CGB HoF Sweet Sixteen: Jack Clark vs Deltha O'Neal

Jackc

 

We keep on moving through our last round of Hall of Fame qualifying! From here on out, the winners of these polls automatically enter the CGB Hall of Fame! One of Cal's most successful head coaches goes up against an all-around football wizard on the field.

For each athlete, you can vote in the poll; it closes a week from today at midnight.  After the jump, you can read the athlete profiles written up by our commenters, and discuss in the comments your memories of each athlete and which one deserves to move on. (Check out the full bracket here.  To check out the original nomination thread, click here. For those who want to track the CGB Hall of Fame posts exclusively, click here or right next to the timestamp above where it says "Hall of Fame".)

Jack Clark

 

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via 2.bp.blogspot.com

Carp has nothing but great things to say about his former coach. Here's his writeup.

Coach Clark, a Cal rugby alum himself, deserves to be up there on the list of integral people associated with Cal. He has guided Cal rugby to 19 national titles since he took over in 1981. He led Cal to an unprecedented 115 game winning streak.

Winning was not necessarily the aim. Rather, it was a by-product of excellent preparation, attention to detail, dedication, and perservearance. He teaches his players to be thoughtful, selfless, and responsible adults. Clark is quick to point out that Cal rugby is completely self-sufficient and is comprised of non-scholarship athletes who earn their keep on and off the pitch.

After all, Clark is accustomed to overcoming incredible odds:

The following month Clark attended a party at the house of an acquaintance in San Francisco and went outside to help break up an altercation. He ended up squared off against a man with a 9-mm Magnum. The assailant, who was under the influence of PCP, fired at Clark, hitting him four times. One bullet shattered his left femur, another the left fibula. At San Francisco General Hospital, heavily sedated and suffering significant nerve damage in the leg, Clark was confronted with the possibility of amputation. One night, while drifting in and out of consciousness, he awoke to a lecture on prosthetic limbs from a hospital counselor. "I called up one of my mates," Clark recalls, "and said, ‘I need you to get down here, and whatever you do, don’t let them take my leg.’"

Clark hung on, enduring a 45-day stay at the hospital and then more than a year of physical therapy. Eighteen months after the shooting he ran a 10K. "When something like that happens," he says, "you’re either going to be a victim or you’re not."


For example, rather than his team do bench press excercises, he has them do pullups:

"We do a lot of pullups because they’re great for grip strength" said Coach Clark. Picture this: if you’re lifting your opponents up into the air by gripping onto their shorts – be it in a scrum, a ruck, or a maul – you have to rely on your gripping, pulling and hoisting muscles.


On top of this, Clark volunteered to coach the USMC rugby team in the offseason.

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via www.bigcsociety.org

To honor his efforts, the marines presented Clark with this American flag (above) that was flown over Camp Ripper in Iraq on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. It is one of his proudest possessions.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Clark on Stanfurd refusing to play Cal in rugby:

"We lose to Stanford in many sports, but if you want to make a Cal team quit, bring a weapon."

 

Deltha O'Neal

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via photos1.blogger.com

O'Neal's NFL career is well known, but it might surprise some of you young ones how much of an impact he had with the Bears.

Tony Macaroni: What some may not know is that Deltha entered the program as a reserve tailback and got pushed into duty as a freshman when the other backs went down with injuries. He had a serious fumbling problem (I heard that Bobby Shaw encouraged him to carry a football around with him as he went to class). He fumbled the opening kickoff in the ‘96 Big Game, setting up the first of what seemed like 20 Stanfurd TD’s. But Holmoe eventually moved him to CB, and he was instantly a force to be reckoned with. He had eight (!) interceptions his senior year, four of which he returned for touchdowns. He was also a rediculous return man, his two return TDs accounting for Cal’s only points in the 1999 Big Game.

dballisloose: And in that 1999 Big Game, it should be noted that Stanford was trying to kick AWAY from Deltha, absurdely so to the point where they would kick all but 2 out of bounds….the 2 that he fielded (and maybe the years are making me exagerate that he only fielded the 2) he took all the way, and those of us in the stands would prepare for the kicks with our thumbs and index fingers together in a triangle, cheering "Deltha, Deltha, Deltha".

I think Deltha may be the most impactful Cal player ever. Ever. 

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