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CGB Hall Of Fame Wild Card

Firstly, note that CalBandGreat will be in attendance at today's Open Practice. Or at least he will be, if he can sneak past the "Student Only" signs. He'll be tweeting back information and have a write up for tomorrow. Keep it locked at the CGB Twitter for more info.

Well, people, we are in the final stages of voting for the CGB Hall Of Fame. Our inaugural class has come together (unveiling to come later!), but there are still two more people to vote in.

We knew that due to the pairings there were some players who might have been deserving, but couldn't make it in. Whether it was facing off against Tedford too early or going up against the Detroit-led Follett juggernaut, there were some players who met early demises. We've heard you loud and clear and now is the opportunity to vote in 2 (2!) more players. Our inaugural class will be 11 people strong. Mark Bingham plus the original 8 plus the 2 wild cards. But starting next year, we'll probably just have the top 4 go into the CGB Hall Of Fame. So, it only gets tougher from hereon in! Who will make it in right now and not have to worry about next year? We've ranked the players by those who got the most votes. They are listed below:

Natalie Coughlin 327
Joe Roth 213
Sandy Barbour 156
Aaron Rodgers 132
Desean Jackson 131
Ashley Walker 130
JJ Arrington 124
The Play players 122

Read their biographies behind the jump and then vote! Top 2 vote getters will make it into the class. GO BEARS!

Natalie Coughlin



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 tips. He 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!

Joe Roth



To learn more about Roth, let's listen to the impeccable Keith Jackson.

"Dying is not so tough. For the last three years I've lived with the realization that the next day might be my last. I'm lucky to be here as long as I was, so don't feel any pity. A lot of people younger than me and older than me have to face up to this sort of thing. I'm nothing special. I'm Joe Roth, a student and a football player."

Joe Roth

You can find out more about Roth here.

On a lighter side, this gives us a chance to showcase that great 1975 season again! Check out this sweet retro footage and vintage Roth.

#5 Sandy Barbour



Although Sandy B gets a lot of credit for something she didn't do (the previous AD hired Tedford), she, nonetheless, has been one of the best ADs in Cal history. She was a historic hire as noted here:

– Saying she'd "spent 23 years preparing for this opportunity," Anne "Sandy" Barbour met the press, the public, and the UC Berkeley community Wednesday in her new role as UC Berkeley's athletic director.

The surprise pick makes Barbour, 44, the first woman ever to head Cal's sports program, and the first appointment by Robert J. Birgeneau, who doesn't assume his official duties as chancellor until next week. Wearing a blue-and-gold Cal necktie, Birgeneau noted that the announcement - a topic of intense speculation among Cal boosters and media wags alike -- came on his third day as a UC employee, and said he "couldn't have imagined how exciting it would be."

Cal has rocketed up the Director's Cup Standings since Sandy B came out here. Although she focuses strongly on the two revenue sports, she does not ignore the non-revenue sports, which can be just as important to school spirit. We have national champions in sports like women's swimming, discus, and crew. Not to mention elite teams, like women's volleyball.

I think she'll most known for her work to help shepherd the Memorial Stadium upgrade through. It was a long process and many other people, including many Cal fans, lost patience with the process. But she understood how things worked, kept unimportant problems unimportant and has Cal moving towards owning elite facilities. That's the job of an administrator, really. To provide leadership on important projects and make key decisions towards improving the metaphorical and literal playing field for our sports. And she has provided that in spades.


Aaron Rodgers



norcalnick provides one more fantastic profile about one of Cal's greatest quarterbacks.

Because I am also a San Francisco 49er fan, I tuned into the 2005 NFL draft very much hoping that Aaron Rodgers would complete his destiny as a childhood Joe Montana fan and don the Red and Gold as our franchise quarterback. Four years later and I’m still not sure if I wished that had happened.

Rodgers only had about a season and a half to make an impression as a starter for the Golden Bears, and he wasted very little time. Taking over as starting QB midway through the ’03 season, Rodgers led a late season charge for a bowl berth in a year that was expected to be a rebuilding year. He then had perhaps the best performance ever by a Cal QB in a bowl game, sending expectations for 2004 sky-high in a thrilling, crazy 52-49 victory over Virginia Tech in the Insight Bowl. He threw for 394 yards and 2 TDs.

