CENTURY CLUB'S GREATEST
3. Pat McCormick completes the first double-double in Olympic diving history, winning the platform event to give her four gold medals in two Olympics. Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 12, 1956.
McCormick was a swim rat who could always be found jumping off the board at the bay or the platform in the lagoon. Her talents were good enough that she was invited to train at the Los Angeles Athletic Club and make a bid for the Olympic team. In the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, she easily won both Olympic diving events. She had a child in 1955 but decided to take another shot at the Olympics a year later. She did so with the help of a group of Long Beach sportsmen, now known as the original Century Club, who chipped in for some training and travel funds. She went to Melbourne and won the springboard gold medal handily. But she had a fight on her hands in the platform a week later, dueling with her U.S. teammates Juno Irwin and Paula Jean Myers. She trailed Juno after five dives, but pulled ahead on her sixth and put the gold medal away on her final try to become the first to win a pair of diving golds back-to-back, a feat that would eventually be equaled by Greg Louganis. McCormick was chosen the winner of the Sullivan Award for her effort, was the first Century Club athlete of the year, and in 1965 was in the inaugural class inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
7. Tim Shaw wins the Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete to cap two record-breaking seasons in the pool. Los Angeles, Feb. 9, 1976.
The Wilson high standout in 1974 set a stunning four world records in a four-day span at the 1974 U.S. Nationals in Concord in the 200-meter freestyle (1:51.66), 400-meter freestyle twice (3:56.69) and 1,500-meter freestyle (15:31.75) that proved to be just the beginning of a great run of records. At one time during his incredible streak, he held every world between 200 and 1,500 meters. He would break the 400 and 1,500 records again at the U.S. nationals in 1975 in his hometown, lowering the 1,500 mark by seven seconds. His Olympic dreams for 1976 foundered because of a severe case of anemia that set his training back and, as he worked to recover, led to a shoulder injury. He rallied to make the Olympic team in the 400-meter free and gutted his way to a silver medal in the Montreal Olympics. He also won a gold medal as part of the world-record setting U.S. 4x200-meter freestyle relay team. Shaw would then become one of the few Olympians to make the Games in two different sports. He switched to water polo and made the 1984 team. Shaw and his teammates, including Wilson's Jody Campbell and Long Beach City College coach Monte Nitzkowski, went unbeaten, but they tied Yugoslavia in the final game, and the opponents got the gold medal on goal differential.
8. Misty May, with Kerri Walsh, wins her first Olympic gold on the beach to cap a record-breaking run in women's volleyball. Athens, Greece, Aug. 24, 2004.
Few athletes have been as dominating in their field as May and her partner Walsh, the tall, rangy Stanford All-American, have been on the beach circuit. They teamed up in 2003 and won a stunning 89 consecutive matches through June 2004, claiming two Assn. of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) and one International (FIVB) crown. They won all eight AVP tournaments they played in 2003 and five of nine FIVB tourneys, and 11 of 15 tournaments in 2004. In 2004, May came to Athens in peak form, and mowed down every opponent, never losing a game. They beat U.S. teammates Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs 21-18, 21-15 in the semifinals and Brazil's Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar 21-17, 21-11 in the finals. After the match, Misty scattered the ashes of her late mother Barbara on the court. The duo would then go on to win 50 consecutive matches beginning with the Olympics, Including another FIVB crown. In 2005, May, who led Long Beach State to the 1998 NCAA title, won a record 17 matches, 11 AVP and six FIVB, and finished second the four others she played. Recently married to Florida catcher Matt Treanor, she has 53 career wins and no plans to stop until after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
10. Ed Ratleff refuses to accept the silver medal after one of the most controversial games in Olympic history. Munich, West Germany, July 27, 1972.
Like Billie Jean, there are a lot of reasons why Ratleff could be in the top ten: He was a two-time Long Beach State All-American, a 10-year NBA pro, is the only 49er to have his jersey retired, and was the leader of the best era of 49er basketball. But what happened in Munich had impact beyond basketball, given the nature of the Cold War in 1972 and the courageous decision by Ratleff and his Olympic teammates to turn down the silver medal after the gold was yanked from their hands. Doug Collins sank two free throws with three seconds left to give the U.S. a 50-49 lead in the gold medal game against the USSR squad. The Soviets in-bounded the ball, and just before time ran out, the official whistled the play dead because of a timeout issue. After a brief delay, the Soviets in-bounded the ball and time ran out. Game over? Nyet. An off-court official ruled the USSR should have had three seconds left when they in-bounded the ball. The official had no authority to do so, but the referees complied, and a long pass to Sasha Belov found its mark. He pushed through two defenders and scored for the much-disputed 51-50 win, the first loss in Olympic competition by the U.S. after 62 wins. The team voted en masse to decline the silver medals and did not attend the medal ceremony, and with regularity, Ratleff and his teammates are saluted for accepting nothing less than gold.
