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First UC Riverside athletic director Franklin A. Lindeberg dies at 98

By in Press Enterprise on November 18, 2017

By Beau Yarbrough

Franklin “Lindy” Lindeberg, the first athletic director for UC Riverside, has died.

The “Patriarch of UC Riverside Athletics” died Nov. 9, according to the university. He was 98 years old.

Lindeberg was one of the university’s original hires, according to a UCR press release, and greeted the first 126 students who arrived on campus in February 1954. That first year, he served as the university’s head men’s basketball coach, men’s golf coach and assistant football coach, as well as the faculty adviser to that first class of students.

“The first athletes we had on the campus were walk-on students who wanted to play athletics and play on the teams,” he said in a 1998 interview published on the university website. “I have to admit we did not win the first year in basketball, we did not win the first year in football. The second year, we won about three basketball games and from then on, we won more and more.”

He would later become become the school’s athletic director, oversaw the implementation of academic aid for student-athletes and, later, full-fledged athletic scholarships, and oversaw the Highlanders winning three national championships in volleyball and two in baseball.

In 2011, Lindeberg was elected into the UC Riverside Athletics Hall of Fame, along with six coaches hired during his tenure.

He would have been 99 years old on Thanksgiving, according to a university spokesperson.

Memorial service details are not available at this time.

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