2007 Hall of Fame inductee biographies

Brian Boitano
– Figure Skating Olympian –

Ice skating first captured Brian Boitano’s attention when he attended an “Ice Follies” show with his parents. The Mountain View native soon fell in low with the sport and, at the age of nine, began training with Linda Leaver, who would become his life long coach. His technical talent, exceptional athleticism, and dedication to task, produced rapid results: by age 12, Boitano won 17 regional medals; by 15, he won the 1978 U.S. Junior Men’s Championship, and at 19, he made headlines at the 1982 U.S. Championships as the first skater to land a triple axel (a move he’d been perfecting since age 11!).  A few years later, Boitano unveiled his own signature jump, the Tano triple lutz, in which the skater, while already performing the extremely difficult move, raises his left arm above his head.

In 1988, Boitano reached several more pinnacles in his illustrious career. First, he earned nine perfect 6.0 scores in the U.S. Championships – a stunning feat that has yet to be matched. Then, at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, he won gold in the memorable “Battle of the Brians,” against Canadian rival Brian Orser. Boitano’s performance still stands among the very best of all time. Since Calgary, no other American male skater has fared better than bronze. As a final mark on the year, Boitano won the World Championships, again beating Orser.

After turning pro, Boitano won six World Professional Championship titles – including 5 consecutively.  He has since been voted into both the U.S. and World Figure Skating Halls of Fame.

Today, Boitano lives in San Francisco, where he unveiled yet another signature move: he founded Youth Skate, a non-profit organization that introduces the city’s at-risk youth to his sport.  Since its inception in 1998, Youth Skate has reached more than 3,000 kids and teenagers; it’s a different kind of legacy, but just as spectacular as any triple lutz.

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Bert Bonanno
– Track & Field Coach –

In international track and field circles, Bert Bonanno is regarded as one of the greatest coaches and administrators of his era. His career has spanned more than 35 years.

Beginning his collegiate coaching career as an assistant to Lloyd “Bud” Winter, the legendary track and field coach at San Jose State, Bert led the Spartan freshmen squad to two national track and field championships. He also recruited Ed Burke, the national record-holder and three-time Olympian in the hammer throw.

Under Bert’s award winning tutelage, many track and field athletes became Olympic champions and world record holders. He coached both nationally and internationally, including the 1976 Montreal Olympics where decathlete Bruce Jenner and sprinter Millard Hampton won golds.

Among his many career highlights, Bert was Director of the World International Bruce Jenner Classic Track and Field Meet for two decades, which brought some of the world’s greatest talents to the South Bay.  He also served as the Meet Director for the USA Track and Field Championships at San Jose City College, including the memorable 1984 championships, when ABC’s Wide World of Sports made its first ever appearance in San Jose.

Bert was the driving force to bring the USA Junior Olympics and the Masters National Championships to San Jose and the South Bay.  He was also cofounded the widely successfully Mercury News 10K Race, held annually for 29 years.

Bert was inducted into the California Community College Track and Field Hall of Fame and a recipient of the distinguished Bud Winter Sportsman of the Year Award. And perhaps most meaningful of all, San Jose City College now honors one student every year with the Bert Bonnano Scholar-Athlete Award, an appropriate legacy for someone who has given so much to his community.

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Kim Oden
– Volleyball –

When talking about volleyball, Kim Oden once described the game to a reporter as “a fun sport, a teamwork sport, and a smart sport,”  but her words don’t reveal her own contribution to the game.  Says associate Stanford head coach Denise Corlett, “She was one of the best players in the history of our program and all of collegiate women’s volleyball.”  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Oden, who graduated from Stanford in 1986, was a three-time All-American during her time on The Farm.  She was honored as the National Player of the Year in 1984 and '85 and won the 1985 Honda/Broderick Award for being the nation’s most outstanding female collegiate athlete – in any sport.  Kim was a four-time all-conference selection as well as Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1983, '84 and '85.   She holds the Cardinal single-match record for most blocks (16) and is ranked among the top five in several other career and single-season categories. In 1990, she was named Player of the Decade on the AVCA's All-Decade Team (1980's).
And if that wasn’t enough, she excelled in the classroom as well, earning Academic All-America honors in 1984 before graduating in 1986 with a degree in Public Policy.

After graduation, Kim went on to play on the U.S. National Team (1986-92, '94) and was named Olympic team captain in 1988 and 1992. At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, she was named "Best Hitter” for tallying the highest hitting percentage during the games. In '92, she helped the U.S. women win bronze at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. She also played professional beach volleyball in the National Four-Women Pro-Beach Tour, and in 1995 was voted the league’s MVP.