His 2005 season can almost be described as disappointing, although none of the fault would fall to Rodgers. How can a 10-2 season be disappointing? How about when hard-luck injuries gradually hamper the passing game as the team slowly puts the offensive burden on the legs of JJ Arrington? Or when those receiver injuries haunt Cal by essentially preventing any chance at a comeback in a painful loss to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl? And most of all, how about when your QB puts together one of the most impressive single game efforts in a losing effort to the eventual national champs? Never have I been surer of something football related in my life than when Cal had first and goal at the USC 9 with less than two minutes to go. Cal was going to score. Aaron Rodgers was 29-31. There is no way we don’t take the lead. I just sat numb in my chair when Jonathan Makonnen slipped on 4th down, not comprehending that I was wrong.



Go to Hell, BCS! You go to Hell and you DIE!

Sadly, the peak of Rodger’s passing attack at Cal was probably reached in Corvallis in the game just before Cal’s loss to USC. In that game Rodgers, Chase Lyman, and Geoff MacArthur absolutely blitzed Oregon State in a 49-7 victory. Next week Lyman would go down with a knee injury that would essentially end is football career. Makonnen would miss most of the games that year with a variety of nagging ailments and MacArthur played through various problems that limited his abilities before going down with a freak injury in practice before the Holiday Bowl. It’s a testament to Rodger’s talent and Tedford’s coaching that Cal’s passing attack didn’t completely disappear.



Despite a rocky start, Rodgers came to embrace Green Bay fans, culture and moustaches.

Rodgers intelligently declared for the draft in a down year for quarterbacks. In one of the most unbelievable displays of NFL draft skullduggery he somehow slid to the end of the first round to the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers suffered through Brett Favre’s chronic indecisiveness and is now the unquestioned starter for a perennial playoff contender. Meanwhile, Alex Smith is for some reason still considered a viable starting quarterback contender for the 49ers. I said above that I don’t know if I’m still upset that the 49ers drafted Smith over Rodgers. That’s because I wouldn’t wish the 49er’s dysfunction on a Cal quarterback as clearly talented as Rodgers is, even if that means he has to play for a team that knocked out my 49ers every damned year in the late 90s. When everything is done many expect Rodgers to finish his NFL career as the most decorated quarterback ever to come out of Cal. I’ll remember him as the player that vaulted Cal from feel-good mid-conference team to perennial Pac-10 title contender.

#3 DeSean Jackson

Lingering thoughts from some fool blogger.

When you were on, you were spectacular. You provided some of the most raucous reactions in Memorial Stadium in recent memory with your big game plays. The fans called for your name in earnest as the 2007 season grew darker, just hoping for a spark to come from somewhere, hoping you’d provide it. It didn’t really happen. But it was a good ride, and I'll miss that excitement and energy that each catch and return presented.

Ashley Walker

Norcalnick has both profiles this time around, starting with an excellent post on Walker.

Ashley Walker came to Cal as the overlooked member of the class that revived women’s basketball in Berkeley. She wasn’t as heralded as Alexis Gray-Lawson or Devanei Hampton. She’s not flashy. She’s not particularly fast. Hampton and Rama N’diaye are both taller and bigger than Walker. And yet, after the most successful four year stretch in Cal women’s basketball history, it was Walker who emerged as the rock, the go-to player, the one who rewrote the record book with an amazing combination of constant growth and reliability.

Consider these numbers: Ashley Walker led Cal in the following statistical categories in her senior year: Minutes, points, rebounds, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, blocks and three point percentage. If she had two more steals she would have led the team in that category as well. And Cal was not a team of scrubs with one superstar – Cal was a consistent top 10 team with talent, depth and a good coach. Ashley Walker did everything.



Her profile from

"ranked first in Cal history in rebounds (1117), free throws made (506) and attempted (675)... tied for first in games played (130)...second in career points (2142), blocked shots (174) and made field goals (810)...third in scoring average (16.5 ppg)...fourth in field goal percentage (52.7)... seventh in free throw percentage (75.3), and ninth in career steals (177)...ranks sixth on the Pac-10 career rebounding list and seventh in Pac-10 career scoring."

