Coming off of celebrating the men’s basketball’s win against Central Washington (79-61) on Saturday, Feb. 11, onlookers were invited up to the Falcon Club in Royal Brougham Pavilion to take part in the first-ever All-Athletics Reunion.
As part of a special homecoming weekend to celebrate SPU’s 125th anniversary, the Athletics Department introduced this event, along with the return of the SPU Hall of Fame.
“The hall of fame has been dormant since 2009,” Athletic Director Jackson Stava said. “This is the first time in eight years that we’ve done a hall of fame induction. It is very important to me and to the leadership of the university that we celebrate those that have come before us and really set us up for success … The 125th served as a great catalyst for some of these things to be reimagined.”
Preceding both women’s and men’s basketball games that afternoon, a brunch and induction ceremony took place in the Fine Center at First Free Methodist Church to honor three individuals, along with one team with a place in the hall of fame: Cliff McCrath, Virginia Husted, John Glancy and the ’78 men’s soccer team.
Cliff McCrath had a 37-year tenure at SPU, beginning in 1970. He coached the Seattle Pacific Men’s soccer team earning five NCAA Division II Championships: 1978, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1993.
“McCrath’s teams went 512-190-87, the best mark in Division II history,” the SPU Athletics website stated. “In 49 seasons overall, he was the second-winningest coach regardless of division at 597-233-95.”
The ’78 men’s soccer team, under McCrath, won the first national title in SPU athletics history.
“The funny part about is that it’s my 10th hall of fame induction,” McCrath said. “But what this all means — my years spent here — this is among the most special experiences, and it’s one that escapes good description. The room is full of good memories.”
Another inductee, Virginia Husted, made her mark as a national-caliber javelin thrower during her time as a member of SPU’s track and field team. She went on to compete in two Olympic trials.
In 1974 Husted went on to start the first women’s gymnastics team at SPU.
The next year, she coached the women’s club basketball team to a 15-6 record. She continued on for the next two seasons, expanding the club to a full varsity program.
Last, but not least, John Glancy, who, in his 46 years at SPU, has served in different positions from admissions counselor to director of college communications to director of the 125th anniversary festivities, was inducted for his various accomplishments at SPU. He was a star on the track and the basketball court during his time as a student. He currently still holds a track and field record as the anchor man on the 440 relay in 1968. He also played under Falcons’ Hall of Fame Coach Les Habegger’s basketball teams.
“I thought it was cool to see all the alumni at the event and to see how much SPU still means to them even after all this time,” junior soccer player Jess Cayetano said. “McCrath’s legacy here definitely inspires me going into my senior year. A few of us introduced ourselves and thanked him for building the type of program that we have.”
In the All-Athletics Reunion, the room was lit up with smiling faces of athletes, coaches and fans both current and past. One could feel the strong bond that we as Falcons have.
“This is a very special thing,” McCrath said. “We have a nucleus of people who loved the Lord and who loved each other. This [All-Athletic Reunion] is a matter of a great well-paved road back to harmonizing who we are as the Seattle Pacific Falcons.”
Stava, as well as the rest of athletics, made a point of having an all inclusive event with the entire SPU athletic community, fans included.
“I think the college athletic experience is as much about students getting to experience the games as a fan as it is playing in them,” Stava said. “For us to have a reunion like this, that is supposed to encompass 70 years of falcon athletics, and [to] not invite some of the folks who were fans and traveled to games and were a part of it — we thought it would be crazy. So we wanted to make sure everyone got to be there. That’s why every cheerleader, every coach, every athletic trainer [and] the fans were really trying to make it a celebration of all the great things in the past.”
And a great celebration it was, according to Cayetano, who has high hopes for his final season at SPU.
“[McCrath] actually put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘you guys are going to get there, you’ll get there’ — talking about the national championship. And then, while pointing to all the guys in our circle, he said, ‘and these are the guys that are going to get you there.’ We’ve been working hard, and we’ll do what we can do and I think we are going to surprise a lot of people,” Cayetano said.
Although the reunion was a success, bringing together athletes old and new, yearly plans are still up in the air.
“I don’t know if we’ll do an annual event that’s this extensive,” Stava said. “I know we’ll want to continue to engage alumni and fans and friends of the program … and it’s something that we’ll want to do again.”