that beat West Virginia (and All-American Jerry West) in the finals.
"We had a great team, but we didn't have any stars," said Fitzpatrick,
a 6-foot shooting guard who dropped in 20 points to lead Cal in the NCAA
Fitzpatrick, an All-Pacific Coast Conference selection in '59 who also
made the All-NCAA Tournament squad, was so impressed by Newell that he
named his first son after him.
"Pete Newell is the greatest," said Fitzpatrick, who arrived at Cal
expecting to redshirt in 1957-58, but a teammate's broken collarbone
created an opening and Fitzpatrick wound up being the first guard off the
bench that season as the Bears met (and lost to) Elgin Baylor and Seattle
University in the regional finals.
"(Baylor) was phenomenal. He was the best player we played against at
that time, better than Oscar Robertson (at Cincinnati), Wilt Chamberlain
(at Kansas) or West. (The Seattle Chieftains) made a half-court shot at
the gun to tie it, then they beat us in overtime."
The following year, Cal won it all with Fitzpatrick as its leading
In their victory over Cincinnati in the NCAA semifinals, the Bears
held Robertson, the NCAA Player of the Year who came in averaging 36
points per game, to only 16. In the finals, NCAA Tournament MVP West
scored 28 points. "We felt we did a good job on (West)," Fitzpatrick
said. "We had very good team defense."
Had Fitzpatrick redshirted his first year, he would've played on the
Cal squad in 1960 that advanced to the NCAA final and lost to Ohio State
(with Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek).
But, following his standout collegiate basketball career, Fitzpatrick
was far from finished as a top-notch athlete.
Fitzpatrick, a better baseball player in high school (when he weighed
only 145 pounds) than a basketball player, played indoor volleyball for
the Hollywood YMCA in 1961, when the six-man team captured the Amateur
Athletic Union national championship.
Fitzpatrick, who also played in beach volleyball tournaments,
continued playing basketball until age 40. He's also an avid golfer and