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Introducing the California Golden Blogs Hall of Fame, Class of 2014

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We are pleased to present the 2014 Class of the California Golden Blogs Hall of Fame!

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Cal fans, we proudly present to you the 2014 California Golden Blogs Hall of Fame Class.  You've spent the last four months doing your civic duty by voting in our 64-member tournament. We thank every one of you who submitted nominations and voted week after week.  Today we enjoy the results of your tireless work.

Here's who is currently in the Hall of Fame:

Inaugural class of 2009: Mark Bingham (who received and deserved his own post of individual merit), Tony Gonzalez, Jack Clark, Jeff Tedford, Leon Powe, Zack Follett, Marshawn Lynch, Natalie Coughlin, Joe Roth, Jason Kidd and Chuck Muncie.

Class Of 2010: The Play Players; Alex Mack; Aaron Rodgers; and, of course, the one, the only Glenn Seaborg.

Class Of 2011: Brent WoodallJill CostelloChancellor Chang-Lin Tien; Deltha O'Neal; Matt Biondi; Kevin Johnson; and Dana Vollmer.

Class of 2012: Nathan Adrian; Joe Kapp; Ron Gould; Robert O. Briggs; and Ken Montgomery.

Class of 2013Alex MorganJorge GutierrezCarli LloydValerie Arioto, and Pete Newell.

And introducing the Class of 2014: Desmond BishopLayshia ClarendonJolene HendersonSeamus KellyMike Mohamed, and the 2010 Men's Basketball Seniors.

Despite earning a 12-seed, Desmond Bishop managed to notch an upset in each round, including an impressive 80%-20% victory over (7) Anthony Ervin in the championship match.

Layshia Clarendon is our first women's basketball player to join the Hall of Fame.  The only 1-seed to be inducted this season, Layshia won the Pete Newell region by defeating Russell White 61%-39%.

Although she was defeated by Desmond Bishop in the Elite Eight matchups, Jolene Henderson triumphed in the Wild Card round to earn the final spot in the Hall of Fame.

Famous Seamus Kelly advanced through the Brick Muller region before facing a tough challenge from Mike Mohamed.  In the championship round we had something we've never seen before in the Hall of Fame: a tie!  I then made the executive decision to elect both.  I don't expect anyone to disagree with that decision.

Finally, the 2010 Men's Basketball Seniors defeated four football players, including Cameron Jordan in a 54%-46% victory in the championship round.

If you would like to see the completed bracket to see how all the action unfolded, go here.

And now, allow us to reintroduce this years inductees:

Desmond Bishop

Cal vs. Washington 2006 Bishop seals the victory (via HairOfTheBear)

People remember Marshawn owning things on the offensive end in that UW game, but they might forget that Bishop was a one man wrecking crew on D (16 tackles and the game clinching INT).

Throughout 2006 he was our defensive leader, and we certainly missed that fire in 2007.

Twist weighs in:

The Fiery Emotional and Vocally Inspiring Leader - this type of leader is emotional. He'll also have big time emotional celebrations after a big play, inspiring his teammates with confidence and energy. But what makes this type of leader different from the Fiery Emotional Cocky Leader is his ability to emotionally pick up his players. He's the one prowling the benches, screaming, and inspiring his teammates with words and speeches to find the heart within them to play harder and not quit. An example of this type of leader from last year's team would be Desmond Bishop.

As a senior in 2006, he became the first Bear in 13 years to lead the league in tackles with 126 and was named 1st-Team All-Pac-10. He had a knack for the big play - whether it was key stop, forced fumble, or game-clinching interception.

Questions about his speed caused him to drop to the 6th round, but his work ethic and determination quickly earned him the nod over more touted prospects when Green Bay's starters became injured. Already famous for his creative and entertaining twitter persona, http://twitter.com/#!/desbishop55, he backed up his words with solid play throughout the playoffs and in this year's Super Bowl victory.

