Palo Alto Weekly
Sports - June 29, 2012
RETIRED . . . Menlo College said goodbye to one of the most storied and successful coaches in the department's history this week as Bill Imwalle officially announced his retirement on Monday. Imwalle rejuvenated the Lady Oaks volleyball program as head coach from 1999-2009, while also leading the Oaks golf team from 2004-2012. Imwalle leaves his Menlo career as volleyball's second most winningest coach, compiling a remarkable 144-87 (.623) record. His tenure included five California Pacific Conference championships, four undefeated conference seasons, and two NAIA National Tournament appearances. In addition, Imwalle's his five Cal Pac championship teams posted a combined 71-1 conference record. "Bill's service and commitment to our student-athletes in both volleyball and golf has been immeasurable," said Menlo Director of Athletics Keith Spataro. "He has been instrumental in the transformation of both programs to conference contenders and he will be missed." Imwalle restored the volleyball program back to its former glory, mirroring the proud tradition of the late 1980s. Under Menlo Hall of Fame Coach Malcolm Taylor (182-85 record), the Lady Oaks reached the pinnacle with a No. 1 national ranking in 1986, while the 1989 team won the Western Region Championship and earned a trip to the Final Four in St. Louis, MO. The 1989 squad is still the only team in Menlo College sports history to reach an NCAA Final Four. After the days of Taylor's triumphant reign, the program went into a steady decline that lasted through the mid-90s. It wasn't until Imwalle came on the scene in 1999, that the Lady Oaks got back to their winning ways. No other Menlo coach has accumulated as many conference championships in the department's history, while Imwalle himself was recognized as the Cal Pac Coach of the Year on four separate occasions. His players won numerous accolades as well throughout his sparkling tenure, with Imwalle playing an influential part in the development of 37 All-Conference selections, nine Conference Players of the Year, two NAIA All-Americans, and nine more NAIA Academic All-Americans.
OLYMPIAN . . . Prior to graduating from Stanford on June 17, Amaechi Morton had a decision to make regarding his immediate future in track and field -- qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England. One path would take him through the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. There, he would face potentially three days of races and extremely tough competition in order to be an Olympian. The other path, of least resistance, would take him to the Nigerian Championships and a virtual lock on an Olympic berth. Morton, who graduated with a double major, is a smart guy. Thus, he used his dual citizenship and hopped a plane for Africa. The move paid off as he won the 400 intermediate hurdles in 50.31 last week and earned a berth on the Nigerian Olympic Track and Field Team. Next up for Morton will be the 18th African Senior Athletics Championships, which began Wednesday and wraps up Sunday at Stade d'Lamite in Port Novo, Benin Republic. Morton was one of 44 male and female athletes named to the Nigerian team. He'll carry hopes of helping Nigeria improve upon the eight gold medals won in the previous championships.
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