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CGB Hall of Fame: (11) Oski vs. (2) Dave Durden

The other Sweet 16 matchup of the Pete Newell Region features Cal's lovable mascot and Cal's men's swimming and diving coach Dave Durden.

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Results from the previous round

Eleventh-seeded Oski swamped fourteenth-seeded Troy Taylor, 560-219, and second-seeded Dave Durden prevailed over tenth-seeded Tom Shields, 40-12.

(11) Oski

NorCalNick shares some thoughts:

Why do I like Oski? Because he's different. Here's the thing: Most mascots are one of two things: Boring, or trying too hard*. Mostly boring. Just within the Pac-12 alone, here is a list of generic mascots:

Arizona. Arizona State. Oregon State. Washington State. Washington. UCLA. Utah.

*By trying too hard, I mean in terms of absurdity and irreverence (hellooooooo Stanford) or pomp and circumstance (hellooooooo USC).

I don't mean generic in the sense that the mascots themselves are generic, although Arizona and Washington State have fallen into the different-name-for-the-same-cat chasm. I mean the costumes. Every school listed above evidently decided that they were just going to put a guy in a boring, bipedal animal costume and then make him wear a football jersey. Most Pac-12 mascots are full-kit wankers.

No, Oski aspires to more. He has class. He wears a cardigan and trousers. While most other mascots act like capering circus clowns or adrenalin-addled über-jocks, Oski calmly strolls around the field, always friendly, always smiling.

One might argue, then, that Oski is boring. Why isn't he doing lazy knee push-ups every touchdown, like some mascots, or constantly twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom, or generally making a ruckus? Because Oski knows how to pick his spots. Oski paces himself. And when called upon, when our need is dire, Oski is there. There to beat down the tree. There to shotgun a bear through a straw in his eye. There to throw a cake at Gary Payton's mom. You know the famous John Wooden quote: ‘Don't mistake activity for achievement?' He coined it after comparing Oski with other, lesser mascots.

Frankly, Oski doesn't feel like a mascot. He feels like another classmate or alum. I'd feel weird sitting next to Wilbur the Wildcat at a bar. But Oski? We could sit right down and reminisce together about our crazy mutual friend from the dorms freshman year or the incredible basketball game against Stanford. Oski is the eternal sophomore, after all. And although you'll have to carry most of the conversation, he's fully capable of getting his point across non-verbally.

Here's to Oski, the best mascot in the Pac-12 that isn't a real live friggin' Buffalo running around the field.

(2) Dave Durden

Dave Durden quickly established Cal as one of the top men's swimming programs in the nation. CalBears.com highlights his accomplishments:

David Durden, beginning his sixth year at the helm of the California men's swimming and diving program, has led the Golden Bears to back-to-back national team titles in 2011 and 2012, and has been named NCAA Coach of the Meet and Pac-12 Coach of the Year three seasons in a row.

In just five years Durden has brought the Cal program to the pinnacle of college swimming as he coached the Golden Bears to their first NCAA team title since 1980 in 2011, and then guided his squad to another national crown this past March in Federal Way, Wash.

In his spectacular fifth year at Cal, Durden led his 2011-12 team to the program's fourth NCAA title with a dominating 535.5 to 491 point victory over second place Texas at the national meet. Before his pair of national crowns, Durden led the Bears to an NCAA runner-up finish in 2010 and fourth-place finishes in 2008 and 2009. He now owns an overall dual meet record of 24-9 (.727).
...
Since his arrival to Berkeley in 2007, Durden's (along with head coach emeritus Nort Thornton) swimmers have established school records in 18 of 19 swimming events, including all the relays. He has guided Cal to 23 NCAA titles, including nine relay crowns and 33 Pac-12 individual and relay titles, in five seasons.

That article is woefully out of date, however, as Durden and the Bears won another National Championship last spring. This is how he celebrated: