Stockton, Calif. - Pacific Athletics will honor distinguished alumni Patty Berg-Burnett ('80), Morrison England ('76) and Gene Nyquist ('52) at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award of Merit Recognition Luncheon on Saturday, Jan. 28.
The Amos Alonzo Stagg Award of Merit was established in 1981 by former Graduate Manager of Athletics Bob Breeden, Pacific Alumni Director Kara Brewer, and Director of Athletics Elkin Isaac. The award recognizes alumni who participated in athletics at Pacific and achieved distinction in their professional lives through the notable examples of integrity, dedication, idealism, and team spirit that Mr. Stagg personified and to which Pacific is dedicated.
Patty Berg-Burnett ’80
Patty was a three-year star for the Pacific Tigers women’s volleyball program under Dr. Taras Liskevych, earning varsity letters in 1977, 1979 and 1980. After her stellar senior season, she was awarded the NCAA’s esteemed Broderick Cup, an award given annually to female athletes in a nationwide vote by more than 1,000 collegiate athletic directors. Broderick Cup winners are selected by sport for their superior athletic skills, and for their leadership abilities, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service.
Patty was born in Lodi and grew up there. A 1976 Lodi High graduate, she was a volleyball, basketball and softball standout for the Flames. She attended San Joaquin Delta College for one year and graduated from the University of the Pacific with a Bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1980, completing her teaching credential at Pacific in 1981. Patty earned AIAW All-American honors in 1980 after the Tigers finished second in the nation. In March 1987, she was inducted into the Lodi Sports Hall of Fame and, in November 1989, she became Pacific’s first female athlete to have her number retired by the University as her #14 jersey hangs on the wall inside the Alex G. Spanos Center. Patty was also Pacific’s first women’s volleyball student-athlete inducted into the Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame, receiving that honor during the 1990-91 school year.
Patty has taught physical education in the Lodi Unified School District for 30 years and has had two separate coaching careers. She coached volleyball for eight years and badminton for four years at Tokay in the 1980s, guiding the Tigers to their only Sac-Joaquin Section volleyball title in 1986. After an 18-year break from coaching, Patty returned to coach volleyball at McNair High School, which opened in 2005. In 2008-09, she was honored with a Model Coach Award by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) as one of thirteen recipients that year who was honored for being positive role models in their schools and communities, and who exhibited the traits apparent in the CIF’s 16 principles of Pursuing Victory with Honor.
Morrison England ’76
Morrison was named to the Board of Regents at University of the Pacific in April 2006. Born in St. Louis, MO and moved to Sacramento at the age of 5, he attended McClatchy High School and Sacramento City College before accepting a football scholarship at Pacific. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Pre-Law from Pacific in 1976, and his Juris Doctor degree from Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in 1983. A member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Morrison was a standout performer at offensive guard and tackle on the Pacific football team.
The recognition he received as a Tiger on the Pacific Football team earned him an invitation to join the New York Jets training camp. Instead, after graduating from Pacific, Morrison decided to begin his career as a football coach at Cal State Fullerton and then Sacramento State, where he coached part-time during the day and attended McGeorge School of Law in the evenings. Morrison currently is a member of the Criminal Rules Advisory Committee of the United States, and since 2009, has traveled overseas (Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and India) in his capacity as a federal judge on behalf of the United States Commerce and State Departments.
On March 21, 2002, Morrison was nominated by President George W. Bush to the position of United States District Court Judge, Eastern District of California. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and received his commission and assumed the office on August 2, 2002. Previously, Judge England was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson as a Sacramento Municipal Court Judge in 1996. He was elevated by Governor Wilson to the Sacramento Superior Court in 1997 and also spent time in the Juvenile Division of the Superior Court, presiding over both dependency and delinquency matters. He was formerly a partner with the Sacramento firm of Quattrin, Johnson, Campora & England where he practiced transactional, corporate and real estate law. Judge England has been an instructor for new judge orientation, advanced criminal procedure, and was a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corp for the United States Army Reserve from 1988-2002.
Gene Nyquist ‘52
Gene was born in Rockford, Illinois, before his family settled in Sacramento before the start of his senior year of high school. Gene attended Grant High School in Sacramento and swam on their high school swim team introducing the backstroke flip turn to the west coast as he went on to win the CIF 100-yard backstroke title. Upon graduating from high school, Gene began swimming for the famous Arden Hills Swim Club under the coaching of Sherman Schavor, who would later go on to coach Olympic champions Mark Spitz and Debbie Meyer. Gene earned a swimming scholarship at University of the Pacific and, in 1949, he helped to pioneer a new sport, water polo, as he played goalie and field during Pacific’s second year of water polo coached by Bill Anttila. Gene was an active member of the Omega Phi Alpha fraternity and later served as president of Delta Upsilon. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in physical education from Pacific in 1952.
After graduating from Pacific, Gene enrolled at Sacramento State to obtain a teaching credential which was received in the spring of 1953. In 1953, during the Korean War, Gene was drafted into the Army and after his Army discharge in May 1955, he moved back to Sacramento and taught math at a local junior high school and coached swimming at his alma mater, Grant High. In July 1956, Gene went on to teach physical education and coach swimming and water polo at James Lick High School in San Jose from 1958-1967, winning 8 swimming titles and 5 water polo crowns and producing 13 swimming All-Americans and 4 water polo All-Americans. Gene earned his Master’s degree in Education from San Jose State in 1963.
Gene went on to have a remarkable 22-year association with West Valley College in Saratoga from 1967-1989. During his tenure at West Valley, his teams won 7 conference swimming championships from 1973 to 1986, never finishing lower than sixth in the state. In water polo, he coached 12 All-Americans and had an overall record of 109 wins and 68 losses. During his last season in 1989, he led the West Valley water polo team to the NorCal Championship with a record of 20-0-1. Overall, he was selected NorCal Coach of the Year four times and he was named California Coaches Association (CCA) Coach of the Year in 1980.