Rice University Owls golf coach and Spanish professor Dr. James A. Castañeda
Black and white photograph of Rice University Owls golf coach Professor James A. Castañeda, headlining his achievement of the Rice Athletic Honorary "R" Award. Caption reads: If you were allowed just one word to describe Jim Castaneda, how about “versatile?” The man is a professor with remarkable credentials, a low-handicap golfer who is now the Owls’ head golf coach, a former pro baseball player after playing college baseball who was a Rice baseball assistant coach, a soccer goalie, a skilled bowler, a former ice hockey goalie, and many ladies say he is the best ballroom dancer on the campus! He has served Rice athletics in so many ways that his being admitted to the “R” Association as an Honorary “R” Man is a long overdue honor. The highest post of his athletic service with Rice was a term as president of the Southwest Conference. That came as a part of his duties as Rice’s faculty representative to the Southwest Conference (and the NCAA) that began in 1975, and a post in which he continues to serve the school and the league. Dr. Castaneda is our reference to him for matters academic, but to fellow coaches and staffers in the athletic phase of his activities he is “Jim,” and to numerous Owl undergrad athletes of past and present he is affectionately known as “Doc.” In addition to this “Fac Rep” vital position, Jim has served Rice as a member of the Athletics Committee since 1963 (23 years), and has been its chairman since 1975. He is faculty sponsor for two Owl sports that operate on a club basis, soccer and bowling. His big “high” for now is golf as he builds the Owl varsity links program into a real SWC title contender. Jim is intent to prove good students can budget their time to be competitive in so-called “big time” college golf in NCAA Division I ranks. Jim has been golf coach since 1983, but prior to that duty he was first freshman baseball team coach and then varsity assistant for over 20 years. He became a volunteer aide in that sport after coming to the campus as a language prof in 1961. His credentials for diamond duty were impressive. He had been a first baseman and pitcher (also captain) at Drew University in New Jersey, with a cumulative .430 batting average for three seasons. His play as a collegian and in a lot of summer ball earned Jim a pro contract with the Baltimore Orioles organization, and a season in the Georgia-Florida league in 1954. But he soon left the pro ranks for great opportunities in the academic world, though he did continue play for many years in summers before and after joining the Rice faculty. He was a Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate of Drew in 1954, then earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Yale, and was the recipient of many scholarships, including a Fulbright, and was a Danforth Teaching Fellow. He has been at Rice since 1961 after serving at Hanover College 1948-61. He is now Professor of Spanish, and was Chairman of the Department of Classics, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish from 1964 to 1972. Dr. Castaneda gained a distinct honor when he was national president of his peers as president of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese a few years ago. He has been the author of many books and papers in his academic field. No matter his scholarly credentials, to a host of “R” men, past and present, “Doc” has been a popular “jock” who has gone to bat to defend the many values of college athletics when conducted in the proper setting as it is at Rice. So it is fitting that he now becomes a special “R” man as he continues to further the cause.
Rice Athletic Honorary "R" Award
Citable link to this pagehttp://hdl.handle.net/1911/63996
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