IN NOVEMBER OF 2015, A FEW DAYS BEFORE the Big Game between UC Berkeley and Stanford, California State Sen. Nancy Skinner attended an Oakland Rotary Club meeting. That day, as it often does, the club was discussing athletics, and it had invited antitrust economist Andy Schwarz, a longtime critic of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Schwarz, “a Stanford guy,” shared the stage with the Cal Band, which played Cal songs, before he began his presentation.
From her office in Haas Pavilion, Teri McKeever can look down on Spieker pool. She’s been known to yell out the windows if things aren’t going the way she wants—just one of the many ways she’s distinguished herself over three decades of coaching at Cal.
Posted on January 10, 2019 - 3:50pm
Kids don’t play like they used to. For one thing, they are too often locked to their screens. For another, we’ve got ’em on tight schedules, shuttling from play dates to practices, music lessons to ball games.
In May, new UC Berkeley Athletic Director Jim Knowlton took over a tough job, spearheading a department in upheaval.
Once upon a time, Berkeley had its own daily newspaper, the Berkeley Gazette, and for a brief, semi-glorious moment, it had two sports-reporting brothers. The paper was small enough that the brothers weren’t exclusively sports-reporters, but being born and bred in Berkeley, with Bear-blood in their veins, they wasted as much ink and newsprint on Cal’s sports program as they could possibly get away with.
Posted on December 3, 2018 - 9:36am
For those who know, the Stanford Axe is more than just a trophy. Awarded to the annual winner of the Stanford–Cal “Big Game” (full disclosure: I’m a Stanford grad), the Axe represents one of the oldest college rivalries in the country, dating back to 1892. The origins of the Stanford Axe have been told again and again, including the infamous heist of the Axe by Cal students in 1899, and subsequent repossession by Stanford 30 years later.
Yet, some mysteries remain.
Posted on November 15, 2018 - 3:24pm
1. You spent much of your professional life in Oregon and Washington, what inspired you to move to California and UC Berkeley?
I was certainly drawn by the name and the reputation, but also the health of the program, and the fact that the last four directors were here for many years, really their entire careers. Within this kind of profession, that speaks loudly. There’s a lot of support and a lot of opportunity here, and at a certain point it became clear to me that this was the way to go.
Posted on November 13, 2018 - 1:57pm
This weekend, the NCAA’s newest “Emerging Sport for Women,” varsity triathlon, will be holding the Women’s Collegiate National Championships in Tempe, Arizona. But the 75 women racing the sprint triathlon aren’t NCAA athletes. And triathlon isn’t an NCAA sport—at least not yet.
Posted on November 2, 2018 - 1:46pm
On a cloudy Sunday in mid-May, Raymond Weschler chose Jim McGuire (Cal professor of biology) as his opposing captain, and teams were drawn up. Ray’s booming voice announced the lineup as chatting players finished stretching and headed out to the field. On the diamond at Berkeley’s magnificent Codornices Park, players are surrounded by towering oak trees, redwoods, walnuts and, lining the left-field foul line, Ponderosa pines, which are home to rowdy crows and, when struck by a foul ball, release a cloud of pollen.
Posted on June 28, 2018 - 4:54pm
When I was five years old, I was entered into my first swimming competition.
Waiting for my event to begin, I stood at the edge of the pool, nervous and unsure of myself. The buzzer went off, and I dove into the pool. I swam my heart out, loving the feeling of adrenaline coursing through my veins. The cheering of the crowd was muffled underwater, making me feel a world away. As I reached the end of the pool and the race, I raised my head out of the water and the sounds of the crowd burst back to full volume.
Posted on May 30, 2017 - 2:20pm
In the afternoons, Dana Vollmer, 7-time Olympic medalist, takes her kid to the playground near their house in Danville. Sometimes people recognize them. But not usually.
“It’s always the moms,” she says, who recognize her. Or more accurately recognize her and her 19-month-old son, Arlen, together.
Posted on November 9, 2016 - 2:49pm
The way Alysia Montaño sees it, she should have one Olympic and two world championships medals, instead of none. The former UC Berkeley runner finished fourth in the 800 meters at the 2011 world championships, fifth in the 2012 London Olympics, and fourth again at the 2013 world championships. In each of those races, she finished behind athletes who now face bans after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Posted on March 23, 2016 - 4:42pm
Marshawn Lynch is a jerk. And he’s also a hero. He’s ungrateful, immature, and stupid. And he’s a genius with a heart of gold. Lynch, star running back of the Seattle Seahawks and former UC Berkeley phenom, is all of these things and more—if the various media portrayals are to be believed. Just don’t ask Lynch himself if any of it is true, because he’s not talking.
Like Memorial Stadium, the brand identity of Cal Athletics has recently been renovated. Nothing too radical, mind you; the colors are unchanged and the Cal script remains the chief identifier. The only big change is the new bear logo. Gone is the striding giant of yesteryear, its stately silhouette imparting a certain timeless nobility to football helmets and hoodies. The new bear does not pass by. The new bear charges—teeth bared, ears back, eyes narrowed.
The old bear was live and let live.
The new bear is fixin’ to maul your @$$.