Layshia Clarendon

NorCalNick gives us some thoughts:

I don't know exactly what Layshia's legacy will be as an individual player. She's probably the best shooting guard in Cal history, depending on whether or not you think of Alexis Gray-Lawson as a point guard. But the legacy of the teams she led is secure: The greatest in Cal history.

And if you only remember her for one game, it's a doozy. When nobody else could score, it was Layshia who sank shot after shot, willing the Bears back against Georgia in the Spokane Regional Final with 25 points. The Bears wouldn't have made the Final Four without her. But we already knew that. Throughout the season she proved herself as a leader, both tangible and intangible. Is it normal for your leading scorer to also be your glue? I don't know, but that's how her teammates described her.

When Joanne Boyle left for Virginia, Clarendon helped hold the team together. She quickly became the go-to player for Lindsay Gottlieb. And yet her off-the-court record is perhaps even more impressive. She was the conference academic player of the year and a senior class award nominee in part because of her volunteer work. She's as well-rounded a player as I can recall, and has never felt the need to publicize her accomplishments. Perhaps that's why the push to win her the Senior CLASS award was so strong.

Her combination of team, individual, academic and community achievement is as strong an argument for CGB Hall of Fame enshrinement as there can be. #Vote4Layshia.

Jolene Henderson

Jolene Henderson's 120 Wins (via Cal Softball)

NorCalNick gives us the dirt on Jolene:

Probably, within the context of softball, Jolene's workload is less insane looking. But from someone raised in the era of strict MLB pitch counts and constant horrific pitching injuries, I have always had trouble comprehending how it is possible for Jolene Henderson to pitch as much as she pitches.

Just look:

Freshman: 192.2 innings

Sophomore: 333.1 innings

Junior: 282.1 innings

Senior: 286.2 innings (despite an injury that kept her out a few weeks.)

The softball season lasts about 4 months. Jolene was throwing significantly more innings over 4 months than most major league starting pitchers would throw over 6 months. In 2011, with Valerie Arioto injured and out for the season, and as a result Jolene pitched 87 percent of the available innings.

OK, so we've established that she has an indestructible rubber arm. But just being able to throw a ton of pitches doesn't mean much if they aren't good pitches.

CAL JOLENE HENDERSON MONTAGE (via espnu)

They were the best pitches. During that insane sophomore season Jo finished with an ERA of .99 despite carrying the burden of pitching nearly every competitive inning available. And her workload didn't come back to haunt her in the playoffs (when she, of course, pitched every inning). She just kept right on dominating all the way to the softball World Series.

I've always wondered if the reason that Jolene can throw so many innings without any obvious impacts to her effectiveness is because of her best pitch: the change-up. I haven't seen a ton of Cal softball games, and yet I still feel like I've watched batters swing over the top of way out in front of her change-up more times than I can count. Maybe the arm action (and not having to constantly throw as hard as you can) on a change-up allows her to stay fresh. Maybe I'm just fishing for plausible explanations for the unexplainable. Either way, her change-up sits right up there with Rob Nenn's slider and anything Yu Darvish as my favorite pitches to watch.

She departs Cal as perhaps the best pitcher since the legendary Michelle Granger (who, looking at the record books, compiled even more insane numbers.) A mid-season injury this year likely prevented her from attacking some of the more hallowed career pitching records that Granger still holds. It's a shame that her injury prevented her from dominating this year like she did earlier, but it does nothing to diminish her resume as a Bear.

And the most important part of her resume? Without Jolene, Cal doesn't achieve two College World Series appearances and one Pac-12 title.

Seamus Kelly

Needless to say, the Cal Rugby program is the most dominant in the sport. Since the inception of the program in 1882, there is one accomplishment that has only been achieved once--the only player in Cal Rugby history to be a three-time captain is Seamus Kelly. That speaks volumes to the quality of character and the quality of play that Kelly brings to Witter Field.

The on-field accolades of "Famous" Seamus are endless. During his time at Cal, he was a member of two teams that won the national championship, helped lead the team to our first Sevens National Championship, was named an All-American four times, and was the 2013 RUGBYMag Men's College Player of the Year.

