March 1, 2009
By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Woodland Hills, Ca. - Nearly 400 family, friends, Cal State Northridge President Dr. Jolene Koester and avid supporters of Matador Athletics honored the newest members of the CSUN Hall of Fame in an emotional luncheon Sunday afternoon at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel.
Marwan Ass'ad (soccer), Marcus Brady (football), Brian Heinle (basketball), Jeff Kubiak (swimming), Beth Onestinghel-Woll (softball), Dr. Barbara Swerkes (track & field) and the 1970 national championship Matador baseball team joined 99 other members of the Hall of Fame.
Among the large contingent of people at the luncheon were 18 members of the Matador Hall of Fame including legendary swim head coach Pete Accardy, track & field standout Jacqueline Hansen, legendary softball head coach Gary Torgeson, CSUN's all-time winningest head basketball coach Pete Cassidy, Joe Buttitta, CSUN's first sports information director, former athletic director and former head baseball coach Bob Hiegert, and longtime successful head tennis coach Tony Davila.
The Matador Hall of Fame was established in 1981 to recognize the men, women, and Matador teams who distinguished themselves in athletics, either by sport or by meritorious efforts on behalf of athletics while an undergraduate or in years after leaving the University.
"Today, we have the pleasure of honoring this new group of Hall of Fame members who left Cal State Northridge with unforgettable memories of their triumphs and hard work," said CSUN President Dr. Jolene Koester. "Let us give them our deepest appreciation."
Marcus Brady (1998-01) is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest football player in Matador history. Brady started all four seasons (1998-01) at quarterback and his statistics are still outstanding even by today's standards. Brady made 43 consecutive starters in four seasons at Cal State Northridge. At the end of his illustrious four-year career, Brady passed for 12,572 yards, garnered 13,188 yards in total offense, and passed for 109 touchdowns.
Brady thanked his family and friends for helping him achieve greatness on-and-off the football. Brady, who was playing professionally in the Canadian Football League until he recently announced his retirement, also thanked Jeff Kearin, who was the head football coach while Brady was breaking numerous NCAA and school records at Cal State Northridge.
"Coach Kearin saw a special talent in me, and gave me a full scholarship to Cal State Northridge," said Brady, a Finance major at CSUN, who earned his degree in 2006. "This is the first time I have seen coach Kearin since I left Cal State Northridge and it was great to catch up on some old stories. I want to thank the University for allowing me the opportunity to get a great education and play college football. I have a lot of great memories."
Brian Heinle (1997-01) is certainly among the great players to wear a Matador basketball uniform. Heinle earned distinction as the first NCAA Division I player in Cal State Northridge basketball history (2000-01). Heinle ended his four-year career as the team's all-time leading scorer (1,641 points) and is second all-time in rebounding (785). Heinle holds three other school records for career field goals (590), career field goal attempts (1,263) and single season points (646 in 2000-01).
Heinle, who studied Organizational Systems Management at CSUN, is currently playing professional basketball in Belgium. Heinle could not attend Sunday's Hall of Fame induction, but Heinle's parents, Gene and Lynn Heinle, traveled from Eugene, Oregon, to speak on behalf of their son.
"Never once did Brian regret his decision to attend Cal State Northridge," said Gene Heinle, who said he talked with his son on the phone to report that he chalked up a double-double in a professional game on Saturday night. "Brian said he really appreciated the chance to play basketball at Cal State Northridge, and keeps in touch today with many of his former teammates. He really enjoyed competing for Cal State Northridge."
Jeff Kubiak (1985-87) is considered the greatest swimmer in Matador history. In 1985 and 1986, Kubiak was named NCAA Swimmer of the Year. From 1985 to 1987, Kubiak captured seven NCAA individual titles. From 1987-90, Kubiak was a member of the United States National Team. During that time, Kubiak was ranked among the world's Top 10 in the 200 meter breast.
