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R.C. Owens joining Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame

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R.C. Owens joining Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame

R.C. Owens

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POSTED September 30, 2009 2:15 a.m.
R.C. Owens was elated last week to learn that he had been selected to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.

The Manteca resident joins Al Davis, Brian Boitano, Bert “Campy” Campaneris, and Steve Negoesco as this year’s inductees.

“This is truly a great honor,” Owens, 74, said last Friday.

The 31st annual enshrinement banquet is scheduled for March 22 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

Owens has asked John McVay to serve as his presenter. They worked together in the front office of the San Francisco 49ers under head coach Bill Walsh and later George Seifert. During that time, the organization was one of the most successful dynasties in NFL history.

When Walsh took over the 49ers in 1979, Owens recalled approaching the legendary coach about working for the team that earned him the nickname “Alley Oop.”

From 1957 through 1964, Raleigh C. Owens used his superior height and basketball ability to his advantage on the NFL gridiron, particularly in the end zone.

Quarterback Y.A. Tittle would toss the ball high in the air and Owens, who played amateur hoops with the Seattle-based Buchan Bakers, would go up and get it like a jump ball.

His best year was 1961, with Owens gaining over 1,000 yards in receiving.

As for notables, he once blocked a field goal by jumping up at the cross bar and knocking it down. Owens was roommates with NBA great Elgin Baylor during their time at the College of Idaho. Over the years, he’s been inducted in numerous shrines, including one in basketball not to mention Manteca’s Hall of Distinction.

Owens’ resume included director of marketing and promotion for the Oakland Stompers of the North American Soccer Federation. In fact, he used that experience to entice Walsh into working for the 49ers.

“I’ll call you,” Walsh reportedly told Owens.

He waited two days but still no call back from Walsh.

Owens, instead, dropped by the 49ers training camp located back then in Redwood City.

“Coach,” he said. “I was in the neighborhood.”

Walsh put Owens in charge of alumni and assistant director of training camp.

In his second year, Owens had the task of looking for a new summer training facility, scouting out various colleges and universities – UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, Humboldt and Stanislaus were among the places considered – before settling on Sierra College in Rocklin.

“At the time, it was the perfect place for the 49ers,” he said.

It was there that Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, and Roger Craig, to name a few – incidentally, these four are among the 135 local athletes enshrined in BASHOF during the past three decades – helped in shaping San Francisco into a model organization.

BASHOF, in turn, has raised some $4 million for youth sports organizations.

Among the other new inductees, Davis is owner of the Oakland Raiders and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with his teams winning three Super Bowls between 1976 through 1984.

Boitano was a gold medalist in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

 Campaneris was a six-time All-Star and played shortstop of the Oakland Athletics during the glory years of the 1970s, anchoring an infield that won three straight World Series championships (1972 through 1974) and five consecutive AL West crowns (1971 through 1975) during that time.

Negoesco coached soccer at USF, winning four NCAA titles and 22 conference titles in 39 years at the helm.
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