Publication Date: Wednesday Jan 1, 1997


This truly was a golden year for Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer. On a year's sabbatical from school, VanDerveer first guided the women's USA National Team to a 52-0 record in its preparation for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. There, VanDerveer coached the U.S. Olympic squad to eight straight victories, including the gold-medal triumph over Brazil. The experience was even more gratifying for VanDerveer, since two of her former Stanford players, Jennifer Azzi and Katy Steding, were on the Olympic team. VanDerveer was one of three Stanford coaches who guided Olympic fortunes. Richard Quick was head coach of the U.S. women's swim team and Skip Kenney headed the men's squad in Atlanta. Each team was hugely successful.

A large contingent of Stanford swimmers helped the U.S. swim away with a majority of the gold medals in Atlanta. Cardinal graduate Jeff Rouse, who won two gold medals in 1992 but remained in the sport four more years in order to win an individual gold, was justly rewarded for his perseverance as he captured gold in the 100-meter backstroke. He also added a gold on the 400 medley relay, while fellow Stanford grad Jenny Thompson won three golds on relays. Stanford products wound up winning 11 gold medals in Atlanta. The medal winning wasn't only in swimming, however. Castilleja grad Amy Chow was a member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team that captured the team gold, while Stanford grad Jair Lynch won an individual silver on the parallel bars.

Golfer Tiger Woods certainly made his second, and final, season at Stanford a noteworthy one. First, he won the NCAA individual title to pace the Cardinal to a fourth-place finish. Then, Woods captured his record-breaking third straight U.S. Amateur Championship. Less than two weeks later, Woods announced that he had given up his final two years of college eligibility to turn pro. He promptly signed a reported five-year, $40 million endorsement contract with Nike. Finally, in December, Woods capped his whirlwind year by being named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated.

Riding a wave of enthusiasm from the success of the U.S. women's basketball team in the Summer Olympics, the American Basketball League--a women's pro venture--successfully debuted. The San Jose franchise, known as the Lasers, not only featured Stanford grads Jennifer Azzi, Sonja Henning, Val Whiting and Anita Kaplan, but the team's owners were local residents Anne Cribbs and Gary Cavalli.

Counted out numerous times during the season, the Palo Alto High boys' tennis team foiled experts by upsetting Pinewood, 4-3, to capture its sixth straight Central Coast Section title. It's the most consecutive titles in the sport in the past 20 years, solidifying the school's dynasty in boys' tennis.

Stanford teams enjoyed a marvelous calendar year by winning NCAA titles in men's tennis, women's swimming, women's volleyball and men's and women's cross country. The cross-country sweep was the first time any school had accomplished that feat since 1985 and the first NCAA titles in the sport for either Stanford squad.

The Gunn gymnastics team bounced back from its first dual-meet loss since 1992 to capture its fourth straight CCS team championship, the most consecutive crowns in the sport. Senior She-Rae Chen successfully defended her all-around title, as well.

The high school basketball season proved to be a winner for the Palo Alto and Pinewood boys, plus the Sacred Heart Prep girls. All captured CCS titles. The SHP girls also made news of another sort, having their 73-game winning streak in GPSL play ended in a 50-43 loss to Menlo School.

The woeful Menlo College football program, 0-9 in 1995, earned national notice when head coach and ex-NFL standout Doug Cosbie put together a star-studded coaching staff that included ex-San Francisco 49ers Tom Rathman and Keena Turner, plus Craig Walsh, son of ex-Niner coach Bill Walsh. The team began its season with a remarkable 5-1 record, finishing 5-4.

The Sacred Heart Prep girls' volleyball team successfully defended its Division V state title, capping a sensational 39-4 season--a fitting sendoff for retiring coach Liz Santie.

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