11. Mark O'Meara wins the Masters to top the best season of the former 49ers career, Augusta, Georgia, April 12, 1998.
The former Long Beach State All-American had been one of the most consistent players on the PGA tour but had never won a major event when he came to the Masters at a time when all eyes were fixed on his good friend, Tiger Woods. Against that backdrop, O'Meara posted a great third (68) and fourth round (67) to edge Fred Couple and David DuVal by a stroke as well as his fast-closing friend, Woods. O'Meara didn't stop there. He went on to win his second major at the British Open, winning a four-hole playoff against Brian Watts by two strokes. The 1981 PGA rookie of the year, he closed 1998 being named PGA player of the year, ranked seventh and earned 1.7 million. His solid career now includes 17 wins, including the 2004 Dubai Classic, and he's represented the U.S. on the Dunhill team seven times and Ryder Cup team five.
12. Misty May, Benishe Dillard, Anja Grabovac, Brandy Barratt, and Veronica Walls lead the 49ers volleyball team to a dream, record-making unbeaten season, Madison, Wisconsin, Dec. 19, 1998.
The NCAA began holding volleyball championships in 1981 and the 49ers under Brian Gimmillaro had already won in 1989 behind Tara Cross-Battle and 1993 with Danielle Scott. But the 1998 team went somewhere no team had ever gone before -- unbeaten. They went 36-0 and lost only eight games. Behind May, the brilliant setter who contributed in a myriad of ways and is now the queen of the beach, the 49ers did not lose a game from October 2 at UC Santa Barbara until they reached the title game against Penn State, a span that also included a 15-0, 15-0, 15-0 sweep of Southern in a first-round tourney game. After beating Florida in the semifinals, the 49ers won the first two games, saw Penn State come back to tie, and the 49ers took the fifth game, 15-12, for the title.
18. Long Beach State, before a sold-out arena and national TV audience, beats Marquette 76-66, Long Beach Arena, March 3, 1973.
Marquette was coached by Al McGuire, led by Maurice Lucas and ranked sixth in the nation. The 49ers were coached by Jerry Tarkanian, led by Ed Ratleff and ranked No. 4. And so many people wanted to see the game that it was nationally televised. The 12,987 that crammed the Long Beach Arena remains the largest home crowd in 49er history, and they saw a great game and ten-point 49er win behind Ratleff, Glenn McDonald, Leonard Gray and Rick Aberegg. The 49ers would be ranked third the following week but their NCAA hopes were dashed in the second round when they were upset by USF. It was Tarkanian's last season.
19. Joan Lind wins a silver medal in the Olympic single sculls, the first-ever U.S. medal in women's rowing competition, Montreal, July 24, 1976.
The sport of rowing for women in the U.S. had little more than a decade of organized history when Lind posted her silver in Canada. The U.S. National Women's Rowing Assn. didn't hold its first championships until 1966 and it didn't enter a team in the European Championships, much less the worlds, until 1973. Lind didn't begin rowing until she was a freshman at Long Beach State in 1971, and she didn't switch to single sculls until 1973. She won five national titles beginning in 1973 but the U.S. had so little profile internationally -- the '76 Games were the first for women in the Olympics -- that her medal was considered one of Montreal's biggest surprises. Lind continued to show her credentials, winning two silver medals in the European Championships in 1980 -- she would have been favored to win a medal if not for the boycott -- and then won another Olympic silver in 1984 in the quad sculls.
25. Jered Weaver strikes out the first 10 Trojans in a game that set the tone for the best season ever by a Dirtbag, Blair Field, February 13, 2004.
Every start by the Dirtbags right-hander became a scene -- big crowds, major league scouts, media types -- after this start, when 3,163 saw him mow down the Trojans and launch one of the best and most successful seasons ever by a collegiate pitcher. He would repeat the 10 K performance later that season against BYU, strike out 16 batters in six innings against Wichita State, and then strike out 17 against Pacific in May.
His 213 strikeouts on the season set a school and Big West record and ranks sixth on the NCAA all-time list. He led the NCAA in wins with 16 and was third in ERA (1.62). The first two-time All-American in Long Beach State history, his career mark was 37-8 and he closed 2004 by winning all of the major player-of-the-year awards: the Golden Spikes, Dick Howser, Roger Clemens, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.
29. Mark Seay loses a kidney, keeps his career and shows what courage is all about, Clemson, South Carolina, September 1, 1990.