Many of Kubiak's school records still stand today at Cal State Northridge. "This is quite an honor to be inducted into the Matador Hall of Fame," said Kubiak, who earned his B.S. Degree in Health Sciences at CSUN in 1989. "I enrolled at Cal State Northridge as a walkon, and head coach Pete Accardy know how to foster and coach greatness in his athletes. Coach Accardy showed me to become a champion. Without his guidance and leadership, I would have not gone on to greatness. I am blessed to have a wonderful wife, family and friends, and I am honored to be a part of the Matador Hall of Fame." -over-
Beth Onestinghel-Woll (1985-88), who is the eighth former Matador softball player to be inducted into the CSUN Hall of Fame, distinguished herself as a member of the 1985 and 1987 NCAA champion teams. Onestinghel-Woll gained All-American honors and was a four-time all-conference selection. Onestinghel-Woll still holds the school record for career triples (22) and is still ranked in the CSUN Top 10 in many categories.
Onestinghel-Woll, in an emotional speech, thanked her parents and coaches among a large group of supporters for helping her achieve greatness on-and-off the softball field.
"Playing Northridge softball was one of the best experiences of my life," said Onestinghel-Woll, who graduated from CSUN in 1989 with a degree in Kinesiology. "I want to also thank my teammates who will forever be a part of my life. And to Matador softball fans. You were the best fans anywhere."
Marwan Ass'ad (1983-98) simply put Cal State Northridge men's soccer on the collegiate map. Ass'ad coached the Matador for 15 seasons (1983-98) and during that time, the Matadors won 192 games, played in the NCAA championship game (1988), competed in the NCAA Regional six times, won six straight league titles from 1984 through 1989, and coached several All-Americans. His teams still hold several school records.
"It's an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with all these great athletes, the coaches and the great 1970 baseball team," said Ass'ad. "I am so blessed and so happy to have had the opportunity to coach and live in the San Fernando Valley. Those days were great times. The community embraced us."
Dr. Barbara Swerkes (1972-80) coached the Matadors to the AIAW National Championship in women's track & field in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Her teams captured conference titles from 1976-80.
During her tenure as women's track & field coach at Cal State Northridge, Dr. Swerkes trained some of the brightest starts to emerge in American track & field history. Many of those former CSUN student-athletes went onto Olympic glory.
Following her retirement as women's track & field coach, Dr. Swerkes served as Faculty Athletic Representative for many years and has served as a kinesiology professor at CSUN.
Dr. Swerkes is active on many distinguished academic committees that have helped shape the fabric of Cal State Northridge.
"What an incredible experience this is," said Dr. Swerkes on her induction into the Matador Hall of Fame. "We don't get to this point without the help of a lot of people. I thank all of you. This is very special to me."
The 1970 Matador baseball captured the NCAA Division II national championship. After losing their first game in the double elimination game at the College World Series, the Matadors won four straight games in Springfield, Missouri, to capture the national title. The Matadors beat Nicholls State, 2-1, in the championship game.
The Matadors chalked up a 41-21 record, and claimed the league title with an 18-6 record.
The members of the Matador team were head coach Bob Hiegert, assistant coaches Tony Davila, Lorry Gershon and Dick Jacquez, sports information director Joe Buttitta, Marv Castellaw, Mitch Clark, Randy Coates, Dennis Collier, Dave Drysdale, Skip Effler, Brian Ford, Roger Fradella, Bob Hess, Bob Johnson, Steve Lee, Lew Lerner, Dave LeVeque, Bob Lopresti, Mike McClure, Danny Noonan, Larry Ramirez, Mike Rapkin, Dave Ravare, Frank Slaton, Chuck Stone, Rusty Swisher, Ron Valenti, Craig Warner, Irv Zakheim, Dave Zall and Jeff Zippi. The late Lyman Bostock, who played at Cal State Northridge and who was inducted into the CSUN Hall of Fame in 1981, was an honorary member of the 1970 championship team.
"This is a team award," said Bob Hiegert. "I can't really single out a star player or an individual. This was really a team."
Team captain Ron Valenti spoke on behalf of the championship squad. "This team had an intense desire to win and a togetherness that I had never witnessed. The dedication of the coaching staff and the players really made us a close team. Without our coaches, led by head coach Bob Hiegert, we would not have been the success story we are today. The coaching staff made us better people. Bob Hiegert (head coach) ... you will always be `coach'.
Cal State Northridge Athletic Director Rick Mazzuto spearheaded the return of the Matador Hall of Fame, an event that had not taken place since 2004.
"It's important that we recognize the wonderful men and women who developed and enriched intercollegiate athletics at the University," said Mazzuto. "I am sure you will agree this year's induction class represents an outstanding group of people who have contributed so much to the University."