Our second match-up of the weekend features former Cal football player and current NFL star in Nnamdi Asomugha taking on former Mic Man and architect of probably the greatest upset in CGB Hall of Fame history, Ken Montgomery.
Nnamdi was a good player for Cal, but once he hit the NFL he really blossomed into a top-tier cornerback. He currently plays for the Eagles after a pretty long stint with the Raiders. He advanced into this round with a close 9-vote victory over J.J. Arrington.
Ken was a Mic Man in the early 90's and by all accounts really revolutionized that position. His enthusiasm for all things Cal was infectious and I think that it is safe to say there are not really many Golden Bear fans bigger than him. He upset 1-seed and Cal/ USA darling-soccer star Alex Morgan by over 50 votes, something no one saw coming.
Nnamdi is the higher seed, but Ken's performance in the last round means that any result is possible here. The winner will move on to face DeSean Jackson in the third round of this Joe Kapp Region. You can take a look at the full bracket here and read the full write-ups after the jump. Polling will end on Friday. GO BEARS!(8) Nnamdi Asomugha
R-Rated Superstar wrote a balling post on Asomugha. Incredible stuff from him.
Nnamdi Asomugha is the true embodiment of a California Golden Bear. On the field, Asomugha propelled himself to become one of the top secondary players in football while at the University of California. Playing safety at Cal, Asomugha was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2003 with the 24th overall pick where he then became a cornerback. What a cornerback he would turn out to be.
Since the first day, Asomugha has had to prove the doubters wrong. Many questioned whether or not he was worthy of the high selection, but he silenced all of them for good. After his eight-interception season in 2006, Asomugha earned the reputation of a being a shut-down cornerback. In 2007, one scout told Pro Football Weekly that Nnamdi Asomugha was thrown at "less than any defender in the last ten years." The following year, Nnamdi saw even less action. Opposing quarterbacks tested the top-notch corner a mere 27 times. Asomugha allowed only eight receptions all year. He's a unanimous All-Pro selection on every team and has earned the right to be called, undoubtedly, the best cornerback in the National Football League. He is, without question, the undisputed leader and the heart of the Oakland Raiders
Nnamdi Asomugha graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Finance in 2006. More importantly, philanthropy has been a huge area of focus for the pride of the Silver and the Black. He has been partners with the East Oakland Youth Development Center since 2004. He emphasizes the importance of education, hard work ethic on and off the field, a positive attitude, and a healthy diet.
In 2006, Asomugha launched an annual high school college tour program. Each year, he teams up with the East Oakland Youth Development Center to take students from Bay Area high schools on college tours across the country. Additionally, Asomugha distributes backpacks to the incoming freshmen each year at Narbonne High School in Los Angeles. He also outfits the football and basketball team with shoes, a mandate he wrote into an endorsement contract he signed with Nike.
Not only does Asomugha help within his community, he also helps in his mother's homeland of Nigera, since he's born of Igbo descent, an ethnic group in southeastern Nigeria.
Education and community service are his mainstays. Asomugha serves as Advisory Board Chair for his family's foundation, the Orphans and Widows In Need (OWIN) Foundation. Through OWIN, Asomugha and his family provide food, shelter, medicine, vocational training, literacy efforts, and scholarships to widows and orphans victimized by poverty or abuse in Nigeria.
To top all of that off, Asomugha met with former president Bill Clinton to discuss the importance of global service and student activism at the Clinton Global Initiative University.
President Clinton's youth initiative designed to challenge college students to take action on some of the most pressing global issues in areas such as education, poverty and global health
Here are some of the awards that Nnamdi Asomugha has been noted for off of the football field.
Outstanding Community Service Nomination (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Commitment to Excellence Award (2006)
Commitment to Excellence Award (2007)
Home Depot Neighborhood MVP (2007)
Sports Illustrated 2008 Sportsman of the Year (2008)
"Do Right Men of 2008" by Essence Magazine (2008)
(16) Ken Montgomery
Via Leonpowe: I think it's really important for me to talk about how much his (Ken) being mic-man impacted my Cal fandom. I grew up a pretty big sports fan - my dad and I went to lots of pro sports when I was growing up - Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers and a couple of UCLA games (pro sports . . get it?). But, my high school was terrible at major sports, my junior and senior years we won a total of 5 football and basketball games combined. So I was really looking forward to attending Cal as a freshman in 1992 - I mean we'd have Heisman Candidate Russell White with a team coming of a National #7 ranking . . . what could go wrong? (Oh Cal Sports, always ready to teach a life lesson).
