Results from the previous round
Top-seeded Teri McKeever won 54-12 over Anthony Ervin, and Mike Montgomery squeaked past fifth-seeded Mychal Kendricks 54-45.
(1) Teri McKeever
TheBuckeyeBear gives us the run down on Coach McKeever:
Many athletes have tried to transition from competitor to coach, but not all have been as successful as Coach Teri McKeever in parlaying personal victories into mentorship triumphs. She has received many accolades at the helm of Cal Women’s Swimming & Diving and as the first female head coach of the US Olympic women’s swim team; the only reason the Golden Bears’ NCAA record in 2013 and 2014 could be described as "a mere [second and] third place" was because the team took home the national title in 2011 and 2012. These achievements are rooted in her personal experience and coaching philosophy.
McKeever has cited sports as "the first place [she] felt good about [herself]" and strives to instill the same love of swimming in those she coaches. Cal alumnus Anthony Ervin returned to competitive swimming in the 2012 London Olympics because McKeever took his "very fragile mentally kind of persona" and "brought back what it was like to swim for fun." She has been able to harness the mind-body connection in yoga, dance, jump-roping, and other cross-training for her athletes so that swimming is not just the drudgery of thousand-fold laps. Without her diverse training program, alumna Dana Vollmer observed that "you’re going to get good, but you might not get great."
Although McKeever delights in her swimmers’ medals, she is most proud of helping college students develop skills that will "translate into the next 30, 40, 50 years." Her genuine concern for her athletes, alongside her coaching wisdom, attracts world-class swimmers like Olympic gold medal winners Natalie Coughlin and Missy Franklin to Cal. The Pac-12 Conference and the NCAA have both anointed McKeever as Coach of the Year, recognizing her team-building success to be rooted in a commitment to her swimmers’ well-being and excellence.
(4) Mike Montgomery
Bear in Mind: Mike Montgomery (via CalTV Berkeley)
NorCalNick shares his perspective from back during Monty's coaching days.
Mike Montgomery has been at Cal for five years now, which means he has now reached the threshold of CGB hall of fame eligibility. Thankfully, Monty has been successful enough that such an achievement is very low down on the list of things he should be celebrating.
It's way too early to get nostalgic about the Monty era, seeing as how it's still going strong. But I suspect that in a decade or two, I'll look back and remember how much fun his teams were to follow. Granted, that's in no small part due to the players themselves. But how much did you love watching Jerome Randle get unleashed for two years under Monty, or how he helped turn Jorge Gutierrez from a defensive specialist into a Pac-12 player of the year? How much did you enjoy watching Allen Crabbe these past few years, and how much fun do you think Jabari Bird is going to be?
Monty has made four NCAA tournaments, won a Pac-10 title, finished in the top 4 of the conference every year, and consistently made basketball games fun, win or lose. That last part tends to get short-shrift, but this is an entertainment business, isn't it?
We might not have Monty for much longer - if he decided tomorrow to spend the rest of his life sipping wine and occasionally sitting in a Pac-12 network studio with Ernie Kent, it would be well deserved. But we still have him and he's going to have some talent over the next few years. Monty may not make the CGB hall of fame this year, but I'd like to think that he will add to his resume very shortly.
Nick was wise to cherish the time Monty was with us, as the legendary coach has since retired. Will his retirement propel him into the Hall of Fame?