(1) Jorge Gutierrez
Pac 12 player of the year Jorge Gutierrez hits the court with Daily Cal sports editor (via thedailycal)
I'm pretty sure I speak for more than just myself when I say that Jorge is one of my favorite Cal athletes to watch, not only in the past few years, but also in my lifetime. I always felt like no matter whom we were playing or how the game was going, as long as Jorge was there we had a chance. I knew that he would never quit and would be right there to take a charge, dive on the floor for a loose ball, or hit a huge shot at the buzzer. Simply put, he was an exciting player and one that embodied everything that Cal athletics represents. It was a privilege to watch him play and I'm glad he was a Golden Bear.
Via Avi's stellar post about him:
When we first watched Gutierrez, it was hard not to love him. Jorge was just a high energy bundle that wasn't terribly focused, but it always seemed to spark the team when he was really able to get into it. Here was a guy who struggled to dribble, struggled to pass, struggled to shoot, and there he was locking down James Harden, spearheading a double digit comeback against the Furd, dunking and throwing an and-one layup high in the air to clinch a Pac-10 title.
Love does funny things to you. It makes you forget about turnover rates and field goal percentage and free throw rate because numbers be damned, watching Jorge was a joy. You discard those things because you like to imagine you can play with that sort of wild desperation, put that much effort into something you love that much. With that type of effort, that type of confidence, and just enough skill, anything is possible.
I've watched Cal basketball seriously for four years, and having Jorge be part of those experiences made it not just worthwhile, but meaningful. Watching almost every big momentum-changing steal, every forced turnover; every grimace; every sell of a call, every race he made toward a basketball regardless of what might be in the way, every time he went to the ground and we held our breath, until we realized it was Jorge and he'd be up in thirty seconds because that's who he was, every little inch he refused to give to his opponent, every chestbump from an inspired teammate, every spontaneous standing ovation we gave him for some random Jorge thing he'd do, every little thing he did do that we thought he couldn't do--those moments added up.
Via his Official Cal Bears profile:
The first recruit signed by head coach Mike Montgomery at Cal (mid-May 2008), Gutierrez is a versatile guard who can play several positions on the court ... proved to be an invaluable reserve coming off the bench ... consistently one of the hardest-working players whenever he's on the court ... named the team's Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Via the announcement about winning Pac-12 POY:
Senior guard Jorge Gutierrez, the heart and soul of a Cal team that chased the conference championship until the final day of the season, became the first player named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year on Monday.
"Jorge just wins, and he has done that for us for four years," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "Coaches appreciate that part of it, without getting stuck on numbers or the spectacular athleticism. I'm not trading Jorge for anybody."
Also be sure and check out this Sports Illustrated profile on Jorge.
(9) Pete Cutino
In 1963, Pete began working as a supervisor in physical education and coach of swimming and water polo at the University of California, Berkeley. Each of his swim teams from 1963 to 1974 had a winning season, and his water polo teams established an unprecedented record of having won eight NCAA titles as well as having been the runner-up four times, placing third once and fourth twice. In his 26 years as a coach at Cal, Pete was the all-time winning coach in U.S. water polo history. He was also a four-time NCAA and Pac-10 Coach of the Year, directing Golden Bear teams to a record of 519-172. Pete retired in 1989 on the momentum of a 33-game win streak and a second straight NCAA title. He coached 68 All-Americans, six Pac-10 and NCAA Players of the Year, and many Olympians. Pete also coached 13 teams to victory in the U.S. water polo senior national championships and served as the head coach of U.S. National Water Polo team from 1972-76, during which he led the team to the Pan American Games and many other international tournaments, including the World University Games.
Throughout his years on and beyond the pool deck at UC Berkeley, Pete Cutino worked tirelessly on promoting and raising funds for Cal Aquatics - to perpetuate the success he had built there. Along with Rick Cronk, Pete founded the "Splash Club," which consisted of supporters of the men's water polo and swimming teams at Cal. More recently, Pete was a driving force, along with Rick Cronk, Peter Schnugg, and many others, in establishing the "Friends of Cal Aquatics," a broader-based support group which continues to seek philanthropic support in order to insure that Cal's championship men's and women's water polo and swimming teams will have world-class training and competition facilities.
Via reader MV Bear
Watching him at the edge of pool was like watching a Bear in a Cage; you didn't want to mess with him. In the 80's Cal Water Polo was the ONLY sport that you felt like we were superior. Pete Cutino was frequently honored as an educator and coach, and was presented with the U.S. Congressional Award by the Honorable Leon E. Panetta. Pete received the Distinguished Alumnus-of-the-Year from Cal Poly, and he was also inducted into 8 Halls of Fame.
Cutino coached 68 All-Americans, six Pac-10 and NCAA Players of the Year, and five Olympians. "He taught us that anything worth accomplishing would not come without discomfort," recalls Kirk Everist, who played for Cutino at Cal and is now the head coach there. "And he was always there to administer the discomfort."
A few quotes fromPete:
1. "The opportunity to compete in sports is short-lived, and to compete at this level is truly extraordinary. So it is important to pause and reflect on the values and principles inherent in what you do. These principles can, depending on you, guide your future."
2. "If you are a champion, you become the standard, the target, and that is as it should be - in order for you to constantly develop towards excellence."
3. "Do not trade long-term values like character and dignity for temporary bravado and the in-your-face mentality."