Oct. 16, 2009
BERKELEY - Rupert Ricksen, a two-sport star in basketball and tennis at the University of California and a member of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, passed away Monday, Oct. 12, after a long battle with cancer.
Ricksen played both tennis and basketball at Cal in the early 1950s and later stayed on as an assistant basketball coach under Pete Newell from 1957-59, which included Cal's NCAA title team in 1959.
Ricksen was extremely active with Bear Backers, the Big C Society and other alumni groups long after his time as a student-athlete and coach on the Cal campus. He served on Cal's Executive Committee for the Haas Pavilion Capital Campaign, was chairman of Friends of Cal Tennis for multiple years and also served as an Alumni Council member. Rupe, along with his twin brother John, was a co-recipient of the Bear of the Year award by Cal Athletics in 1997 and, most recently, served on the Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
As an undergraduate at Cal, Ricksen teamed with John on the tennis court to reach the semifinals in 1951 and quarterfinals in 1952 and '53 in the NCAA doubles tournament. In singles, Rupe made it to the NCAA quarterfinals in 1951 and the Round of 16 in '52 and '53. Together, they won the 1952 Doubles Heart of America tournament and the '53 Eastern Intercollegiate title.
On the basketball court, Rupe and John started three years for the Golden Bears and served as co-captains on the 1953 squad that won the Pacific Coast Conference title. They were as also co-recipients of the Jake Gimbel Award for excellence in athletics and academics at Cal.
Ricksen was listed as a "Northern California Super Lawyer" by San Francisco Magazine five consecutive years from 2004-08, and he received the highest possible peer rating (AV) from Martindale Hubble. Ricksen was a member of a wide variety of professional organizations, including the Alameda County Superior Court Arbitration Panel, the American Arbitration Association and Defense Research Institute.
A public celebration of Rupe Ricksen's life will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, at Haas Pavilion. Please check back at CalBears.com as details become available.