Today Kim resides in Palo Alto and is the head coach of the girl’s volleyball team at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View.

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Carlos “Bud” & Ralph Ogden
– Basketball–

Bud and Ralph Ogden’s love for basketball was a family affair.  The boys grew up playing on the driveway of their childhood home – along with their father, Carlos, and their other brothers, Jim and Fred.  It must have been a sight for the neighbors, as the four boys and their dad all stood 6-foot-4 or taller.  “Dad was a big man.  He coached us in everything,” said Bud. 

Standing tall wasn’t just a physical trait – it was also a way of life.  Carlos was a man of courage and valor, a highly decorated World War II combat veteran who had received the Medal of Honor, three Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star for his service.  Carlos passed on his strength and tenacity to his boys.  Explained Bud, “He was the competitive influence in all of our lives.  He didn’t give us anything; we earned everything we got.”

After their driveway battles, Bud and Ralph took their games to the next level, becoming star centers at San Jose’s Lincoln High School and Santa Clara University.

Bud lit up the scoreboard at Santa Clara.  He was the school’s lead scorer in 1968 – as only a sophomore.  He helped the Broncos reach the NCAA Western Regionals in both 1968 and 1969 with the best back-to-back teams in school history (22-4 and 27-2). Looking back on those remarkable seasons, Bud modestly said, “We kind of caught lightning in a bottle.”  Bud still owns the SCU single-game scoring record – 55 points against Pepperdine in 1968 – is on the school’s all-time Top 10 list in both scoring and rebounds. In 1970, he averaged an impressive 18.2 points per game, third best in school history.

After college, Bud played two years in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, before eventually returning to San Jose, where he embarked on a teaching and coaching career at Valley Christian High School as well as Gilroy High School. Bud’s achievements have been long recognized, as he’s a member of the Halls of Fame of both Lincoln High School and Santa Clara University.

Younger brother Ralph followed in his brother’s footsteps – but also made a name for himself along the way. During his high school career at Lincoln, Ralph earned All-CCS and All-Northern California honors in both 1965 and 1966. His senior season was exceptional: he led Lincoln to a perfect 29-0 record as well as to the title in the post-season Peninsula Basketball Championship. His career as a Bronco was no less impressive: a 72-12 collegiate record; three trips to the NCAA tournament – including two with his brother -- and 1,280 career points, placing him 14th among SCU’s all-time scorers.  As a senior, Ralph was named to the First Team All-WCAC before going on to play one season in the NBA with the San Francisco Warriors. Ralph’s basketball career then took him to Germany, where he has played and coached professionally for nearly 30 years.

Together or on their own, Bud and Ralph have played many roles in their lives – teammate, champion, teacher and coach.  But perhaps they will be most proud of their induction into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in their most personal role – brothers.

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Mark Spitz
– Swimming –

When Mark Spitz graduated from Santa Clara High School in 1968, there was no doubt he would become an Olympic gold medalist – it was only a question of how many times overHe had always been a champion. By age 10, he held 17 national age group swimming records; by 14, he was training under famed Olympic coach George Haines at the Santa Clara Swim Club and filling up the record books.  Then he headed for the Olympics in Mexico City, where he predicted he’d win six gold medals.

Mexico City did not go as planned.  Although he won two golds in relay events and individual silver and bronze medals, he was disappointed in his performances and yearned to do better. Four years later in Munich he kept his predictions to himself and unleashed a performance that has never been equaled in swimming or Olympic history – seven races. seven gold medals, and seven world records, a feat still unequaled by any other athlete in a single Olympiad.

The International Olympic Committee named him one of its five best athletes of the 20th century; Sports Illustrated magazine gave him similar accolades and featured him on the cover three times during his career.

Before moving to Santa Clara, the Spitz family lived in Hawaii where his father, Arnold, taught him to swim.  Mark loved the sport, but it was Arnold who developed his competitive spirit by telling him, “Swimming isn’t everything; winning is.”

Looking back on his accomplishments, Spitz said, “Part of winning is the phenomenon of being able to convince those that compete against you that they are competing for second.” No swimmer – indeed, very few athletes – have ever been as successful at owning first place.  

Now living in Los Angeles, Mark still hits the pool, swimming laps for both fun and fitness.  He continues to be actively involved in the Olympic movement, too, by working with and fundraising for the United States Olympic Committee.  He and his wife Suzy – to whom he has been married for more than 30 years – have two grown sons, Matthew and Justin. 

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