Five Bulldogs Among WCC's Top 50 Greatest Athletes

Nov. 29, 2001

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SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Five former Gonzaga University student-athletes are among the West Coast Conference's 50 greatest athletes selected in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the conference that began as the California Basketball Association for the 1952-53 season.

Current Utah Jazz All-Star guard John Stockton is joined by other former Bulldog men's basketball players Jeff Brown, Matt Santangelo and Casey Calvary. Lisa (Petticord) Phillips, who helped lead Gonzaga's volleyball team to its only NCAA Tournament appearance, was also among the Bulldogs selected by the WCC staff.

The list includes only individuals from the league's current membership who participated in WCC athletics while the conference sponsored each performer's particular sport. Each of the honorees is being recognized for his or her contributions to the conference, with primary focus on each individual's collegiate accomplishments.

All eight of the WCC's current member institutions submitted nominees to the conference staff to be considered for the league's Top 50 list. The final student-athletes were then selected by the conference office from the pool of nominees.

"The challenge of limiting the selections to 50 individuals was significant, and many outstanding male and female student-athletes do not appear on the final list," said Commissioner Michael Gilleran. "The talent pool was very deep, and I have no doubt that reasonable arguments may be made on behalf of a number of individuals who were not selected. I would like to recognize and thank the 50 individuals who were selected, as well as all the men and women who have contributed to the success of the conference since its inception 50 years ago."

Stockton was the Player of the Year in 1984, leading the conference in scoring at 20.9 ppg, assists (201) and steals (109). He was the last player cut at the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team trials. and was a first-round pick (16th player overall) of the Jazz in the 1984 draft. While at Gonzaga, Stockton set school marks for career assists (554) and steals (264). He was the conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1984, an Associated Press honorqable mention All-America pick and was a GTE/College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American as a senior. Stockton still ranks seventh in the WCC in career assists.

A 10-time NBA All-Star, Stockton is the career leader in assists and steals in his 18-year pro career. He was also voted one of the Top 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. The Spokane, Wash., native realized his Olympic dream as a member of the first Dream Team of NBA players that won the Gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and also reprsented the U.S. in the '96 Olympics in Atlanta in winning his second Gold.

Brown, another Spokane native, helped take Gonzaga basketball to a new level, joining the Bulldogs in 1990-91 and sitting out after transferring from the University of Washington. Brown still ranks fourth in school history in scoring with his 1,646 points. He led the conference in scoring as a junior (16.7 ppg) and senior (21.0 ppg), the first Gonzaga player since Stockton to pace the league in scoring. His 630 points in '94 still rank fifth on the all-time Gonzaga charts.

Gonzaga won its inaugural WCC title in 1994 and Brown earned Player of the Year honors. The Bulldogs were selected to the National Invitation Tournament for its their inaugural post-season appearance, downing Stanford University in the first round prior to losing at Kansas State University in the second round. A three-time All-WCC first team selection, Brown was also the WCC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and was named the GTE/CoSIDA All-Academic Basketball Player of the Year.

Santangelo was compared to Stockton the day he walked on campus, and he lived up top the billing by bcoming the all-time Gonzaga assists leader with 668 and single-season record holder with 225. Santangelo, who hails from Portland, Ore., still ranks third in the WCC in career assists. A prolific scorer, Santangelo is third on the all-time Gonzaga scoring list with 1,810 points. He was the quarterback of Gonzaga's run to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in 1999 as Santangelo and the Bulldogs captivated the collegiate basketball nation. A three-time All-WCC first-team pick, Santangelo was named the WCC Co-Freshman of the year in 1997 and his career continued to blossom. Santangelo is currently playing professionally in Poland.

Calvary joined forces with Santangelo for three years, giving the Bulldogs a strong inside presence on their run to NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances in 2000 and 2001 to go with the Elite Eight bid in 1999. Gonzaga also advanced to the second round of the NIT in 1998, defeating the University of Wyoming in the first round and falling at the University of Hawai'i in the second round. Calvary was one of the first Gonzaga players to advance to post-season play in all four years. Perhaps the highlight of his career was a last-second tip-in against the University of Florida that propelled Gonzaga into the Elite Eight. His last-second tip propelled Gonzaga past the University of Virginia in last spring's NCAA first round.

