UC Riverside Athletics Hall of Fame Celebration to be Sept. 17

Lindeberg, Edwards, Masi, Rinne, Gozansky, Smitheran, Dalke to be Honored

The Hall of Fame: (L to R) Frank Lindeberg, Ray Dalke, Jack Smitheran,John Masi, Don Edwards, Sue Gozansky, Chris Rinne

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)—The seven inductees that will make up the UC Riverside Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2011 present a virtual ‘Who’s Who of Highlanders’ in athletics history.

The new inductees are: Frank Lindeberg, John Masi, Chris Rinne,all of Riverside; Don Edwards, Sue Gozansky of Claremont, CA; Jack Smitheran of Trabuco Canyon, CA and Ray Dalke of Grants Pass, Ore. Together, they collectively spent more than 200 years as players, coaches and administrators at UC Riverside.

“There would be no UCR athletics department as we know it were it not for the extraordinary efforts of these seven individuals,” said UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White. “I am pleased to announce that on September 17 of this year, all seven will enter the UC Riverside Athletics Hall of Fame as the Class of 2011.”

A hall of fame celebration will be held at 6 p.m., Sept. 17 at the Ben H. Lewis Hall Riverside Convention Center, 3443 Orange St. Riverside. Cost is $125 per person. RSVP is requested at https://advancementservices.ucr.edu/AthleticHOF/Registration.aspx. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information call the Highlanders Athletics Association at (951) 827-4292.

Frank Lindeberg greeted the first 126 students who stepped on UCR’s campus in February, 1954 as the university’s first head men’s basketball coach, men’s golf coach and assistant football coach. He also served as the faculty advisor to that first class of students, and helped them lay the C on the side of the Box Springs Mountain overlooking campus.

“Lindy” would later assume the mantle of athletics director and under his watchful eye, the Highlanders athletics programs moved from NAIA, to Division II, to the CCCA; instituted academic aid for student-athletes eventually transitioning to full-fledged athletics scholarships; and won three national championships in volleyball and two in baseball.

Don Edwards helped in the development of the first Highlanders baseball teams back in the mid 1950s, and became the team’s head coach prior to the 1960 season. In 1966, Edwards offered John Lowenstein, who would go on to a 15-year Major League Baseball career, the first athletics scholarship in school history.

That same season Edwards and Assistant Coach Gary Adams came up with the idea to host an annual tournament featuring major Division I-caliber teams. Originally called the Riverside National Intercollegiate Baseball Tournament, Ohio State, UCLA, BYU, Mississippi State, Yale, Wyoming and Washington all traveled to UC Riverside in the spring of 1967 to play in what would eventually become known as the Riverside Baseball Invitational (RBI) Tournament.

In 1976 Edwards coached the US National Team in the Pan American Games and in 1994 he was elected to the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.

John Masi played two seasons with the UC Riverside Men’s Basketball Team serving as team captain during his senior campaign and leading the team to a third place national finish. He would go on to oversee that same program for 26 seasons as its head coach accumulating a 463-269 record. His teams reached the Division II NCAA Tournament 11 times finishing as high as second in 1995.

During the 1988-89 season, the Highlanders went 30-4, advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. Included in that season is arguably the biggest win in the history of UC Riverside athletics as on Christmas Day the Highlanders squared off against Iowa, ranked fourth in the nation among Division I programs at the time, defeating the Hawkeyes 110-92.

In addition to his coaching duties, Masi served as the Highlanders director of intercollegiate athletics from 1992-98.

Chris Rinne oversaw the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams at UC Riverside from 1969-2003. Beginning in 1978, 18 of his cross country teams finished the season ranked in the top 25 nationally while 12 of his teams finished in the top 10. In 1984, he led the men’s and women’s squads to their highest rankings ever with third and fourth place finishes respectively. In all 22 of his athletes achieved All-America recognition.

In track and field, Rinne coached 17 national champions and 56 All-Americans while leading the 1981 men’s team to a third place finish nationally in 1981.

Sue Gozansky joined the Highlanders in 1970 as the head coach of multiple sports, but it is the sport of volleyball with which her name is most synonymous. Over a UCR career that spanned 39 years she compiled a record of 674-498-16 winning an AIAW national championships in 1977 and Division II National titles in 1982 and 1986.

In December of 2006, Gozansky was honored by the American Volleyball Coach’s Association with induction into the Hall of Fame. One year earlier, the NCAA named her to the NCAA Division II Women’s Volleyball 25th Anniversary Team.

Jack Smitheran was the head coach of the UC Riverside Baseball Team for 31 seasons guiding the evolution of the program from an unknown Division II school into a Division II NCAA Champion (1977, 1981) and eventually into a Division I postseason qualifier (2003). A dozen of the student-athletes who played for Smitheran reached the major leagues including Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim closer Troy Percival.

Smitheran was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002, and in 2006 he had his jersey number two placed on UC Riverside’s Wall of Honor out in centerfield at the Riverside Sports Complex.

Ray Dalke’s thirty years in the UC Riverside PE Department saw him attain the highest ranking ever for an American in the Martial Art of Shotokan Karate, and five of UCR’s karate teams won national championships during his tenure.

Dalke coached eight individual National Collegiate Karate Champions, and UC Riverside hosted 20 National Karate Association tournaments and two International Collegiate Association Tournaments during his time with the Highlanders.

For a high resolution photo of each recipient, contact Kim Lane.

Media Contact


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E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

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