Category Archives: Sports

Op-ed: Cal should take down beer and athletics billboard

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Has anyone been in the Alta Bates ER on a UC Berkeley football game night? I have, and it is an eye-opening experience of drunkenness and bloody injuries.

I was astonished this week as I headed home from work to see a billboard next to the freeway in Emeryville advertising beer with the Cal Athletics logo. I had noticed a similar billboard a year ago and wrote to the newly appointed Chancellor expressing my concerns. I received a prompt reply … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley park, free boxing program inspires young men

It started when Manuel Buendía began taking his young sons to San Pablo Park in Berkeley to teach them to box. Soon others wanted to join in, and now Buendía runs an informal, free boxing training program for any young person who shows interest.

Buendía hopes the sessions are helping some of the participants stay out of trouble. As he says in the video above, “Instead of them fighting out on the street, they should bring it here. Here in the park, right? They can take their anger out here, with boxing.”

Luis Flores, a UC Berkeley student who also attended Berkeley High School, shot the video above through Youth Radio, a non-profit based in downtown Oakland. … Continue reading »

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Soccer mania hits Berkeley, as do crowds, traffic

Around 62,000 people watched Inter Milan beat Real Madrid at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Julia Flynn Siler
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Soccer mania hit Berkeley on Saturday when Real Madrid played Inter Milan at Cal Memorial Stadium, in a game that drew more than 62,000 spectators. Inter Milan and Real Madrid tied 1-1. Then, after regulation time, Inter Milan won 3-2 in a penalty shootout.

The game practically paralyzed the streets of Berkeley as fans tried to make their way to the stadium. Traffic came to a standstill all over town on major arteries like College, Claremont, Ashby and University avenues. … Continue reading »

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With big soccer game approaching, UC Berkeley addresses impacts from Memorial Stadium

Cal's Memorial Stadium has a a capacity of over 60,000 and regularly draws large crowds to the area. Photo: John Morgan
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Representatives from the city of Berkeley and Cal invited residents near Memorial Stadium to discuss the impact of upcoming events — including the July 26 International Champions Cup soccer game — on the neigborhood. Fire safety, public intoxication, illegal parking and what to do in case of a significant disaster were among concerns raised by attendees.

Christine Shaff, communications director for facilities services, moderated the meeting Wednesday night, which featured members of the Berkeley Police Department, UC Berkeley Police Department, Berkeley Fire Department, Cal Athletics and the city manager’s office. Councilman Gordon Wozniak was also in attendance. … Continue reading »

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Cal Athletic director Sandy Barbour to step down in July

Current athletic director Sandy Barbour, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and designated interim athletic director Michael Williams sit down for a press conference on Barbour's transition. Photo: Drew Jaffe
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UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced Friday that Sandy Barbour, the university’s athletics director, plans to step down from her post in mid-July.

“After numerous discussions with Sandy, we came to the conclusion that the time was right for her to pursue a different set of professional interests, which she has long harbored and which we have spoken about for several months,” Dirks said during a press conference Friday afternoon.

Dirks and Barbour cited a combination of organizational and personal interests as the motivation for her decision to leave. Michael Williams ’82, a former student athlete at the university and current vice chair of the Berkeley Foundation, will serve as the interim director in Barbour’s absence. … Continue reading »

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World Cup 2014: Where to watch it in Berkeley

World Cup spectators: where will you be watching the world cup?
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Soccer fans around the world are gearing up for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Thursday, 32 national teams will begin the month-long journey toward the crowning of a new world champion. The teams will play 64 matches across 12 cities in Brazil while showcasing their world-class athleticism.

Millions of fans, some traveling across oceans and continents, will flock to Brazil to witness the spectacle for themselves. Billions more will watch the competition from living room couches, bars or restaurants.

The competition kicks off Thursday at 1 p.m. with a match between Croatia and host nation Brazil. Do you know where you’re watching it? If you’re looking for a more communal viewing experience than staying home, head to a local bar or restaurant. … Continue reading »

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Real Madrid to play Inter Milan on grass (!) at UC Berkeley

Real Madrid star player Cristiano Ronaldo likes pointing to himself. Photo: RealMadrid.com
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Real Madrid and Inter Milan will meet in the first-ever international soccer match at Cal Memorial Stadium on July 26.

For fans of what the rest of the world calls football, the chance to see two of the most storied teams in the game on — for this game only — natural grass at Memorial Stadium should prove a treat. The teams are playing in the confected International Champions Cup, which brings eight great European squads for a round of so-called friendly matches in the U.S.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Lazarus, football player, to Cal State Fresno

The Berkeley High BHS signing ceremony for Michael Lazarus took place earlier this week. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Berkeley High School celebrated National Letter of Intent Signing Day 2014 on Wednesday with a signing ceremony for Berkeley High football player Michael Lazarus. Lazarus was awarded an athletic scholarship at a Division I university, California State University, Fresno.

