The Cal State East Bay community is celebrating 50 years of Pioneer Athletics during the 2011-12 season.
The Cal State East Bay Athletics Department is preparing to host a celebration of its 50th anniversary later this month and is inviting all Pioneer alumni to attend the weekend of events. The 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend is set to be held Sept. 23-36 and will include alumni games, an alumni barbecue and the 15th annual Cal State East Bay Golf Classic, as well a pair of California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) soccer doubleheaders.
In 1961, the university started the intercollegiate athletics program beginning with men's basketball in December of that year. Since then, Pioneer teams have captured a total of seven national championships and more than 80 conference titles, producing over 420 All-Americans and Academic All-Americans, and garnering numerous other awards and honors, both on and off the field.
Read more about Pioneer Athletics history
In honor of the many accomplishments of Pioneer student-athletes, coaches and staff since the program's inception, the Athletics Department is welcoming alumni, fans, faculty and staff to partake in a full weekend of events. The celebration will kick off with a chance to see the current Pioneers in action, as the men and women's soccer teams will take on Cal State Stanislaus on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. During halftime of the men's game, current student-athletes who have earned conference, regional or national recognition will be honored. At halftime of the women's game, the department will honor former coaches and administrators who have helped make the athletics program what it is today.
Saturday will be a celebration of former Pioneer athletes, as they take to the fields, pools and courts for alumni games for a variety of sports, including soccer, tennis, water polo and basketball. Following all the action, athletics alumni and their families are invited to attend a free barbecue celebration from 3-6 p.m.
The celebration continues on Sunday with more CCAA soccer action, when the Pioneers take on Chico State at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. During the men's game, the 1988 NCAA Division II Championship women's soccer team will be honored, while the women's game will feature a recognition of all former student-athletes in attendance at the game.
The 15th annual Cal State East Bay Golf Classic, being held at Monarch Bay Golf Club in San Leandro on Sept. 26, will cap the celebration weekend. Participants will join the Cal State East Bay Athletics Department staff and coaches for 18 holes as well as a silent auction, raffle and banquet lunch. Included in the entry fee are greens fees, golf cart, polo shirt, team and individual awards, tournament gift bag, breakfast and lunch. Sponsorship opportunities across a wide range of levels are also available for individuals and businesses to show their support for the Pioneers.
All proceeds from the tournament benefit the Richard and Susan Sherratt Athletic Scholarship Endowment which provides financial support for student-athletes who otherwise may not have the opportunity to attend Cal State East Bay and participate in intercollegiate athletics. Rich Sherratt '70, a Pioneer baseball alumnus and CEO of Ballena Technologies in Alameda, and his wife Susan created the endowment with a $25,000 gift in 2009.
The golf tournament is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Athletics Department, which is entering its first season as an active member in NCAA Division II. In addition to commemorating the 50th anniversary of the department, the weekend will also celebrate the 2011-12 campaign as the first in which the Pioneers are eligible for conference and NCAA playoffs and championships, following the three-year probation period during the transition back to Division II.
Cal State East Bay has counted many successes in its return to Division II competition over the last two years. In 2010, the Pioneers had a pair of CCAA Freshmen of the Year honorees in basketball player Lauren Lucchesi and baseball player Charlie Sharrer, water polo player Claire Pierce took home conference Newcomer of the Year honors and water polo coach Lisa Cooper was named Division II National Coach of the Year. Last season the accolades continued to roll in, as the volleyball team finished tied for second in the CCAA, with Head Coach Jim Spagle collecting CCAA Coach of the Year honors, and water polo had its best-ever finish at the conference tournament, with Pierce earning her second straight Division II All-America award.
To view a complete schedule of the 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend events and information on registration for alumni games, the alumni barbecue and 15th annual Cal State East Bay Golf Classic, visit the Athletics Department website here. Alumni games, the alumni barbecue and the golf tournament all require registration.