Special Issue: Cal Athletics Take a Timeout


empty field

Memorial stadium remains empty as most college and professional sporting events were canceled across the nation.
Ben Miller photo

20 September 2001 | Athletic fields in Berkeley and across the nation remained eerily silent this weekend, as terrorist strikes in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, put the sports world on hold.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl canceled all Cal athletic events through the weekend — an action all Division I schools took later in the week.

“In all of your lifetimes, we’ve never seen anything like this,” said football coach Tom Holmoe. “So to go about business as usual is not appropriate.”

The athletic department is also mourning the loss of at least one former Cal athlete. Mark Bingham, who played rugby from 1991 to 1993, was aboard United Airlines Flight 93,which crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

Brent Woodall, a former Cal football and baseball player, is among the nearly 5,000 workers at the World Trade Center still missing.

Most of the Cal games slated for this weekend were postponed. The football team was scheduled to play Rutgers on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J. The game has since been rescheduled for Nov. 23.

“I can’t imagine people wanting to go to a football game on Saturday,” Holmoe said.

Meanwhile, the Cal golf team experienced a harrowing few days on the East Coast. The team was wrapping up a tournament in Southern Pines, N.C., when it received word about the events unfolding to the north.

The time was especially troubling for sophomore George Serra. Serra’s uncle works at the Pentagon, and he had to wait two hours before there was confirmation of his uncle’s safety.

“Everyone was uneasy (Tuesday) night,” coach Steve Desimone said.

The team remained grounded in North Carolina until Thursday, when air travel resumed. They landed safely in the Bay Area Thursday night.

Back in Berkeley, teams resumed practice, but they now face the daunting task of returning to their daily routines.

“We don’t want to stop our normal activities because that’s what the terrorists want us to do,” women’s soccer coach Kevin Boyd said. “The players can use the two hours (of practice) as an escape.”

Dan Hodes and Matt Duffy contributed to this report.


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