Northridge, Calif. - Mary Jane Smith-Waldman, a member of the Cal State Northridge Hall of Fame, passed away on Wednesday (October 4, 2011) after a lengthy illness from cancer.
Smith-Waldman was one of the early success stories in the history of Matador volleyball. She played two seasons at Cal State Northridge in 1974-75. During the 1975 campaign, she helped the Matadors to a 27-1 record under then head coach Linda Murphy. The Matadors, in 1975, finished third in regional competition and ranked in the Top 5 nationally. In 1974, Cal State Northridge was fifth in regional competition and also ranked in the Top 5 nationally.
"MJ was an outside hitter who spiked right and left handed," said then head coach Linda Murphy. "She was tremendously successful, putting the ball away 60 percent of the team one season. MJ played taller than her 5-foot-7 height and was one of the top players in the nation … Mary Jane was fun to be around because she saw the humor in life and was always smiling and laughing."
For many years, Mary Jane was a kinesiology instructor at Cal State Northridge where she obtained her bachelors and masters degrees. Mary Jane also taught at several colleges in the Los Angeles area including Cal Lutheran.
"So, you see that my life is very full," she wrote in a letter in 2010 to her IVA pro volleyball teammate Jeff Reddan. "My work is my play and my play is my work. I am very happy and love the life I live. I feel great and have never let it stop me from living life to the fullest."
In 1986, she was inducted into the Matador Hall of Fame. Mary Jane is one of five former CSUN women's volleyball players in the Matador Hall of Fame.