The 2001 WCC Player of the Year, the native of Tacoma, Wash., was a two-time All-WCC selection after earning honorable mention honors in 1999. He finished second in the WCC scoring race as a senior with his 19.0 ppg. He became the all-time WCC blocked shots leader with 205. His 1,509 career points and 757 career rebounds made him just the fourth player in Gonzaga history to reach 1,000 points and 700 rebounds. Calvary is currently playing professionally in Japan.

The former Lisa Petticord helped put Gonzaga volleyball on the national map, leading the Bulldogs to a second-place conference finish behind perennial power Pepperdine University and an at-large berth into the 1990 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs went 25-7 overall, 12-2 in the WCC with both setbacks to Pepperdine. Petticord, from Kirkland, Wash., was named the 1990 WCC Player of the Year, the first such honor for the Bulldogs. A three-time first-team pick, she eclipsed WCC and school career records for kills (1,692), blocks (546) and block assists (408), and set single-season standards for kills (638) aned hitting percentage (.364). In addition to her records, she led the WCC in kill average (5.1) and was third in both block average (1.1) and ace average (0.4) as a senior.

Petticord's honors extended beyond the WCC as she was named to the ASICS/Volleyball Monthly NCAA Division I honorable mention All-America squad and to the first team All-West Region team as selected by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. At the 1990 Sports Festival in Los Angeles, she played for the bronze-medal winning East squad. She was also a GTE/CoSIDA District VIII first-team All-Academic selection. She was also named the Hanes Her Way Woman of the Year for the State of Washington, a program that honored the top female athlete in every state.

To follow is the list of the Top 50 Student-Athletes in WCC history.

