Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said Tuesday that she is "very hopeful" the Golden Bears' baseball program is on the brink of reinstatement.
Stu Gordon, a San Francisco attorney and former pitcher for the Bears, met this week with Cal Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and presented him evidence of more than $9 million in private pledges to restore the 119-year-old program that is scheduled to be shut down after this season.
"The chancellor has not made his decision yet, but I think it's good news," said Gordon, adding that he expects a resolution by the end of the week.
"I'm very encouraged and I'm very thankful for what Stu Gordon and others are doing," Barbour said. "I'm very hopeful we're going to be able to keep baseball."
Birgeneau set $10 million as a target for baseball to stay afloat for seven to 10 years, during which time it would have to develop a plan for permanent self-sufficiency.
"We're within a few hundred thousand dollars of being there," Gordon said. "Hopefully, he will decide it's in the best interests of all of us that the decision is positive."
University spokesman Dan Mogulof said Birgeneau was out of town Tuesday and was due to return Wednesday afternoon. He confirmed the $9 million figure as accurate.
Bob Milano, who caught Gordon during their playing days at Cal and who coached the Bears from 1978-99, was downright giddy.
"I'm going to think I can walk on water again," he said.
Former Cal pitcher Doug Nickle, who helped organize the Save Cal Baseball fundraising group last fall, said he "cannot imagine a scenario" other than reinstatement.
The latest surge in financial support for the program came after the university announced Feb. 11 that men's rugby and women's gymnastics and lacrosse had developed funding for reinstatement but that baseball and men's gymnastics fell short.
Gordon, who pitched for the Bears in the early 1960s, is a partner in the law firm Gordon & Rees, which has offices in 12 states. He joined the fundraising effort barely a month ago and quickly mobilized supporters with deep pockets.
"I was hopeful we would do really well," said Gordon, who has aided Cal baseball fundraising efforts in the past. "But I didn't realize we could do this well this quickly. It's unbelievable how everybody has stepped up."
Nickle said the timing of reinstatement is crucial. Cal lost four recruits last fall who originally gave oral commitments to the program, and players on the team need to know whether they are moving on or have a home in Berkeley.
Baseball was among five sports the administration last fall announced would be eliminated at the end of this school year in an effort to save $4 million annually.
Men's rugby, women's lacrosse and women's gymnastics were removed from the cut list after developing a funding plan. But baseball and men's gymnastics still were in jeopardy.
Gymnastics was told it needed to raise $4 million to stay afloat and is about halfway there, according to Barbour.
"The feedback I get is they, too, are having good success," she said. "They're going to have to get to $4 million."