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Golden Nuggets: Ron Rivera Revels In Spotlight

The Cal Great wins his second Coach of the Year Award as he prepares the Panthers for a big game (not The Big Game, but still).

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Women's Gymnastics

After picking up three titles in No. 21 Cal's historic upset of No. 5 UCLA, sophomore Toni-Ann Williams was voted the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week, the conference announced Tuesday. Williams led the Golden Bears to a 196.375-195.175 victory in Cal's first win in head-to-head competition against the Bruins since March 2, 1985.

Men's Gymnastics

Kawada Named MPSF Gymnast of the Week: Senior Taka Kawada Earns Honor For First Time In His Career

BERKELEY, Calif. - California senior Takahiro Kawada was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Week, the conference announced on Tuesday. Kawada posted his best performance of the season on pommel horse on Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma, against the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners and No. 6 Iowa Hawkeyes at the OU Field House. The senior posted a team-high 15.100, which earned him a second place finish on the apparatus at the meet. This is the first weekly honor for a member of the Bears thus far this season.

"I'm just really happy for this senior who has worked so hard through some tough adversity and injuries during his time here in Berkeley," head coach Brett McClure said on Tuesday. "It shows the character of not only himself, but the team as a whole as well."

Men's Soccer

Big win! Stoked for this guy on his first cap and a clean sheet! No goal patrol #USMNT #Cal #Bears

A photo posted by Steven Birnbaum (@birnbaum15) on

Men's Swimming & Diving

SwimSwam: #2 Cal Men Roll over Cal State Bakersfield

The University of California Golden Bear men took on California State University Bakersfield Roadrunners today in Bakersfield on Senior Day. It ended up being a tight finish, with Cal triumphing 119-113, despite Cal winning all but one of the individual swimming events (which they would've won had they not swum exhibition).

Cal had 8 different individual event winners. They started off the meet going 1-2 in the 200 medley relay, with Ryan Murphy, Andrew Seliskar, Josh Prenot and Trent Williams combining to go 1:29.55. The B team was close behind in 1:29.72, and Cal State was a distant 3rd in 1:35.37.

Janardan Burns took the first individual event of the meet, winning the 1000 yard free in 9:21.30, just out-touching his California teammate Ken Takahashi (9:21.57). Jacob Pebley then cruised to victory in the 200 free (1:38.30), defeating 2nd place by nearly five seconds. Nick Norman (1:43.19) made it a 1-2 finish for the Bears.


Fansided continues it's review of California Golden Bear Draft Profiles with a look at Bryce Treggs.


Women's Tennnis

Bears Maul Badgers, 4-0, At ITA Indoors: No. 6 Cal Next Plays Virginia In Saturday's Quarterfinals in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. - Lynn Chi's court-three singles victory wrapped up sixth-ranked and fourth-seeded California's 4-0 victory over host Wisconsin in the opening round of 16 of the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship on Friday evening at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The Golden Bears (3-0) advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal round to play seventh-ranked Virginia (4-1) at 3:30 p.m. CT.

"We're just pleased to get the first match under our belt and get out on the court," Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said. "It was great. Wisconsin had a great turnout in terms of fans supporting the match. It was a good atmosphere, and I know our girls were excited to get underway."

Ron Rivera

Ron Rivera wins coach of the year

Rivera was presented with his second coach of the year award, and he accepted in a video. The only other Panthers coach to win the award was Dom Capers in 1996.

"It's a tremendous award for the organization. It validates everything that we've done," Rivera said. "And again, our success always starts at the top. I really do appreciate our owner, Mr. [Jerry] Richardson, for believing in me and giving me my opportunity. Dave Gettleman and Marty Hurney -- the two general managers I've worked with -- I thank them for what they've done. Our coaching staff has been tremendous. Our players have been outstanding."

Rivera dedicated this award to his late brother, Mickey, who died recently.

Ron Rivera's moment at the brink of failure

THE POOR, BESPECTACLED MAN in front of the meeting room had prepared a speech about hope. He had just returned from a trip to Minnesota, in minus-7 wind chills, and maybe his brain was still frozen. When would Ron Rivera get a clue? It was Dec. 1, one month left in the 2014 season, and it was over.

The Carolina Panthers could not win in the heat, nor the cold, nor with two weeks of preparation off a bye. And Rivera was so meticulous in those weeks before the game against the Minnesota Vikings. They packed chicken broth and extra layers, and the coach droned on and on about "the two big dudes," as Carolina return specialist Corey Brown liked to call them, who liked to come after punts.

Regardless of the preparation and warnings, Minnesota blocked two punts that were returned for touchdowns -- something that hadn't happened in the NFL for 24 years -- and the Panthers lost 31-13.

They were 3-8-1, and hadn't won in two months. Brown said when the Panthers walked off the field that Sunday, they were mentally beat. "At that point," Brown said, "we weren't a very good football team."

Remembering Ron Rivera's Cal connections

Super Bowl 50 is a homecoming for Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera was a member of the California Golden Bears from 1980 to 1983 and is from Northern California. Now, he gets to coach in his first Super Bowl just 45 miles from Cal's Memorial Stadium.

Cal in the NFL and the Super Bowl

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Rivera is one of 214 Cal players to play in the NFL and 41 to appear in a Super Bowl at least once. Those 41 also include the Broncos' C.J. Anderson, who will be appearing in his second Super Bowl. Rivera is one of 22 Golden Bears to win a Super Bowl as a player. Anderson will be bidding to be number 23.

Cal alums as head coaches

Only four NFL head coaches have attended Cal. None has coached in the Super Bowl -- until Rivera does on Sunday, when he and Gary Kubiak will be the sixth and seventh men to appear in the Super Bowl as a player and as a head coach, joining Mike Ditka, Tony Dungy, Forrest Gregg, Dan Reeves and Sam Wyche.

Earlier this season, Rivera surpassed Jim Hanifan as the winningest head coach to come from Cal. He has 47 wins in 80 games as Panthers head coach, eight more than Hanifan had in 93 games as an NFL head coach.

In the record books

Rivera didn't just spend four years at Cal. He made his mark on the team's record books.

Rivera left Berkeley after the 1983 season holding the career records for tackles, sacks and tackles for a loss, as well as the single-season records for tackles and sacks. He still holds the record for most tackles for a loss in a season. His current ranks are noted in the chart on the right.

In the spring of 1984, the Chicago Bears took Rivera 44th overall in the NFL draft. He's the second-highest linebacker ever taken from Cal. The highest was taken four years later -- Ken Harvey was picked 12th overall by the Cardinals in 1988.