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SPT 03 — Stanford Sports Icons: An Inside Look at the Great Athletes and Coaches in Stanford Sports History

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jan 22—Mar 19
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Feb 4
Unit: 1
Tuition: $400
Instructor(s): Gary Cavalli
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on February 19
7:00—8:50 pm
Jan 22—Mar 19
8 weeks
Drop By
Feb 4
1 Unit
Gary Cavalli
Please Note: No class on February 19
Stanford has one of the richest traditions in all of college athletics. Dating back to the first Big Game in 1892, when student manager Herbert Hoover forgot to bring the football, the University’s sports history has been marked by championships, innovation, and brilliant individual stars. Stanford has won the Learfield Directors’ Cup (given to the nation’s most successful college sports program) for twenty-three consecutive years. The University has won 113 NCAA team championships, tied with UCLA for the most of any school in the country. And Stanford athletes have been piling up medals and setting records in every Olympics since 1908, including twenty-eight medalists at the 2016 Games in Rio.

Perhaps no other school has had as many iconic athletes and coaches. Stanford’s Hank Luisetti is credited with inventing the one-handed shot in basketball in the 1930s, and innovative football coaches Pop Warner, Clark Shaughnessy, and Bill Walsh introduced everything from the team huddle to the T-formation and the West Coast offense. Stanford has been blessed with a number of premier quarterbacks (Jim Plunkett, John Elway, and Andrew Luck) and No. 1 NFL draft picks, Olympic gold medalists (including Summer Sanders, Janet Evans, and Katie Ledecky), coaches who won multiple NCAA championships (among them Dick Gould, Frank Brennan, John Dunning, Mark Marquess, and Tara VanDerveer), and signature athletes who led their teams to national titles in basketball, volleyball, baseball, swimming, water polo, golf, soccer, and beyond.

This course will provide an entertaining, informative, and in-depth look at some of the greatest names in Stanford sports, exploring what made them tick and what made them great. The course will include an examination of past legends and a series of “Inside the Actor’s Studio” type interviews with more recent icons. Guest speakers will include Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett, basketball player of the year and Olympian Jennifer Azzi, baseball star and championship coach Mark Marquess, legendary tennis coaches Dick Gould and Frank Brennan, and other icons to be announced. The course will also include a field trip to the Athletic Department’s new Hall of Champions for a private tour.

Gary Cavalli, Former Stanford Sports Information Director and Associate Athletic Director; Co-Founder and Executive Director, Foster Farms Bowl (Retired)

Gary Cavalli has more than forty years of experience in college and professional sports administration. He served as Stanford’s sports information director and associate athletic director. As a Stanford student, he worked for the Athletic Department and was sports editor of the Stanford Daily. He led the Bay Area post-season college football game, known most recently as the Foster Farms Bowl, for fourteen years. In April 2016, he received the inaugural Legacy Award from the Football Bowl Association for his contributions to college football. Cavalli co-founded and led the American Basketball League. He is the author of the book Stanford Sports.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.