April 30, 2001

Brothers Couldn't Beat Alcindor

April 29, 2001

By Dwight Chapin
San Francisco Chronicle

Lew Alcindor, as he was known then, was the problem. The big problem.

If he had not loomed in the middle of the UCLA lineup, Bud and Ralph Ogden and their Santa Clara basketball teammates might have made the NCAA Final Four.

The South Bay brothers, along with center Dennis Awtrey, led the Broncos to a 22-4 record in the 1967-68 season, and 27-2 (the best in school history) in 1968-69. But, each year, they ran into the mighty Alcindor and the Bruins in the West Regional final, losing 87-66 at The Pit in Albuquerque and 90-52 on UCLA's home court of Pauley Pavilion.

How was it having to play, with so much at stake, against perhaps the most dominant center in college basketball history?

"We were cut out of (coach) Dick Garibaldi's mold," Bud Ogden said. "We were a very tough-minded team. But, as confident as we were, I think maybe we let the smallest bit of intimidation creep in, and as soon as that happens, it's almost over.

"The second year, it might have been a little worse. We'd been through it once, and were not very successful, and now we were on their home court. We went down 6-0 before we could get the ball over halfcourt against their press. We dug ourselves a hole, and it turned out to be very, very painful."

But there was solace for the Ogdens.

Bud, a 6-foot-6 forward, was a Helms Foundation All-American in 1969, and still holds the school single-game scoring record -- 55 points against Pepperdine in 1967, when he hit 24 of 32 field-goal attempts.

"Sometimes," he said, "the basket looked like a thimble to me. That night, it looked like a big barrel."

Ralph, a 6-5 forward who was a year behind Bud in school, averaged 21.9 points as a senior in 1969-70, scoring 40 against Pepperdine.

Both Ogdens went on to play professionally, Bud, a first-round draft choice,

two seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Ralph one season with the Warriors.

Their paths diverged widely after that. Ralph, now 53, joined a European team in Oldenburg, Germany, playing and coaching there for the next 25 years. Still living in Germany, he now sells industrial clothing. He's divorced, with two daughters, Leslie, 20, and Kristin, 18.

Bud, now 54, remained in the Bay Area, selling real estate for two decades, then going into youth sports and high school coaching and teaching. He currently lives in Santa Clara, and is a ninth-grade algebra teacher at Valley Christian High School in San Jose. ("I love those freshman kids," he said.) He's married to his second wife of 10 years, Annie, and has a daughter, Lori, 31, a son, Geoff, 29, and a 2-year-old granddaughter, Madison.

Bud and Ralph were reunited in early April after the death of their father, Carlos, a World War II Medal of Honor winner, who, Bud said, taught them toughness "by roughing us up around the basket for years and years."

The brothers' basketball exploits have mostly slipped into the memory books,

but Bud Ogden gets an occasional reminder, when some autograph collector sends him the 1969 Sports Illustrated cover on which he was pictured.

That was before Alcindor and company spoiled a dream.