CGB Hall of Fame: (7) Anthony Ervin vs. (15) Geoff McArthur

Jamie Squire

Geoff McArthur upset a Super Bowl champion in the last round. Can he knock off a gold medal-winning Olympian today? Check out the recently updated bracket here.

(7) Anthony Ervin

Anthony Ervin (California) (via SwimmingWorldSPI)

LEastCoastBears gives us tons of good info from the Calympics post on Anythony:

The feel good story of the US Swim trial, Anthony Ervin is again an Olympian. After winning a gold medal in the 50 freestyle at the 2000 Olympics, Tony (his preferred name to friends) retired in 2003 (after the end of his Cal career) when he was 22 years old to explore "other interests".

After joining a rock band in New York and various other youthful exploits (that some articles try to make a bigger deal than others), he eventually found himself teaching swimming to kids in both New York City and Oakland. Last year he began training again, and qualified for London by finishing second in the 50 free (by narrowly edging out fellow Cal bear, Nathan Adrian). Between his colorful sleeve tattoos and a more slender body type, Anthony stands out in the pool.

Also of note, Anthony auctioned off his 2000 Olympic gold medal on eBay to aid survivors of the 2004 tsunami. Anthony did eventual finish his Cal degree in English in 2010 and is now currently in the Cal graduate program for sport, culture and education.

  • Event: 50 freestyle
  • 2nd time Olympian (In Sydney 2000 Olympics won gold in 50 Free and silver in 4x100 Free relay)
  • Cal career: 1999-2002
  • A great sentimental comeback story (which NBC will surely milk in the Olympics), Anthony won a gold back in 2000 and proceed to take almost a decade off from swimming. After teaching kids to swim an year ago, Ervin decided to make a comeback and was able to finish second in 50 Free (narrowly edging out Nathan Adrian by 8/100th of a second).

Anthony's slightly different training method/mentality is nicely explained in this USA Swimming article here. Interestingly, the article also conjectured about the success of Cal swimming:

Cal Swimming has long been at the forefront of alternative training approaches. Which could explain why they are – and have been -- so successful. Their two most individualistic and strongest personalities, Ervin and 29-year-old Natalie Coughlin, are also two of the sports most inventive, innovative thinkers. They tinker. They ask. They learn. They reflect. It’s no secret they both are still involved in the sport at an age once considered "ancient."

Read more about Anthony in this SFGate article here.

Grantland has the following interesting short blurb about him:

Enigmatic 31-year-old who won gold and silver in Sydney, retired from swimming in 2003 at age 22, and sold his gold medal to raise money for the Indian Ocean tsunami relief. (Lost his silver medal during his notoriously nomadic travels.) Returned to competition last year. Has such poor eyesight that a competitor had to tell him he had qualified; when Brendan Hansen congratulated him afterward he squinted and responded, "Who is that?" Speaks in full paragraphs, but also says things like "I just want to keep this fun train chugging."

(15) Geoff McArthur

2004 Cal Football Highlights - Part 1 (via Swamphunter)

From the HOF nominations:

thehawkse7en makes a simple and concise case for why Geoff deserves the honor:
Didn't have the overall skill set that some of the other receivers had, but he put up the best, monster numbers and was simply a beast. Wouldn't we love to have him now??


CALumbus Bear adds in his thoughts:
Wasn't G-Mac second in the NATION (behind Larry Fitzgerald) one year in receiving yards? He had the best hands evair, maybe even better than D-Jax when it came to muscling a ball away from a defender. He deserves it. Vote for G-Mac!

ViaTightwad Hill:

They say it's better to be lucky than good. Well, "they" never met G-Mac. This guy comes out of nowhere to rewrite the Cal record book in 2003, catching 85 passes for 1,504 yards. He has five 150+ yard games and basically wins the Big Game by himself with the greatest stat line in Cal history: 16 catches/245 yards/2 TDs. Then, basking in the glow of All-Pac 10 and 2nd team All-America status and Cal's first bowl invitation in seven years, he fractures his right arm in a non-contact drill. No one touched him. Misses the Insight Bowl win over Virginia Tech.

Oh well, he comes into his senior year a pre-season All-America selection, and opposing defenses are ready. They feed him a steady diet of double teams, and Aaron Rodgers spreads the ball around. Seven different receivers have at least 14 catches on the season, and G-Mac's numbers fall to 57 catches for 862 yards and 7 touchdowns. Plus he plays with a strained oblique muscle for most of the season.

Kodiak: You can't overstate what GMac did in the Big Game. EVERYONE knew that he was going to get the ball. And it didn't matter. Double coverage. Triple coverage. Guys clinging to his jersey and ripping off his jock - he still came down with the ball. ‘Furd tears were ever so sweet that day, and it was all because of his individual brilliance.

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