WCC's 50 Greatest Athletes

AthleteInstitutionSportAccomplishment
Bird AverittPepperdineMBB2X all-WCC, Player of Year, All-Amer., 2 NBA teams
Dennis Awtrey Santa ClaraMBB3X all-WCC, 2X Player of Year, All-Amer., 6 NBA teams, Santa Clara leader in rebounds
Justi BaumgardtPortlandWSOC4X all-WCC, Frosh of Year, Player of Year, Nine All-Amer., US Nat?l team, WUSA
Billy BeanLoyola MarymountBB2X all-WCC, All-Dist. 8, HM & 2nd team All-Amer, played for Detroit Tigers
Anja BordtSaint Mary?sWBB3X all-WCC, Frosh All-Amer., 2X player of year, All-Amer., WCC all-time assist leader
Taggert BoziedSan FranciscoBB3X All-Amer. & all-WCC, WCC player of year, ?Triple Crown? winner, All-Amer., MLB
Jeff BrownGonzagaMBB3X all-WCC, Player of Year, 3X Acdemic All Amer.
Casey CalvaryGonzagaMBB2X all-WCC, Wooden Award Finalist, WCC Player of the Year
Tom CandiottiSaint Mary?sBB2X all-WCC, Pitcher of Year, 16 years in MLB
Bill Cartwright San FranciscoMBB3X All-Amer., 3X WCC MVP, 3 NBA champs with Chicago Bulls, USF all-time leading scorer
Doug ChristiePepperdineMBB2X all-WCC, 2X Player of Year, All-Amer., MVP in 1992, 4 NBA teams
Mandy ClemensSanta ClaraWSOC3X all-WCC, 3X all-Amer, 3X player of year, USA Sr. Nat?l team, WUSA
Susie Erpelding San DiegoWBB3X all-WCC, All-Amer., scholar-athlete of year, school?s all-time leading scorer (men incld.)
Mike FarmerSan FranciscoMBB2X all-WCC, NCAA champs, All-Amer., 7 years in NBA
Hank GathersLoyola MarymountMBBPlayer of Decade, All-American, led NCAA in scoring/rebounding in same year
Valerie GillonSan FranciscoWBB2X all-WCC, 2X MVP, scholar-athlete, NCAA Sweet 16 appearance
Jason GorePepperdineMG2X all-WCC, NCAA Champs, All-Amer., PGA tour
Guillermo JaraSan DiegoMSOC4X all-WCC, Soccer America Frosh of Year, US Nat?l U-23 team, US Olympic Festival
K.C. JonesSan FranciscoMBB2X NCAA champs, USA Olympic Gold, 8 NBA Titles with Boston Celtics, NFL draft choice
Kelly JonesPepperdineMT4X All-Amer., 2X NCAA doubles champ
Kasey KellerPortlandMSOC4X all-WCC, goalkeeper of year, 3X All-Amer., US Nat?l Team, US Olympic Team
Bo KimbleLoyola MarymountMBBAll-American, NCAA scoring Champ, WCC Player of Year
Melissa KingSanta ClaraWBB3X all-WCC, 2X player of year, All-Amer., Santa Clara leader in scoring
Tim LayanaLoyola MarymountBBAll-WCC, Pitcher of Year, 2nd team All-Amer, All-Dist. 8, 3 MLB teams
Zuzana LesenarovaSan DiegoWT4X all-WCC, four NCAA All-Amer., NCAA nat?l champ, ITA player of year, 6 ITA grand slams
Brittany LindheSan FranciscoWBB4X all-WCC, All-Amer., scholar-athlete of year, NCAA post-grad, , NCAA Sweet 16
Roger LindqvistSan DiegoMSOC3X all-WCC, 2X All-Amer., West Region Defensive MVP, Final Four MVP, Player of year
Sarah McFarlandLoyola MarymountVBAll-Amer., LMU all-time career kills leader, National Player of Week
Shannon McMillanPortlandWSOC4X all-WCC, Frosh. Of Year, 2X Player of Year, nine All-Amer., Herman Trophy winner
Tom MescherrySaint Mary?sMBBAll-WCAC, 2X All-Amer., WCAC Champs, player of year, NBA all-star, 3 NBA teams
Tiffeny MilbrettPortlandWSOC2X Player of Year, seven All-Amer., WUSA MVP, US Olympic Team, US Nat?l Team
Tracy MorrisSaint Mary?sWBB2X all-WCC, Frosh of year, MVP, Player of year, All-Amer.
Steve NashSanta ClaraMBB3X all-WCC, 2X player of year, MVP, Dallas Mavericks, Canadian Olympic team bronze
Jose Luis NoriegaSan DiegoMT4X All-Amer., Frosh. Of year, Volvo Tennis Rookie of Year, won two ITA Grand Slams
Sarah NoriegaLoyola MarymountVB3X all-WCC, All-Amer., WCC Player of Year, U.S. Nat?l VB Team
Lisa PetticordGonzagaVB4X all-WCC, Player of Year, VB Monthly All-Amer, 2X All-West Region
Kurt RambisSanta ClaraMBB2X all-WCC, Player of Year, Frosh of year, 4 NBA teams, 4 champs with LA Lakers
Cameron RastSanta ClaraMSOC2X All-Amer., 2X defensive player of year, US Olympic Team, National Co-Champs
Steve RodriguezPepperdineBB2X all-WCC, MVP in 1992, 2X WCC champs, won CWS, All-Amer.
Bill RussellSan FranciscoMBB2X NCAA champs, USA Olympic Gold, 11 champs with Boston Celtics
Laura SalePortlandWBB2X all-WCC, player of year, All-Amer., NCAA post grad scholarship
Matt SantangeloGonzagaMBB3X all-WCC, Frosh. Of Year, World Games Gold
Mike ScottPepperdineBB3X all-WCC, Frosh. Of Year, 3X WCC Champs, 2 MLB teams, Cy Young Award
Ken SearsSanta ClaraMBB3X all-WCC, 2X player of year, All-Amer., New York Knicks. 1st college bkb player to be on cover of SI
Martha SheldonPortlandWBB2X all-WCC, player of year, Portland scholar-athlete of year, All-Amer., NCAA post-grad
Danielle SlatonSanta ClaraWSOC3X all-WCC, Frosh of year, 3X All-Amer., USA Olympic team, USA Sr. Nat?l team
Phil SmithSan FranciscoMBB3X all-WCC, All-Amer., NBA champs with Golden State Warriors
John StocktonGonzagaMBB2X all-WCC, 2 Olympic Golds, Played for Utah Jazz
Robbie WeissPepperdineMT2X All-Amer., NCAA singles title, played on ATP tour
Petia YanchulovaSan DiegoVB2X Player of Year, All-Amer., Frosh of year

 

 

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