THE SWEET SIXTEEN - #8 - ANDY WOLFE#8 - ANDY WOLFE - FORWARD (1946-1948)
Most Blues, old and young, associate the dawn of California basketball with the day Pete Newell set foot on the Berkeley campus and began crafting a national champion team. In fact, when Newell brought his Bears to Louisville in 1959, he was making the school's second trip to the Final Four. The first came in 1946, and the Bears were led by a sophomore named Andy Wolfe.
In fairness you had to win only one game to make the "Final Four" in those early years, but the achievement was still remarkable for a school without much basketball tradition. The Bears punched their ticket to New York by downing Colorado 50-44 in Kansas City behind 17 points from Wolfe, more than twice the scoring output of any member of the Buffaloes team. Cal eventually lost to Oklahoma A&M and their seven foot giant Bob Kurland, who would go on to win the national championship over North Carolina.
Wolfe averaged 13.4 ppg in that first season, and won first-team all-conference honors. To qualify for the tournament Cal had to beat Idaho for the PCC championship in a best two-of-three series. The teams split the first two games, and then Wolfe scored 19 points in the rubber match to stamp Cal's ticket to Kansas City.
The forward would go on to earn All-PCC honors three times, and be named a consensus 2nd team All-American after his senior season in 1948. He smashed the Cal career scoring record of 725 points and left Berkeley as the school's first 1,000 point scorer, finishing with 1,112. More importantly, the Bears went 75-26 during Wolfe's career, their best three-year run in more than a decade.
Wolfe was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1948, but played AAU basketball for Stewart Chevrolet in San Francisco. He eventually earned his law degree from the University of San Francisco and practiced in Oakland until his retirement several years ago. Andy Wolfe was inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987, and named to the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in 2006.