FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: John Faires
MARCH 13, 2010
SAN DIEGO, CA.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
CAL WESTERN UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL PLAYERS HOLD A 40-YEAR REUNION!
150 Players, Coaches and Guests come together in San Diego to renew old friendships and pay homage to a Point Loma University that no longer exists.
Ninety football players stormed into San Diego the evening of March 13, 2010. They weren’t there to take on the San Diego Chargers or even the San Diego Aztecs. They were there to take part in a celebration that has taken 40 plus years since the last touchdown or an open field tackle was made at their fabled Balboa Stadium.
Cal Western, a private boutique University located on the Pacific Ocean cliffs of Point Loma, with a view rivaling any LaJolla mansion, was home for these gridiron players. With less than 3000 students, the university known affectionately as "Cal Wee Wee", was the home of the "Westerners", a successful football team known for their scrappiness and the unique personalities of its players. While the University no longer exists, the memories were certainly there as players and coaches spent the evening reliving the football wins and losses as if they were played last Saturday.
The Cal Western Football Reunion festivities began Friday evening with a cocktail party hosted by the Planning Committee at the Gordon-Biersch Restaurant in Mission Valley. On Saturday morning, 40 players arrived at the Riverwalk Golf Club to tee it up and play 18 holes of golf. The Reunion itself began at 6:00 PM Saturday evening at the Sheraton Hotel Mission Valley. Cocktails preceded a sit-down dinner and speeches given by Coaches Bob Dinaberg, Marv Braden, Bob Bass and Head trainer Ric McDonald. Albert Dillard, former Cal Western wide receiver and retired San Diego City schoolteacher and Minister of the Church of Christ, gave the Invocation. An auction of sports memorabilia, golf outing packages and extended hotel stays rounded out the evening.
"Planning a reunion of this size was a lot like preparing for a playoff game. Every Committee Member had a role to play. Former players Jerry Robinson, Mike Raney, Dick Thorn, Andy Borgia, Colin Cann, Mike George and David Krich all had a role and an assignment(s)", said John Faires, (also a Committee Member). "Additionally, everyone threw in their own money to get this event off the ground because it (the reunion) was such a part of our youth and who we are today. Cal Western University to us was like the Little Train That Could. There was nothing going to stop the committee from succeeding", said Faires.
Head Football Coaches Bob Dinaberg and Marv Braden, both long since retired, were on hand to greet their former players, Assistant Coaches and Trainers and spoke to the crowd of 150. Assistant Defensive Coach Bob Bass and Head Trainer Ric McDonald also spoke affectionately of their career stops at Cal Western. McDonald left Cal Western in 1971 to become the head trainer for the San Diego Chargers for 18 years. Bob Bass eventually went on to coach and teach at Western Oregon State University for 23 years. Both are now retired. McDonald to Boise, Idaho and Bass to Monmouth, Oregon.
"Many of the players attending the reunion have not seen each other in forty plus years", said Faires, (1970-71 Class). "When the Organizing Committee started to plan this event over 9 months ago we soon realized that name tags were going to be essential for recognizing everyone". Faires went on to say that, "Good eating, gray hair and gravity has been our enemy over the years".
"The most difficult part of planning a reunion is finding the players after forty years", said Faires. "Everyone has scattered. Maybe only 20 players still lived in San Diego County. The rest have moved and taken their careers to multiple states and even out of the country to Costa Rica and Venezuela. If it weren’t for Google and the Internet this would have been a much smaller party", said Faires. "The most enjoyable part of finding these players was to learn how well their lives and careers have become. More than half of these players became schoolteachers and coaches. Several played in the NFL and two are still coaching in the NFL. Jimmy Anderson is the Running Backs coach with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dante Scarnecchia is the Assistant Head Coach with the New England Patriots and has won three Superbowl Rings in his career. We have lawyers, police chiefs, bank CEO’s, PHD’s and a host of other executives. One player even ran for congress in Orange County. Perhaps the most satisfying information I received in this process was learning about those athletes who served in Vietnam before and after attending Cal Western . One player, retired San Diego Sheriff Captain Dennis Cole, was awarded two Bronze Stars and an Air Medal for his brave and unselfish actions", said Faires.
Coach Marv Braden began his coaching career in 1960 after graduating from Southwest Missouri State University with a BS in Education and the University of Missouri with a Masters Degree in Education. Coach Braden coached the Cal Western Football Team from 1969-1972. In 38 years in coaching, Braden held 14 separate coaching positions in both the college ranks and in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals, and Cincinnati Bengals. Coach Braden retired in 1998 to Hot Springs, Arkansas with his wife Becky.
Coach Bob Dinaberg began his Head Coaching position at Cal Western in 1966. After the 1968 season, Dinaberg left to coach at Santa Barbara City College where he spent 18 years as the head football coach compiling an impressive record of 119-62-3. Coach Dinaberg spent a total of 31 years at SBCC as Athletic Director and Professor of Physical Education. Holding a graduate degree with UCLA and a master’s degree from Fresno State, Coach Dinaberg continues to reside in Santa Barbara with his wife Joan.
In the course of trying to locate the Cal Western Players from the Dinaberg and Braden era (1966-1972) Faires stated, "we learned that 10 players and coaches have passed away over the years. All of them made significant contributions to the football program. Assistant Head Coach Lewis Erber was especially important to the program. We were happy Coach Erber’s wife Pat and daughter Shannon Erber Beauchamp, were able to represent Coach Erber for this reunion".