The young man’s mother, Neesa Lazarus, is also part of the Berkeley Unified School District family, working at John Muir Elementary School and Berkeley High as an American Sign Language interpreter, said Mark Coplan, school district spokesman. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

Cal footballer Ted Agu collapses, dies after workout

Cal junior Ted Agu, who died after collapsing in a workout this morning. Photo: Cal Athletics
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UPDATE, 04.24.14: Cal football player Ted Agu, who collapsed after a Feb. 7 team training run, died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, according to Sgt. Paul Graves of the Alameda County Coroners’ Bureau and reported by the San Jose Mercury News. Graves said hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an excessive thickening of the heart muscle and a common cause of unexpected death in athletes.

UPDATE, 02.07.14, 3:55 p.m.: UC Berkeley athletics officials released some details of the events leading to the death of 21-year-old defensive lineman Ted Agu at a press conference this afternoon. The death occurred during a supervised training run near Cal’s Memorial Stadium, KQED News reports. Dr. Casey Batten, a team physician, said medical staff were monitoring the workout and noticed that Agu appeared to be having difficulty completing it. As a precaution, staff members stopped Agu’s workout. “He was hydrating, he was responsive, he was talking,” Batten said. As a further precaution, he was placed on a cart and moved to a medical facility about 150 yards away. Agu collapsed there. Batten said medical staff immediately started what he called “high-quality CPR” and use of an external defibrillator. Agu was then rushed to Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, where he died.

ORIGINAL STORY: Ted Agu, a 21-year-old junior defensive end on Cal’s football team, collapsed during a conditioning workout this morning and died shortly afterwards. … Continue reading »

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Naming rights at Memorial Stadium sell for $18m

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In 2001, Michael Li took Engineering 110, Venture Design: The Startup Company, at UC Berkeley. As part of the course, Li wrote a business plan for a new company. Today, Kabam, the mobile gaming company Li founded with two other Cal grads, and the university unveiled a 15-year, $18 million agreement for naming rights to the field at California Memorial Stadium.

“This is a great Cal story,” said athletic director Sandy Barbour. “It’s an opportunity for us to form a unique academic and athletic partnership. We’ve hit a home run here.”

According to Barbour, the deal is the largest in the country for college field naming rights. The University of Maryland sold naming rights for the field at its Byrd Stadium to Chevy Chase Bank for $20 million, but that was over 25 years.

“I can’t imagine a closer tie for a CEO with the alma mater he loves,” said co-founder and CEO Kevin Chou, who majored in business at UC Berkeley and graduated in 2002.  … Continue reading »

Berkeley’s first half marathon in (glorious) photographs

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Berkeley’s first-ever half marathon kicked off at 8 a.m. at Civic Center Park yesterday. It drew nearly 8,000 runners participating in one of the three race distances and more than $50,000 was raised for participating charities.

The marathon winners were both Berkeleyans: Anna Bretan, who also won the 2013 San Francisco Marathon, and UC Berkeley student JP Slater (read more in our story published yesterday).

There was one medical emergency, and at least one Berkeley resident said crossing town by car while the marathon was under way was near-on impossible. “There were no ‘detour’ signs anywhere along any of there streets  going south-north which cross University,” she wrote us.

In opening remarks to the gathered crowd, councilmember Laurie Capitelli said the marathon as an “historic event.” Addressing the runners he added that as they ran through the city they would not be seeing “the Berkeley that your mom and dad remember.”

Here we publish a selection of the many wonderful photographs shared with us by Berkeleyside readers.

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Two Berkeley runners win city’s first half marathon

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Update, Dec. 12, 2013: We’re sorry to report that Kenny Speirs, the man who collapsed during the Berkeley Half Marathon, passed away on Dec. 11. Speirs had been in the hospital since suffering a heart attack while taking part in the marathon. Speirs was an English lecturer at UC Berkeley and leaves behind a family.

Original story: Berkeley resident Anna Bretan and UC Berkeley student JP Slater were the winners of today’s first Berkeley Half Marathon. Bretan, who won the 2013 San Francisco Marathon, had an unofficial time of 1:17:19. at the inaugural event, while Slater won the men’s field with an unofficial time of 1:07:05.

There was one medical emergency when a man collapsed while taking part in the race. Fortuitously, a group of physicians from UCSF happened to be watching the race very close to where he went down on the pedestrian path on West Frontage Road that runs parallel to the bay and I-80. A UCSF radiologist performed CPR on the man before emergency responders from Alameda Fire Department attended to the runner, according to authorities. He showed improvement and was transported to Alta Bates Hospital, where he was in stable condition this afternoon, according to a marathon representative. … Continue reading »

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4 BHS students awarded Division 1 athletic scholarships

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Four Berkeley High student athletes have been awarded athletic scholarships at Division I universities, and, on Friday Nov. 15, they gathered with their friends and family at the Berkeley High library for their official signing ceremony.

The students, who are also all stars in the classroom, are Noah Bremer who is headed to the University of Washington to play baseball, Desire Finnie who will attend the University of the Pacific and play basketball, Lena Mayer who will play softball for UC Santa Barbara, and Naomi Overstreet who will go to Virginia Commonwealth University to play volleyball. … Continue reading »

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