College

Thursday, Dec 13 2012 11:24 PM

Four to be inducted to Elias Hall of Fame

BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

Stephen Neal was a national champion wrestler who later became a world champion.

And when he switched to the NFL, he became a Super Bowl champion.

Megan Langenfeld led the way for UCLA's national championship softball title in 2010, earning MVP honors in the College World Series that season, and was a four-time All-Pac-10 pick.

Spain Musgrove, who grew up in Bakersfield in the 1950s and '60s, played football at Bakersfield High, Bakersfield College and in the NFL with the Washington Redskins and Houston Oilers.

Dr. William F. Baker Jr., a former football player at Foothill High and BC, has been BC's team doctor for 34 years.

Those four will be inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 28, at the Marriott Hotel. Tickets cost $60 and will go on sale after the first of the year.

"I'm very excited to be connected to Bakersfield athletics," said Neal, 36, a four-time Pac-10 champion and two-time undefeated national champion at Cal State Bakersfield who won the Dan Hodge Award as the outstanding college wrestler in 1999.

Neal, who grew up in San Diego and now lives in Poway, was the World Freestyle Champion in 1999 and then switched to football. From 2001-2010, he was an offensive lineman, with all but a few months spent on the New England Patriots. He won three Super Bowl rings with New England.

In recent years, Neal has also spearheaded the fundraising effort to keep alive the CSUB wrestling program that no longer receives financial help from CSUB.

"It's not me that's saving wrestling. It's this community," Neal said Thursday at a luncheon at Rabobank Arena, in which the inductees were introduced. "I'm so thankful for this community."

Langenfeld, 24, a 2006 graduate of Centennial High, had four sensational seasons at UCLA where she played first base and pitched. She ranks among the all-time UCLA leaders in nine categories. She also played on the U.S. national team after completing her UCLA career.

Before Thursday's luncheon, Langenfeld and her parents spent time looking at the plaques of Bob Elias Hall of Fame members, which are placed in Rabobank Arena.

"It's a whole encompassing cast we have here in the Sports Hall of Fame," said Langenfeld, now a graduate assistant coach at Arkansas, where she's working toward a master's degree in recreational sports management.

"It's an amazing feeling," she said of her induction. "It's very cool. Being a female. Being a softball player as well as being the younger generation as well. It's cool representing all walks of life in this Sports Hall of Fame."

Musgrove, who lives in Silver Spring, Md., just outside Washington, D.C., could not attend the luncheon but said he will return to Bakersfield for the Feb. 28 banquet.

"It's an honor. Really an honor," Musgrove, 64, said in a telephone interview. "I was really surprised, and it's really surprising when you live on the East Coast and you hear about something like this from the West Coast."

This is the second hall of fame for Musgrove. He was earlier inducted into the Bakersfield High School Football Hall of Fame.

He was told of the Elias honor by Elias board member Mike Keese, who was Musgrove's teammate at BC and BHS.

Musgrove played defensive line for the Redskins from 1967-70, when he played for Hall of Fame coaches Otto Graham and Vince Lombardi. He concluded his NFL career in 1970-71 with the Houston Oilers.

He has spent most of his career since then working with young people.

Baker, who also spent 25 years on the sidelines as the team physician at Foothill High, became BC's team doctor in 1978 when he returned to Bakersfield to open his medical practice.

"I was literally speechless. I was shocked," Baker said when informed of his selection into the Elias Hall of Fame. "It's not something that I really thought about. I was so honored and humbled, I could hardly say anything for an hour."

Baker played offensive line at BC in 1968 and 1969.

"When I played for BC, we averaged 16,700 people per game for two years," he said.

Saturday, when BC won its first state championship with a 35-14 win over City College of San Francisco before 16,625, the largest crowd for a BC game in 20 years, Baker was on the sideline, wearing a BC letterjacket and available for any medical consultation.

"I bleed Renegade red. I love the Renegades," Baker said.

"It's been quite a journey, but that's one of the reasons Saturday was so emotional for me. It brought back such a flood of memories."

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