February 23, 2009

Dr. Barbara Swerkes - 2009 Matador Hall of Fame Inductee

Feb. 23, 2009

Northridge, Calif. - Dr. Barbara Swerkes has accomplished a lifetime of work at Cal State Northridge and her commitment and dedication has helped shape the fabric of the University.

Because of her outstanding exploits as head coach of the women's track & field program at Cal State Northridge, Dr. Swerkes is one of two former Cal State Northridge head coaches, four former Matador student-athletes, and one NCAA championship team that will be formally inducted into the Matador Hall of Fame on March 1 at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel in Woodland Hills.

Swerkes coached the AIAW National Championship women's track & field teams in 1978, 1979, 1980. Her teams captured conference titles from 1977-80. Several of her former student-athletes still hold school records.

In her nine years as women's track & field coach at Cal State Northridge, Swerkes trained some of the brightest stars to emerge in American track & field history. Many of those former CSUN student-athletes went onto to Olympic glory.

Following her retirement as women's track & field coach, Swerkes served as Faculty Athletic Representative for many years, and for many years has served as a kinesiology professor at Cal State Northridge, in addition to many distinguished academic committees that has helped shape the fabric of Cal State Northridge.

"It is difficult to express how much this selection means to me," said Swerkes. "I have been a faculty member on this campus since 1971. I am very close to retirement. When I came to CSUN (then known as San Fernando Valley State College), I coached the women's swim team and the women's basketball team (all of course in addition to teaching a full load of classes and coaching women's sports for which there was no extra compenstation). There was no women's track & field team. So I decided to recruit from my classes to find sufficient interest to start a team. One of those first recruits was Sue Kinsey. Sue was a world class distance runner and helped me attract attention to our program. The program was built from that time on. That team over the eight years I coached brought me many personal joys, the first being the ability to award scholarships to women athletes for their first time in 1976. I do consider myself, along with the women I coached during that eight year tenure, to be pioneers in the efforts to improve the opportunities available to women athletes.

"This recognition (Hall of Fame) is their recognition as well as mine. This certainly puts an extra large candle with much sparkle on my retirement cake. Thank you so much for this honor."

Don Strametz succeeded Swerkes as head coach of the track & field coach at Cal State Northridge. Strametz has always admired the accomplishments and the talents of Swerkes as a coach and person.

"Barbara was one of the pioneers in collegiate women's track & field," said Strametz. "She won three national championships (1978-80), the only program to accomplish that feat in school history. Barbara's ability to put all the pieces together from building a program from the start to the top speaks volumes to her character and what she accomplished."

Beth Onestinghel-Woll (1985-88, softball) will join Marcus Brady (1998-01, football), Brian Heinle (1997-01, basketball) and Jeff Kubiak (1985-87, swimming) into this year's class of Hall of Fame inductees.

The two former head coaches are Marwan Ass'ad (men's soccer, 1983-98) and Dr. Barbara Swerkes (track & field, 1972-80).

The 1970 Matador baseball team, which captured the NCAA Division II national title, will also be inducted into the CSUN Hall of Fame, the first time in school history that a team will be honored in such a manner.

The 2009 inductees join 99 other distinguished members of the Cal State Northridge Athletic Hall of Fame.

On Tuesday, the 1970 Matador national championship baseball team will be profiled.

Matador Memo
If you would like more information on the Hall of Fame luncheon on March 1, please contact Megan Norman at 818-677-3208 or at megan.norman@ csun.edu

Dr. Barbara Swerkes - Track & Field Head Coach, Faculty Athletic Representative, Kinesiology professor
*** Coached the AIAW National Championship women's track & field teams in 1978, 1979, 1980
*** Conference champions in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980
*** Several of her former athletes still hold school records including Alice Brown in the 100 meters, Valerie Brisco-Hooks in the 200 meters, Julie Brown in the 800 meters, the 5,000 meters and the marathon, Sue Kinsey in the 3,000 meters, 10,000 meters, two mile and three mile, Sandy Myers in the 400 meter hurdles, Pam Spencer-Marquez in the high jump, Jodi Anderson in the long jump and the pentathlon, the 400 meter relay team, the 800 medley relay team, the 3,200 meter relay team.
*** In her eight years as women's track & field coach at Cal State Northridge, Barbara Swerkes trained some of the brightest stars to emerge in American track & field history, including Olympians Valerie Brisco-Hooks, Jeannette Bolden and Pam Spencer-Marquez.
*** Coached 1976 Olympians Julie Brown, Sandra Howard, Pam-Spencer Marquez and Kathy Weston
*** Coached 1980 Olympians Julie Brown and Pam-Spencer Marquez
*** Coached 1984 Olympians Jodi Anderson, Jeannette Bolden, Valerie Brisco-Hooks, Alice Brown, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Pam Spencer-Marquez
*** Coached 1988 Olympians Valerie Brisco-Hooks, Alice Brown, Florence Griffith-Joyner
*** Coached 1992 Olympian Sandy Myers of Spain
*** Coached numerous All-Americans
*** Faculty Athletic Representative for many years at Cal State Northridge *** A distinguished member of numerous academic committees at Cal State Northridge