Siegelaar Earns Pac-12 Postgrad Scholarship
As he was getting set for his third Olympics representing the Netherlands at the 2016 Rio Games, former men's crew standout Olivier Siegelaar added another accolade to his already impressive resume: Pac-12 Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.
Siegelaar rowed for the Golden Bears in 2010, when he and his varsity eight teammates won the IRA national championship, and 2011, when he received all-conference honors. He then competed at the London Olympics - his second following Beijing in 2008 - before returning to Berkeley to complete his degree in mechanical engineering.
Having been accepted to Oxford University to pursue an MBA, Siegelaar was named a 2016 recipient of $9,000 from the Pac-12's Postgraduate Scholarship Program to honor outstanding scholar athletes and provide assistance for their graduate study.
"Being a student-athlete at Cal has played a big role in shaping me as a person," Siegelaar said. "It taught me to be committed, to handle adversity and the importance of teamwork. It enabled me to aim for the top in every aspect of life."
It's not too often that you hear about a college football assistant coach playing video games with one of his student-athletes. That's the case with the Cal football program.
Offensive line coach Brandon Jones, one of Cal's young offensive assistant coaches along with offensive coordinator Jake Spavital and inside receivers coach Jacob Peeler, enjoys connecting with his linemen by relaxing with some video games when they aren't working on the football field. Jones and Peeler are 32 years old, while Spavital is 31.
Spavital is currently the fifth-youngest coordinator out of all FBS schools, and he would be the youngest head coach out of all FBS schools by three years.
"The younger coaches are able to relate more to their players," Spavital said. "It helps in the terms of how we coach. We can relate to the players, which helps in the recruiting process, as well. I think what Coach Dykes has here is a very diverse group of coaches of all ages. Where we're at offensively, it's a very fun group of guys to be around."
Childhood Dream Becomes Reality For Ryan Murphy
RIO DE JANEIRO - For as long as he can remember, Ryan Murphy has dreamt of becoming an Olympian.
What once seemed a far off fantasy for a young swimmer turned into a moment Murphy will never forget as, in his first Olympic final, the Cal senior claimed gold with an Olympic record swim in the 100-meter backstroke. His time of 51.97 seconds is an Olympic record and sat just 3-tenths of a second off Aaron Peirsol's world record of 51.94 set in 2009.
As a first-time Olympian, Murphy left the Olympic Trials in early July with the hope of becoming the next face in a line of American backstroke brilliance. United States swimmers owned the last five gold medals in the 100 back coming into the Rio games, and as the winner of the event in Omaha, Murphy earned the expectations that came with being an American backstroker.
His charge to the gold started at the 50-meter mark. Coming off the wall with an underwater turn of speed familiar to those who've watched Murphy make the same turn at Spieker Aquatics Complex, he surged from fourth to the lead in a matter of seconds. China's Xu Jiayu and United States teammate David Plummer fought to the wall but the Cal senior had the lead he needed to win gold.
"The adrenaline is going so hard for me right now, I don't even feel tired just because I'm so excited," Murphy told reporters after the race. "This means everything to me. I've been swimming for 16 years and to have it come to this is just a dream come true."