Five Bulldogs Among WCC's Top 50 Greatest Athletes
Nov. 29, 2001
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
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