Nov. 22, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
As we celebrate Thanksgiving on The Farm, there is much to be thankful for this holiday season. Once again, Cardinal student-athletes, coaches, staff, and donors have distinguished themselves and deserve special recognition. In no particular order, here are some of the people and teams who have made the first three months of school so memorable:
Led by David Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football, the Cardinal has clinched no worse than a nine-win season for the third consecutive year. A win at UCLA on Saturday in its regular-season finale would mark the first time Stanford has achieved three straight 10-win campaigns in school history.
The Cardinal upsets top-ranked Oregon in Eugene - without Andrew Luck or Jim Harbaugh. Not saying they didn't help pave the way, but Shaw and his program are finally getting the national respect and recognition they deserve.
Shaw received more than 20 text messages from his former players after the win, including one from Luck.
Will anyone forget the inspired play of the Stanford defense, which clipped the wings of the high-flying Ducks? Arguably the best clutch performance in Cardinal history.
You may not have known much about junior strong safety Devon Carrington before the Oregon game, but you will never forget him. Running down Duck quarterback Marcus Mariota to save a touchdown was one of the great hustle plays ever by a Stanford player and set the tone for the victory.
Has there ever been a happier player than Cardinal kicker Jordan Williamson after booting the game-winning 37-yard field goal in overtime? It exorcized his personal demons after missing a potential game-winning kick against Oklahoma State last season in the Fiesta Bowl, and reminded us of what sports are really all about: perseverance and resolve. Shaw rewarded him with a bear hug and the game ball.
The night before Stanford beat Oregon, the Cardinal women's basketball team upended top-ranked and defendng national champion Baylor. Shaw shared the news with his players that night at a team meeting and they erupted with thunderous applause. Congratulations to Tara VanDerveer, the Setsuko Ishiyama Director of Women's Basketball, and her now No. 1-ranked team.
Stanford senior tri-captain Alina Garciamendez has started every game for four years for the women's soccer team and has never lost a home game at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium, where the Cardinal face UCLA on Friday night in the NCAA quarterfinals. The Class of 2013 is 51-0-1 in home matches and 93-3-4 overall.
Cardinal distance-running standout Miles Unterreiner ran in the NCAA cross country finals last Saturday in Louisville, Ky., and flew to Seattle for an afternoon interview in his quest to become a Rhodes Scholar. Never mind the outcome: no NCAA title or Rhodes scholarship. What Unterreiner attempted is what makes Stanford student-athletes special. And kudos to the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, for allowing Unterreiner to use his private jet to give him a chance to make both dreams come true.
Bernard Muir, the Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics. Three months on the job, and the man hasn't stopped smiling.
Even if you are among the most ardent supporters of Stanford football, chances are you have never heard of Mike Gleeson. Well, now you have. He is in his 20th season on The Farm working as the video director, and spends almost as much time in the air on the scissor platform lift as he does on the ground. Gleeson has never missed a game or practice at Stanford. He spent the previous 11 years working for NFL teams and has missed only one practice - because of strep throat - in 31 years on the job.
Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2012. The recent banquet showcased this amazing group and once again demonstrated how talented and articulate Cardinal student-athletes truly are. Check out their interviews on buckcardinal.com.
Stanford women's volleyball coach John Dunning guided his team to 22 straight wins earlier this season. The No. 2 Cardinal won its sixth Pac-12 Conference championship in the past seven years, and finished the regular season 14-0 at home.
Sophomore Patrick Rodgers won two individual titles for the men's golf team and now has four tournament wins in his short career.
-- By Mark Soltau, Stanford Athletics
Palo Alto native Mark Soltau has spent his whole life and much of his career around Stanford sports. A sportswriter for 35 years, Soltau spent 16 (1981-97) at the San Francisco Examiner, where he covered not only the Cardinal, but all five 49ers Super Bowl-championship teams. Golf always has been his passion and Soltau served as the golf beat writer for the Examiner, as well as national golf writer for CBS Sportsline, and contributing editor to Golf Digest. He has been the editor of tigerwoods.com since 1997.