In 1988, the Long Beach State wide receiver attended a niece's birthday party. When he heard shots being fired, he jumped in front of his niece, was hit, and lost one of his kidneys. His football career seemed over, especially when the university was wary about its liability should he get hurt again. With the help of George Allen, Seay did return, and on the first game of the season, Seay returned to the field and had three catches in the season opener. He would go on to lead the team in receptions (48) and yards (771), play another season and then spend seven seasons in the NFL, his 1994 season being his best, with 58 catches during the regular season and seven more in Super Bowl XXIX with the San Diego Chargers.
30. Jeff Severson intercepts two passes against San Diego State to set an NCAA college division record for picks in a year with 15, San Diego, November 29, 1969.
Severson was one of the defensive leaders on the best era of 49er football, an aggressive ball-hawking defensive back that nabbed 15 interceptions in an 8-3 1969 season. He added eight more in 1970 to end his career with 23, both Long Beach State records.
The 1970 49ers went 9-2-1, beat rival San Diego State and won their first conference title to earn a trip to the Pasadena Bowl, where they met Louisville and earned a 24-24 tie when Severson blocked Louisville's last-play field goal. The singing cowboy went on to play seven years in the NFL, including in Super Bowl VII with George Allen's Washington Redskins.
31. Bob Ctvrtlik helps U.S. to the 1988 Olympic gold volleyball
medal, Seoul, October 2, 1988.
The 1984 U.S. team was the first to win a gold medal,
but the 1988 squad was the first to go unbeaten in the Olympics, with the former
Wilson, Long Beach City College and Long Beach State star joining Karch Kiraly
and Steve Timmons in their march through Seoul. The U.S. came back from an 0-2
deficit to beat Argentina in the prelims, and
33. Long Beach State alum Jason Giambi is named 2000 American League
MVP, Oakland, January, 2001.
Giambi became the first former Dirtbag to win a significant award in the major leagues after his 2000 season earned him the A.L. MVP trophy. He hit .333 with 43 home runs and 137 RBI to help Oakland to the N.L. West title, outdistancing Frank Thomas and Alex Rodriguez in the voting. The former Dirtbag led Long Beach State to the 1991 College World Series. He hit .407 on the season with 54 RBI in a 45-22 season that also featured the Dirtbags' first win in Omaha. Giambi went 5-for-9 with four extra base-hits and four RBI in the Dirtbags' three games in Omaha.
34. Dwight Stones high jumps 7-7 to set a new world record and win
the NCAA Championships, Philadelphia, June 5, 1976.
The most decorated high jumper in U.S. history, Stones transferred to Long Beach State already the world record holder, having cleared 7-6 in a meet in Munich in 1973. But he raised it to 7-7 while representing the 49ers at the NCAA Championships at the University of Pennsylvania, and would go on to raise it to 7-7 two months later. He would hold the record for four full years Stones won bronze medals at the Olympics in 1972 and 1976, his bid for gold in '76 coming to an end on a wet jumping area in Montreal. He would make the Olympic team again in 1984, and finished fourth. He was a national champ 19 times in his career.
35. Long Beach State finds out how hard it is to beat UCLA in a
heartbreaking NCAA Regional final, Salt Lake City, March 20, 1971
In their dramatic run of seven straight NCAA basketball titles between 1967 and 1973, UCLA won by double digits in 23 of 28 games. The closest they came to losing? The 1971 West Regional Final against Jerry Tarkanian, Ed Ratleff and Long Beach State in Salt Lake City, a 57-55 win that still bothers many veteran 49er fans to this day. The 49ers were 24-4 coming in behind the play of Ratleff, George Trapp and Chuck Terry, and were confident they could end the streak of John Wooden. The 49ers led 31-27 at the half and 52-50 with 5:46 left and limited UCLA to 29 percent shooting from the field. But Ratleff was whistled for his fifth and final foul at 5:23. The Bruins shot ten more free throws than the 49ers and managed to outscore them 7-3 after Ratleff left. Being close didn't ease the bitterness the 49ers felt, but they know they came as close as anyone on beating UCLA during its record run.[ep
36. John Van Blom and Tom McKibbon win the European double sculls
title, the first international title by Americans, Klaugenfurt,
Rowing's history in Long Beach is as old as the
city, with the 1932 Olympic Games at the Marine Stadium the high point. But
the two Long Beach State athletes made history in 1969 when they won the double
sculls title at the European Championships (that year's worlds), the first
world title for the U.S. in the event, and the first double sculls title in
any international event since the 1932 Games. The pair would win the double
sculls in the prestigious Royal Henley Regatta a year later. McKibbon was part
of the 49er crew team for four years (1961-64) and competed in the 1968 and
1972 Olympics and was an Olympic coach in four others. Van Blom was on four
Olympic teams (1968-1980) and coached two others. Van Blom finished fourth in
the 1968 single
40. George Allen's amazing comeback, and the last shining moment for
Long Beach State football, Long Beach Veterans Stadium, Nov. 17,
It was a coaching coup. George Allen, the legendary coach of the NFL's Rams (1966-70) and Redskins (1971-77) who took the Redskins to Super Bowl VII and the Rams to the conference title game twice and never had a losing season, surprised football experts nationwide by accepting the daunting task of reviving Long Beach State football a few years after the program was almost terminated. The 49ers started the 1990 season 0-3, including a 59-0 season opening humbling at Clemson. But when his 49ers beat UNLV 29-20 November 17 at Veteran's Stadium to end the season, Long Beach had finished with six wins in their last eight games and a 6-5 record, their first winning season since 1986. Behind the play of quarterback Todd Studer, wide receiver Mark Seay, linebacker Pepper Jenkins and defensive back Shawn Wilbourn, Allen and the 49ers won all six of their home games, four of them by eight total points and the game-winner in three of them coming in the final two minutes of the game. At the end of the game UNLV, Allen was carried off the field as the modest crowd chanted "George, George, George." Longtime football boosters will always wonder what might have happened to 49er football if Allen had not become ill and died of pneumonia on New Year's Eve.
