCormack. “It was my first real introduction to true functional team- felt insane,” Crowe said. “Everyday when I’d get in the boat I work and having to count on other people to make what I was was so nervous.” By what he refers to as “sheer dumb luck” but the coaches trying to achieve work out well,” Crowe said. “I think I gained a lot of skills from it, especially skills that apply now to rowing, see as hard work, Crowe ended up in Cal’s top boat last year, the varsity eight. as we’re so dependent on everybody else in the boat.” “Our track with Carter was to move him into the top boat Crowe was accepted to Cal based on academic merit and moved to Berkeley for his freshman year of college. As it right from the beginning, even though he might not have felt was the first real time Crowe had spent away from home, he ready,” head coach Mike Teti said. “When you take a driver’s ed struggled finding his identity. While dealing with some of the course, sooner or later you have to get out on the highway and emotional distress the brain tumor had caused, he felt like he drive by yourself. We took that approach with him.” The approach seemed to work. Following his first spring seawasn’t achieving much outside of the classroom and became son with Cal, Crowe qualified to represent the United States discouraged. Ready for a chance to get out of that funk, Crowe decided to at the U23 World Rowing Championships in Austria, alongside follow the example of his older brother who attended USC and seven of his teammates who were also competing for their transferred there, which allowed him to be closer to his family. countries. Crowe attributes his much of his success to the structure Crowe was now determined to find something to be passionate about. During a summer job packing ice cream in Wiscon- and intensity of Cal’s program. “I think it drives you to be sin, he did. One of his co-workers owned a bike shop and got your best,” Crowe said. “One thing you really learn is that Crowe into cycling. He realized how much he enjoyed it, came hard work pays off. I’ve learned to invest myself honestly in home and joined the USC club cycling team and began devoting things and that’s been rewarded and enhanced in my time back at Cal.” 20+ hours a week to training and competing. Instead of letting his past define him, Crowe has matured It was at that point that Crowe met James Long-Lerno, the USC men’s crew coach, at a club fair on campus. Long-Lerno, a and learned to look forward, towards the next adventure. “I Cal crew alum, got one look at 6-4 Crowe and told him that he had to trip and fall on my face a couple times and the scars are definitely there,” Crowe said. “But I wouldn’t have done it was in the wrong sport and needed to become a rower. Always ready for the next adventure, Crowe’s response was, any other way. Cal has been able to set me straight, put me on ‘I’d love to try rowing!’ and just like that he changed disci- a good course and provide me with growth, both mentally and plines. Right away, Crowe excelled on the ergometer, or indoor physically.”

spring 2014


ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT Whether Engineering or Medical School, Duranteau Has Lofty Goals By Dean Caparaz ’90


oming from a family of doctors, Alice Duranteau’s first intended course of study at California was, of course … engineering.

A member of the Cal women’s tennis team, the Golden Bear was initially attracted to mechanical and then bio engineering, as the latter combined her interest in engineering with her interest in biology. Plans change, and Duranteau, now a senior, is instead majoring in integrative biAlice Duranteau ology with thoughts of becoming a doctor. One of the brightest minds on one of Cal’s academically strongest teams, the Paris, France, native sports a 3.31 gradepoint average, which ranks third highest on her team. Duranteau – pronounced uh-LEECE du-RAN-tow – has claimed Pac12 All-Academic honors the past two years. Whether she lives up to her “Doc” nickname, pursues architecture or another engineering-related field, or continues to play tennis at a high level, Duranteau will tackle her post-Cal life with the same poise she’s displayed during her career in Berkeley. “One of the things I look for when recruiting is student-athletes who can manage their times well, be on top of deadlines and get things turned in,” head coach Amanda Augustus said. “From the get go, Alice was open to finding out about things, asking a lot of questions and just figuring out Cal well. It can take international students a couple of semesters to adjust, but she made the transition quickly and easily.” Duranteau is on pace to graduate in December. If she continues with her medicine path, Duranteau plans to become a pediatric surgeon. Both of her parents are doctors – her mother is an endocrinologist and gynecologist, while her father works in intensive care.


cal sports quarterly

Aptly nicknamed Doc, Alice Duranteau has her sights set on medical school after her Cal career.

