California Golden Bears
The University of California, Berkeley (also known as UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, and by other names) is the oldest and flagship campus of the ten-campus University of California system. It is located in Berkeley, California. The California Golden Bears is the nickname of the basketball teams. Referred to in athletic competition as California or Cal, the university competes in the NCAA's Division I primarily as a member of the Pacific Ten Conference.
Cal's sports teams compete in intercollegiate athletics as the California Golden Bears. The official school colors, established in 1873 by a committee of students, are Yale Blue and California Gold. Yale Blue was chosen because many of the university's founders were Yale University graduates (for example Henry Durant, the first university president), while California Gold was selected to represent the Golden State of California.
The Walter A. Haas, Jr. Pavilion, known as the Haas Pavilion, is the home of the University of California, Berkeley's basketball teams.
The arena was originally built in 1933 as Harmon Gym. It was heavily renovated from 1997 to 1999 after a generous donation from Walter A. Haas, Jr. of Levi Strauss & Co.
The new facility retained the intimate atmosphere of its predecessor. In particular, there are no soundproofing devices. It is considered one of the louder arenas in the Pac-10 Conference, possibly second only to their cross-bay rivals, Stanford's Maples Pavilion.
The arena contains The Bench, a courtside section that holds approximately 900 occasionally raucous student fans.
The official university mascot is Oski the Bear, who first debuted in 1941. Previously, live bear cubs were used as mascots at Memorial Stadium. It was decided in 1940 that a costumed mascot would be a better alternative to a live bear. Named after the Oski-wow-wow yell, he is cared for by the Oski Committee, who have exclusive knowledge of the identity of the costume-wearer.
The Golden Bears' traditional arch-rivalry is with the Stanford Cardinal.
The Golden Bears men first played intercollegiate basketball in 1907 and began full conference play in 1915. The 1920s was the dominant decade for Cal basketball, as the Bears won six conference titles under coaches E.H. Wright and Nibs Price.
Nibs Price would coach Cal with great success for 30 years from 1924 to 1954, earning a 449-294 total record, many single season winning records, and an additional three conference titles in the 1930s and 1940s.
Cal reached the pinnacle of the sport during the tenure of Pete Newell, who was head coach from 1955 to 1960. The Golden Bears earned the conference title four out of his five years and in 1959, won the NCAA title. In his last year, Cal came close to another NCAA title, but lost to Ohio State in the final.
The fortunes of Cal men's basketball would never be the same after Pete Newell; as of 2006 Cal has not won a conference title since 1960. The 1970s and 1980s were for the most part down years for the program, despite having players such as Kevin Johnson. The highlight of this era was a 75-67 victory over UCLA in 1986 that ended a 25-year, 52 game losing streak to the Bruins.
Cal achieved much better success in the 1990s, qualifying for the NCAA tournament five times with future NBA players Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray in the early '1990s and Sean Lampley and Shareef Abdur-Rahim in the late '90s. Cal also won the 1999 National Invitation Tournament (NIT), with a thrilling 61-60 victory over Clemson in the title game.
In 2006, the Golden Bears reached their first Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament championship game. Power forward Leon Powe grabbed a tournament-record 20 rebounds against USC in the first round and then scored a tournament-record 41 points in a double-overtime victory versus Oregon in the semi-finals. Despite California's 71-52 loss to UCLA in the final game, Powe was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament.
The current Cal head coach is Ben Braun, who has guided the Golden Bears since 1996. Under Braun, Cal qualified for the NCAA tournament three straight times in the 2000s and six times overall.
At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, UC's women's team was the dominant power on the West Coast. Berkeley was a power team. On April 4, 1896 Cal met Stanford in the first game women's collegiate basketball at San Francisco's Page Street Armory. The game did not at all resemble the fast-paced and physical game women play today. Rules were adjusted to make sure the ladies stayed ladylike, as players were confined to one of three areas. Stealing the ball was not permitted. Stanford would go on to win, two (baskets) to one.
In 1898 Cal was defeating other Bay Area colleges, high schools, private schools, and YWCA teams. They beat Mills College 13-1 and the Mission YWCA 10-1. In April of 1898 they beat the University of Nevada, Reno, in Berkeley. Berkeley won again the next year, but the Reno team had improved and played much rougher. One girl got a broken nose.
The first season of modern women's basketball at Cal was played from 1972-1973, right after Title IX went into effect. The longest tenured coach in Cal history was Gooch Foster, who captained the team from 1979 to 1996. Cal was quite successful during this period; it won the conference in 1981 and 1982, and had 11 winning seasons. Since the early 1990s, however, success has been hard to come by, as the Bears have had only three winning seasons, including the recently completed 2005-2006 season.