By John Crumpacker
From now until the start of the 2016 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships, WCC columnist John Crumpacker will be profiling the WCC Hall of Honor Class of 2016. This week, Crumpacker examines the trio of women's basketball inductees from Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine and San Diego.
If there is one constant with the three women named to the West Coast Conference’s 2016 Hall of Honor class for their play on the basketball court it’s how much they enjoyed their college experiences as they spanned different eras in the development and growth of the women’s game.
Susie Barosso (nee Erpelding) was an all-conference guard for San Diego who led the Toreros to a WCC championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance during her time in America’s Finest City from 1995-2000.
Kate Dunn (Murray) helped Loyola Marymount record its first 20-win season and its first trip to a postseason tournament as a high-scoring guard for the Lions from 2000-04.
Maureen Caloiaro (Formico) played her first three years at Pepperdine at a time (1982-84) when the conference did not yet sponsor women’s basketball. The WCC included the sport when Caloiaro was a senior in 1985-86 and the 6-foot forward ended up leading the conference in scoring (22.9) and rebounding (11.6).
Worthy inductees all, they were nonetheless surprised to learn of their inclusion in the 2016 Hall of Honor class. The Hall of Honor induction ceremony takes place on March 5 in conjunction with the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas.
“I was completely stunned and surprised and very humble,’’ Barosso said. “I wasn’t really aware of the award. It’s an honor to be selected.’’
And, Barosso added, “The best part is it’s a weekend away for me and my husband. We haven’t had a weekend away from our kids in three years.’’
When she considered the people who preceded her into the Hall, Dunn was moved to say, “It’s a huge honor, especially when you look at the names of the past athletes who have been inducted, just at LMU alone. To be in the company of Hank Gathers, Bo Kimble and Rick Adelman is very special and I’m honored to be in such company.’’
After being informed of the honor, Caloiaro said, “I was shocked, honored and humbled to be named to the WCC Hall of Honor. Being named to the Hall of Honor reminded me of the great times I had playing at Pepperdine. I have fond memories of winning our share of games and great times with my teammates on and off the court. One in particular was playing in Alaska in the Great Alaska Shootout.’’
As more recent players, Dunn and Barosso owe some of their success, to say nothing of the expanding opportunities for female athletes these days, to people like Caloiaro, who showed that the women’s game can be a vital part of the college experience.
“Yes, it is inspiring to see the number of young women playing the game at such a high level,’’ she said.
Thirty years after playing her last game for Pepperdine, Caloiaro remains the school’s career scoring leader of the women’s program with 2,190 points in 114 games. For her career, she averaged 19.2 points and 10.4 rebounds and reached her career best with 43 points against U.S. International as a junior in 1984-85. Also that season Caloiaro hauled in a remarkable 33 rebounds against LMU, a mark that still stands as a single-game record.
“I remember LMU double-teaming me and my coach telling me to just focus on rebounds and the rest will flow,’’ she said. “I believe I had 26 points and those 33 rebounds in that game.’’
The San Jose native and Saratoga resident had little choice but to become involved in sports at an early age and she passed her love of athletics on to her children. Caloiaro’s father, Marte Formico, starred in football and track and field at Santa Clara. Sister Margie was a volleyball MVP at Santa Clara. Her niece, Margie’s daughter, is beach volleyball legend and three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh.
Caloiaro’s three oldest children, Angelo, Vincenzo and Joan, played intercollegiate sports at San Francisco. Angelo is currently playing basketball in Spain. Vincenzo was a soccer player for the Dons and Joan started out on the USF volleyball team before transferring to, and graduating from, Cal. Her youngest child, Gino, is a freshman at Foothill College.
“I have many memories from my four years at Pepperdine, from the beautiful campus to the great times I had playing and hanging out with my teammates,’’ Caloiaro said. “I grew a lot during my years there from 18 to 22, thanks to the guidance and support from my coaches and teachers.’’
Caloiaro works in the insurance industry in San Jose and still follows Pepperdine sports.
“I’m a big Waves fan for all the teams,’’ she said.
Barosso lives in Menafee, Ca., in Riverside County, where her husband, Dan, is a major in the Air Force at March Air Force Base in Moreno Valley. With a master’s degree in Counseling from San Diego following her undergraduate degree in Sociology, Barosso worked as a counselor at the San Diego Regional Center for seven years, handling children and adults with developmental disabilities.
After the birth of her son, Sammy, in 2009, Barosso left social work to become a full-time mom and now has two young daughters, Hannah and Daniella.
Barosso said her playing career mirrored her experience as a student at San Diego in that both required hard work in order to achieve success.
“It was about a time of getting better as a player and a person,’’ she said. “I was a player you wouldn’t have expected to do as well as I did. You wouldn’t think I’d be the all-time leading scorer. My career there is encapsulated by working hard. I wasn’t the fastest player or the most athletic player. I just worked hard to do the best I could.’’
As for Dunn, she thoroughly enjoyed her time at LMU in the heart of Los Angeles but these days spends her time in more rural settings in Bend, Ore., and at the summer resort southwest of town that she and husband Devan recently purchased. The Twin Lakes Resort is open from April to October and features cabins, RV sites, a restaurant, store and boat rentals.
“There are generations of families that have been coming for years,’’ she said. “We took ownership last May and live there in the summer.’’
As she recalled her time at LMU, Dunn said, “It was some of the best years of my life. I was there for five years. I loved my teammates, the coaching staff, the administration. It felt like home for five years when you go away to school. To me, it never felt like it was in the middle of L.A. because of the beauty of the campus. It’s its own oasis in the sprawling city.’’
Dunn, Barosso and Caloiaro were stars on their teams when they played, but as the newest members of the Hall of Honor, it’s the WCC that benefits now from their presence.
John Crumpacker spent more than three decades working at the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle. During his career he has covered the full gamut of sports from prep to professionals. Most recently, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for Cal through the end of the 2013-14 season. In addition to covering 10 Olympic Games, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for the San Francisco 49ers. He is a two-time winner of the Track & Field Writers of America annual writing award and has several APSE Top 10 writing awards.