CGB Hall of Fame: (10) Joe Igber vs. (2) Seamus Kelly

Ruey Yen

Two of Cal's finest examples of student athletes battle in the final Round of 32 matchup. Take a look at the most recently updated bracket here.

(10) Joe Igber

Cal Beats Stanford, Big Game 2002 (via belmonto)

I'll let BearStage talk about Igber here:

Joe Igber. My all-time favorite Cal running back. Often overlooked, his name litters the pages of Cal's record books.

- His 3,124 career rushing yards are the third most in Cal history. Only Russell White and Marshawn Lynch can claim more.

-His 2002 rushing total of 1,130 yards was the 3rd highest single-season total in Cal history (at that time)

His greatest performance: a 226-yard, one-touchdown performance in the 2002 Big Game, which Cal won 30-7. Not only did he set the record for most rushing yards in the history of the Big Game (which still stands), he helped bring the Axe back to its rightful home after a painful 7-year drought.

These accomplishments alone should be enough to garner him consideration. And while these are all great reasons to appreciate Joe Igber, I'm most impressed with him because his career typified what we strive for Cal to be. You see, Igber somehow managed to balance the workload of a star Pac-10 running back with the workload of becoming a civil engineer.

Now, most people can barely handle one of those challenges. We all know how time consuming and stress inducing engineering majors are - between physics/math/engineering courses, labs, projects, research (if you're ambitious) - it's more than enough for most of us. UC Berkeley is one of the best (and toughest) places in the world to study engineering. People come from all over the world to study engineering at Cal, and that reputation is well-deserved, and it was the main reason that Joe Igber decided to come to Cal in the first place.

Also, we've all heard about how much time, sacrifice, dedication it takes to play Pac-10 football, let alone be a starter - the practice, the training, and weight rooms, the film, the travel. Add to the that the pressure of being the star running back, and you've got yourself a full plate that very few have the patience and focus to handle.

On top of even that - to perform at the level that Joe Igber did, to set records and do things on the field no Golden Bear has ever done, while handling that academic workload - it's just ridiculous.

Joe Igber is that rare combination, the very best of both of Cal's worlds - an amazing athlete and an impressive scholar. As such, I nominate him for the CGB Hall of Fame.

(Bonus: follow this link for incredible pictures of Joe Igber from Life magazine)

(2) Seamus Kelly

Needless to say, the Cal Rugby program is the most dominant in the sport. Since the inception of the program in 1882, there is one accomplishment that has only been achieved once--the only player in Cal Rugby history to be a three-time captain is Seamus Kelly. That speaks volumes to the quality of character and the quality of play that Kelly brings to Witter Field.

The on-field accolades of "Famous" Seamus are endless. During his time at Cal, he was a member of two teams that won the national championship, helped lead the team to our first Sevens National Championship, was named an All-American four times, and was the 2013 RUGBYMag Men's College Player of the Year.

When RUGBYMag named him their Player of the Year, they described his greatness as follows:

In the end we chose Cal's Seamus Kelly because he was the most consistently great. He scored the dramatic try to tie the [2013] Varsity Cup final before BYU's Johnny Linehan hit the winning drop goal. He was MVP for the [College Rugby Championshps] and started for the Eagles (the US National team).

Kelly's skills are myriad. He is smart, can lead a backline, is an excellent defender at center, and very strong over the ball in the rucks. It is his skill in the breakdown that can be overlooked, but will stand him in good stead in his future.

And we haven't even discussed his attacking acumen, which is as good as anyone's.

Not only has Kelly been a key playmaker for Jack Clark's Golden Bears, but he's also started for the US National Team, the Eagles. While his rugby play is plenty incredible, he's known for his humble and team-first character and his academic dedication that will lead him to graduating with a degree in Political Economy.

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