clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

CGB Hall of Fame: (6) Alex Filippenko v. (11) Kirk Everist

Our next matchup comes out of the Joe Kapp Region and features beloved professor Alex Filippenko taking on Men's Water Polo legend Kirk Everist. Everist has a significantly lower seed than last year, but still is a formidible opponent for Filippenko, who is again a favorite non-sports Cal figure. We'll take a closer look at both of them and then you can cast your vote to decide who moves on. You can take a look at the whole bracket here and voting will end Friday at noon.

Cal Bears Online

(6) Alex Filippenko

InFocus: Alex Filippenko (via CalTV Berkeley)


Birthdate: July 25, 1958 in Oakland, CA

Education: B.A. Physics, 1979, University of California, Santa Barbara; Ph. D, Astronomy, 1984, California Institute of Technology

Institution: Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences; University of California, Berkeley

His official Bio:

Alex Filippenko is the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences. His accomplishments, documented in about 700 research papers, have been recognized by several major prizes, and he is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers. In 2009 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and he shared part of the Gruber Cosmology Prize in 2007. He has won the top teaching awards at UC Berkeley and has been voted the "Best Professor" on campus a record 9 times. In 2006 he was selected as the Carnegie/CASE National Professor of the Year among doctoral institutions, and in 2010 he won the ASP's Emmons Award for undergraduate teaching. He has produced five astronomy video courses with "The Great Courses," coauthored an award-winning textbook, and appears in numerous TV documentaries including about 40 episodes of "The Universe" series. An avid tennis player, hiker, and skier, he enjoys world travel and is addicted to observing total solar eclipses (11 so far).

Former students weigh in:

iVinishe: Alex Filippenko holds a special place in my Cal experience. Professor Filippenko was the first faculty member I interacted with on a meaningful level at Cal. Though I was merely a high school senior who possibly could go to another institution, Professor Filippenko still took the time to get to know me and offer a bit of advice into my difficult decision. 3 years later, he still remembered my name, despite our having no contact during that time period.

In 2006, Filippenko was named the CASE Professor of the Year award, beating out other professors from universities across the country for the honor. A frequent guest on astronomy documentaries, Filippenko can often be seen on the History Channel's "The Universe". He and his research group have performed some of the most groundbreaking research in astronomy; one project Filippenko collaborated and did extensive work on on went on to garner the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for Saul Perlmutter, another Cal professor. Filippenko himself is on some 660 published papers. In 2000, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 2009 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences - just one of a laundry list of awards and accolades he has collected in his career.

In spite of his research accomplishments, Filippenko still takes the time to run Astro C10: Introduction to General Astronomy, a course Filippenko passionately teaches every fall. A professor with a stated philosphy "to bring the magnificence of the cosmos to the students and to show them that through careful observations, experiments and interpretations, we humans have the potential to understand how our universe works," Filippenko has consistently been voted the Best Professor at Cal, and Astro C10 is one of the most popular courses on campus. Filippenko is also active in student life, often serving as a guest speaker for student receptions and faculty dinners. In his time at Cal, Filippenko has touched and improved the lives of more students than almost any other professor in the world.

He even helped us get a Cal star

Following in the footsteps of the colors blue and gold, the Golden Bear and Oski, the campus mascot, comes UC Berkeley's own star system. Located in the Cygnus constellation, the double star Albireo - consisting of one blue and one gold star that circle endlessly- has been adopted by UC Berkeley's Student Senate.

TEDxSF - Dr. Alex Filippenko - Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe (via TEDxTalks)

Minesweeper: Filippenko was by far my favorite professor while at Berkeley (my major was EECS). He has the ability to describe complex concepts in simple, accessible terms with an infectious enthusiasm. Just watch his talk at TEDxSF from a couple years ago to get an idea of what I'm talking about. He's been voted the "Best Professor" on campus many times, and was a member of both teams that discovered (in 1998) that the Universe's expansion is accelerating.

(11) Kirk Everist

MSS: Kirk Everist (via swimmingworldtv)

The Cal water polo program has a storied history and Kirk Everist is one of the program's all-time greats. Everist has won four national championships as a Cal Bear: two as a player in the 1980s and two more as Cal's head coach.


Producing back-to-back NCAA titles, two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation crowns, 29 All-Americans and numerous academic honorees, Kirk Everist has proven to be the perfect individual to perpetuate the tradition of excellence that defines California water polo. In six seasons (140-40, .778) Everist has twice led the Golden Bears to the pinnacle of the sport; last year directing his alma mater to its NCAA-record 13th national crown with a 8-6 win over USC after a thrilling 7-6 last-second national championship victory over the Trojans in 2006.

A former three-time All-American, 1988 NCAA Player of the Year and two-time United States Olympian, Everist, 41, earned the 2002 MPSF Coach of the Year honors in his inaugural season when he guided Cal to the MPSF Tournament title and a national runner-up finish. Then in 2004, he was inducted into both the Cal Athletic and the USA Water Polo Hall of Fames. In 2006, Everist was selected USA Water Polo's Elite Co-Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to both the MPSF and NCAA titles. On July 29, 2002 Everist returned to his alma mater and immediately led the Bears to a 20-7 mark and Cal's first MPSF title and national runner-up finish since 1995. Now after guiding the Bears to the school's first back-to-back NCAA trophies since the early '90s, Everist and his troops are in a position to vie for a third-straight national crown in 2008.

Before his successful return to Berkeley, Everist had contributed to eight CIF North Coast championships as an assistant coach at Miramonte High School. During Everist's 11-year tenure at Miramonte, the school also produced nine league titles and three third-place finishes in the California State Tournament. He helped develop 22 high school All-Americans, and three of his former players went on to earn NCAA All-American recognition, while two ex-pupils have played on NCAA championship teams.

Two time national champion as a player. Two time national champion as a coach. Three time All-American. On top of all of that, Everist was twice a member of the United States Olympic water polo team. Certainly, Everist has Hall of Fame credentials.

Plus, we totally interviewed him and he had this great answer:

17. How many times do you run around the office in your swim trunks with the trophies laughing hysterically?

Not very often but it is a great job and I love it very much. CAL is an amazing place and I am very lucky to be here.