2012 San Jose Sports Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Steve Bartkowski, Brandi Chastain, Roger Maltbie and Willy T. Ribbs

SAN JOSE, CA – Four South Bay sports icons that made their mark in professional, college, and Olympic sports make up the 2012 Class of Inductees of the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame. The 18th class, which will be inducted in November (either November 13 or 14 – date to be confirmed) ceremony at HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA, includes:

  • Steve Bartkowski: Collegiate All-American and NFL Pro Bowl Quarterback
  • Brandi Chastain: FIFA Women’s World Cup & Olympic Champion
  • Roger Maltbie: Five-Time PGA Tour Champion
  • Willy T. Ribbs: Motorsports Pioneer

The November ceremony, presented by Hewlett-Packard, celebrates 18 years of the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame. The event kicks off with a reception followed by dinner and induction ceremony. Each inductee will be recognized with a bronze plaque permanently installed on the concourse at HP Pavilion at San Jose. Individual tickets begin at $250 each and sponsorship and table packages are available ranging from $3,000. For information and to purchase event tickets call (408) 288-2936.

With the induction of the class of 2012, there will be 85 South Bay sports icons enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The annual induction is an event of the San Jose Sports Authority, San Jose Arena Authority, HP Pavilion Management/San Jose Sharks, and the City of San José. The event benefits Special Olympics Northern California and high school sports programs.

About the San Jose Sports Authority

The San Jose Sports Authority is a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the City of San Jose’s economic development, visibility, and civic pride through sports. Serving as the City’s sports commission since its inception in 1991, the Sports Authority has provided leadership and support to attract and host hundreds of sporting events in San Jose and the South Bay. The Sports Authority also supports and operates community, youth and amateur sports programs, including the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, The First Tee of Silicon Valley, and the REACH Youth Scholarship Program. To learn more, visit www.sjsa.org.

Steve Bartkowski

Steve Bartkowski was born in Iowa and his family moved to Santa Clara when he was 10 years old. A graduate of Buchser High School, Bartkowski is regarded by many as the most successful three-sport prep star in Santa Clara County history. He was highly recruited by colleges and universities and went on to University of California at Berkeley where he was an All-American in both baseball and football for the Golden Bears. Bartkowski still holds the Cal baseball single season record for home runs.

In 1975, Bartkowski was selected as the No. 1 overall NFL draft pick by the Atlanta Falcons. He was the Falcons’ starting quarterback for 11 seasons. He was named Rookie of The Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1980 and 1981. He led the NFL with 31 passing touchdowns in 1980 and was the league’s highest rated quarterback for three seasons.

He is Atlanta’s all-time passing yards leader and still holds most of the team’s major passing records.   Bartkowski led the Falcons to the franchise’s first-ever playoff game in 1978 and quarterbacked two other Atlanta playoff teams. Multiple knee surgeries forced him to retire in 1987.

Bartkowski has hosted two popular cable television series, “Back Road Adventures” and “Suzuki’s Great Outdoors,” which   have focused on respect for wildlife resources. He currently works for DPR Construction, Inc., a National general contractor based in Redwood City, CA, where he is stationed at the company’s Atlanta office and continues to serve on the Atlanta Falcons Board of Advisors.

Brandi Chastain

Brandi Chastain is best known for elevating the profile of women’s soccer with her game-winning penalty kick in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Chastain’s goal defeated China and ignited interest in American soccer, particularly female participation in the sport.

Chastain grew up in San Jose and attended Archbishop Mitty High School where she helped lead the soccer team to three Central Coast Section championships. As a member of the Horizon Under-12 team in South San Jose, she was coached by her father, Roger. Chastain then joined the Under-16 West Valley Cougars and was selected to the Under-16 Northern California Olympic Development Program team. This led to a spot on the USA Youth National team for Chastain and a college soccer career that began at the University of California-Berkeley, where she was honored by Soccer America as Freshman of the Year. She sat out the next two seasons while recovering from reconstructive surgery on both knees and transferred to Santa Clara University. Chastain and the Broncos made two trips to the NCAA College Cup Semi-Finals, and she was named 1990 NCAA Player of the Year.

