Sept. 25, 2009
Northridge, Calif. - Terry Craven (the Matadors' first baseball All-American), Dorothea "Granny" Heitz (the greatest sports fan in Matador history) Garrett Noel (a two-time Cal State Northridge track & field All-American), Priscilla Rouse Becker (a CSUN softball All-American) and the 1967 Junior Rose Bowl team are the newest members of the prestigious Matador Hall of Fame.
This distinguished 2010 Matador Hall of Fame class will be honored at a luncheon banquet on February 21, 2010 at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel.
"This is an outstanding group who have contributed to the rich fabric of Cal State Northridge Athletics," said Matador Athletic Director Rick Mazzuto. "Terry Craven, Dorothea `Granny' Heitz, Garrett Noel, Priscilla Rouse Becker and the 1967 Junior Rose Bowl team will join an elite group of other distinguished members of the Matador Hall of Fame. To the 2010 Hall of Fame class, congratulations."
The 2010 Hall of Fame class will join an elite group of 105 other student-athletes, former administrators, coaches and one other team representing 18 sports into the Cal State Northridge Hall of Fame. The first Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1981.
The CSUN Hall of Fame committee recently met to chose the 2010 list of Matador Hall of Fame members. Members of the Hall of Fame selection committee included Rick Mazzuto (CSUN Athletics Director), Janet Pinneau (Associate Athletics director, SWA), Bob Vazquez (Assistant Athletics Director, Media Relations), Don Strametz (CSUN Director of Track & Field/Cross Country), Bonnie Murphy (Head Coach, Women's Golf), Gray Mounger (Assistant Vice-President, Alumni Relations), Mark Cooley (former Matador basketball player, longtime Matador supporter, Hall of Fame member), Dennis DeYoung (Alumnus), Jim Gorman (long time athletics supporter) and William Watkins (Associate Vice-President, Student Affairs).
Terry Craven - Baseball (Player/Coach/Administrator)
Terry Craven earned distinction as an outstanding baseball player and later as head baseball coach and administrator at San Fernando Valley State (now Cal State Northridge).
"I was truly more than excited to hear of my selection and to be able to share the news with my family and friends," said Craven, who lives in Bakersfield, Calif. "I am really looking forward to the Induction luncheon and hopefully being able to see many of those whom I played, coached and taught with in the CSUN Physical Education and Athletic Departments."
Craven earned the distinction of being the first baseball player in Matador history to earn All-American honors. Craven only played one season for the Matadors (1965) but what a special season it was. Craven, who played for then head coach Dr. Stan Charnofsky, helped the Matadors win the school's first league championship (CCAA) in baseball and advanced to the NCAA Regional at Stanford University.
Craven led the team in batting, rbi's and home runs in 1965. Craven's 12 home runs led the nation.
For his efforts, Craven was named team MVP, first team All-CCAA (California Collegiate Athletic Association), CCAA Most Valuable Player, and All-Pacific Coast first team. Craven was later drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies.
"Playing on the 1965 SFVSC baseball team was a super experience," said Craven. "Dr. Stan Charnofsky was one of the finest coaches I ever played for and one of the most knowledgeable teachers anyone could hope to be fortunate enough to be mentored by. Teammates like Paul Edmondson, Tom Cottrell, Steve Ariga, Bob Christenson, Vance Proctor, Maury Rosas, Phil Capka, Mark Arkinson, and Jim Schmidt not only led us to the CCAA championship but went on to be extremely successful in their post graduate careers. Of course we all were so happy for Paul (Edmondson) when he made the major leagues with the Chicago White Sox but so emotionally devastated by his untimely death."
After his playing days concluded, Craven returned to the Matador campus to begin a career as a successful assistant coach, then head coach of the Matadors and also has as an administrator and educator. In the Fall of 1970, Craven was hired to coach and teach Physical Education at Cal State Northridge. For 14 years, Craven was an assistant coach under then head coach Bob Hiegert. Craven, as an assistant coach, helped the Matadors win several CCAA and NCAA regional championships. In 1984, Cal State Northridge won the NCAA national title.
Craven later served as head baseball coach (1985-88, 122-103-1).
Craven's coaching talents extended to the football field. Craven coached under head coach Gary Torgeson for three years and under Jack Elway for two years.
"I had the ultimate in coaching experiences by being a member of a staff headed by Bob Hiegert and assisted by Tony Davila and Lorry Gershon and then my own staff of Dave Stabelfeldt and Scott Willis. I also had the pleasure of coaching football for Gary Torgeson and then Jack Elway, where I met Jack's 14 year old son John (John Elway) who did pretty well for himself (Stanford All-American quarterback and NFL Hall of Famer).
Craven taught Physical Education in the General Education and Professional Education Departments for 18 years. In 1978, Craven was named Assistant Athletic Director for Fiscal Affairs and held that position for seven years until 1984.
"CSUN was the highlight experience for me since I met my wife Sue there, and my daughters Jennifer and Kristie grew up on the athletic fields especially the baseball diamond. This will really be a special moment on February 21, 2010."
