We're headed into the final weekend of second round voting and things are starting to shape up. Our first match-up features everyone's favorite basketballer Jorge Gutierrez going up against legendary marching band leader Robert O. Briggs.
Jorge came here by virtue of a romp over tennis player Susie Babos while Briggs advanced with an easy victory over Jocelyn Forrest. Both of these men are well known and beloved for their significant contributions to Cal Athletics, so this contest in the Brick Mueller Region should be an interesting one. The winner here will advance to take on Geoff McArthur in the next round and you can take a look at the full bracket here. The full write-ups are after the jump and the polls will close on Friday. GO BEARS!
(1) Jorge Gutierrez
Pac 12 player of the year Jorge Gutierrez hits the court with Daily Cal sports editor (via thedailycal)
I'm pretty sure I speak for more than just myself when I say that Jorge is one of my favorite Cal athletes to watch, not only in the past few years, but also in my lifetime. I always felt like no matter whom we were playing or how the game was going, as long as Jorge was there we had a chance. I knew that he would never quit and would be right there to take a charge, dive on the floor for a loose ball, or hit a huge shot at the buzzer. Simply put, he was an exciting player and one that embodied everything that Cal athletics represents. It was a privilege to watch him play and I'm glad he was a Golden Bear.
When we first watched Gutierrez, it was hard not to love him. Jorge was just a high energy bundle that wasn't terribly focused, but it always seemed to spark the team when he was really able to get into it. Here was a guy who struggled to dribble, struggled to pass, struggled to shoot, and there he was locking down James Harden, spearheading a double digit comeback against the Furd, dunking and throwing an and-one layup high in the air to clinch a Pac-10 title.
Love does funny things to you. It makes you forget about turnover rates and field goal percentage and free throw rate because numbers be damned, watching Jorge was a joy. You discard those things because you like to imagine you can play with that sort of wild desperation, put that much effort into something you love that much. With that type of effort, that type of confidence, and just enough skill, anything is possible.
I've watched Cal basketball seriously for four years, and having Jorge be part of those experiences made it not just worthwhile, but meaningful. Watching almost every big momentum-changing steal, every forced turnover; every grimace; every sell of a call, every race he made toward a basketball regardless of what might be in the way, every time he went to the ground and we held our breath, until we realized it was Jorge and he'd be up in thirty seconds because that's who he was, every little inch he refused to give to his opponent, every chestbump from an inspired teammate, every spontaneous standing ovation we gave him for some random Jorge thing he'd do, every little thing he did do that we thought he couldn't do--those moments added up.
The first recruit signed by head coach Mike Montgomery at Cal (mid-May 2008), Gutierrez is a versatile guard who can play several positions on the court ... proved to be an invaluable reserve coming off the bench ... consistently one of the hardest-working players whenever he's on the court ... named the team's Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Senior guard Jorge Gutierrez, the heart and soul of a Cal team that chased the conference championship until the final day of the season, became the first player named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year on Monday.
"Jorge just wins, and he has done that for us for four years," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "Coaches appreciate that part of it, without getting stuck on numbers or the spectacular athleticism. I'm not trading Jorge for anybody."
(9) Robert O. Briggs
Cal Band 1974 - Halftime LA Coliseum (via PRD74)
"The University of California Marching Band is under the direction of Robert. O. Briggs..."
Those words were as much part of the Cal football game experience as the drum major throwing the baton, the cannon firing on Tightwad Hill, or the "Roll On You Bears" chant the first time the Bears crossed midfield. Dr. Briggs was the director of the Cal band from 1971 until his retirement in 1995. A Cal alumnus himself, Briggs was an undergraduate during the glory years under Pappy Waldorf -- Briggs had the great privilege of marching in three consecutive Rose Bowls as a member of the Cal Marching Band.
Dr. Briggs died on September 17, 2008, at the age of 81. Oski.com paid tribute to Cal's longtime band director:
During Bob's time as director of the Cal Band, the Band made an extensive national tour in honor of the Bicentennial of the United States in the Summer of 1976 . The Cal Band's opportunities to perform at bowl games improved during his tenure as well, as the fortunes of Cal Football improved; in 1979 the Cal Band performed at its first bowl game since the 1959 Rose Bowl, the Garden State Bowl in New Jersey. During Bob's time, the Cal Band would march in three more bowl games and make an appearance at a conference game in Tokyo.
Because of the unique organization of the Cal Band as a student-run University activity, Bob Briggs had to balance the dynamics of a vigorous and youthfully demanding student government with the requirements and politics of the larger university administration. In a position fraught with potential conflicts and burdened with competing and often contradictory demands, Bob's non-confrontational style served the Cal Band and the University well.
In his earlier days as director, Bob was more formal and reserved in his relationship with band members. He was most often addressed as "Mr. Briggs." In later years, Bob developed a more casual style and later generations of Cal Band members know him best as simply, "Bob."
Upon his retirement in 1995, at the recommendation of Chancellor Tien, President of the University Peltason appointed Bob Director Emeritus of the University Of California Band. In retirement, Bob r emained active in music, helping to organize the Solano Winds, a community musical ensemble, and serving as its conductor for the past 13 years. In 2005, Bob celebrated his fiftieth year as a director with a special Solano Winds concert.
On December 1, 2006, the Cal Band Alumni Association presented Bob with its Tony Martinez award in recognition of his many contributions to and accomplishments with the Cal Band during his long association.
Bob was an avid enthusiast of automobiles, both the classics and more modern creations. He often used one or another of his antique sedans to transport Cal Band brides and grooms to their wedding ceremonies, acting as chauffeur, a role he relished.
In his six decades of association with the Cal Band, Bob touched thousands of lives. He will be long remembered by generations of Cal Band members and Cal Band fans.