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October 18-24, 2006

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Bill McPherson (left) and Jennifer Azzi

Hall pass: Bill McPherson (left) and Jennifer Azzi will both be inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 14.

San Jose's New Sports Immortals

By Felipe Buitrago

SAN JOSE IS due for a hat trick. This time, it's not about hockey, it's about history in the making. On Nov. 14, three top major sports figures will be inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame for their achievements. Ladies first: Jennifer Azzi, whose record started in college while playing for Stanford, took the Cardinals to win two PAC-10 Tournaments and the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship. Add to that the Gold Medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics and a key spot on the San Jose Lasers Women's Basketball Team. Azzi is the first woman basketball player to be inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame. Second in line is former San Jose High alum Walt McPherson. Already in the SJSU Hall of Fame on three counts—for basketball, baseball and football—McPherson's recognition won't be just for his feats as a player but also as a coach. In 1948, he led the Spartans to the NCAA Golf Championship. Last on the list but not for lack of achievements is Bill McPherson (no relation to Walt). Graduating in the class of '54 from Santa Clara University, this McPherson, who grew up in San Jose, not only played for the Broncos but also coached the Santa Clara University Football team's defensive line from 1963 to 1974. He then went to UCLA and to the NFL. He formed part of the coaching staff for the Philadelphia Eagles and finally the San Francisco 49ers. His coaching helped take the Niners to win all five Super Bowl rings. San Jose will honor these sports legends at 5:30pm on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the HP Pavilion. Tickets to the event are available through or by calling 408.288.2936.

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