(5) Stu Gordon
Cal Baseball Gets Improvements (via RGBearTerritory)
Via Cal Bear Backers:
Gordon arrived in Berkeley for the fall of 1958 and joined the freshman baseball and basketball teams hot on the heels of varsity baseball's 1957 College World Series championship and on the precipice of varsity basketball's 1959 NCAA title. For good measure, Cal's 1958 football season ended with the Pacific Coast championship and a trip to the '59 Rose Bowl. The superlatives spill out when Gordon describes the coaches he had the privilege to play for at Cal. "George Wolfman was just a lovely man, Pete Newell was an institution, and Rene Herrerias, our freshman basketball coach, was a wonderful guy," Gordon said.
After struggling with his grades as a freshman while playing both basketball and baseball, Gordon left the hardwood to devote more time to his studies and a more focused effort on baseball. The choice paid off, as he logged 18 credits in the classroom and a 7-0 record on the mound with a low ERA to complement his higher GPA in his junior year. One of Gordon's fans in the stands happened to be the dean of admissions at Boalt Hall, who urged him to consider law school. Gordon, determined to ensure options beyond his Major League dreams, took his advice and was accepted to Boalt, becoming president of his first-year class and eventually, the student body.
After his graduation Gordon continued to be an ardent supporter of the Bears, but one that most people probably had not heard off until last year when Cal Baseball was slated to be eliminated from the university's sports program. Stu Gordon stepped up to the plate and not only donated a substantial amount of money, but also became the face of the Save Cal Baseball effort. In mid-April, that dream was realized.
On April 9, 2011, Cal baseball, a tradition that dates back to 1892, was saved from elimination caused by financial constraints at the University of California-Berkeley. For seven months, players, supporters and alumni struggled to contemplate life without Cal baseball. In February, Gordon & Rees Founding Partner and former Cal baseball pitcher Stu Gordon took control of the Save Cal Baseball campaign. In less than six weeks, donations and pledges jumped from $1.5 million to over $9 million, reinstating Cal baseball in 2012 and crediting Stu with saving the program. As Chancellor Robert Birgeneau told the San Francisco Chronicle, "It would not have happened without him."
More than 1,000 people contributed to the campaign and 40 people contributed more than $50,000, including more than $100,000 from former Major League MVP Jeff Kent, $50,000 from agent Scott Boras, and $550,000 from Stu Gordon that gave the fundraising effort inspiration and momentum. Chancellor Birgeneau described Stu’s efforts as "phenomenal" but, as Stu explained to BerkeleySide.com, "It’s still our goal to get up to a $20 million endowment so Cal baseball can be self-supporting."
Twice in recent years, Stu has been named the Carl Van Heuit Cal Baseball Alumnus of the Year and currently serves in an appointed position on the Athletic Director’s Advisory Board. His donations to the University have helped make possible the new Cal baseball field and outdoor multipurpose complex. He is also one of the founders of the Bear Backers, an organization which raises more than $8 million each year to support athletic programs at the University. If baseball had been lost, said Stu, "it would have been such a bitter disappointment…I was amazed at how emotional people were."
The Bears went on to make the College World Series and continue to play today and in the future thanks to Stu Gordon. A true Golden Bear on and off the field.
(12) Mike Tepper
As an offensive tackle, there are no impressive stats to highlight Mike Tepper's career. In his time at Cal, he played in 39 games, 26 of which saw him as our starter. In 2007, as our starting right tackle, our offensive line allowed a mere 11 sacks (the fewest in the conference and third lowest in the entire nation) while paving the way for Justin Forsett's 1500-yard season. In 2009, as a sixth-year senior, he protected QB Kevin Riley's blindside as our starting left tackle and earned a variety of pre-, mid-, and post-season all-conference awards.
Plus, he got to live out the dreams of O-linemen everywhere with this play:
However, Mike Tepper is probably most notable, and most deserving of a place in the ultra prestigious CGB HOF, for his character and courage. In the summer of 2005, as a 19-year-old kid who just finished up his first year of college, Tepper was struck and run over twice by a car. Walking down Telegraph in Berkeley with his female friend, they encountered a group of convicted felons who taunted her and tried to pull her into their car. When Tepper stood up for her, things turned ugly.
"The guy in the driver's seat punched the gas in reverse," he said. "The front end swung out and clipped me, got my [right] leg caught in the wheel well. I was dragged for about 30 feet and got run over going forward."
The result was gruesome. Tepper suffered four breaks of his lower leg, with the shattered fibula protruding from his skin, as well as a torn shoulder muscle.
The damage was so severe, the doctors considered amputation. It would be a wonder if he would even walk.
Tepper was up and jogging in four months.
As if we needed proof of Tepper's courage, in 2009, he received the Ken Cotton Award as our Most Courageous Player on offense. Senior draft analyst Rob Rang said "The reality is he's going to be making a transition to the highest level of football. The fact that he's overcome those type of injuries and made it through that traumatic situation speaks to his mental toughness, perseverance and determination."
Tepper proved this by first signing with the Dallas Cowboys in 2010 and he is currently with the Indianapolis Colts. As much as we'd love for him to let a few defenders slip by to sack a certain Horseface, history proves Tepper will give anything to protect others.