John Ralston, Ernie Nevers named to San Jose Sports Hall of Fame
Aug. 10, 2001
San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose Sports Hall of Fame announced today the 2001 Hall of Fame inductees. The five inductees are John Ralston (football), Carroll Williams(basketball), Dave Righetti (baseball), Joe Leonard (motorsports) and ErnieNevers (football) in memoriam. The San Jose Sports Hall of Fame InductionCeremony will take place Wednesday, November 7, at Compaq Center at SanJose, with a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner andceremony at 7:00 p.m. The 2001 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony ispresented by NEC Electronics Inc. in cooperation with Andersen, San JoseMagazine and KNTV News Channel 11.
In addition to the five inductees, the event will also honor High SchoolAthletes of the Year, Antwon Guidry and Undine Becker, Amateur Athletes ofthe Year, Andre Carter and Danielle Slaton and Special Olympian of theYear, Kelly Anderson. Biographical information about the inductees andhonorees follows.
This is the 7th annual San Jose Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Inaddition to the ceremony, a bronze relief of each of the inductees will bepermanently displayed on the concourse level of Compaq Center at San Jose.The public is invited to purchase tickets for the event by callingthe Hall of Fame hotline at (408) 288-2932. Tickets are $150 per person or$1750 per table. Additional sponsorship packages are available. A portionof the event proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Santa Clara County.Members of the media interested in covering the event or requiring furtherinformation about the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame and its inductees areasked to call Elaine Sullivan Digre at 408-375-0305.
Many consider Ernie Nevers the greatest athlete ever to play in Santa ClaraCounty. After attending high school in Santa Rosa, he came to the SouthBay to attend Stanford University. In just three years with the Indians,Nevers earned 11 letters in football, baseball, basketball and track. Bestknown for his performance in the 1925 Rose Bowl against the Four Horsemenof Notre Dame, the fullback played on two fractured ankles supported bybraces made from inner-tubes in coach Pop Warner's garage. On legs wrappedso tightly that he was nearly without feeling in them, he played all 60minutes, carrying the ball 34 times for 114 yards. Not only is heconsidered the greatest athlete in Stanford history, but Sports Illustratedalso named him the country's best college football player of all time. AndPop Warner, who also coached the legendary Jim Thorpe, said Nevers was thebest player he ever saw take the field. In 1926, he began his professionalcareer, playing for the NFL's Duluth Eskimos and later the ChicagoCardinals. In 1927, he set a new record, becoming the only man in sportshistory to play professional football, basketball and baseball in the sameyear. On the gridiron in 1929, he scored 40 points against the ChicagoBears, setting an NFL record for the most rushing touchdowns and mostpoints in a game - while also serving as the team's coach. Inducted intoboth the college and professional Football Halls of Fame, Nevers passedaway in 1976, at the age of 72.
Football history would not be the same without the legendary John Ralston.A native of Oakland, he hit the gridiron for Cal as a linebacker from1947-1951. After three years as an assistant coach for his alma mater, helanded his first head coaching job at Utah State, where he led the Aggiesto 1960 and 1961 bowl victories. In 1963, he made the move to Stanford,where he built one of the nation's most elite football programs. UnderRalston, the Indians did the unimaginable - beating USC and UCLA andwinning the Rose Bowl in the same year. They did it for the first time inschool history in 1970, and repeated the feat in 1971. The following year,he made the jump to professional football, when he became the head coachand general manager of the Denver Broncos, leading the team to itsfirst-ever winning season in 1973 and earning Coach of the Year honors. Hewent on to continued success in the professional game with the PhiladelphiaEagles, San Francisco 49ers, as well as the USFL. Inducted into theCollege Football Hall of Fame in 1992, he returned to the college game in1993, when he was served as head coach of San Jose State for four years.Also a member of the Stanford and Bay Area Sports Halls of Fame, Ralstoncontinues his legendary career today as the Spartan's Special Assistant tothe Athletic Director.
For more than three decades, Carroll Williams has been a leader on and offthe basketball court - as a player, coach and athletic director. TheLincoln High School graduate became a star at San Jose State, where he wasnamed First Team All-West Coast Conference and an All-American HonorableMention as a senior. He still holds his place in the Spartan record books- second in free throw percentage, with 79.9%, and 12th in scoring, with1,049 total points. A member of the U.S. Army squad and an alternate onthe 1960 Olympic team, Williams began his coaching career at Blackford Highin San Jose. He joined the Santa Clara coaching staff in 1963 and becamehead coach in 1971. Over the next 22 years, his teams won 344 games,recorded six twenty-win seasons, and made five post season appearances -including a trip to the NCAA tournament - using his signature 'flex'offense. Named athletic director in 1992, the Broncos won 19 conferencechampionships during his eight-year tenure. A man of great leadership andintegrity, Williams served on the NCAA Men's Basketball ChampionshipCommittee from 1996-2000. Williams currently serves as the SpecialAssistant to the President at Santa Clara University.
