Santa Clara hires Herb Sendek as men's basketball coach


Santa Clara hires Herb Sendek as men's basketball coach

SANTA CLARA -- With a resume that includes 18 postseason appearances and three conference coach of the year awards, along with demonstrated player and staff development, Herb Sendek has been hired as Santa Clara’s head men’s basketball coach. 

Sendek, one of the three youngest coaches with 400 or more career victories, has had three successful head-coaching tenures at the Division I level. He has spent 22 seasons as a collegiate head coach with stops at Arizona State, North Carolina State and Miami (Ohio), compiling a 413-295 (.583) career record, including 39 victories against top 25 teams. He earned coach of the year in the Pac-10, Atlantic Coast Conference and Mid-American Conference.

“We’re thrilled to bring Coach Sendek into the Santa Clara University family,” director of athletics Renee Baumgartner said. “He’s a veteran coach and a proven winner who has been successful at the highest levels of college basketball. This is an exciting day for Santa Clara basketball.”

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sendek has recruited or coached a number of standout players, including NBA first-round draft choices James Harden (Arizona State), Julius Hodge (NC State) and Wally Szczerbiak (Miami). Sendek also has 12 former assistant coaches, administrative assistants or graduate assistants currently serving as Division I head coaches. 

“I would sincerely like to thank [University president] Father Engh and Renee Baumgartner for giving me the opportunity to coach at Santa Clara University,” Sendek said. “My family and I are thrilled to join the Santa Clara community. We are excited to get started and look forward to building on the foundation of the efforts of those who have come before us.”

He most recently served nine seasons (2006-15) at Arizona State, posting five 20-win campaigns and making five postseason appearances, including two trips to the NCAAs for a program which had only three in the previous 25 years. In addition, the Sun Devils produced just three 20-win campaigns in the prior 25 seasons to his arrival.

Sendek, who posted a 159-137 (.537) record at the school, led ASU to three straight 20-win seasons - 2007-08 (21-13), 2008-09 (25-10) and 2009-10 (22-11) - which had not happened since 1961-63. He was the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2009-10 when the Sun Devils went 25-10.

Sendek, 53, had a successful 10-year tenure (1996-2006) at North Carolina State, which finished with five straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including four with at least one victory. 

He amassed a 191-132 (.591) mark with the Wolfpack, earning 2003-04 Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year. In his final five seasons, NCSU won 53 league games, with only Duke totaling more (76) in that time frame.

The 15th coach in Santa Clara men’s basketball history, Sendek earned his first head-coaching job at Miami University when he was just 30 years old. He led the now RedHawks to the postseason in each of his three seasons (1993-96) and his winning percentage (.708/63-26) remains first in school history (minimum three years). 

After winning the 1994-95 MAC regular-season title, Miami (Ohio) earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, where Sendek’s 12th-seeded squad defeated No. 5 seed (and 15th-ranked) Arizona before losing to 13th-ranked and fourth-seeded Virginia in overtime. 

He is the only coach ever to lead Miami to postseason play in each of his first three seasons, and he reached 50 victories quicker than any other coach at the school.

“Herb Sendek is an excellent hire for Santa Clara,” former Santa Clara head basketball coach and director of athletics Carroll Williams said. “Coach Sendek brings a wealth of successful experience to the Santa Clara community. He is an excellent teacher and innovator of the game of basketball. His basketball and academic background will blend well with the entire Santa Clara community. Coach Sendek is who we need at Santa Clara.”

After finishing at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1985, which included a stint as a volunteer assistant at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Sendek began an eight-year stint as a Division I assistant coach. 

He served as an assistant coach at Providence College for four years (1985-89), starting under Rick Pitino and helping the Friars earn a trip to the 1987 Final Four. He spent his final season under head coach Rick Barnes with the Friars again landing in the NCAA Tournament. 

With a reputation as a standout recruiter, Sendek joined Pitino at Kentucky for the 1989-90 season and remained for four years. Sports Illustrated named him one of the top 10 recruiters in the nation during 1992-93, which ended in a Final Four run for the Wildcats. 

Coming off two years probation, Kentucky also made a trip to the 1992 Elite Eight, a run that ended in overtime against Duke on the famous Grant Hill-to-Christian Laettner last-second inbounds heave. 

