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December 27, 2005 > African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame announces 2006 inductees

African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame announces 2006 inductees

by LaNiece Jones

Historically, the San Jose State University's athletic program seems to be best remembered for Coach Lloyd "Bud" Winter and his efforts producing world-class sprinters during the 1950s and '60s. Namely, the protest of John Carlos and Tommie Smith on the winner's podium at the 1968 Olympic Games has been the subject of various books, Ph. D. dissertations, and even an HBO documentary.

However, at least two decades before Carlos and Smith arrived on campus there were Yoshihiro Uchida and Julius Menendez. San Jose State students Uchida and Menendez during the World War II era would proceed to coach San Jose State teams to national prominence. This pair of dynamic athletes would later also coach winning teams at the Olympic level.

On Friday, February 10, 2006, The African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame will induct Uchida and Menendez at its annual fundraising Induction Ceremony entitled "With Their Sacrifices, Our History." The ceremony will be take place on Friday, February 10m 2006 at the Hyatt San Jose, 1740 First Street in San Jose. The event will begin at 6:30pm with a "VIP Reception with the Stars" followed by dinner and ceremony at 7:30pm. Limited tickets are $75.00 per person and $100.00 includes the VIP Reception and Dinner.

Since its inception in 2000, the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame has inducted 58 professional athletes and facilitated the awarding of nine college scholarships to students. More than 350 students have participated in workshops organized by AAESHOF in an effort to educate today's youth about our sports pioneers and heroes and heroines and violence prevention.

"Recognition of these athletes and community leaders is long overdue," explains Arif Khatib, founder and president of the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame. "We are proud to honor these outstanding legends to emphasize to our youth that championships are born out of hard effort and perseverance."

Uchida, who was an assistant judo coach under Mel Bruno while a student at SJS before the start of the war, would take steps to establish the self-defense method as a full-fledged sport during the late 1940s and '50s by instituting a weight classification system. In 1964, he coached the first U.S. Olympic judo team at the Games held in Tokyo. Uchida remains the Spartan coach after 65 years.

Menendez's coaching career began after WWII. While a student, he boxed professionally, and coached and officiated for teams at SJS and the University of Santa Clara. Menendez took over the boxing program in 1953, leading the Spartans to multiple National Collegiate Athletic Association titles. Menendez led the U.S. Olympic boxing team to victory in Rome in 1960. He was the boxing coach when Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) won the Gold Medal in Rome.

The event is sponsored in part by Hyatt San Jose, Ethiopian Airlines, Outback Steakhouse, and JetBlue Airways.

For more event information and ticket purchase contact: LaNiece Jones of LA Jones & Associates at, call 510-568-5899 or visit Tickets will sell fast, early reservations and ticket purchase is encouraged. A limited number of rooms are available at the Hyatt Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at $75.00 and reserved under the name of African American Sports Hall of Fame.

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