After the 1999 World Cup title, she was one of the founding players of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA). She was a member of the San Jose CyberRays from 2001-2003 and during the league’s inaugural season helped the team capture the first WUSA championship. She also played one season for the F.C. Gold Pride of the Women’s Professional Soccer and has been a member of the California Storm in the Pro-Am Women’s Premier Soccer League since the mid 90’s.

Chastain played for the US National Team in 192 games, scoring 30 goals and winning two World Cup and two Olympic gold medal titles. Chastain continues to be active in the sport working as a television analyst and continuing to work with the Santa Clara Broncos women’s soccer team. In 2005 Chastain co-founded the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI), a non-profit organization that mobilizes female athletes to inspire young girls in underserved communities with a love for physical activity. She also co-founded the ReachuP! Foundation in 2010, with the mission of “elevating the lives of as many girls as possible, regardless of life’s circumstances or economic means.” Chastain is co-chair, along with Ronnie Lott, of the REACH Youth Scholarship Program which recognizes high school seniors who have overcome adversity.

Roger Maltbie

As an accomplished amateur and professional golfer, then later as a network television commentator, Roger Maltbie has earned a reputation as one of the sport’s great ambassadors. He was born in Modesto, CA in 1951 and grew up in San Jose.

Maltbie took up the game of golf at age 8 at the San Jose Country Club and learned the game from Club pro Eddie Duino. At age 18, and again at 19 he won the Club championship. He played golf for James Lick High School, San Jose City College and San Jose State University.

Maltbie credits the San Jose Country Club for providing him the opportunity to participate in a sport he might never have played. “The San Jose Country Club has been like a lifelong friend to me”, he says, “The Club nurtured me when I was very young, forced me to master all the shots, provided me many outstanding role models and teachers of the game, and welcomed me home each time I’ve returned.”

In 1971, Maltbie won the Northern California Amateur Championship. In 1973 he won the Northern California Open and the California State Open in 1974 before turning professional. Maltbie won two tournaments in his first season on the PGA Tour and was named Rookie of the Year in 1975.

Maltbie produced a signature victory at the first-ever Memorial Tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus in 1976 by defeating Hale Irwin on the fourth playoff hole. Maltbie’s best year on the PGA Tour occurred in 1985 when he won the prestigious NEC World Series of Golf and the Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic, placing him eighth on the year-end money list. Maltbie had 6 wins and 55 Top-10 finishes during his two decades on the PGA Tour, including a fourth place finish in the 1987 Masters. He teamed up with Gary Koch to win the Raphael Division at 2003, 2008 and 2009 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.

For the past 20 years, Maltbie has served as a commentator for NBC sports, for events including the U.S. Open, Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and the Players Championship.

Willy T. Ribbs

A groundbreaking motorsports figure, Ribbs grew up in San Jose as part of a racing family and went on to make history as the first African-American driver at the Indianapolis 500.

Ribbs attended James Lick High School and learned to drive competitively from his father, an amateur road racer. After attending San Jose City College for two years, Ribbs moved to England in 1977 and won six races on a training circuit there to earn a “Star of Tomorrow” award.

He returned to the United States in 1978, winning the pole position in his first Formula Atlantic race during the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend. Three years later, he met car owner Jim Trueman at Laguna Seca and began a partnership that led to his being named Trans-Am Rookie of the Year. In 1985, he won seven races to become the series’ all-time leading money-winner. Ribbs briefly competed on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit before joining Dan Gurney’s team on the IMSA sports car circuit for the 1987 season and helped Gurney capture a Manufacturers’ Title by winning three races. He was named IMSA GTO Driver of the Year in 1987 and 1988.

All of this served as a prelude to Ribbs’ landmark achievement. After gaining Indy car experience in 1990 by starting eight races in that series, Ribbs took aim at a spot in the 1991 Indianapolis field. He was aided by comedian Bill Cosby, who helped Ribbs finance an Indy 500 team with car owner Derrick Walker. After several setbacks including four blown engines, Ribbs earned a spot in the race with a dramatic run in the final hour of qualifying with an average four-lap speed of 217.358 miles per hour. In so doing, he became the first African-America driver to compete in America’s premier open-wheel race.

Ribbs returned to race in the 1993 Indy 500 and competed for several more years on various circuits before moving to Texas. Ribbs formed his own Indy Lights Racing team in 2011 and was recognized at last year’s 100th Indy 500 for providing one of the event’s “Centennial Moments.”