The End of an Era

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Photo: 1882: Cal Rugby Established

The Cal rugby team is indisputably the sport's top program nationally, totaling 25 championships during its 128-year history. It defeated BYU, 19-7, this spring.   Photo: 1892: Cal Baseball established

The Cal baseball team is one of the oldest programs on campus, with their existence spanning over 100 years. It is unclear what will happen to Evans Diamond, its home field.   Photo: Jack Clark has won 21 national championships at Cal. He was handed his termination papers Tuesday morning. The 2011 season will Clark's final one at the program's helm, closing his tenure at 27 years.

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We've listed the championships, the accolades and the legacy. We all know that Cal rugby is one of the most storied programs on campus, but its removal from varsity status signals the end of an era. Jack Clark, the faithful head coach since 1984, will no longer lead the "Golden Bear Varsity," which won him 21 national championships in his 27 years in charge, after the 2011 campaign.

The demotion to "varsity club" status offers little solace to a program that has won, fundraised, and represented Cal better than arguably any team on campus.

"If I ever go back and write a book someday, I'll look back and say that Tuesday was the hardest day of my life," coach Jack Clark said.

While the pain remains fresh and the disputes continue, we take today to present a small reminder of what exactly rugby has offered this school in its long existence on campus.

Rugby was the school's primary sport from 1906-1914 and would later flourish under legendary coaches Miles "Doc" Hudson, Ned Anderson, and Clark.

More importantly, Cal rugby was one of, if not the only source of athletic pride for several years. When Cal sports struggled, which they did for decades, rugby offered fans bragging rights. In the words of Yahoo! Sports columnist and Daily Cal alum Michael Silver,

"I remember when Cal sports was at a real low about eight to 10 years ago, but Stanford wimped out and would not play us in rugby. It was a reminder that we still kick ass and we do it on our terms."

-Gabriel Baumgaertner

In 1947, the Cal baseball team won the very first College World Series, infamously defeating George Bush's Yale squad by a score of 8-7.

You have to wonder now if the Bears will ever again have a chance to return to the national championship.

On Tuesday, the athletic department put an end to over 100 years of history, cutting the Cal baseball program in a move to reduce expenditures. The sudden, unexpected decision leaves dozens of players without a future at Cal, and dozens more without an alma mater program to return to.

"I was looking forward to giving back to the program that gave me so much. And being a part of Cal baseball's future," former Cal center fielder Brett Jackson said. "It's a terribly sad day for Cal and a terribly sad day for college baseball."

In spite of a lack of recent postseason success, Cal has consistently sent scores of players to the major leagues. Under coach David Esquer, who has been with the Bears since 2000, 57 Cal players have been drafted in the MLB Amateur Draft.

But this isn't quite the end of the road.

This spring, the Bears will begin their swan song campaign at Evans Diamond, completing one final season before the program quietly fades away. And, with the talent that they have, it could be one for the record books.

If they're still keeping those.

-Katie Dowd

Tags: CAL MEN'S RUGBY, CAL MEN'S BASEBALL






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