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Hall of Fame Round of 64: Joe Kapp Bracket, Part I

During the long-offseason we have decided to name a California Golden Blogs Hall of Fame.  To that end, the readers nominated the players/coaches/administrators, we put a bracket together, and the process has begun.

Check out the full bracket here.

To check out the original nomination thread, click here. 

For those who love the Hall of Fame and want to track all these posts, click here or right next to the timestamp above where it says "Hall of Fame".

This post's matchups: Natalie Coughlin vs Jon Zuber, Kevin Johnson vs Jocelyn Forest



We kick things off with the top half of the Joe Kapp bracket; top two matchups get posted this morning, bottom two this afternoon. Polls for these matchups close next Thursday at midnight. The athlete matchups are above, the athlete descriptions and polls are after the jump. Please read, vote, and debate in the comments!

#1 Natalie Coughlin vs #16 Jon Zuber



Beast Mode gives us the brief intro of Coughlin for those unfamiliar with her accolades:

11 Olympic Medals
3 Olympic Gold medals
Holds numerous US records and set numerous world records


I was planning on putting some of her sweet Olympic backstroke races, but NBC, being the total dicks they are about copyright, pulled them all off YouTube. Great job fellas. Way to promote your athletes. So I'm left with this article about the physics/fluid dynamics of dolphin kicks which Coughlin is famous for using off the turns, and an even cooler video of a female swimmer simulation (probably Coughlin?) of the fluid dynamics of the kick.



Twist once did a fine YouTube Thursday post on her (for the 4th of July!) which includes some interviews, highlights and training tipsHe also showed Coughlin's pre-Beijing profile, which includes her NCAA accolades at Cal. Check it out below.




Natalie Coughlin
Country: USA
Event: Women's Swimming - Freestyle/Backstroke/IM
Hometown: Vallejo, Calif.
Years at Cal: 2001-04

Arguably the greatest female swimmer in Cal history, Coughlin won 12 NCAA titles with the Golden Bears (the second-most career titles for a women's swimmer in NCAA history). She was a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year. Her success only grew more after her collegiate tenure. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Coughlin became the third American woman to win five medals at one Olympics (the others are Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller). She took gold in the 100-meter backstroke and the 800 freestyle relay, breaking the world record in that event. Coughlin also won silver medals in the 400 free relay and the 400 medley relay, and a bronze in the 100 free. At the 2008 Olympic Trials, Coughlin lowered her world record in the 100 back to 58.97. In addition, she finished second in both the 100 free (53.83) and 200 individual medley (2:10.32).

I predict you already have a solid appreciation of who Natalie Coughlin is.  Although it states her hometown is the Valley Jo.  I always thought it was Concord. 


Also, she's one of our many athletes on Twitter! Everyone who saw her Olympic profile knows she's grown huge on the cooking thing to keep her from going crazy during all the swimming training. Thus, posts like "Fava bean puree on garlic toast, dungeness crab/avoc/beet salad, saffron chick w/ parm pudding, & cheese tart w/ blueberry lemon cream" "Making dinner. Just when I thought I had nothing to eat...found frozen artichokes in freezer. Voilà: artichoke-lemon risotto!" are not the least bit surprising!


#16:  Jon Zuber.




California Pete and Ohio Bear recall how good Zuber was for Cal baseball.

Ohio Bear: Cal baseball, 1989-92. Key player on the 1992 team that went to the College World Series: he was starting 1B and closer. He also started a key ballgame in a 1991 win against stanfurd that got us into the NCAAs (where we ultimately lost in the regional final at Wichita State). Zub is now the pitching coach for Cal.

California Pete: Lance Blankenship was arguably the most talented player of the Milano era. And Jeff Kent went on to have the most accomplished professional career. But Zuber remains my all-time favorite Cal baseball player. He was a multi-talented gamer that did it all, and he just got better and better with each year of his Cal career. He single-handedly kept me going out to Evans Diamond to watch the Bears, even after I had graduated.

Twist: Although a quick review of their teacher page shows that she no longer teaches there (I guess things change since the late 80s!), Jon Zuber's mom was a teacher of mine back in elementary school.  Here is some more information on him.




One of the greatest players in California baseball history, Jon Zuber has now established himself as an outstanding coach. During the 2008 season, Zuber mentored some of the finest hitters in Cal history when Josh Satin batted .379 and was selected a first team All-American in Baseball America, while David Cooper batted .359 and was a first round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays. Satin and Cooper combined to be named to seven different All-America teams and together hit 37 home runs with 107 RBI. The Golden Bears also finished second in the Pac-10 with a .302 team batting average.