Dorothea "Granny" Heitz - CSUN's #1 All-Time Sports Fan
As she was affectionately known, Dorothea "Granny" Heitz' school spirit and devotion to Cal State Northridge and the Matador athletics program is still talked about.
Granny is highly admired and honored as arguably the all-time greatest sports fan in Cal State Northridge history. Granny symbolized loyalty, tradition and the school spirit of CSUN.
"The spirit of Granny will be forever felt, embodied in the intangibles of mood, emotion and personality," said Gray Mounger, Assistant Vice President, Alumni Relations at Cal State Northridge. "She will forever be the definition of loyalty to Cal State Northridge and her beloved Matadors."
Granny started a Matador spirit squad called the "Granny Girls" in the 1960's, the unofficial campus ambassadors. Through the years, she embraced her role as an unofficial campus spirit leader. She attended numerous community, academic and athletic events to increase the spirit of the university.
Granny returned to college in 1966, a determined 50-year-old woman set out to continue her college education cut short by the Great Depression 31 years earlier.
At many Matador athletic events, Granny adorned one of her 500 hats in her collection, with her red wagon in tow, filled with streamers, tossing toys and candy to the enthusiastic crowd, spreading good will to kids of all ages.
In recognition of her leadership and appreciation of her loyalty, the University's award for Outstanding Volunteer Leadership appropriately bears her name. This award is the highest honor bestowed upon a Cal State Northridge volunteer leader.
In 2005, Granny and dozens of others made initial contributions to create the Granny Heitz Legacy Scholarship. Just a few weeks prior to her passing, Granny learned that contributions to the scholarship fund were sufficient to create an endowment.
"She was quite touched to know that the Granny Heitz Legacy Scholarship will be annually presented and will live on in perpetuity," according to Mounger.
Dorothea "Granny" Heitz passed away at age 92 on August, 12, 2007.
Garrett Noel - Track & Field
Garrett Noel is regarded as one of the greatest track & field athletes in Cal State Northridge history.
"The induction into the CSUN Athletic Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor for both me as well as my family," said Noel. "I am truly grateful to coach (Don) Strametz for recruiting me to CSUN and coach (John) Frazier for pushing me to be my best. To be recognized for my performance, and to be associated with a program that has such a rich history of creating champions, is truly beyond anything I would have expected."
Noel was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American (1992, 1993) in the javelin. Noel's career-best javelin throw (247-8, 75.48m) set in 1993 is still a Cal State Northridge school record. Noel also still holds the freshman school record in the javelin (210-4, 64.10m) that he set in 1989.
"Garrett was one of the quiet guys before the meet, but once the meet started, you could see the competitiveness in his eyes," said Don Strametz, CSUN's Director of Track & Field. "He would do everything in his power to win every single meet. If he made a mistake early in the meet, he would always listen to his coaches and make an adjustment. He was very coachable. He was also very popular with his teammates. To be that good in the javelin, you have to work very hard and that's exactly what Garrett Noel did."
After graduating from Cal State Northridge in 1993 with a degree in Communications, Noel continued his track & field career and eventually competed at the 2000 United States Olympic Track and Field Trials.
"Garrett was a hard-working student-athlete in the javelin who was always coachable," said John Frazier, who is now an assistant track & field coach at the University of Tennessee. "I was a young coach in my third year of coaching at Northridge with a background as a shot put, hammer and discus specialist. Yet, Garrett trusted me to coach him in the javelin. Prior to two NCAA meets, Garrett was on the bubble to make the NCAA's, but he did whatever was necessary to make the national meet. He then went onto become an NCAA All-American in the javelin. Even after all these years, we still communicate and he has been here at Tennessee a couple times to talk."
Noel now makes his home with his two daughters, Alexis and Hannah, in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.
"I'm also proud to be from a long line of Matadors," said Noel. "My father actually played on the football team in 1965 and 1966. My step father, Bob Allen, played basketball for the Matadors as well. And my mother as well as my sister both attended the University."
Priscilla Rouse Becker - Softball
Priscilla Rouse Becker earned her way into the Matador Hall of Fame by helping Cal State Northridge win two NCAA Division II national championships in softball (1985 and 1987), and three straight California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) league titles (1985-87).
"I am truly honored to be recognized among the greats," said Rouse Becker. "I look up to and respect each person who has gotten this award ahead of me. To share a stage with them is very humbling for me. I feel very blessed to have had the chance to be apart of the CSUN championship teams. I have made dear friends who will be with me for a life time. I am a better person as a result. This award forces me to again look back and appreciate the program, the experience and the people."
During the 1987 national championship season, Rouse Becker hit a team-leading .425, which is still the fourth-best single season figure in school history. Her six triples in 1987 are second-best in school history. Rouse Becker also collected 19 stolen bases (sixth-best for a single season) and her 23 sacrifice hits still rank seventh-best in the Matador record book.
"We won championships because we did not know how to settle for anything less," said Rouse Becker. "We developed life long friendships in our journey to be the best individually as well as a team. We learned many very important life lessons. We learned the importance of every member of the team from the score keeper to the All American pitcher. We learned how to work together to achieve common goals."
