McCrath coached his teams to ve NCAA championships, including the 1985 team.
McCrath coached his teams to ve NCAA championships, including the 1985 team. Photo by C. Fanders, courtesy of SPU Athletics

He coached the 1978 men’s soccer team that won the first national title in any team sport for Seattle Pacific — and Cliff McCrath went on to coach four more NCAA championship squads.

She served as the first head coach of a fledgling women’s gymnastics program that has since gone on to become a national powerhouse — and Virginia Husted then moved to a different part of Brougham Pavilion to help get the women’s basketball going at the varsity level.

He was the anchor man on the 4×400 relay team that set a school record in 1968, which still stands today — and John Glancy has gone on to serve SPU in numerous other capacities on the academic side during the 48 years since then.

Glancy, Husted, McCrath, and that ’78 soccer team will take their rightful places among the most distinguished athletes in school history when they are inducted into the Falcon Hall of Fame.

The brunch and ceremony in Upper Gwinn Commons is scheduled during Homecoming and Parents’ Weekend on Saturday, February 11, as part of Seattle Pacific’s 125th Anniversary celebration. It begins at 9:30 a.m. The day will continue with a women’s and men’s basketball doubleheader, followed by the All-Athletics Reunion, both in Brougham Pavilion.

Cliff McCrath crawling to the Space Needle on his hands and knees
Cliff McCrath promised the 1978 SPU Falcon men’s soccer team that if they won the NCAA championship, he would crawl to the Space Needle on his hands and knees. When they won, he made good on his promise. Photo by C. Fanders, courtesy of SPU Athletics

During a 37-year tenure that began in 1970, McCrath coach the Seattle Pacific men to five NCAA Division II soccer championships: 1978, 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1993. The Falcons played in 10 national title games altogether, were postseason participants 30 times, and put together 37 consecutive winning seasons.

At SPU, McCrath’s teams went 512–190–87, the best mark in Division II history. In 49 seasons overall, he was the second-winningest coach regardless of division at 597–233–95. That included one season at Wheaton College in Illinois, seven at Gordon College in Massachusetts, and three at Spring Arbor College in Michigan.

The 1978 team under McCrath’s direction put together an overall record of 19–5–4 on the way to winning the national crown.

In the Far West Regionals at Seattle Memorial Stadium, SPU beat Chapman College, 2–0, then downed San Francisco State, 2–1.

From there, the Falcons flew off to Miami for the Final Four. They beat Southern Connecticut State in a triple-overtime semifinal thriller, 1–0, then went double-overtime in the next day’s championship match to beat Alabama A&M, 1–0.

Seattle Pacific’s very first gymnastics team, with Husted at the helm in 1974, immediately set the tone for the national-caliber success that would follow. Those Falcons won all four of their dual meets, took first place at the Northwest Regional Championships, and placed fifth at nationals.

The following winter, Husted coached the women’s basketball club team to a 15–6 record. She remained in charge for the following two seasons as the Falcons became a full-fledged varsity program, posting records of 15–7 and 14–10.

Glancy still owns a share of one of SPU’s longest-standing track and field records, as he was the anchor man on the 440 relay in 1968.

He has gone on to spend 46 years at the school, in capacities ranging from admissions counselor to director of college communications to director of the 125th Anniversary festivities.