SAN JOSE, Calif. - Former Stanford quarterback Frankie Albert and Tara VanDerveer, The Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women’s Basketball, were among four inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday night at the SAP Center in San Jose. Also inducted were ex-San Jose Earthquakes soccer star Paul Childs, and long-time South Bay high school baseball coach Gary Cunningham.
Former Cardinal pitcher Mark Appel and University of Oklahoma softball pitcher Keilani Ricketts were honored as Amateur Athletes of the Year, while Aaron Gordon of Mitty High School and Linnea Mack of Pioneer High School were selected High School Athletes of the Year. Swimmer Barry Gee of San Jose was recognized as the Special Olympics Athlete of the Year.
For the inductees, it was a night of old stories, laughter and heartfelt thanks for all who have helped them achieve athletic success in their lives. Albert, who passed away in 2002, was a two-time All-American in 1940-41 and is credited with running the first bootleg play. The crafty lefthander became the first T-formation quarterback in college football and was coached by Clark Shaughnessy. In 1940, Albert led the Stanford “Wow Boys” to a 10-0 record, capped by a 21-13 victory against Nebraska in the 1941 Rose Bowl.
Albert, who was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956, went on to play for the first San Francisco 49ers team in the All-American Football Conference in 1946. In 1948, he topped the league with 29 touchdowns passes and shared league MVP honors with Otto Graham. Albert later coached the 49ers.
Albert never lacked confidence. During an old video interview at Stanford, he was asked how many wins the team would get. “Oh, we’ll take ’em all,” Albert said. “It’s a cinch.”
Turned out he was right.
Albert and his wife of 60 years, Marty, had three daughters: Nancy, Jane and Terry. All three played tennis at Stanford.
Terry accepted the award for her late father.
“He would have expressed his deep appreciation for Stanford,” she said. “Everything I have, I owe to Stanford.”
VanDerveer, three wins shy of becoming only the fifth women’s coach in college basketball history to reach 900 wins, said she was a gym rat growing up and spent hours shooting the basketball at her home.
“My dad would call me in and say basketball is never going to take you anywhere,” she recalled. “I knew algebra was never going to take me anywhere.”
VanDerveer received a nice video tribute from ex-player Jennifer Azzi, an All-American point guard and now the head women’s coach at the University of San Francisco.
“She is the most brilliant coach in the country,” said Azzi.
A 15-time conference coach of the year (13 in the Pac-12, two in the Big Ten), VanDerveer has led Stanford to two NCAA titles, 21 Pac-12 crowns, and has reached the postseason 27 times, including 10 trips to the Final Four. In 2002, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 2011, she was inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 1996, VanDerveer guided the USA National Basketball Team to a 60-0 record, culminated by winning a gold medal in the Sumer Olympics in Atlanta. That year, she was named USA National Basketball Coach of the Year.
“The last time I was here, I was at a Rolling Stones concert,” VanDerveer said of the SAP Center, home of the San Jose Sharks. “Who says you can’t get no satisfaction?”