An aspiring surgeon at the age of 16, Duranteau was attracted to pediatric surgery after working tennis camps. “One of the things I like most about medicine is working with kids and being able to help them,” she said. “At first I was thinking it would be too hard for me to be a pediatric surgeon, because to me it’s worse to see a child suffer than an adult. But then I did tennis camps, and I realized how much I like interacting with kids. It was so fun to be with kids, so then I realized I’d like to save the lives of kids more than adults.” She still bears an interest in engineering, which she might also pursue after Cal. “My biggest plans are going to med school back home or going to engineering school back there,” she said. “I might even do both – get an engineering diploma and then go to med school. I could do both, in case I’m not really sure what I want to do, since there are so many things I like.” And then there is her love of tennis. Duranteau put off dealing with graduate school of whatever kind to focus on collegiate tennis this spring, “so then I could just have an idea of what it is like to just have tennis in your life, and see if it’s something that I can’t live without. Or maybe it’s an opportunity for me to close the door on tennis, and tell myself, ‘I did everything I wanted with tennis – I played as much as I could – and now I’m ready to move on.’”

ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT Beck Inspired to Become a Surgeon By Tim Miguel


f you look at Nicole Beck’s fifth grade yearbook, you’ll see the word “neurosurgeon” written under what she wanted to be when she grew up.

A sophomore on the California lacrosse team, Beck has been motivated to enter the medical field since she was a child. Her desire was fueled even more after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Beck was in high school. Beck’s fascination with how doctors successfully treat people combined with her mother’s experience Nicole Beck was all the inspiration she needed. “I was always intrigued by doctors and how their work could actually save lives,” Beck said. “That was always so surreal to me - that a team of people could put their skills together and save the life of someone else - it is just so powerful. Then when I was in high school, my mother got sick with breast cancer. I remember her going to the doctor’s office every week and having multiple surgeries. This experience made me realize what a strong purpose in life that doctors have. They get up every day and make such a difference.” Beck decided she wanted to major in integrative biology after spending her high school senior project shadowing her mother’s reconstructive surgeon Dr. Brian Buinewicz. Then last summer after her freshman year at Cal, she researched pediatric lung transplants at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A native of Horsham in eastern Pennsylvania, Beck also worked with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon – Dr. Russel Bleiler – studying treatment of issues related to the head, face, jaws and mouth. The undertaking convinced her that she should pursue dental school in the hopes of becoming an oral surgeon. Beck credits both doctors she worked with for inspiring her. “I really have to thank both of them for being such wonderful role models and mentoring me as a young student trying to figure out what path to take,” Beck said. “They both have been instrumental in guiding and encouraging me.” Lacrosse head coach Ginger Miles has seen Beck flourish in just one year with the program. She’s aware of Beck’s academic and athletic demands, and she been impressed with how well Beck manages everything.

Since she was a child, Nicole Beck has wanted a career in neuroscience.

“It’s certainly not easy being a student-athlete at Cal, but Nicole is proving that not only can you do both, but you can do both incredibly well,” Miles said. “She hasn’t let the academic challenges dissuade her from her high career aspirations and continues to push herself academically. Nicole is a testament to what one can achieve and gain from the academic opportunities at Cal.” Beck admits it is very challenging and demanding juggling academics and athletics at Cal, but she gets plenty of help from teammates - particularly Brynn Gasparino, Michele DeVincent and Lizz Lavie – who motivate and push her to succeed. While she considers the decision to attend Cal and join the lacrosse team the best choice she’s made in her life, following her lofty goals beyond Cal may be the best decision she could make for others.

spring 2014


home events 2013-14 SPRING calendar







BAS vs. Stanford LAX vs. Oregon


BAS vs. Oregon State BAS vs. Oregon State CRW vs. Stanford

WTN vs. USC SB vs. Arizona State




WTN vs. UCLA SB vs. Arizona State


SB vs. Arizona State LAX vs. USC


Bas vs. Oregon State SB vs. Washington


SB vs. Washington


SB vs. Washington

MTN vs. Oregon SB vs. Arizona




T&F vs. Stanford SVB vs. Sacramento State SB vs. Arizona MTN vs Washington SVB vs. Cal Poly


SB vs. Arizona


LAX vs. Fresno State SB vs. Santa Clara


BAS vs. Washington WTN vs. Sacramento State


SVB vs. Santa Clara BAS vs. Washington


BAS vs. Washington MTN vs. Stanford


SB vs. Sacramento State


T&F Brutus Hamilton Open SB vs. UCLA


T&F Brutus Hamilton Challenge CRW vs. Washington FB Spring Football Game SB vs. UCLA




BAS vs. San Francisco

36 36

cal cal sports sports quarterly quarterly

BAS vs. Arizona BAS vs. Arizona


BAS vs. Arizona


Baseball (Evans Diamond) Crew (Redwood Shores) Football (Memorial Stadium) Lacrosse (Memorial Stadium) Softball (Levine-Fricke Field) Sand Volleyball (Clark Kerr Campus) Men’s Tennis (Hellman Tennis Complex) Women’s Tennis (Hellman Tennis Complex) Track & Field (Edwards Stadium)

For a complete schedule, visit the official Cal website at

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Spring 2014 issue of the Cal Sports Quarterly  
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