Dec. 15, 2010
BERKELEY - Al Buch, a member of the Cal's 1959 NCAA championship men's basketball team who went on to become a successful businessman in the auto industry, has been selected as the first recipient of the Pete Newell Career Achievement Award.
A Golden Bear letterman under Newell from 1957-59, Buch served as team captain of the Cal's 1958-59 squad that compiled a 25-4 overall record and defeated West Virginia, 71-70, for the national title. He earned first-team All-Pacific Coast honors as a senior when he averaged 9.2 ppg, while also contributing 9.5 ppg as a junior.
Buch, who was elected into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002, passed away after a long battle with throat cancer in 2005 at the age of 67.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Buch enrolled at Cal after his family moved to Southern California and became a member of Newell's squad as a 6-2 guard. Following his graduation with a degree in business in 1959, Buch established EMPCO Industries, a highly successful tire and wheel importer and distributor based in Glendale, Calif.
Buch and his wife, Jill, moved to England in 1990 and founded Berkeley in Britain, an organization for Cal alumni based in the U.K. He had four children and five grandchildren.
Throughout his lifetime, Buch remained connected to Cal. He served as president of the California Alumni Association from 1994-95, as a trustee of the UC Berkeley Foundation and the University of California Trust (UK), and as a member of the UC Berkeley Foundation International Committee. In addition, he was a member of the Board of Directors for both the International House and Cal's letterwinner alumni organization, the Big C Society.
Buch was voted as one of five members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches' 1984 Silver Anniversary All-America team. Each year, the NABC selects former collegiate stars from 25 years prior who have also gone on to distinguish themselves after their collegiate careers.
In April 2005, the University of California Trust (UK) created the Allan Buch Memorial Scholarship to provide grants for students facing unusual financial hardships after they have arrived in the U.K.
The Pete Newell Career Achievement Award is presented to a former Cal men's basketball player who has distinguished himself in his career accomplishments, upholding the highest ideals of Coach Newell and the University of California.
The award will be presented at halftime of Cal's Dec. 22 game vs. Kansas. Al Buch's son, Jeff Buch, a graduate of Cal's Haas School of Business, will accept the honor.