When Russ Critchfield was contacted by Cal athletics, he misunderstood and thought the caller was from an athletic equipment store.
“I was waiting for his pitch,” Critchfield said.
Turns out he was informed he was receiving the Pete Newell Career Achievement Award.
“I’m really excited, honored, certainly humbled,” said Critchfield, 68, who will be recognized during ceremonies Monday when Cal plays No. 5 Wisconsin at Haas Pavilion.
Critchfield, in is 17th season as head basketball coach at Butte College – the JC that spawned former Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers – was a prolific sharp-shooting guard for the Bears from 1965-66 through 1967-68.
The 5-foot-10 native of Salinas averaged 22.0 points as a senior, 21.0 as a junior. He still sits 12th on Cal’s career list with 1,437 points and his 19.4 per-game average is third all-time (behind Ed Gray at 20.0 and Mark McNamara at 19.6).