Aug. 9, 2001
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Former Santa Clara University men's basketball coach and director of athletics Carroll Williams will be inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame this fall, the organization announced.
In addition to Williams, the five inductees for 2001 are John Ralston (football), Dave Righetti (baseball), Joe Leonard (motorsports) and Ernie Nevers (football) in memoriam. The San Jose Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place Wednesday, November 7, at Compaq Center at San Jose, with a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner and ceremony at 7:00 p.m. The 2001 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is presented by NEC Electronics Inc. in cooperation with Andersen, San Jose Magazine and KNTV News Channel 11.
This is the 7th annual San Jose Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. In addition to the ceremony, a bronze relief of each of the inductees will be permanently displayed on the concourse level of Compaq Center at San Jose.
The public is invited to purchase tickets for the event by calling the Hall of Fame hotline at (408) 288-2932. Tickets are $150 per person or $1750 per table. Additional sponsorship packages are available. A portion of the event proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Santa Clara County. Members of the media interested in covering the event or requiring further information about the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame and its inductees are asked to call Elaine Sullivan Digre at 408-375-0305.
John Ralston Football history would not be the same without the legendary John Ralston. A native of Oakland, he hit the gridiron for Cal as a linebacker from 1947-1951. After three years as an assistant coach for his alma mater, he landed his first head coaching job at Utah State, where he led the Aggies to 1960 and 1961 bowl victories. In 1963, he made the move to Stanford, where he built one of the nation's most elite football programs. Under Ralston, the Indians did the unimaginable - beating USC and UCLA and winning the Rose Bowl in the same year. They did it for the first time in school history in 1970, and repeated the feat in 1971. The following year, he made the jump to professional football, when he became the head coach and general manager of the Denver Broncos, leading the team to its first-ever winning season in 1973 and earning Coach of the Year honors. He went on to continued success in the professional game with the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, as well as the USFL. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992, he returned to the college game in 1993, when he was served as head coach of San Jose State for four years. Also a member of the Stanford and Bay Area Sports Halls of Fame, Ralston continues his legendary career today as the Spartan's Special Assistant to the Athletic Director.
Carroll Williams For more than three decades, Carroll Williams has been a leader on and off the basketball court - as a player, coach and athletic director. The Lincoln High School graduate became a star at San Jose State, where he was named First Team All-West Coast Conference and an All-American Honorable Mention as a senior. He still holds his place in the Spartan record books - second in free throw percentage, with 79.9%, and 12th in scoring, with 1,049 total points. A member of the U.S. Army squad and an alternate on the 1960 Olympic team, Williams began his coaching career at Blackford High in San Jose. He joined the Santa Clara coaching staff in 1963 and became head coach in 1971. Over the next 22 years, his teams won 344 games, recorded six twenty-win seasons, and made five post season appearances - including a trip to the NCAA tournament - using his signature "flex" offense. Named athletic director in 1992, the Broncos won 19 conference championships during his eight-year tenure. A man of great leadership and integrity, Williams served on the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Committee from 1996-2000. Williams currently serves as the Special Assistant to the President at Santa Clara University.
Dave Righetti Born and raised in San Jose, Dave Righetti's baseball career began at Pioneer High School. There, major league scouts took notice of the all-league pitcher and Righetti was drafted in 1976 when he was a senior by the Texas Rangers. Righetti opted to attend San Jose City College instead, where he pitched his way to a 9-3 record, a 2.32 ERA and Junior College Player of the Year honors. Acquired by the New York Yankees in 1978, the talented lefty made his major league debut in 1981, compiling an 8-4, 2.06 ERA record and earning American League Rookie of the Year. Playing at home on July 4, 1983, Righetti pitched a spectacular no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox - the Yankees' first in 25 years. Righetti moved to the bullpen in 1984, two years later he led the majors with 46 saves, and earned back-to-back trips to the All-Star Game in 1986 and 1987. In 1991, his career came full circle, when he returned to the Bay Area to pitch for the San Francisco Giants, during which time he recorded his 1,000th strikeout. The hurler ended his 16-year career in 1995, with 82 wins, a 3.46 ERA, 1,112 strikeouts and 252 saves. In 2000, Righetti re-joined the Giants as the pitching coach. In his first year, he guided his players to the fourth best ERA in the national league and a league-leading 15 shutouts - the team's best statistics since 1989. Today, he and his wife Kandice live in Los Altos with their 10-year-old triplets.
Joe Leonard Joe Leonard is a truly unique icon in the world of motor sports. He remains the only man to win national championships on both two and four wheels. In 1954, Leonard won a record eight of 18 Grand National races. He went on to win back to back titles in the Daytona 200 - motorcycle's equivalent to the Indy 500 - in 1956 and 1957. By the end of his legendary two-wheel career in Leonard had won three national titles and finished second in the sport's total point standings. In 1964, he drove his first championship car event, by the following year, he had won his first race and earned a trip to the Indy 500. In 1968, he captured the coveted pole position for the big race. One of just three racers using a turbine engine, "Smokin' Joe" had the lead with only nine laps to go. But his car's fuel shaft broke, and he had to drop out. In total, Leonard's time at Indy spans nine years, with third place finishes in both 1967 and 1972. A member of the automotive, motorcycle and motor sports Halls of Fame, Leonard currently lives in San Jose.
Ernie Nevers Many consider Ernie Nevers the greatest athlete ever to play in Santa Clara County. After attending high school in Santa Rosa, he came to the South Bay to attend Stanford University. In just three years with the Indians, Nevers earned 11 letters in football, baseball, basketball and track. Best known for his performance in the 1925 Rose Bowl against the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, the fullback played on two fractured ankles supported by braces made from inner-tubes in coach Pop Warner's garage. On legs wrapped so tightly that he was nearly without feeling in them, he played all 60 minutes, carrying the ball 34 times for 114 yards. Not only is he considered the greatest athlete in Stanford history, but Sports Illustrated also named him the country's best college football player of all time. And Pop Warner, who also coached the legendary Jim Thorpe, said Nevers was the best player he ever saw take the field. In 1926, he began his professional career, playing for the NFL's Duluth Eskimos and later the Chicago Cardinals. In 1927, he set a new record, becoming the only man in sports history to play professional football, basketball and baseball in the same year. On the gridiron in 1929, he scored 40 points against the Chicago Bears, setting an NFL record for the most rushing touchdowns and most points in a game - while also serving as the team's coach. Inducted into both the college and professional Football Halls of Fame, Nevers passed away in 1976, at the age of 72.