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This week in Stanford sports history: May 1-7

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With NCAA and professional sports currently on hold due to COVID-19, the month of May looks quite different than in years past. 

As many may reflect on what the 2020 spring sports could have been, here’s a look back on past coverage from the week of May 1-7 in Stanford athletics history.

May 1:

2010: Cardinal track and field opened the month a decade ago with the annual Payton Jordan Invitation, held on campus each year to honor the former coach who passed away in 2009. This particular year was notable, however, due to standout performances on both the professional and collegiate levels. 

Nike and Oregon Track Club Elite pro runner Chris Solinsky broke the U.S. record in the 10,000 meters with a time of 26:59.60, becoming the first non-African to run under 27 minutes. Solinsky is now retired and assistant coaches at the University of Florida. 

Also on this day, then-sophomore Amaechi Morton had a career day of his own: He broke the Stanford 400-meter hurdle record with a time of 50.03 seconds. Morton later broke his own record in 2011, coming in at 46.52. The time stood for two years before then-freshman Steven Solomon ran the event in 46.41 in 2013, which stands as the current fastest time in Cardinal history.

Morton has since gone professional and competed at the 2012 Olympics for Nigeria.

Other notable articles from this day:

  • 2013 — Feature on then-freshmen James Shaw and Josef Ctvrtlik of men’s volleyball
  • 2019 — Senior Spotlight: Alanna Smith

May 2: 

2012: At just 43 years old, former NFL and USC linebacker Junior Seau died by suicide. The shock of his death sent ripples through the sports world and the Stanford community raising questions about athlete mental and physical health — namely chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), from which it was later discovered Seau suffered.

Eight years ago, columnist Jacob Jaffe asked, “Is football just inherently too violent to survive?” — and that’s still a question many are asking in 2020: Only minor changes have been made in the last fews to protect players on and off the field. 

“There’s no easy answer to solve the issues with football and player safety, but acknowledging that there is a real problem is the first step toward saving and improving the game,” Jaffe wrote.  “And when days like Wednesday come around, it’s impossible to ignore that there is a real problem with football.”

Other notable events from this day:

  • 1978 — Two Cardinal selected in the first Round of the NFL Draft (wide receiver James Lofton taken sixth overall by the Green Bay Packers and tackle Gordon King taken 10th overall by the New York Giants)
  • 1984 — Wide receiver Eric Mullins drafted in the sixth round by the Houston Oilers
  • 2010 — Lacrosse claims MPSF title

May 3: 

2012: Then-Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby announced his departure to assume the role of Big 12 Conference commissioner after leading Stanford’s program for four years. As of 2020, Bowlsby still holds the position.

Under Bowlsby’s leadership, Stanford teams won 10 NCAA championships and the department claimed seven Directors’ Cup trophies. He was also key in shaping the Pac-12’s controversial media rights, which extend through 2024. 

Bowlsby’s effects are still felt in Stanford Stadium, as he hired both Jim Harbaugh in 2006 and David Shaw in 2011 as head football coaches.

Other notable events from this day:

  • 1978 — Quarterback Guy Benjamin drafted in the second round by the Miami Dolphins and wide receiver Bill Kellar drafted in the seventh round by the Kansas City Chiefs

May 4: 

2019: 

Other notable events from this day:

  • 1977 — Five Cardinal selected in the NFL Draft (Tony Hill, Duncan McColl, Mike Michel, Gary Anderson, Mike Cordova)
  • 1979 — Quarterback Steve Dils drafted in the fourth Round by the Minnesota Vikings and running back Phil Francis drafted in the seventh round by the San Francisco 49ers

May 5:

2010: Then-senior men’s volleyball setter Kawika Shoji was named Division I-II National Player of the Year on this day a decade ago and was a key component in the 2010 National Championship team. Only two Cardinal have ever brought home the award: Shoji and Canyon Ceman in 1993. 

In his final year on the Farm, the Honolulu-native averaged 13.78 assists and 2.46 digs per set, which were both among the nation’s best. 

Shoji now competes for Team USA and has been a professional player for 10 seasons, most recently for acceso Resovia in Poland.

Other notable articles from this day:

May 6:

Flip through the 2011 issue from this day.

May 7:

2012: Men’s golfer Patrick Rodgers was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, marking the third time a Stanford golfer has won the men’s award. At the time, Rodgers was ranked No. 3 by Golfweek.

“At the Pac-12 Championships in Corvallis, Ore., Rodgers placed eighth with a score of 8-under, including a tournament-best mark of 65 in the third round. He was the top finisher among conference freshmen and second-best for Stanford, which finished sixth overall in a disappointing showing.”

Rodgers has since gone professional in 2014 and now golfs in the PGA.

Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Cybele Zhang '22 is majoring in English Literature with a minor in German Studies. The Los Angeles-native has served as Sports Editor, her current position, for both Vol. 257 and 255 and Desk Editor for 256. Her writing covers a wide range of sports, but she especially enjoys writing about athletics' intersection with society, women in sports and NCAA policy. Contact her at [email protected]