• Stanford University, 1949-52

On August 6, 1948, 17-year-old Bob Mathias of Tulare High School competed in a grueling 10-event test of heart and muscle to become “the world’s greatest all-around athlete” at the Olympic Games decathlon. Four years later, the stronger and more experienced Mathias became the first ever to win the decathlon twice, setting a world record with 7887 points. Between his victories in London and Helsinki, Mathias competed in track for two years at Stanford University, and finally listened to football coach Chuck Taylor’s imploring to become a running back and kickoff return specialist. In the 1951 game deciding the conference championship, Mathias’ 96-yard kickoff return began Stanford’s victorious comeback.

Inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.

Plaque location: Stanford University