When RUGBYMag named him their Player of the Year, they described his greatness as follows:

In the end we chose Cal's Seamus Kelly because he was the most consistently great. He scored the dramatic try to tie the [2013] Varsity Cup final before BYU's Johnny Linehan hit the winning drop goal. He was MVP for the [College Rugby Championshps] and started for the Eagles (the US National team).

Kelly's skills are myriad. He is smart, can lead a backline, is an excellent defender at center, and very strong over the ball in the rucks. It is his skill in the breakdown that can be overlooked, but will stand him in good stead in his future.

And we haven't even discussed his attacking acumen, which is as good as anyone's.

Not only has Kelly been a key playmaker for Jack Clark's Golden Bears, but he's also started for the US National Team, the Eagles. While his rugby play is plenty incredible, he's known for his humble and team-first character and his academic dedication that will lead him to graduating with a degree in Political Economy.


Mike Mohamed

Royrules sums it up nicely:

"He of Big Game glory. He went from an unheralded 2* recruit to a top-notch LB in the Pac-10." The pride of Brawley, CA, he was versatile and smart enough to play all three positions in a 4-3, or play either inside/outside in a 3-4. When fully healthy, he was an instinctive player who was a sure-tackler and equally adept defending the run or pass."

From Remembering the Seniors:

Hydrotech: " I remember when Mohamed first arrived on campus, there was a lot of talk about how the coaches thought he really was going to be special despite not being a big time recruit or the flashiest guy. Looks to me like they were right. I think Mohamed is definitely one of the best "diamonds in the rough" that the coaches found in the past five years or so."

Berkelium97: "In addition to remembering everything he did on the field, I remember his interesting background. He came from a small town in Imperial County, where he grew up on his family's farm. The farm was established by Mike's great grandfather, who left India, became a citizen, and bought 1000 acres of land. The farm has since been passed down through the family and played a big role in Mike's life when he was growing up. During his interviews at the Combine, Mike kept emphasizing his hard-nosed, blue collar work ethic. When asked about his life growing up, Mike says he learned these values by working at the farm. Off the field he works just as hard, as he was named to the Pac-10's all-academic team each of his four years. In a way, Mike is a lot like another recent Cal grad who earned great respect for his tremendous work ethic on and off the field: Alex Mack."

And the picture that is worth 1,000 words:

The_interception_medium_medium

via cdn2.sbnation.com

2010 Men's Basketball Seniors

When Monty retired earlier this year we looked back at our fondest memories of the Mike Montgomery era. A common thread in our responses was the 2009-10 season, anchored by an unforgettable group of seniors.

What is your favorite memory of the Monty Era?

atomsareenough: Definitely, it was beating James Harden and Arizona State at Haas to win Cal's first Pac-10 championship in 50 years. I was there for that one too, and it was a great celebration. That year was also the lovable Randle/Christopher/Robertson/Boykin/Jorge team, which provided another top Monty era moment, the epic comeback at Haas against Stanford. Other honorable mentions: This year's Arizona game, the 3OT Washington game, last year's games against Oregon, beating Louisville in the Tourney.

Ruey Yen: Winning the Pac-10 conference and have all those seniors cutting down the net will always have a special place in my heart. It is a moment that I dream about when I was a student, and Monty played a huge part in making that a reality (even if the rest of the Pac was weak).

Berkelium97: Easy: winning our first conference title in 50 years.

Vincent S:
1. Winning the first Pac-12 championship in 50 years against ASU at home

LeonPowe: The entire season of the Randle/Robertson/P.Chris/Boykin senior team. Watching Jerome drop 3s from deep, P. Chris with his smooth game, Theo fill in exactly in the place he was needed. Jorge defending 7 different guys in 5 minutes. Boykin with his jump hooks. If only Kamp was healthy that year - I think we could've gone a few more rounds in the tournament.

Relive the magic: