Long Beach State has produced scores of famed athletes, and three university Athletic Hall of Fame inductees recently received lifetime achievement honors from their peers.
Row Your Boat
Over her career as a rower, Joan (Lind) Van Blom (1974, B.A., physical education; 1976, credential) won numerous titles and two Olympic silver medals, earning her USRowing’s 2014 Ernestine Bayer Award, formerly Woman of the Year.
She married Long Beach State Crew member and four-time Olympian John Van Blom (1972, B.A., art), also an LBSU Hall of Famer, and became Long Beach Unified School District’s physical education curriculum leader while continuing to compete nationally.
See Joan and John talk about their rowing years.
In November, Ed Ratleff (1981, B.A., physical education) will become one of eight inductees to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
Ratleff was of the late coach Jerry Tarkanian’s top players, becoming a two-time All-American and helping lead LBSU to PCAA titles and into two NCAA playoffs. He was named co-captain of the 1972 U.S. Olympic basketball team that lost the controversial gold medal game against Russia, then played six seasons in the NBA with the Houston Rockets and was a Long Beach State assistant coach. He now is an insurance agent in Long Beach.
Read more about Ratleff’s Olympic experience.
The World Golf Hall of Fame selected Mark O’Meara (1980, B.S., business administration–marketing) as one of four honorees for the class of 2015 who will be recognized in St. Andrews, Scotland, in July. He competed for Long Beach State from 1976 to 1979 and won both the Master’s and British Open in 1998, leading to that year’s PGA Tour Player of the Year recognition.
He has been on five Ryder Cup and two President’s Cup teams and now plays on the PGA Champions Tour.