June 18, 2014
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The West Coast Conference lost one of its true pioneers and the Bay Area sports scene lost one of its most vibrant personalities with the passing of Sam Goldman Tuesday, June 17. He was 87.
Goldman's career in athletics spanned nearly seven decades and impacted countless lives during that span. If you competed at the prep or collegiate level in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sam either knew you or knew your head coach.
Sam was a dominant personality in sports before ESPN, before Twitter, before Facebook and in an age where social media involved talking to people. There were few individuals better than Sam at connecting with people socially and professionally.
Goldman was the first-ever sports information director for the California Basketball Association (later the West Coast Athletic Conference and finally the West Coast Conference) and publicized the league during its infancy, which coincided with a golden age for men's basketball, featuring deep NCAA tournament runs by multiple conference members, highlighted by a San Francisco Final Four appearance in 1957.
Goldman continued his affiliation with the West Coast Athletic Conference in official and unofficial capacities throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Sam publicized and promoted a league boasting the number one team in the country (San Francisco) and many future NBA stars including Bill Cartwright (San Francisco), Darwin Cook (Portland), Joe Ellis (San Francisco), Eric Fernsten (San Francisco), Mark McNamera (Santa Clara), Kurt Rambis (Santa Clara), Kevin Restani (San Francisco), Phil Smith (San Francisco), John Stockton (Gonzaga) and Ricky Sobers (UNLV).
Sam served as the SID at San Francisco State (1957-73; 1984-89) and also at Skyline College where he taught generations of journalism students the art of how to write effectively.
Although he officially retired in 1989, Sam, along with his wife Adele, volunteered at hundreds of games and major national and Bay Area events including Super Bowls, World Series, Final Fours, major bowl games and U.S. Opens. A College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA) Hall-of-Famer, Sam served as the publicity director for both the East-West Shrine Game and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (BASHOF). The Goldmans were active with San Francisco's Fight Hunger Bowl and for decades assisted Bay Area media covering the Oakland A's, San Francisco Giants, Stanford and Cal.
Sam volunteered at hundreds of West Coast Conference games and events at Saint Mary's, San Francisco and Santa Clara well into his 80s. When the WCC hosted its first neutral site men's and women's basketball championships in Las Vegas in 2009, Sam and Adele served as the hosts for the media workroom.
For his tireless efforts in promoting the institutions and student-athletes and coaches representing the West Coast Conference, the WCC established the Sam Goldman Award, presented to a media member who provides outstanding coverage while embodying service and journalistic excellence.
A Navy veteran, Sam taught at Crestmoor and Galileo High Schools and went to City College of San Francisco with Bay Area legends Burl Toler and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and Olympic medalist Ollie Matson.