Marking a successful career in business and sports, Peter Ueberroth will be recognized in January at the NCAA Convention with the NCAA’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award. Named after the former president whose concern for the conduct of college athletics led to the formation of the NCAA in 1906, the award is given annually at the NCAA Honors Celebration to an individual who exemplifies the ideals of college sports. Ueberroth was previously named a 1984 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award honoree commemorating the 25thanniversary of his graduation from college.
The young man peered at a striped yellow ball – he had never encountered one like it before.
It was four weeks before his graduation from Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, California, and Peter Ueberroth was about to be presented with a life-altering opportunity. After swimming a few laps, a cinch given his background as a lifeguard, he fired that ball into a target, again and again.
Six decades later, Ueberroth still remembers trying that strange new sport in front of San Jose State University water polo coach Ed Rudloff. The meeting was arranged by Ueberroth’s high school football coach, Ken Stanger, a former San Jose State football player who recommended Rudloff take a look at the strong-armed football and baseball player.
If not for the opportunity provided by the water polo scholarship that resulted from that tryout, the future Time magazine Man of the Year said he wouldn’t even have attended college. Ueberroth’s experience at San Jose State served as a springboard to a career spent at the highest levels of business and sports.