Stanford GSB Athletic Champions

Content originally appeared in Stanford Business magazine in Fall 1980.

The Stanford GSB community boasts thousands of world class managers — 12,000 to be precise. But some may be surprised to know how many athletic champions have passed through Stanford GSB portals.

We were curious and in our curiosity queried class secretaries, admissions officers, and others to find out. We discovered 17 alumni and one student who would qualify as athletic champions by anyone’s definition. There are others, some of whom did not wish to be mentioned, and others whom we might have overlooked in such an imperfect search.

If we have omitted you or a classmate, husband or wife, please know that we tried, that we regret the omission and would love to hear from you. One alumnus was the subject of a Time magazine cover story in 1932. Another was “Rookie of the Year” in big league baseball in 1954; if you were born about the end of World War II, you might have his picture in your old bubble gum baseball card collection. And, if you watch professional football regularly, you might have seen another alumnus grappling with defensive linemen as an all-star with the Dallas Cowboys. Where are they now, these 18 people?

“Blazin’ Ben” Eastman, MBA ’35, Olympic Track Star

Perhaps the best known Stanford GSB alumnus athlete is Benjamin Bangs Eastman, MBA ’35, who has been referred to as the greatest middle-distance runner of his time. “Blazin’ Ben,” as he was called on the Farm, set six individual world records in his heyday — 440 yards, 400 meters, 880 yards, 800 meters, 500 yards, 600 yards, and anchored a four-man Stanford relay team to a world record. His achievements brought him to the cover of the July 11, 1932 issue of Time. In a profile in which his running style and training methods, as well as his track achievements, were described, Time said of him, “If U.S. track coaches had been trying to pick an Olympic team last week, there was one name which they surely would have chosen — Benjamin Bangs Eastman.

“At the 1932 Olympic Games, Eastman, while hampered with a sinus infection, still managed to garner a silver medal in the 400-meter event. Eastman’s Stanford records held up well under the test of time: his 46.4 seconds for the 440-yard dash has yet to be broken after forty-eight years; and his records for the 400-meter dash and the 880-yard run, established in 1932, were not bested until 1977 and 1958 respectively. Today, Ben Eastman owns an orchard in Rogers Mesa, Colorado, where he has been for the last twenty years. In addition to “raising apples and a few other tree fruits,” he is currently chairman of the Colorado State Agriculture Commission, a body he has been a member of for the past five years. And he is still winning trophies. In 1972 he was recipient of the “apple award” given by the Western Colorado Horticultural Society and the American Pomological Society for his work in fruit growing. Those who knew him in an earlier day might like to know that he has lost none of his modesty. The living room of his picturesque farmhouse is not lined with medals and trophies, but with books and paintings. “I should have all that stuff together, but I don’t,” says the former track champion. “I don’t really know how many medals I won or where they are.”

Frank Booth, MBA ’34, Olympic Swimmer

Stanford GSB was well represented at the 1932 Olympics with a swimmer as well as a runner. The swimmer, Frank E. Booth, MBA ’34, then captain of the Stanford swim team, captured a silver medal as part of the U.S. 800-meter Freestyle Relay Team.

Unlike many world class swimmers who retire from competition before they reach their 21st birthday, Frank Booth has kept right on going, and today, at the age of sixty-nine, he regularly competes in the National AAU Long Course Masters Swimming Championships. In fact, four years ago he set a new national record in his age group for the 100-meter freestyle, taking the course in 1:11.89. Moreover, when he is in intensive training for the Masters, he spends two hours a day in the pool; about four times as much as he recalls putting in for the 1932 Olympics. The one-time chairman of Interstate Engineering now lives in Laguna Beach, California, where he concentrates on his own business interests — an avocado farm, a finance company, an educational consulting firm. He also runs four miles a day, all year long, and plays tennis several times a week.” Life doesn’t end when you get through college,” says Frank Booth.

William Carr, MBA ’30, Olympic Organizer

Another 30s grad who played a big part in the Olympics, albeit not as an athlete, is William (Bert) Carr, MBA ’30, who was a member of the board of directors of the organizing committee of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. As a director, Carr headed the committee that made all arrangements for the Olympic Village, the area in which the athletes were housed, fed, and entertained. Carr, whose fondest memory of the 1960 Olympics was the U.S. Hockey Team’s unexpected climb to the gold medal, recalls that he started work on the Olympics three years before the start of the Games. He remembers that time with as much pride and wistfulness as if he had competed.

