Bronco Sports

Inside water, Coach Oldham inducted into San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, kicking off a new league, eye on the ball

Inside water

Things going swimmingly at the new Sullivan Aquatic Center
In the swim: Jack Wall ’09 in action in the new Sullivan Aquatic Center. He earned All-WWPA First Team honors and an ACWPC All-America honorable mention.
Photo: Don Jedlovec

The Santa Clara men’s and women’s water polo programs are playing in style in the ’08–’09 season—thanks to a new pool. The newly constructed Sullivan AquaticCenter, donated by Jack Sullivan ’59 and Joan Sullivan, was completed in October and allows the SCU water polo teams to practice and compete in a regulation-size pool.

The Bronco men opened up play in their new home this fall with a solid 9–7 win over conference rival Air Force in front of a packed crowd. This men’s team remained in the top-20 national rankings all season, and head coach Keith Wilbur reached his 100th career win at the helm of the men’s team in his seventh season.

Wilbur also prepared the Bronco women for the 2009 campaign; they hosted Stanford for their season home opener on Jan. 29. Led by a strong senior class, including All-WWPA senior Amy Lamb, the SCU team looks to build upon its fourth-place finish at the conference tournament and its No. 18 national ranking in 2008. Santa Clara will host the women’s WWPA Conference Championships this season at the Sullivan Aquatic Center April 24–26.


Coach Oldham inducted into San Jose Sports Hall of Fame

John Oldham, who coached Santa Clara’s baseball team for 13 seasons, was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame last fall. In a ceremony hosted at the HP Pavilion on Nov. 19, Oldham was recognized in for his achievements as coach at SCU and, before that, San Jose City College, where he coached and taught for 18 years.

Oldham came to Santa Clara in 1985 and racked up a record of 433–324–6, retiring as the second-winningest coach in Bronco baseball history. His teams finished above .500 in eight seasons, garnered three conference titles, and earned a place in the NCAA playoffs four times. Oldham is currently the supervisor of evaluation and development for umpires in the Class A California League.


Kicking off a new league

Women’s pro soccer—and a couple Broncos—coming to Buck Shaw

undefinedThe Mission Campus will host the Bay Area franchise of Women’s Professional Soccer starting next spring. FC Gold Pride will play home games at Buck Shaw Stadium, kicking off against the Boston Breakers on April 5. Santa Clara now boasts both professional men’s and women’s soccer teams in the Bay Area, with the San Jose Earthquakes playing their second season of home games on campus this year.

Former SCU soccer star Albertin Montoya ’97 will be coaching Gold Pride. As a midfielder for the Broncos, he led the team to its first-ever WCC Championship and totaled 16 goals and 25 assists during his collegiate career. More recently, he has served on the Broncos women’s coaching staff.

As of press time, two Broncos are featured prominently on the Gold Pride roster: Leslie Osborne ’05 and Brandi Chastain ’91. Osborne played in the 2007 World Cup in China but had to sit out the 2008 Olympics because of a knee injury in July. Chastain kicked the game-winning goal against China to win the World Cup in 1999. She played on the U.S. Women’s national team through December 2004.


Eye on the ball

Q&A with new head softball coach Lisa Mize
Warm-up time: Mize and the team take the field.
Photo: Charles Barry

Lisa Mize brings a whole lot of knowledge of the game to her post. A 1996 Olympian, California Pitcher of the Year, and stand-out player for Fresno State, Mize founded the coaching school Fastpitch Academy in her hometown of Los Gatos in 2001. She also played at Colorado State and Chabot College, and was a member of the Puerto Rican National Team. On the eve of 2009 regular season play, Santa Clara Magazine sat down with Coach Mize to talk about the future of SCU’s team.

How does the upcoming season look?

We have a really good group. We’re working harder than I’ve ever seen the players work. I want to energize the team and build confidence. It’s been a struggle for the program for a number of years. They had a lot of turnover. I’m looking to be the person who’s grounded, who’s going to bring a long-term view.

What advice do you give your players?

I want my players to strive to be the best, to play at their highest level. It’s simple really: Be yourself, work hard, and results will come.

Has the game changed since you were playing?

It’s a lot more on the offense now. Programs and coaches focus a lot more on hitting. Pushing the mound back three feet to 43 feet made a difference; it makes the game more lively. You don’t see as many strikeouts. When I was growing up, you could name all the pitchers, and they’d average seven to 10 strikeouts per game. Now a pitcher gets three or four strikeouts in a good game.

How do things look for Santa Clara?

I’ve watched the program for years. I have a good sense of what it’ll take to turn the program around. I can see our future, I see us attaining our goals. Santa Clara is a great academic school, we have a close-knit community and a great setting. Our backyard, Northern California, is a softball haven. For all of these reasons, we have enormous potential.

What’s been your best softball experience?

Being part of the inaugural softball Olympic experience in Atlanta on the Puerto Rican team. It was tremendous. Walking through the opening ceremony at the Olympics, with hundreds of thousands of people there and presidents from every country, everybody coming together—that was a moment I’ll always cherish.

And being on the Puerto Rican National Team was fantastic. I got to travel the world, playing a sport that I love, for almost 10 years. The Puerto Rican team recruited me; my mom’s family is Latino, her grandparents are Puerto Rican. I became a Puerto Rican citizen and lived there part time for three years.

Are you disappointed that softball is no longer an Olympic sport?

Softball is actually in a good place right now. The College World Series, which has been played since 1982, has gotten more exposure lately. There is a big push to bring softball back to the Olympics. It may not happen in 2012 but maybe 2016. But I believe it will happen.

What is a common mistake that players make?

Taking for granted how lucky they are to be athletes. On and off the field, you’re looked up to as an athlete. But playing can become just a daily task, and the significance of that role gets forgotten. I tell my players to play each game as if it is their last. I think in life we forget that, too: Make every moment count.

Interview conducted and edited by Lisa Taggart

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