March 12, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. - Longtime cross country and track mentor Sue Williams headlines the class of six new inductees to the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame, it was announced by director of athletics Terry Tumey. Alphabetically, the class of student-athlete enshrinees comprise basketball player Jessica Campbell, football's John Faletoese, water polo player Christi Raycraft (Warner), baseball player Tony Schifano and track and field's Tanisha Silas (Young).
The CAAHOF, which recognizes outstanding achievements and distinction in Aggie intercollegiate athletics, will formally enshrine the honorees at the annual banquet on June 7.
Additionally, former aquatics standout turned legendary water polo coach Dante Dettamanti becomes the fourth recipient of the Aggie Legacy Award for outstanding achievements in an athletics-related field since leaving the university. Previous Legacy Award winners are Chris Petersen (2011), Dave Scott (2012) and Rolf Benirschke (2013).
Williams, formerly Sue Cumnock, arrived at UC Davis in 1973 to coach the new women's track & field team. She also formed a women's running club, which proved sufficiently viable to become a full-fledged varsity sport two years later, then eventually took the reins as men's cross country coach in 1990.
Although Williams enjoyed considerable success at the track helm, notably top 10 finishes at the 1982 and 1983 outdoor championships, she remains most synonymous with the Aggies' cross country success. Her women's teams made the NCAA Division II Championship every year from the inaugural meet in 1981 to the program's final year of eligibility in 2002, placing outside the top 10 only once in that entire span. Meanwhile, Williams' men's team appeared at the national championship 10 times in 13 years, notching a pair of top-five finishes. For her part, the Arkansas State grad captured national Coach of the Year honors in 1983, and is credited for a Coach of the Decade nod for the 1980s.
Campbell, a versatile wing who starred for UC Davis during its Division I reclassification period, helped the Aggies reach the Big West Conference title game and a Women's National Invitational Tournament appearance in 2007-08, the program's first year of eligibility for each. The four-year starter finished her career with 1,413 points, 591 rebounds, 274 assists and 57 blocks, ranking among the school's top 10 in each category. Campbell, originally from San Marcos, Calif., set a school record for free-throw shooting in 2005-06 and captured All-Big West Conference first-team accolades in 2007-08. As a senior, she became the first women's basketball player in almost three decades to capture the Hubert Heitman Award as UC Davis' outstanding female athlete of the year.
Faletoese, a defensive tackle from Carmichael, Calif., used his combination of size and speed to earn three All-Great West Conference first-team awards during his career form 2005-08. He added GWC Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior, then followed that with All-America selections by three different organizations. Faletoese was just the second Aggie to win each of the football team's Mike Wise Award (outstanding freshman), T. Palmer Moody Award (outstanding sophomore) and Jerry Norris Award (most valuable and inspirational) and the eighth to earn an invitation to the prestigious East-West Shrine Game. He finished his career with 132 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, nine blocked kicks and a program-record 36.5 tackles for losses.
Raycraft captured four All-Western Water Polo Association awards as an attacker for the women's water polo team from 2005-08, a span in which UC Davis won 94 games and reached the NCAA Championship twice. As a senior, she added a second-team All-America nod by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-America, making her just the third Aggie to achieve higher than Division I honorable mention. In that 2008 season, the Davis Senior High alumna captured first-team all-tournament honors at the NCAA Championship, helping the Aggies' post a program-best fourth-place finish. Raycraft ranks among all-time UC Davis career leaders in goals (175), assists (79), total points (254), minutes played (2,543), steals (173) and exclusions drawn (219).
Schifano made All-Northern California Athletic Association and American Baseball Coaches Association All-West Region teams in his final three seasons as an Aggie shortstop, adding All-America third-team status as a senior in 1997. Although an outstanding hitter who batted .367 in his final year and ranks among UC Davis career leaders in runs scored (135), hits (214), triples (12) and stolen bases (86), the Anaheim Hills native is perhaps better known for his glove. Schifano committed just four errors in 56 games as a senior, and was selected to the program's all-time All-Defensive Team. He later played 10 years of professional baseball, including six in the minor leagues, before returning to his alma mater to serve as an assistant coach. Schifano began his seventh season on the Aggie staff this spring.
Silas, a sprinter originally from Vallejo, Calif., raced as part of six All-American 4x400 relay teams during her career from 1999-2002 -- four during the outdoor season and two indoors. Individually, she reached the California Collegiate Athletic Association finals in either the 200- or 400-meter dashes each year, including a runner-up finish in the quarter as a junior. Her personal-best 400 time of 56.08 put her third in the Aggie record book at the time. However, Silas is best known for combining her track career with an outstanding record of service and academics that culminated in her NCAA Woman of the Year award in 2002. She was the second of three Aggies to claim that honor, joining Jamila Demby (1999) and Kelly Albin (2004), both of whom are enshrined in the CAAHOF.
Dettamanti, a two-time Far Western Conference swimming champion and all-conference water polo player in the early 1960s, enjoyed a renowned career as the head men's water polo coach at Stanford from 1977 to 2001. He guided the Cardinal to eight NCAA championships plus six national runner-up finishes, while earning NCAA Coach of the Year honors on six occasions and Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year 10 times. Dettamanti compiled a career record of 570-148-6 in his 25 seasons at The Farm, churning out 112 All-Americans and 14 Olympians. In 2013, the legendary coach returned to UC Davis, where he earned his engineering degree in 1965, to serve as a volunteer assistant for new head coach Daniel Leyson.
The CAAHOF Inductions and Student-Athlete Awards Banquet will take place at Freeborn Hall on June 7. Invitations are expected to be distributed near the end of April. However, tickets are also available for purchase by the public. Contact the athletics development office at (530) 754-2593.