My favorite memory of Walker is somewhat bittersweet. Not surprisingly for a player who seemed to get better each game over four years, Walker played her best in her final NCAA tournament. First, she shot 9-12 for 21 points in an easy win over Fresno St. Then she destroyed Virginia, shooting 14-20 for 32 points along with 10 boards. And for the first 14 minutes against #1 UConn Walker kept it going, hitting threes, getting inside, grabbing boards and generally frustrating Geno Auriemma. UConn still cruised to victory, but Walker finished with 21 points. I firmly believe that Cal would have beaten just about any other team in the nation that day the way the team, and Walker, were peaking.

Walker was drafted 10th by the Seattle Storm and will now show her talent in the WNBA, where I have little doubt that a player with her versatility and ability to improve will carve out a successful role for a long time to come. Meanwhile Cal will have to do without what I believe is the best female basketball player ever to wear the blue and gold. Vote Ashley for the Hall of Fame!

For those of you MTV people wondering what Walker's living conditions were like at Cal...let's just say they were pretty peachy (lots of cool images of her crib if you click!)

J.J. Arrington



Tightwad Hill encapsulated Arrington's 2004 season perfectly.

Cal fans were understandably anxious to see what Arrington would do carrying the full workload in 2004. What he did was have the greatest season by any player in the history of Cal football. That’s right. The greatest season ever.

In each of his 12 games, Arrington hit for at least 100 yards – the only back in America to make that claim. Against Air Force in the opener, he scored three times including an 89-yard run that set a Cal record. 3 more scores against NMSU, and then a couple of off games – 108 yards and a TD v Oregon State and 112 in the heartbreak loss to SC. Then J.J. got serious.

The first 1:19 are the only Cal highlights I could find of JJ. The run at :49 is my favorite. Nice tackling Ducks.

The Play Players

Norcalnick talks about The Play.

Moen to Rodgers to Garner to Rodgers to Ford to Moen. Like pi to math majors, every Cal fan should know the sequence. But how exactly did a last second victory in a game with no real national significance become so legendary, so mythical?



I tried to find a different picture, but apparently this was the only photo taken in the entire stadium.

When I was 9 I went to my first Big Game and watched Cal win. Having been hooked on Cal football, I then saw Cal lose 7 straight times. My Mom, the consummate pessimistic yet loyal Cal fan, would hold up The Play as our desperate Cal fan trump card. Lose 7 in a row to the ‘furd? So what, we have The Play. Go a decade without a bowl? Whatevs, we have The Play. No Rose Bowl berths in either of our lifetimes? No worries, we have The Play.

For 20 years between The Play and Tedford, it was our one shining moment in a sea of football pain and misery. Whenever the Big Game was in Palo Alto my mom would play a tape that analyzed The Play, including an introduction, the CALX call of the game (which is significantly more confusing even than Starkey’s call) and player interviews. We played it to piss off the Stanford fans, because THEY LOST ON THE PLAY!

Every once in a while ESPN or Sports Illustrated will have some silly internet voting for the greatest play in college (or sports) history. Despite a biased voting public, The Play almost always wins. Nothing can match 6 laterals against your biggest rival with the most insane band in America on the field.

It is here that we must mention the unfortunate part of our story: Mariet Ford, he of the psychic blind lateral, is currently behind bars for the murder of his wife and 35 month old son. The Chronicle has a long profile on Ford, detailing the glory of The Play and his fall from grace.

Now, in 2009, with 6 straight bowl games and perennial conference title contention, maybe The Play isn’t as important as it used to be. We don’t need to hang our hat on one moment. Or, maybe The Play will remain as a moment that defines Cal athletes and fans alike with the attitude that the Bear will not quit, the Bear will not die.

And if you ever wondered if The Play was ‘the most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heart-rending... exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football,’ I’ll leave you with this:

Via Wikipedia:

For many years, John Elway was bitter, on both a personal level and on behalf of his team, about the touchdown being allowed: "This was an insult to college football... They [the officials] ruined my last game as a college football player."