In addition, Zuber coached 2009 preseason All-American Blake Smith, who was the USA National Team's leading hitter last summer with a .327 average.


Zuber was hired as Cal assistant baseball coach on July 12, 2004, working primarily as the hitting and third base coach. In his first year with the program, Zuber immediately helped Cal vie for a postseason berth and produce two All-Pac-10 hitters (Brennan Boesch and Josh Satin) and a freshman All-American (Satin). In 2008, he saw three of his hitters sign pro contracts, and in 2006 four Bear hitters were drafted in the top eight rounds.


A former major leaguer and a 2003 California Hall of Fame inductee, Zuber was named Co-Pac-10 Player of the Year and NCAA East Regional MVP in 1992. He remains Cal's career leader in hits (291), doubles (61) and putouts (1,299), and ranks among all-time school leaders in runs scored (third, 187), walks (fourth, 137), batting average (sixth, .364) and RBI (sixth, 148). Zuber, who led the Bears to the 1991 NCAA Midwest Regional finals and the 1992 College World Series, was also an outstanding pitcher who still ranks seventh in career saves (13) in school history.


A three-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection, Zuber was Cal's batting leader with a .386 average in 1990. He was drafted in the 12th round by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1992 and went on to play first base and outfield in the major leagues for the Phillies from 1996-99. In 1993, Zuber set the single-season doubles record, 37, while playing for Clearwater in the Florida State League. He was later selected to play in six Minor League All-Star Games (1993 Single A Florida State League, 1994 Double A Eastern League, 1996-99 Triple A International League) and was named the 1996 Scranton Wilkes-Barre Player of the Year. Zuber also played for the New York Yankees, the Yokahama Baystars in Japan (batting .305 in 2001) and the Milwaukee Brewers, before retiring from professional baseball in 2002. 


Zuber, 39, earned a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Cal in 1993. He and his wife, Shannon, live in Lafayette with their daughters, Madison (eight on March 19) and Tatum (four on February 17). His father, Ed, is the announcer for Cal baseball's home games.


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#8 Kevin Johnson vs #9 Jocelyn Forest



Probably one of our closest matchups on paper. Here's the Oski-friendly summary of one of the most exciting points to ever play ball at Harmon.

Despite excelling at two sports in high school, Johnson decided to play basketball exclusively at the collegiate level, and accepted a scholarship to play basketball for the University of California at Berkeley. Playing all four seasons, Johnson ended his college basketball career in 1987 as the school's all-time leader in assists, steals, and scoring (since eclipsed by Lamond Murray). He was also the first player in the Pac-10 Conference to post a "triple-double" in the statistics, and he was named to the Pac-10's all-conference First Team in both his junior and senior seasons, averaging 17.2 points and 5.0 assists in his final basketball season. His number 11 is retired.

California Pete's favorite lineup while at Cal involved Johnson running point, mainly because they ended a long streak of misery to UCLA.


11 – Kevin Johnson
22 – Chris Washington
33 – Eddie Javius
44 – Leonard Taylor
5 – Dave Butler

I still don’t know why Butler didn’t change his # to 55. It’s a toss-up for me between KJ and Jason Kidd as far as the most entertaining player I’ve seen wear the Blue and Gold. But LT was a monster, surpassed as a Cal power forward only by Mr. Powe. Probably could have had a good NBA career if not for a dangerous neck condition.


JoshinPortland: Best player on that team. Glorious day in a packed Kips watching UCLA go down for the first time in my lifetime.


Here's the only Cal footage I could find of KJ, from the 1987 NBA Draft (starting at about 3 minutes in). 



The announcers were surprised he was drafted so high at 7th. I was surprised too. He should've been drafted 3rd.



#9:  Jocelyn Forest




Ososdeoro relates the unbelievable story of Forest's run through the World Series of Softball.


I’ll let Sports Illustrated say it:


Jocelyn struck out 15 and one-hit Arizona, 2-1. And she didn’t stop for a month straight. In the NCAA regionals she pitched every inning, had a 0.87 ERA, and Cal went 4-0. In the World Series the same thing happened: every inning, 4-0, 0.50 ERA, most outstanding player of the tournament. And again she one-hit Arizona, this time for the national title. It was Cal’s first NCAA women’s championship in any sport. "Winning was just so awesome," says Jocelyn. "We were unstoppable."

Incredible. Want to know what makes it even more than incredible? 

HolmoePhobe: That Arizona game was one week after her sister was murdered…

Read that whole Reilly SI piece. Check out some of the highlights from the title game where Forest outdueled Jennie Finch. And if you have some spare time, take a look at this story from the Collegian to find out how Forest has made the transition to pitching coach for Penn State softball. You've gotta feel for her.

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