BERKELEY – From the gym to the pool to the golf course to the gridiron, the 2014 Cal Athletic Hall of Fame class features some of the most notable Golden Bears in history representing a wide array of sports. The seven men and women chosen for enshrinement embody the best that Cal Athletics has to offer with achievements that include Olympic gold medals, NCAA championships, Super Bowl titles and years of giving back to the University and athletic department.
The Class of 2014, which will comprise the 29th group of inductees, consists of:
- Tom Beach (men’s gymnastics) – 1976 Olympian led Cal to 1975 NCAA team title
- Natalie Coughlin (women’s swimming & diving) – three-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year and 11-time NCAA champion has won 12 Olympic medals
- Anthony Ervin (men’s swimming & diving) – 2000 Olympic gold medalist in 50-meter free returned to Olympic team in 2012
- Sarah Huarte (women’s golf) – captured the NCAA championship as a senior in 2004 with a then-record 10-under-par total
- Grace Upshaw (women’s track & field) – two-time Olympian in long jump is daughter of 2007 Cal Hall of Famer Monte Upshaw
- Ray Willsey (football) – served as head coach from 1964-71 and led the “Bear Minimum” defense in 1968
- Rick Cronk (Hall of Fame Service Award) – a longtime contributor to the success of Cal Aquatics
Formal induction ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 17, at the annual Hall of Fame banquet at the Greek Orthodox Church Conference Center in Oakland. Information on tickets to the banquet can be found online at bigcsociety.org. The new inductees will also be honored at halftime of Cal’s Oct. 18 football game vs. UCLA on Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium.
With the addition of the new members, the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame now features 271 individuals and six rowing teams. The school’s Hall of Fame, which is located on the west side of Memorial Stadium and is open to all ticket holders after each home game, was inaugurated in 1986.
Tom Beach (men’s gymnastics, 1974-77) – Beach earned an individual NCAA championship on vault in 1975 when he led the Golden Bears to the national team title. He also tied with Bart Conner for the USA Gymnastics all-around crown. The following year, he captured the NCAA high bar championship and was the runner-up in the all-around competition. Later in 1976, Beach secured a place on the USA Olympic team that competed in Montreal. He finished 32nd in the all-around and helped the American squad to a seventh-place showing.
Natalie Coughlin (women’s swimming, 2001-04) – A three-time Olympian and winner of 12 medals – a total unsurpassed by any woman in U.S. Olympic history – Coughlin remains one of the premier swimmers in the world 10 years after her graduation from Cal. As a Golden Bear, she was an 11-time NCAA individual champion, winning the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly four times and the 200 back three times. A three-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year (2001-03), Coughlin was a four-time team MVP. She was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic team on three occasions, was a second-team Academic All-American as a junior and a CSAA Scholar All-American as a senior. At the Olympic level, she won five medals in 2004 (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze), six in 2008 (1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze) and one in 2012 (bronze). Coughlin was the first woman ever to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the 100-meter backstroke (2004, 2008). She also owns 20 medals from the World Championships (8 gold, 7 silver, 5 bronze). Among her numerous awards are the 2002 USA Swimming Athlete of the Year and the 2003 Women’s Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year.
Anthony Ervin (men’s swimming, 2000-03) – A four-time All-American, Ervin is also a three-time Olympic medalist. In 2000, he tied with Gary Hall Jr. for Olympic gold in the 50-meter freestyle while also picking up gold as a member of the 400 medley relay and silver on the 400 free relay. He was a three-time NCAA champion in the 100 free (2000-02) and voted the Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year in 2002. In addition, Ervin claimed the NCAA titles in the 50 free and on the 400 medley relay as a freshman in 2000 and on the 400 free relay as a junior. Between individual and relays, he won nine Pac-10 crowns. In 2001, Ervin won a gold medal in both the 50 and 100 free at the World Championships. He retired from swimming in 2003, but later returned to the pool and earned a place on the USA Olympic team for the 2012 London Games where he placed fifth in the 50 free.
Sarah Huarte (women’s golf, 2001-04) – Huarte captured the 2004 NCAA individual championship, becoming the first golfer in school history to win the event. Her 10-under-par 278 total set an NCAA and school record and 10 years later, the mark still stands as the No. 2 score vs. par in the NCAA record book. Following her achievement, Huarte received the Honda Award, which is presented to the nation’s outstanding women’s golfer. As a senior during the 2003-04 season, she established a then-school-record 73.82 scoring average and earned first-team All-American honors. She completed her Cal career as a two-time All-American and three-time All-Pac-10 selection. Chosen to represent the United States at the 2004 Curtis Cup, Huarte was a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic choice who enjoyed a three-year career on the LPGA and Futures tours. Currently, she is the head women’s golf coach at USF.
Grace Upshaw (women’s track & field, 1995-97) – Upshaw is a two-time Olympian in the long jump who placed 10th in 2004 (21-9.50) and eighth in 2008 (21-7.00). She ranked No. 1 in the United States in the long jump three times (2002, ’03, ’07) and rated among the country’s top 10 every year from 2001-09. At the national championships, she won the event three times and was a four-time runner-up. A three-time qualifier for the World Championships in track & field, Upshaw was also the 2002 USA indoor champion. As a collegiate, she finished second at the 1997 Pac-10 meet and had a Cal best mark of 20-5.75. Upshaw’s PR in the long jump was 22-7 in 2008 and she set an Edwards Stadium record with a leap of 22-3.75 in 2009.
Ray Willsey (football 1951-52/football head coach 1964-71) – A quarterback and defensive halfback for the Golden Bears under head coach Pappy Waldorf, Willsey helped Cal to an 8-2 record and No. 12 ranking in 1951 and to a 7-3 mark in 1952. In the 1952 Big Game, he stepped in at quarterback after an injury to the starter and led the Bears to a 26-0 win. Willsey went on to capture three Grey Cups playing in the Canadian Football League. After he entered the coaching ranks, Willsey returned to his alma mater and served as Cal’s head coach from 1964-71, overseeing the program during a tumultuous period in the school’s history that included the Free Speech Movement and war-time protests. Still, Willsey was able to hold the team together and produced a record of 40-42-1 over eight seasons. In 1968, he oversaw the famed “Bear Minimum” defense, leading Cal to a 7-3-1 record – the only Cal team to win at least seven games from 1959-73. Among the star players he coached were All-Americans Craig Morton, Ed White and Sherman White. Following his tenure at Cal, Willsey won two Super Bowl titles on staff with the Raiders, and he concluded his career as director of personnel for NFL Europe. Willsey, recipient of the 2002 Glenn Seaborg Award for outstanding career contributions by a Cal football player, passed away last November at age 85.
Rick Cronk (Hall of Fame Service Award) – The Service Award is given for outstanding long-term contributions to Cal Athletics and presented to an individual for demonstrating exemplary leadership and setting a standard for excellence in enhancing the student-athlete experience. Cronk, who earned his degree in business administration and was a member of the Cal water polo team, has directed much of his energy to supporting the University as a whole and Cal Athletics in particular. Along with Ned Spieker, Don Fisher and Warren Hellman, he helped create the Splash Club to benefit Cal Aquatics. Cronk is a member of the Director’s Advisory Board and was a major donor to the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance. In 1993, he was named the Haas School of Business Alumnus of the Year. Cronk is the retired president of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream and he and his partner, Gary Rogers (Service Award 2013), built the company into the nation's largest manufacturer and distributor of premium ice cream brands. Cronk has also been deeply involved with the Boy Scouts of America, where he is a former national president and a past chairman of the World Scout Foundation.