42. John Rambo jumps 7-1 to win the bronze medal in the 1964 Olympic Games, Tokyo, October 21, 1964.
Rambo led the competition at one point but would finish third behind the previous two world record holders and track legends, the Soviet Union's brilliant Valery Brumel and America's John Thomas, who had previously crushed the world record and once gone two years without a loss (both jumped 7-1). Few athletes have had as storied and as long a career in Long Beach athletics as Rambo. A standout in track and basketball at Poly, he was chosen the national junior college athlete of the year in 1963 at Long Beach City College for becoming the first JUCO to clear seven feet, while also averaging 19 points a game for the Viking basketball team. Rambo came home from Tokyo and continued his basketball and track career at Long Beach State, and has coached youth teams in the community for more than 30 years.
44. The Dirtbags are born and make their first-ever trip to the College World Series, Tucson, Arizona, May 27, 1989.
That day in May is when the Long Beach State baseball team knocked off No. 1-seed Arizona in the Western Regional for the second day in a row to advance to the College World Series in Omaha for the first time. But almost any date of the season could qualify. The team won its first 18 games and a school-record 50 games on the season. The 1988 team won just 15 games. Dave Snow was then hired away from Loyola and put together a team on the fly, built around second baseman Chris Gill (.355), first baseman Don Barbara (.366), outfielder Darrell Sherman (.365) and pitchers Kyle Abbott (15-3, 2.73) and Andy Croghan (12-1, 3.16.). The team nickname came as the team played on two different home fields and practiced on various "dirtbag" infields on its march to the CWS.
47. Kate Schmidt sets a world record in the javelin, throwing the spear 227-5, Furth, East Germany, September 11, 1977.
How dominant was the Wilson and Long Beach State track star? Her 227-5 mark remains the American record today, almost 30 years later. The track powers changed the javelin specs in 1999, so her record will always stand. Kate The Great raised the American record from 198-8 to 227-5 in a six-year span (1972-77), won seven national titles and she took the world record from East Germany's Ruth Fuchs, holding it for almost two years. Schmidt won bronze medals in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics and made the 1980 boycott team as well
OTHER TOP MOMENTS OUT OF THE TOP-50
1970: Long Beach State beats its rival San Diego State, 27-11, before 39,005 at the Big A to claim PCAA football title.
1977: Del Walker (Wilson, Poly, LBCC, LBSU) wins his ninth Virginia Country Club title at the age of 64, 37 years after winning his first. In his career, he also eagled every hole at Virginia, won two state titles while at LBCC, coached Poly basketball to a CIF title, was A.D. at LBCC during its heyday, and was one of the premier amateur golfers in several generations.
1983: Ron Crawford (LBCC, LBSU) is the first American inducted into the International Water Polo Hall of Fame.
1983: Long Beach State's LaTaunya Pollard Garrett wins the Wade Trophy as the nation's best women's college basketball player.
1986: Mark Templeton sets a still-standing NCAA football record for most receptions in a season (99) and a career (252) by a running back.
1987: Long Beach State's women's basketball team under Joan Bonvicini advances to its first Final Four.
1989: Tara Cross-Battle, Sheri Sanders and Antoinette White lead Brian Gimmillaro's Long Beach State women's volleyball team to its first NCAA title.
1991: Long Beach State and coach Ray Ratelle wins its first NCAA men's volleyball title behind Brent Hilliard, Brett Winslow and Alan Knipe.
1993: Long Beach State's basketball team, led by Lucious Harris and Bryon Russell, upsets No. 1 Kansas in Lawrence.
1996: Wilson and Long Beach State product Paul Goydos wins his first pro golf tourney, the Bay Hill Classic.
1998: Former Long Beach State running back Terrell Davis of Denver is chosen MVP of Super Bowl.