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Volume 41. No. 2.
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Son joins father in Pomona-Pitzer Athletic Hall of Fame.

Like Father, Like Son

As Brian Forster ’94 walked up to receive his Athletic Hall of Fame induction plaque in a convivial ceremony in October, his father—Gary Forster ’66—proudly looked on. It was more than simply paternal pride; the son was joining his father in Pomona-Pitzer’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Forster, who was selected for his diving prowess, was inducted in a dinner ceremony at Frank Dining Hall with fellow Sagehens Bill Cover ’94 (basketball), Paul Cross ’90 (tennis), Christy Doss Hemesath (Pitzer) ’91 and Shelley Waterworth Diaz ’90 (soccer).

Former assistant football coach Jesse Cone, who coached the combined Pomona College—Claremont Men’s College football team for four years from 1953-1956, received a special recognition tribute in the Athletic Hall of Fame. Dozens of Coach Cone’s former players met during the weekend to reminisce and celebrate the team’s successes from 50 years ago.

The Forsters became the fifth father/son duo to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. Gary, a football and baseball star, earned All-Region and All-American honors in baseball and was inducted in 1980. Brian earned numerous awards as a diver. He set still-standing SCIAC conference records on both the 1- and 3-meter boards, was the 1994 SCIAC Athlete of the Year and dove to two individual NCAA III national titles as a senior.

Brian had some inkling of his father’s background. “When I got here, I was aware my dad was a good athlete, and I guess that was in the back of my mind. My mom told me about it first. I knew he had played sports here. That was one reason I considered Pomona in the first place. I knew I wanted to play sports in college.”

Living in Connecticut and working as a marketing director for IBM, Brian says his folks
didn’t pressure him to attend Pomona. “No, no, I had a choice! But my East Coast schools didn’t have a chance when I visited them during the snow.”

The pair has compared their Pomona experiences: “Yeah, we were both KDs,” says Brian. “So we talk a lot about that—about how we both seemed to get in the same amount of trouble.”

An orthopedic surgeon for 30 years in Seattle, Gary adds. “We’ve talked about how much it’s changed and how much nicer (the athletic facility) is. Before, it was smaller. The baseball field is in the same place, but it has been upgraded since.”

The ceremony brought back fond memories of college days.

Carroll Cross ’57 was at the event in two roles—first as a football team member from the mid-1950s honoring Coach Cone, and second as the father of inductee Paul Cross ’89.
“I was always trying to picture what my dad looked like in college,” says Paul, his father a professor of medicine and physiology for 30 years at UC Davis. “I knew he played football; I knew he wasn’t a starter. When I was at a party looking around, I’d be trying to find my dad. I was picturing a sort of studious guy that didn’t drink a lot that was slight in build. I found some candidates, but they didn’t hit the books as hard as my dad did.”

Paul’s success in tennis included three SCIAC Champion¬ships and a SCIAC Player of the Year honor in 1989. At the national level, Cross won NCAA III All-America honors three years in both singles and doubles, including doubles runner-up honors in 1989. During his senior year, Cross became the first and still-only Sagehen to be ranked number one in the country in singles.

Paul, a risk management consultant with ARM Tech in Orange County, fondly recalls his tennis days. “For me, (athletics) was one of the biggest things in college. I looked forward to practice everyday, to get out there and run around, to earn my dinner. I had some early success and wanted to get better and I wanted to dream a little bit.”

Other inductee highlights:
Bill Cover ’94 earned First Team All-SCIAC honors three times, was named twice to the All-West Region team and as a senior was named to the NCAA III All-America team. During his senior season, Cover broke the Pomona-Pitzer school record for career points scored and finished his four years with 1751 career points. Cover also holds the record for career field goals (677), and he set a school record by playing in 102 varsity games.

Christy Doss Hemesath (Pitzer ’91) was an 11-time All-Conference swimmer, with seven individual SCIAC titles—including wins in the 200 back (three times), 200 fly, 200 breast and 400 IM (twice). In addition, Hemesath swam on eight SCIAC-winning relays. Hemesath twice established SCIAC Championship meet records in the 400 IM (1989 and 1990) and set a school and SCIAC record in the 200 fly in 1990. A four-year NCAA Nationals qualifier, Hemesath earned All-America status in five individual events and four relays.

Shelley Waterworth Diaz ’90 earned four straight First Team All-SCIAC honors and was named the SCIAC Women’s Soccer Player of the Year as a senior.
Diaz helped lead her team to the SCIAC Conference Championship in both 1988 and 1989. Individually, Diaz tallied three career totals that still stand second on the all-time record list: 47 career goals, 16 career assists and 110 career points.
The dreaming continues for Pomona athletes, as there’s no three-generation connection yet. Brian Forster’s daughter Logan is nearly three and has her own soccer ball. Will she attend Pomona, become a sports star and be inducted into the Hall of Fame?
“Well, she’s already kicking the ball around,” says Brian. “But she spends more time
picking it up!”
—Kirk Reynolds

All in the Family
Four other father-son duos preceded the Fosters as members of the Pomona-Pitzer Athletic Hall of Fame.

Pete Rodi ’62 (football) and David Rodi ’87 (soccer) were the most recent father/son duo to be inducted prior to Gary Forster ’66 and Brian Forster ’94 this year, with the younger Rodi entering the Hall of Fame
in 1998.
Robert Strehle ’19 (track) and Richard Strehle ’41 (football, track) are father/son, inducted in 1958 and 1961 respectively. A long-time track coach for Pomona, the elder Strehle was later appointed athletic director and department chair in 1950. The college’s blue oval is named Strehle Track in his honor.
Earl “Fuzz” Merritt ’25 (football, basketball, baseball, track) and Jack Merritt ’39 (football, basketball) were honored in the first two Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in 1958 and 1959. The father was married when he entered Pomona; his son was a toddler. The elder Merritt was the football coach at Pomona for 21 years from 1935-42 and from 1946-58 and retired with a 95-59-9 career record. Sagehen gridiron teams play home games on Merritt Field.
In all of these pairs except one, the father was inducted before the son. The exception is the Malan duo. Son Brent Malan ’73 (football, baseball) was inducted in 1986, while father Ed Malan ’48 (honorary) was inducted in 1989. The elder Malan coached football, track and golf through 1991, and also served as athletic director and department chair.
As of yet, there are no mother/daughter pairs, but the Hall of Fame does boast other family relationships. Axel Borg ’76 (football, wrestling), Scott Borg ’77 (football) and Lane Borg ’81 (track, football) are brothers. There’s even a married couple: Karah Coe Curtis ’87 (swimming) Carl Curtis ’86 (baseball).
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