BERKELEY – A public memorial service to celebrate the life of Paul Andrew is planned for Friday, April 4, at 4 p.m. at the Piedmont Community Church. A reception will follow at the Piedmont Community Center located in adjacent Piedmont Park.
Known to his friends as “Boomer,” Andrew was a legendary figure in Cal Athletics who started in the 1951 Rose Bowl during a two-sport collegiate career that was followed by service in the United States Marine Corps and his founding of the Monterey Rugby Tournament. He died March 23 from complications following a stroke at the age of 85.
Andrew played rugby for the Golden Bears in 1952 for coach Miles “Doc” Hudson and was a starter on the football team under coach Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf, winning the Pacific Coast Championship for a trip to the Rose Bowl against Michigan on January 1, 1951, following the 1950 campaign. He continued playing football through the ’51 and ’52 seasons and graduated with the Cal Class of 1953.
Following his military service in the Korean War, Andrew enjoyed a professional career as an entrepreneur involved in numerous business ventures, focusing on real-estate property management, hotels and receiverships. For decades, he owned several San Francisco-based companies including Briggs, Andrew, Pope and Andrew Associates.
Boomer continued to play rugby as a member of the Olympic Club, to which he gave significant time as a member, and later served the sport as a referee, administrator and tour manager. Active on the Board of Directors for the Marines Memorial Foundation, he was a longtime member of the Bohemian Club, where he often showcased his skills as a jazz musician on the standup bass. Andrew was also a multi-faceted artist whose work is on display at the Doc Hudson Fieldhouse on campus at the University.
Concurrent to these personal and professional endeavors, Paul Andrew made a tremendous impact on American rugby as founder of the Monterey Rugby Tournament, which began in 1959.
Prior to the start of that annual event, “There were only nine teams in California and maybe 25 nationwide,” Andrew told Sports Illustrated in a 1990 story by Ron Fimrite, in one of many pieces Andrew helped to place in SI. “I was getting tired of playing the same teams week after week. We needed some variety.”
Boomer remained integral to the success of the event and was a fervent booster for the preeminent annual rugby competition in the U.S. over the next 30 years.
Among the extensive archives of the Monterey Tournament preserved in the Stanford University Libraries is a check dated April 14, 1959, to support the inaugural tournament from Tom Witter, one of 14 Witters to play rugby for the University of California. Along with his contribution, Mr. Witter noted, “The Boomer was in to see me today. I am glad to support it.”
After the first Monterey Rugby Tournament, Andrew continued to enhance its publicity, garnering coverage in the local, regional and national media to highlight what were considered the national champions who emerged from the tourney each year.
His efforts on behalf of the event, which also became known as the Pebble Beach Classic owing to its location for more than 20 years on the Polo Fields along the famed 17-Mile Drive, had neither limits nor borders. In a February 25, 1964, communication to Grahame Budge of Canada’s Meraloma Rugby Club, Andrew ended his letter to the former Scotland international by saying, “I repeat, it will be great seeing you guys. By the way, I have lost 30 pounds since the last time you saw me, so I am in much better shape and am just liable to kick the living daylights out of you when you arrive. Very Truly Yours, The ‘Boomer’”
By 1974 the tournament had attracted a further international following, with the Australian team from New South Wales Country, a rural provincial representative team, taking the title, 36-6, over Santa Monica after NSW edged Cal in the semifinals, 6-3.
Anchored in his passion for the Rugby Bears, which presented Andrew with its inaugural Golden Bear Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, Boomer was dedicated broadly to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the rest of his University. He was a member of the Big C Society, the Cal Spirit Alumni Club and the Order of the Golden Bear, and held a leadership position in the Bear Backers fundraising office in addition to his membership in Pappy’s Boys.
Short of the love he had for his family, Boomer’s love for Golden Bear rugby, for which he served as an original member of the California Rugby Advisory Board, may have trumped all others.
“Paul is a Mount Rushmore figure in the long history of Cal rugby,” said head coach Jack Clark. “He was omnipresent in Cal rugby for 70 years. Boomer supported us, he led us and he fought for Cal rugby whenever and wherever needed.
“Personally, he served as my mentor and friend,” Clark added. “From this seat, it will never be the same without Paul, Bob Witter, Brock Settlemier and others. We need to celebrate Paul's life, a life lived so very well. But truthfully, there is also some sadness that he won't unannounced and enthusiastically just walk in the door of the fieldhouse. There is Boomer, then there are the rest of us. He was a great, great Cal man."
Paul “Boomer” Andrew was born January 16, 1929, in San Francisco. He attended Lowell High School in the city before graduating from The Cate School in Santa Barbara prior to entering the University of California. A resident of Carmel as well as Piedmont, Calif., at the time of his passing, Andrew is survived by his wife, Virginia, known as Ginger; sons, Paul Jr. and Peter; daughter, Elizabeth; five grandchildren, Matthew, Lauren, Michael, Andrew and Charlotte; and two great grandchildren, Olivia and Theodore.