Born and raised in San Jose, Dave Righetti's baseball career began atPioneer High School. There, major league scouts took notice of theall-league pitcher and Righetti was drafted in 1976 when he was a senior bythe Texas Rangers. Righetti opted to attend San Jose City College instead,where he pitched his way to a 9-3 record, a 2.32 ERA and Junior CollegePlayer of the Year honors. Acquired by the New York Yankees in 1978, thetalented lefty made his major league debut in 1981, compiling an 8-4, 2.06ERA record and earning American League Rookie of the Year. Playing at homeon July 4, 1983, Righetti pitched a spectacular no-hitter against theBoston Red Sox - the Yankees' first in 25 years. Righetti moved to thebullpen in 1984, two years later he led the majors with 46 saves, andearned back-to-back trips to the All-Star Game in 1986 and 1987. In 1991,his career came full circle, when he returned to the Bay Area to pitch forthe San Francisco Giants, during which time he recorded his 1,000thstrikeout. The hurler ended his 16-year career in 1995, with 82 wins, a3.46 ERA, 1,112 strikeouts and 252 saves. In 2000, Righetti re-joined theGiants as the pitching coach. In his first year, he guided his players tothe fourth best ERA in the national league and a league-leading 15 shutouts- the team's best statistics since 1989. Today, he and his wife Kandicelive in Los Altos with their 10-year-old triplets.
Joe Leonard is a truly unique icon in the world of motor sports. Heremains the only man to win national championships on both two and fourwheels. In 1954, Leonard won a record eight of 18 Grand National races.He went on to win back to back titles in the Daytona 200 - motorcycle'sequivalent to the Indy 500 - in 1956 and 1957. By the end of his legendarytwo-wheel career in Leonard had won three national titles and finishedsecond in the sport's total point standings. In 1964, he drove his firstchampionship car event, by the following year, he had won his first raceand earned a trip to the Indy 500. In 1968, he captured the coveted poleposition for the big race. One of just three racers using a turbine engine,'Smokin' Joe' had the lead with only nine laps to go. But his car's fuelshaft broke, and he had to drop out. In total, Leonard's time at Indyspans nine years, with third place finishes in both 1967 and 1972. Amember of the automotive, motorcycle and motor sports Halls of Fame,Leonard currently lives in San Jose.
High School Athletes of the Year: Antwon Guidry
Antwon Guidry was a three sport athlete at Leigh High School, excelling infootball, basketball and track. On the field, Guidry led the Longhorns tothe CCS Division II Championship game during his senior season. Hefinished the season with 2,817 yards rushing, passing and receiving andalso scored 38 touchdowns. On the court he averaged 20 points and 5 stealsa game. At the CCS Championships in track, he captured titles in the 100and 200 meters. Guidry was named California State Player of the Year andwill play football in Nebraska this Fall.
Undine Becker was a track star at Mount Pleasant High School where she wasthe 2001 CCS Champion in 100 and 300 meter hurdles and the triple jump.During her senior season, Becker ranked among the top 11 in the nation infour events: the triple jump, long jump and the 100 and 300 meter hurdles.Becker will attend Stanford University in the Fall.
Amateur Athletes of the Year: Andre Carter
A former standout at Oak Grove High School and 2001 Cal graduate, Carterwas drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 2001 NFLdraft. A unanimous First Team Pac-10 and All-American selection, Carterled the defensive charge for the Golden Bears in 2000, setting a singleseason record with 13.5 sacks. Carter finished his career with a schoolrecord of 31 sacks and was ranked second on Cal's career list for tackleswith loss at 55.
A former soccer standout at Presentation High School and currently a seniorat Santa Clara University, Slaton was the youngest member of the 2000Olympic Team and the only active collegiate player on the national roster.A fierce defender for the Broncos, Slaton, a two time All-American, wasalso a First Team All-West Coast Conference selection in 2000.
Special Olympian of the Year: Kelly Anderson
Kelly Anderson, a 37 year old from Los Gatos, is the 2001 Special Olympianof the Year. Anderson has been a Special Olympics participant for 19years. A talented, multi-sport athlete, Anderson competes in swimming,track & field, basketball, bowling, long-distance running, soccer,softball, floor hockey and tennis. Most recently she took home the goldmedal at the Special Olympics Northern California golf qualifier atCinnabar Hills.
Contact: Elaine Sullivan Digre
San Jose Sports Authority
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