For her efforts in 1987, Rouse Becker gained first team All-American, All-Region and All-CCAA honors.
During the 1986 and 1987 seasons, Rouse Becker led the team in home runs.
Over her three-year CSUN career (1985-87), Rouse Becker batted .355 which is fourth-best in school history. Her nine career triples rank fourth-best in school history.
"The knowledge of this award has thrown me into a mode of reflection," said Rouse Becker. "What we had was a unique mix of chemistry, circumstances, direction, and talent. We were a national contender every year. I have learned that status put us in a small group of athletes and team. I have seen kids become college athletes and graduate without having the life changing experience we all had. We were working to create something bigger than any one person. We were fortunate enough to realize our goal more than once."
Rouse-Becker now makes her home in Ventura, Ca with her husband and three children.
The 1967 Junior Rose Bowl Team
Dr. Sam Winningham was the head coach of the 1967 Matadors football team that chalked up a 6-3 regular season record (not including a 35-13 loss to West Texas State in the Junior Rose Bowl) and a 3-2 record (tied for second place) in the highly competitive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Dr. Winningham remembers the character, the toughness and the spirit of the Matador team.
"That team has a special place in my heart," said Dr. Winningham, who is also a member of the CSUN Hall of Fame, and still resides in Northridge. "The team has had two reunions in 42 years, the last time in 1987. It will be great to relive those great memories at the Hall of Fame banquet."
The Matadors didn't even have a campus stadium back in 1967. The school was then known as San Fernando Valley State, and the school played the 1967 season at nearby Birmingham High School. It wasn't until the 1971 season that Cal State Northridge moved to its new onsite stadium, Devonshire Downs (later named Matador Stadium).
Cal State Northridge defeated Whittier College (30-7), Long Beach State (35-25), Cal Poly SLO (40-21), UC Santa Barbara (28-27), Cal Poly Pomona (53-13), and Cal State Los Angeles (42-6).
The Matadors averaged 32 points per game during the nine-game regular campaign.
"I have a lot of great memories of those players," said Dr. Winningham. "We played the #1 college division team (San Diego State, coached by the legendary coach Don Coryell) in the nation that year, and even though we didn't win, we played them tough. I was proud of the team. Those are some of the great memories from a great group of guys."
The 1967 CSUN football team was led by quarterback Bruce Lemmerman, who during the nine-game regular season passed for 1,760 yards and 27 touchdowns (#2 all-time in school history). Lemmerman also rushed for eight touchdowns.
Lemmerman's primary receivers were Gerry Peters with 40 catches for 704 yards and six touchdowns, and Dick Billingsley with 43 catches for 516 yards and eleven touchdowns.
Lemmerman also rushed for eight touchdowns.
Mike Vogel was the team's leading rusher with 573 yards (4.4 ypg).
"Bruce Lemmerman was a senior who just wanted to play football," said Dr. Winningham. "And we had other very good players that made us a very competitive team. They were not only good players but they went on to become good citizens and good family people. They never gave me any problems."
The defense was led by such standouts as Myron Bayless, Dick Baxley, Ed Lombardi, Bob Misko, Harry Cook, Dick Flaherty, Don West and Al Weil.
"The defense was tougher than a boot," remembers Dr. Winningham. "We didn't have a lot of depth, but we were tough."
The team's success led to a bowl game invitation, the 22nd annual Junior Rose Bowl at the famed Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Dec. 2, 1967 before a crowd of 23,802.
"We were invited and proud to go to a bowl game," remembers Dr. Winningham, who coached the Matadors for seven seasons (1962-68). "We were a young football program that started five years earlier in 1962. I came to Cal State Northridge from a high school in Phoenix. I wasn't sure what I was getting into. We struggled early and took our lumps. Getting invited to a bowl game put the football program on the map."
Unfortunately the 1967 season ended with a 35-13 loss to powerful West Texas State in the Junior Rose Bowl. The team from Texas was led by running back Mercury Morris, who later went onto to a productive career in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins.
After the season, Bruce Lemmerman, Ron Harris, and Mike Vogel were named the team's offensive Most Valuable Players while Dick Baxley and Myron Bayless were named the team's defensive Most Valuable Players.
"Bruce was a running quarterback, who enjoyed an excellent career in the Canadian Football League," said Dr. Winningham. "He was such a talented athlete that he also played defense in the pros. Ron Harris, who went into the engineering profession, recently passed away. A lot of people attended his funeral which showed how popular Ron was."
Lemmerman rushed for a school record four touchdowns against Cal Poly Pomona. Dick Baxley returned the longest fumble return for a touchdown (102 yards) in school history against Long Beach State.
"Being a part of the Hall of Fame ceremonies and honoring the football team will be a very special day," said Dr. Winningham," who also served an chairman of the Physical Education and Athletics Department. Dr. Winningham retired in 1988.
"The team was a very close group," said Dr. Winningham. "The team has a special place in my heart."