March 6, 2011
BERKELEY - When the Golden Bears won the NCAA Championship in 2002, they could not have done it without starting third baseman Candace Harper. After taking her Bears to the championship, Harper was an NCAA Regional All-Tournament team selection as well as a member of the All-Region and All-Pac-10 second teams. Harper, a native of Stockton, Calif., was the starting third baseman for all four years and earned All-American status her senior year, when she was second on the squad with her .316 batting average, 44 RBI and .496 slugging percentage. In the first in a series of features on Cal softball alumni, CalBears.com got a couple minutes of Harper's time to find out what life as a Cal alum is like these days.
CalBears.com: What are you doing right now, career-wise, and where are you living?
Candace Harper: I am teaching first grade in the Oakland Unified School district and still living in the East Bay.
CalBears.com: How has Cal influenced you?
CP: Cal showed me that all things are possible. The teamwork and dedication that was put into playing softball at Cal has helped me in my career.
CalBears.com: What have you been up to in between graduating from Cal and now?
CP: I coached high school softball in Berkeley and Stockton. I also earned certification in massage therapy. Then, I earned my teaching credential and have been teaching in Oakland ever since.
CalBears.com: Do you come back for home games for softball or other sporting events?
CP: I always look up the results and catch myself on GameTracker for softball games!!! I try so hard to get to some of the games, and I at least get to one or two every year! I am always there in spirit...Go Bears! I get to a few football games every season to cheer on our Bears and brag about any athlete from Cal!
CalBears.com: What was your favorite Cal moment?
CP: So many to choose from, but winning the national championship in 2002 has to top them all! That was an unbelievable moment! I could go back and talk about many memories, but that one tops them all. That moment was indescribable.
CalBears.com: What was it like to introduce Diane Ninemire at her NFCA Hall of Fame induction last December?
CP: I was overwhelmed with pride and honor to have introduced Coach Ninemire into the NFCA Hall of Fame. She has dedicated so much to the softball program at Cal and cares so much about her teams. My time that I spent playing for Coach was unforgettable and I was truly happy to be there at her time of induction.