Big Bad Bearcat

Thanks to the Paso Robles Press we glean some excerpts from a Letter
to the Editor
column titled: International Bearcats.
In 1944 the Bearcat basketball team learned how to play soccer.
That's correct --- soccer. Then coach, Les Voorhees, knew how
to play from his own experience at U.C. Berkeley and thought that
training his team in the sport would help improve their running game.

"Somehow, the Athletic Director of Camp
Roberts found out about the soccer playing
Bearcats and arranged with coach Voorhees
for three soccer games with the unit of
Italian Prisoners of War stationed at the camp.
Three games were played on Bearcat turf. The
Italians were better skilled, since soccer was
their national game. The games were close,
3-0, 2-1 and 3-2 with the Italians winning all
three games.

"The Bearcats were handicapped by using their
hands too much. In soccer that is a no-no, and
the Bearcats were penalized too many times. In
what American sport are the hands not used?

"Bearcat players then were: Bruce Tuley, Donn
Bonnheim, Bob Osman, Marvin Heinsohn, Paul
G. Martin, Bob Lewin, Art Merill, Ray Pelton,
Ray Gere, Chuck Fisher, Maurice Coats,
Jack Berry, John Palla, Rudy Jones, Bill Day,
Johnny Weaver and LeRoy Beck.

"There were also other of my teammates that I
have since forgotten. Sorry.

"After each game, the Italians treated both teams
to feasting on fresh oranges and sportsmanship.
Oranges were a real treat for the Bearcats because
during the day they were an item civilians couldn't
buy. It was a real lesson for the Bearcats on
international relations."

                                           Cliff Tucker
Paso Robles


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