John Hoefer, MBA ’40, Rowing “Hall of Fame”

When Big Game time rolls around, John Hoefer, MBA ’40, is a man caught between a rock and a hard place. Hoefer, who took his AB degree from the University of California before enrolling at Stanford GSB, was a member of the 1939 Cal crew, reputed to be one of the greatest collegiate “eights” in history. The ’39 crew, which set a record for the four-mile finale that still stands after 40 years, was recently inducted into the Rowing Hall of Fame. Hoefer, who has been evenhanded in his contributions to both Cal and Stanford, was recently presented with a distinguished service award by the Stanford GSB Alumni Association. He is now chairman and a principal in Hoefer Dieterich & Brown, a San Francisco-based advertising agency.

Jack Shepard, MBA ’56, Baseball “Rookie of the Year”

Jack L. Shepard not only realized an American boyhood dream — becoming a big league baseball player — but in his first full season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1954, was named “Rookie of the Year.” Then again, honors seem to have followed every step of Jack Shepard’s sports career — from the age of thirteen, when he was captain of his championship peanut league baseball team, through college, and into the professional ranks. Stanford University’s first All-America baseball player, Shepard made the highly unusual jump from college to major league baseball in one year. And while some of his teammates might have spent the off-season resting up, Shepard was busy earning his Stanford MBA degree. After leaving the Pirates, he joined the Stanford University fund-raising staff as an associate general secretary, a post he held for nine years. A resident of Atherton, California, he was recently named executive vice president of Tab Products in Palo Alto.

Gordon Waddell, MBA ’64, English Rugger Champion

We discovered that Gordon Waddell, MBA ‘64, was a member of the Scottish National Rugby Team in 1960-61. Alas, we could not reach Gordon for more details on his sports and professional career. A resident of Johannesburg, South Africa, Waddell is employed by E. Oppenheimer & Sons in Johannesburg.

John Seehausen, MBA ’68, College Golf Champion

The first time John Seehausen, MBA ’68, saw Stanford was when he won the Intercollegiate Golf Championship held on campus in 1966. Following that victory, he was named to the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) All-American Golf Team, which included, among others, Hale Irwin, Ed Sneed, and Bob Murphy. Then at Northwestern University, he had been planning to come to the business school and “the tournament trip convinced me I had made the right choice.” He was considering turning professional when the U.S. Army stepped in. “I was unable to play for a couple of years and then things just didn’t work out.” He is still highly active in amateur tournaments and says his handicap is still 1.

Steve Smith, MBA ’68, Football Academic All-America

Stephen B. Smith, MBA ’68, came to Stanford GSB on an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, one of only twenty-two such scholarships awarded to the nation’s best scholar-athletes during Smith’s senior year in college. Named to the Academic All-America Football Team, in 1965 Smith established single game and single season rushing records, 176 yards and 761 yards respectively, at Davidson College; records that still stand. He is now vice president and resident manager of First Boston Corporation’s Dallas office.

Frank Schreve, MBA ’68, Mountaineer

Mountaineering is truly in his blood, at least as far back as his maternal and paternal grandfathers, Frank H. Schreve, MBA ’68, might tell you. He has been a mountaineer, both rock climbing and exploratory (ice) climbing, since the age of five. To encourage that family continuity, he and his wife take their three children — ages 7, 5, and 2 — with them when they hike over high passes to mountain huts in Europe’s alpine country.

Now President of the Royal Dutch Alpine Club and a member of the executive committee of the World Mountaineering Federation, Schreve over the years has performed some extremely difficult climbs in the Andes, Caucasus, and East Africa, as well as the European alp. He says he is still active, “although not anymore as wildly as in younger years for lack of sufficient training and practice time due to job requirements.” All this for a person from the Netherlands, the lowest and flattest country in the world.

He himself suffered serious injuries from a 300-foot fall in Yosemite (while on a Stanford Alpine Club outing) and his classmates will remember the body cast he wore for four months as a result of the fall. Yet he disagrees with those who claim climbing is too risky. “Risk can be monitored very carefully by the individual by the choice of climb in relation to one’s capabilities and the conditions of the weather and mountain at a particular moment.” As he wrote to us, Frank Schreve was in the process of changing jobs — from General Electric to the executive board of Heidemij, a natural resources consulting and management firm.

Murray McLachlan, MBA ’69, Won 15 Swimming Championships

South African-born Murray L. McLachlan, MBA ’69, who today lives in Menlo Park and works at Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp., at the peak of his athletic career won 15 South African swimming championships over a five-year period, 1957-61. That included representing South Africa at the Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1958 in Wales, where he won a bronze medal, the Olympics in Rome in 1960, the World Student Games in Bulgaria in 1961, and in Brazil in 1963. After being selected a Rhodes Scholar, he studied law at Oxford University and also found time to captain the Oxford and British Universities swimming and water polo teams. McLachlan reports that the South African 220, 440, and 1,650 yard freestyle records he set held up for a number of years.

Charles Hoeveler, MBA ’69, Tennis Champ

Like Stephen Smith, Charles Hoeveler, MBA ’69, came to Stanford GSB on an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, the result of academic and athletic achievement at Dartmouth College, where he was Eastern Intercollegiate champion in tennis singles and doubles. But unlike most alumni, Hoeveler has turned his passion for sports into a livelihood. A man of widespread professional interests, Hoeveler is president of U.S. Sports Development, which operates tennis camps for youths and adults. He is also tennis director of Clossco, western states distributors of Adidas athletic shoes; is director of U.S. Soccer Development, an organization similar in operation to U.S. Sports Development; and helped start the National Junior Tennis League, a nonprofit organization encouraging tennis among inner-city youth. Not surprisingly, Hoeveler sees himself as an ambassador for the value of sport as a lifetime endeavor.

His talent and passion for tennis and his craving for competition have kept his tennis game keen. Hoeveler has several times won the California State Doubles Championship and regularly ranks at or near the top in doubles play in Northern California. At 34, he feels his best tennis is ahead of him. “Now I enter the men’s 35 and under category and plan to play several nations tournaments in singles and doubles. Playing in this category is like being born again as a tennis player. It’s a whole new type of competition.”

Thomas Laris, MBA ’72, 1968 Olympic Track Team Member

Thomas Laris, MBA ’72, was brief but incisive in his response to us. He was a member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic team in Mexico City, finishing 16th in the 10,000 meter event. He also participated with the U.S. team in the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, placing third in the 10,000 meter event, and that same year finished second in the Boston Marathon. A Palo Alto resident, Laris is controller at SBH Corporation.

Blaine Nye, MBA ’74, NFL All-Pro

Chances are Blaine Nye, MBA ’74, would not represent your stereotype of a doctoral student, especially if your stereotype runs to the lean and aesthetic. Nye is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 245 pounds. He was an All-Coast selection in football at Stanford before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys professional football team. He played nine years for the Cowboys (1968-76) before retiring from football to pursue Stanford GSB doctoral studies. In 1972, when Dallas won the Super Bowl, Blaine was selected “All-Pro,” a signal honor meaning he was judged by National Football League coaches as being one of the best of the best. As much as he was enjoying football, he looked beyond the time when his playing days would be over. “Everybody who plays professional football knows it’s a short career,” says Nye, “and everybody goes about preparing for the future in his own way. Some players put their money in real estate. Others get into promotional work or public relations. I decided to invest in myself.”

As Jack Shepard had done with baseball, Nye combined football with the Stanford MBA Program, spending fall quarter wrestling with defensive linemen and winter and spring quarters in class. It took him four years instead of two to get the MBA, but he is a determined man. And when he completed the MBA Program, he decided to keep right on going. Today, he has only his dissertation to do before becoming Dr. Nye.

Paul Geis, MBA ’78, Olympic Runner

A great many people were disappointed when the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Olympics, but probably no one was more disappointed than Paul Geis, MBA ‘=’78. His personal letterhead tells the story succinctly. At the top, it reads: “1980”; at the bottom edge, “IT’S MY YEAR.” Geis has been considered a world class long distance runner since his sophomore year in college (1972). He was ranked #2 in the U.S. for 5,000 meters in 1972; ran three miles in 12:55.8, then the seventh fastest time on record, in 1974; was ranked #3 in the U.S. and #10 in the world for 5,000 meters in 1974; and finished 12th in the 5,000 meter run at the 1976 Olympics. Today, he makes his home in Eugene, Oregon, where he is now a certified public accountant specializing in taxes for Coopers & Lybrand.

In one of those “insider” views of sport, Geis describes in vivid detail the caliber of competition he faced at the 1976 Olympics. His race plan was to go with the leaders until I run out of gas.” The tank went dry two laps before the finish. At the start, he lined up next to the three-time gold medal winner from Finland, Lasse Viren, planning to use Viren as a gauge. After ten laps, Viren decided to step up the pace. Geis, who planned to stay behind Viren, had somehow gotten ahead, “and when he went by I couldn’t go with him.

“I know it looks easy from up in the stands. All it takes is a little sprint. I can’t explain how hard that is. I was probably two seconds behind the leader when the last move came, with two laps left. And they ran the final 800 meters well under two minutes.” Geis knew what to expect from himself. “I am not in condition for this kind of competition. I just don’t have the mile speed to shift from 66 to 62 seconds without going into rigor mortis.”

He had hoped to put things right in 1980, but now it has to be 1984. Our guess is he’ll be back and in the shape he wants to be. “I don’t like the sensation of people passing me by,” he says.

Craig Colberg, MBA ’79, Swimming All-American

Craig Colberg, MBA ’79, started swimming at the age of 7 and showed championship ways soon afterward. He still holds Connecticut state records in the 10 and under, 11 to 12, 13 to 14, and 15 to 17-year age groups in the 50, 100, and 200-yard free style events. In high school, where he was captain of the swim team, Colberg was at 16 ranked #1 in the U.S. in the 15 to 17-year age group in the 55-yard free style. At his undergraduate alma mater, Dartmouth college, he was swim team captain, an All-American, and recipient of Dartmouth’s Glover Award for outstanding contributions to the team. As Colberg says, “I left a lot of sweat in the pool.” When we heard from him, he was in the process of transferring to Goldman Sachs’ London office.

Peter Schnugg, MBA ’79, Water Polo Olympian

Peter Schnugg, MBA ’79, is understandably bitter about the U.S. decision to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympic Games. That decision probably means his long-fought dream of playing in an Olympics will not be realized. When he graduated from Stanford GSB in 1979, Schnugg elected to take a job that would afford him three to four hours a day to train for the 1980 Olympics. Captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Water Polo Team, two-time All-America at University of California, the National Collegiate Athletic Association “Player of the Year” in 1973, and rated one of the top 14 water polo players in the world, Schnugg has invested a great deal of himself in the sport. So firm was his resolve to play in 1980, he became one of the most determined opponents of the U.S. boycott. As athletic representative to the U.S. Olympic Committee, he received a number of White House briefings, including one from President Carter. “I at least was able to express my opinions, unlike other athletes who were frustrated at not being able to vent their anger and remedy their confusion,” says Schnugg, who at 29 considers himself “retired” from water polo. “There are lots of people around here who feel worse about it than I do. I had a rewarding career. I just didn’t get to go to the Olympics.”

RoAnn Costin, MBA ’81, All-American Swimmer

RoAnn Costin, MBA ’81, is a woman of diverse interests and talents who seems to challenge wherever she finds herself. If she had lived about four centuries ago, she might have been called a renaissance woman. At Harvard University (Radcliffe College), from which she graduated with great distinction in government, she was an All-America swimmer and captain of the swim team and a member of Radcliffe’s championship crew, winning a bronze medal in the Women’s National Collegiate Rowing Championship. Three years ago, she won the annual 12-mile Boston Harbor Marathon Swim, the first woman to do so, and the same year ran the Boston Marathon, completing the 26-mile course in 3 hours, 28 minutes.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she went on for a year of study at the Sorbonne in Paris, then sought a broad base of governmental experience over the next four years as a legislative assistant in Washington; as director of the district office of a Massachusetts congressman; and finally as assistant to a Boston city councilman. At this point she returned to school, this time at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government for a master of public administration degree. During her graduate studies at Harvard, she also worked as an assistant to the dean, helping him with the school’s planning and curriculum development. Now she is completing her studies for an MBA degree at Stanford GSB where she is president of the MBA student association, a member of the academic policy committee, and last year found time to win the Stanford University intramural cross country race. After graduation, she would like to work in corporate strategy and financial planning with a management consulting firm. She got started in that direction during the summer working for Bain & Co. in Boston.