Anyways, behind Gilby and some injuries, we floundered to a 4-7 record. And while I remember some lingering gut punch defeats from that season - what stands out in my memory a lot more was just how much fun it was to attend a college football game - even though the product on the field was less than spectacular, the guy standing on the boards made the games fun.
And that guy was Ken Montgomery. How did he do it? He knew the game - that much was clear - especially in the interceding years when we've had a lot of other mic men (and women) who have ranged from pretty good to terrible. The first and most important part was knowing when to cheer and make noise and when to shut up and when to crack jokes. It was really the last part - not that he was cracking jokes, but he was definitely having a lot of fun with the opportunity to be mic-man. It was a constant conversation with the student section, knowing what to say, commanding, but friendly hat really enriched my game experience as a freshman. And when I speak to alums who are slightly older than I am (my freshman year was the last year Ken was mic man) they mainly remember the same thing. Ken made the game fun. And that, more than anything, contributed to being a Cal fan for life.
But lest you think that he is just about Cal sports, Montgomery too has dedicated much of his time and energy to philanthropic efforts in Africa. He spent a year volunteering at Malawi Children's Village, a village based orphan and other vulnerable children support program in Mangochi, Malawi. It now supports over 2,000 HIV/AIDS orphans living with members of their extended family in 37 villages. MCV supports children from birth to eighteen years providing, shelter, food, safety, health care and education until they can live independent healthy lives. There Montgomery designed and implemented intensive math and English tutorial programs for the high school aged children. These efforts helped MCV orphans pass the national exam (similar to the US SAT) at a rate four times greater than the national average! Upon returning to the United State Montgomery served as president of the board of the US Non Profit that over saw it and along with other board members spearheaded efforts to raise funds which built a new high school and vocational training center. In a small coincidence, one of Montgomery's students just recently graduated from University and in July will be making his first trip to the United States to train for the Clinton Global Initiative!
class2 (via ken_montgomery2001)
There are few legends among the Cal spirit squads, but Montgomery is one of them. Long considered the Teddy Roosevelt of Cal Mic Men (for being thoroughly awesome in every way, and a pioneer of sorts), Montgomery is the man current Mic Men should idolize and replicate. His passion and love for all things Cal translated into some of the most raucous student sections that ever populated Memorial Stadium and Harmon Gymnasium in the early 90s.
He explains how he fell into the role:
So, I hate to sound like one of those people living in the past, but I remember it like it was yesterday. CAL was down by I think 7. So I turned to the crowd, which had been apathetic, and said "Hey Everyone. We are playing the defending national champions... we are only down by 7. The team is playing great. But you don't seem to be in the game. Listen, we come here to have fun right?" And to my surprise a lot of people shouted back "YEAH!" And then I said "So are you ready to start making some noise and getting behind the team?" And again, more people shouted "YEAH!" So then I said "O.K., here's what we're going to do. It's an oldie, it's simple and effective. On three, everyone yell GO BEARS!.... One, two, three", and then you know what, everyone yelled "GO BEARS!!!"
I can't explain what a high it was and how exhilarating to have everyone do what I just told them to do. Then I said "You can't cheer sitting down, you all need to stand up!" That's right, back in the day people actually sat down during the games... So then everyone got up... again, I was thinking to myself "wow, they're doing what I'm saying." So we did another Go Bears! and that is how it all started... So a little later Miami was about to punt and I got everyone chanting "Block that kick! Block that kick!" and you know what, we blocked the punt!!! The crowd went wild, and while I am sure it was unrelated, it got everyone thinking they could have an impact on the game. It was awesome.
He shares one of his favorite memories:
On our way back we stopped by the office where I worked while I was at CAL. Now across Harrison Street was the GAP HQ. So from my office I could see Don Fisher, CEO and founder of the GAP as well as huge CAL alum - was in his office. So down on the street I had the band play the fight song up towards Don's office... He looked out his 6th floor window and pumped his fist, which was cool. But as we were getting on the bus, Don came running across the street to thank us and play another song. I mean, how cool is that? This titan of American business, the owner of one of the iconic American brands that is - literally - a part of the very fabric of America, dropped what he was doing and rushed down to the street because he was so excited about hearing the CAL band! That is the kind of stuff I just love.