In addition to his on-court success, Sendek, who graduated from college with 3.95 grade-point average, has stressed academics. While at Arizona State, the program had a 100-percent senior graduation rate and the top graduation success rate in the Pac-12. He inherited a team with Academic Progress Rate (APR) scholarship penalties and posted a perfect 1,000 score in five reporting years, including each of the final four (2010-11 through 2013-14). 

Four Arizona State players earned master’s degrees in Sendek’s final three seasons and six former players came back to finish their studies. 

“Coach Sendek has a track record of great success both on the court and in the classroom,” Baumgartner said. “His philosophy mirrors that of our University in developing the whole person.”

Sendek was one of only three coaches who had NBA first-round picks in both the 2005 and 2006 drafts, and then followed that up in 2009 with a top-three pick (Harden at No. 3) and the first pick of the second round (Jeff Pendergraph). Jahii Carson earned Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year in 2012-13, while Jordan Bachynski was the 2013-14 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Sendek is the co-author of Gen Y Now – Millennials and the Evolution of Leadership and is a member of the NCAA Ethics Coalition. He and his wife, Melanie, have three daughters - Kristin, Catherine, Kelly.

Santa Clara University media services

Ex-Cal football player Eric Stevens fighting for ALS cure after diagnosis


Ex-Cal football player Eric Stevens fighting for ALS cure after diagnosis

Former Cal Bears fullback Eric Stevens now is a Los Angeles City firefighter. He knows what it's like to put others' lives ahead of his own. 

Now, his family hopes those will return the favor.

Stevens was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 29, soon after getting married to the woman of his dreams.

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Let’s help Eric #axeALS!!!! #TeamStevensNation

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"The diagnosis and subsequent education they received about the horrific disease was the worst news one could ever imagine," a Facebook post dedicated to "Team Stevens Nation," described.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a debilitating and incurable disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles. With a life expectancy between two and five years, paralysis comes much quicker. And there is much unknown about it. 

While there are many treatments going through clinical trials that are showing promise, there is still a 50 percent chance those could receive a placebo over the actual treatment.

"There is NO reason why a person with a terminal diagnosis should receive placebo over the actual treatment," the Facebook page explains. "Another downside to these clinical trials is they are a year-long process, and time is the one thing ALS patients don't have. Every single day without treatment is a day lost."

Those can donate to and share the family's GoFundMe page here

Stevens, now 30, totaled 14 carries for 53 yards, and 13 catches for 82 yards and one touchdown in his career at Cal that spanned from 2008-2012. But despite playing sparingly, he was voted team captain.

He was signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2013, but never played a snap in the NFL.

[RELATED: A's Piscotty accepts prestigious Hutch Award]

"Given his strong determination and success in anything he puts his mind to, Eric has chosen to fight and advocate for getting drugs and treatments available to patients NOW," the Facebook group wrote. "Eric's goal with the help of his family and friends is to raise awareness for ALS and act now toward getting treatments available."

Gavin Newsom signs 'Fair Pay to Play' act with LeBron James on 'The Shop'


Gavin Newsom signs 'Fair Pay to Play' act with LeBron James on 'The Shop'

Monday was a monumental day in college athletics.

California Governor Gavin Newsom went on HBO and Uninterrupted's "The Shop" to formally sign California's "Fair Pay to Play" act alongside Lakers star LeBron James.

The law will allow college athletes in the state of California to profit off the use of their name, image and likeness, and will make it illegal for universities to revoke a student's scholarship for accepting money. The bill will not pay athletes to play, but it will allow them to sign agents and seek out business deals.

"[Signing the bill] is going to initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation," Newsom said on "The Shop" prior to signing the bill. "And it’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interests, finally, of the athletes, on par with the interests of the institutions. Now we’re rebalancing that power arrangement."

The bill will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Warriors forward Draymond Green has been a vocal proponent of the bill, and he gave Newsom props after the signing.

Newsom's bill has faced blowback from both California schools and the NCAA, as it would make it impossible for those schools to follow the NCAA's amateurism rules. The NCAA has called the bill unconstitutional and will challenge it in court.

The NCAA responded with a statement.

The Pac-12 also issued a statement. 

[RELATED: Draymond supports California bill for NCAA athletes]

The signing of the bill is expected to cause an avalanche of states to pass similar legislation and fundamentally change how amateurism and college athletics are viewed.

Well done, Gov. Newsom.