LOS ANGELES — Occidental College may be better known for its elite academic reputation, but the eight names that make up the inaugural class of inductees into its new Athletics Hall of Fame prove its rich athletic tradition isn’t too far behind.
The group includes USC and Olympic track coach Dean Cromwell, Class of 1902; former Chicago Cubs pitcher Arthur “Bud” Teachout ’27; national women’s tennis champion Pat Yeomans ’38; two-time Olympic gold medal diver Dr. Sammy Lee ’43; Olympic silver-medal winning track stars Bob McMillen ’53 and Bob Gutowski ‘58; pro quarterback and statesman Jack Kemp ’57; and College Football Hall of Famer Bill Redell ’64.
The impressive class will be honored Oct. 26 during Oxy’s 125th anniversary Homecoming Weekend at a 6 p.m. dinner and awards ceremony in Jack Kemp Stadium. The following day, the Oxy Tigers football team will take on the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens in 114th meeting of Southern California’s oldest college football rivalry.
“We have several sport-specific hall of fames that are thriving, but no all-encompassing, all-sport hall of fame to celebrate so many years of incredible student-athletes, coaches and teams,” Occidental athletic director Jaime Hoffman said. “We’re excited to honor these men and women with our first class and we look forward to many more years of inducting the greatest Tigers.”
- Inductee Dean Cromwell is regarded by some as the best track and field coach in the sport’s history. During his four decades at USC, he led the Trojans to 12 NCAA team championships and 34 individual titles from 1909-1948. He was an assistant coach with Team USA at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics and head track coach at the 1948 Games. USC’s Cromwell Field is named in his honor.
- From 1925-1927, Bud Teachout went 23-0 in conference play as the Oxy baseball team’s ace, leading the Tigers to their first three SCIAC championships. He finished with an overall record of 30-6, including a 3-1 win over USC and a no-hitter. The southpaw went on to pitch three seasons in the major leagues — two with the Chicago Cubs and one with the St. Louis Cardinals. With the Cubs in 1930, the then-26-year-old rookie went 11-4 with a 4.04 earned run average in 153 innings pitched.
- Pat Yeomans worked her way up to the No. 1 player on the Oxy men’s freshman team before being banned from competition. She became the U.S. Girls’ singles and doubles champion in 1935 and became the first woman awarded the Oxy “O.” Yeomans was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 2000 after a lifetime at the top of the sport as a player and advocate.
- Dr. Sammy Lee, who grew up in Highland Park not far from campus, is arguably Oxy’s most accomplished athlete. He became the first Asian-American athlete male to win a gold medal when he topped the platform diving competition at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. He added a bronze in springboard diving that year then repeated as the platform champion at the 1952 games in Helsinki. He later coached Olympic champions Bob Webster and Greg Louganis.
- A native of Los Angeles, Bob McMillen was a championship miler at Cathedral High School and Glendale Community College. At Oxy he won an NCAA championship in the 1,500 and was a member of a distance medley relay team that set a new world record. At the 1952 Olympics, McMillen won a silver medal in the 1,500, finishing just one-tenth of a second behind gold medalist Joseph Barthel.
- Bob Gutowski was seen primarily as a basketball player at Oxy until coach Payton Jordan spotted his potential as a pole vaulter. Gutowski went on to win a silver medal at the 1956 Olympics and set a new world record of 15’ 8¼” at an Oxy-Stanford track meet the following year. He died tragically in a car accident at age 25.
- Jack Kemp’s career lasted 13 years in the Canadian Football League and American Football League, highlighted by an AFL Most Valuable Player award after he led the Buffalo Bills to a second consecutive championship. After hanging up his cleats, Kemp moved on to a successful political career that included a spot on the 1996 presidential ticket as Bob Dole’s running mate.
- Bill Redell was drafted by the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and the AFL’s Denver Broncos in 1963, following an All-American career at Oxy as one of college football’s last great “triple threats.” He led the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League to a Grey Cup Championship in 1967. As a high school football coach in Southern California, the Pasadena native won eight CIF-SS championships. In May, his dream of coaching his alma mater was realized when he was named Occidental’s head football coach.