Director of Athletics Debby De Angelis.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve already made it through our first month of competition in the fall season. With so many great games, matches, meets and events, the beginning of the season and the school year have both flown by. Not to worry, though, there are a lot more exciting competitions and events to come as the year continues.
Just two weeks ago we kicked off our year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Pioneer Athletics at Cal State East Bay with a weekend of events to honor our great athletics alumni, coaches and staff. The weekend included halftime ceremonies at all four of our home soccer matches, alumni games, an alumni barbecue and the 15th annual Cal State East Bay Golf Classic, and couldn’t have been more of a success!
We welcomed back numerous Athletics Hall of Famers, All-Americans and All-Conference selections as well as several coaching greats and had a fantastic time celebrating all of the accomplishments and hard work that have brought the Pioneers eight national championships and 50 years of incredible stories. Everyone had a great time at the alumni games and barbecue, while the 15th annual Golf Classic brought in more than $7,000 for 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.
None of the events of the 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend could have been possible without the participation of our amazing Pioneer alumni, former coaches and staff, as well as our current student-athletes, coaches, staff and the Cal State East Bay community and fans. A special thank you is also in order for Interim President Leroy Morishita and Brad Wells, interim vice president for Administration and Finance, for all of their support in putting on all the events of the weekend.
The celebration doesn’t end there, however, as we will continue to honor the 50th year of Pioneer Athletics in February, when we will welcome back 15 of the 17 members of the 1961-62 men’s basketball team for Homecoming 2012. That squad was the first Pioneer team to compete in intercollegiate athletics at then-Alameda County State College. We will cap the 50th anniversary festivities with the 2012 Cal State East Bay Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony in May. Stay tuned to eastbaypioneers.com for all of the information and schedules for continuing 50th anniversary celebration.
With the 50th anniversary celebration weekend in the books, we’re now looking ahead to our next big event: the second annual Pioneer Aquatics Swim for Wishes on Oct. 15. The event welcomes the Cal State East Bay and Hayward communities to join the Pioneer swim and water polo teams for a one-mile swim to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Participants will pay a registration fee, which will be donated to Make-A-Wish, and pledge to swim one mile at Pioneer Pool before enjoying breakfast, music and games on the pool deck. Pre-registered participants will also receive a T-shirt. Also, parking is free for all attendees.
All proceeds from the event go to Make-A-Wish, which has been the chosen charity of the NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) since the 2003-04 school year. Since then, fundraising totals have grown annually with the seven-year total now exceeding $1.5 million. In just two years as a member of Division II, our own SAAC has already forged a relationship with Make-A-Wish, raising approximately $2,000 for the organization in each of the last two seasons. So, join us in trying to increase that total and make a difference in the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses.
In addition to all the other great events going on, we also have found success already this fall on the field, trails and court. During the 50th anniversary weekend, the Pioneer women’s soccer team knocked off No. 13 Cal State Stanislaus, 2-1, marking their first win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season. On the men’s side, keeper Bryce Bookhamer is averaging five saves per game, helping the team rank 35th in all of Division II in the category. Meanwhile, the cross country teams – in the first season under new Head Coach Ralph Jones – have found success, including a pair of team victories for the women. In the gym, the Pioneer volleyball team started off the season with four straight wins and ranks second in the conference and 22nd in Division II in blocks per game.
If the excitement of the fall campaign wasn’t enough, it’s also time to start looking ahead to the winter sports. Women’s swimming enters its second season under Head Coach Ben Loorz with its first official meet this weekend in Fresno, while men’s and women’s basketball get their full practices underway beginning on Oct. 15 and start the season in November.
With so many great events every week, we’re excited to have all of our fans and supporters along for the ride!