Cal Football

Aaron Rodgers Makes Seven-Figure Gift To Cal Athletics

June 11, 2019
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Aaron Rodgers left his name all over the Cal football record book and now it will be on the team’s locker room. 

The 2003-2004 Cal star and Super Bowl XLV MVP has made a seven-figure donation to the Cal football program the school announced Tuesday. The money will be used to renovate the football locker room at Memorial Stadium, which will be named in his honor, and establish an Aaron Rodgers Football Scholarship.

Rodgers, who is preparing for his 15th season with the Green Bay Packers, played two seasons at Cal, the most noteworthy in 2004 when the Bears were 10-2 and ranked as high as fourth in the nation. His Green Bay career will land him a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame.

"I’m pleased and proud to make this gift to support Cal football,” Rodgers said in a statement released by the Cal athletic department. “My years at Cal were among the best years of my life. My time in Berkeley created lasting, unforgettable memories. Coach Wilcox was on the coaching staff when I was a Bear, and I am excited about the team’s direction with Justin pointing the way. He is a tremendous football coach and an even better role model for his players. I hope that my contribution can help him move this program forward.”

The locker room renovation will begin this summer and the facility will be ready for the 2019 season. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a junior college transfer. Rodgers was a JC transfer himself, coming to Berkeley from Butte College in 2003.

Rodgers’ gift was not the only one the school acknowledged Tuesday. Dr. Paul White, ‘68, internationally recognized expert in ambulatory anesthesia and pain management, contributed a six-figure gift to the project. White, brother of Cal All-American and College Football Hall of Famer Ed White, has, along with his wife Linda, made many previous donations to the school. He contributed substantially to the renovation of  Memorial Stadium and the establishment of the Paul F. White Sports Medicine Complex at Haas Pavilion.

“Aaron Rodgers is one of the most exceptional players in the history of our football program and among the most recognizable names in the world,” Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said in the statement. “We are tremendously proud of Aaron and grateful that he is providing this level of support to our football program, and we believe it will inspire others, as well. His generosity allows us to greatly enhance our student-athlete experience and provide a scholarship to a deserving junior college transfer. I’d also like to extend a thank you to Paul White, whose long-time support for Cal Athletics has enabled us to expand opportunities for student-athletes in countless ways.”

Jeff Tedford was in his second season as Cal’s head coach and, along with Rodgers, engineered one of the great turnarounds in school history. Tedford’s Bears had been 7-5 in 2002 following the disastrous 1-11 campaign. Then Rodgers took over and the Bears were 8-6 in 2003 including a 52-49 victory over Virginia Tech in the Insight Bowl with Rodgers the offensive MVP.

In 2004 Rodgers and the Bears were 10-1 in the regular season with the only loss coming to No. 1 USC. Every Cal fan around at the time knows how the Bears were denied a Rose Bowl berth by the politicking of Texas Coach Mack Brown. In the consolation prize Holiday Bowl the Bears lost to Texas Tech.

Rodgers is the Bears’ all-time leader in passing efficiency (150.3) while his string of 26 consecutive completions spanning a pair of games in 2004 and 23 in a row to open that season’s contest at USC set and equaled all-time FBS marks at the time. Overall, Rodgers completed 424-of-665 passes for 5,469 yards with 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.  He set a Cal single-game record for passing completion percentage of 85.3 and holds the Cal career record for lowest percentage of passes intercepted at 1.95 percent.

Rodgers was taken in the first round by the Packers in the 2005 NFL draft. Amazingly he was still available at the 24th pick. Who can forget the sight of Rodgers sitting by himself in the draft Green Room long after the other five invitees were selected? Do you think a few of those first 23 teams would like a do-over?

Besides being the Super Bowl MVP, Rodgers is a two-time NFL MVP and first-team All-Pro selection (2011, 2014), as well as the AP Athlete of the Year (2011). Rodgers has thrown 338 regular-season touchdowns in his 14-year NFL career to rank 10th in the league’s history while his 42,944 passing yards are 17th.

“We are thrilled and grateful that Aaron is making this important investment in the Cal football program,” said head coach Justin Wilcox, who was the Bears’ linebackers coach when Rodgers quarterbacked at Cal. “Aaron’s gift will help provide our student-athletes with a tremendous place to gather and prepare for all our football-related activities. It will also be great to show recruits visiting our campus a top-notch space and the level of support our program has from one of the greatest to ever play the game.”

Current quarterback Chase Garbers said: “What Aaron Rodgers is doing for our team is an absolute blessing, For a man who will go down as one of the greatest football players to ever play the game to make a contribution to our program of this magnitude is incredible. As Cal student-athletes we are so thankful for what he is doing. The support he is showing is inspiring. It is an absolute thrill to have a former Cal player like Aaron, a guy who we as current players look up to so much, invest in our program. We are so thankful for what he is doing.”

 

 

Discussion from...

Aaron Rodgers Makes Seven-Figure Gift To Cal Athletics

89Bear
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Great news. Well done gentlemen!!!
Can't wait to see the final product!!!
TheSouseFamily
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Incredibly generous and thoughtful. That's awesome.

Incidentally, Forbes released its list of the world's highest paid athletes today. A-Rod is obviously crushing it with his endorsement deals.

1. Lionel Messi, soccer: $127m

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer: $109m

3. Neymar, soccer: $105m

4. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, boxer: $94m

5. Roger Federer, tennis: $93.4m

6. Russell Wilson, football: $89.5m

7. Aaron Rodgers, football: $89.3m

8. LeBron James, basketball: $89m

9. Stephen Curry, basketball: $79.8m

10. Kevin Durant, basketball: $65.4m

https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/3873190/messi-beats-ronaldo-in-2019-forbes-rich-list
Sebastabear
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Boom. Fantastic gift but even more fantastic branding. Should do wonders to tie Cal to NFL legends in the minds of recruits. So happy to see this get done.
okaydo
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I can't wait til Hanky1's reaction.


Goobear
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Thank you Aaron Rodgers for your generosity. This is tremendous.
GMP
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This is unquestionably great news - and yet I do have a question:

What needs to be renovated in a 7 year old locker room?
Sebastabear
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GMP said:

This is unquestionably great news - and yet I do have a question:

What needs to be renovated in a 7 year old locker room?
Old lockers were made by a company that specializes in cabinets not lockers. They started to fall apart almost immediately and generally looked like hell. New lockers are coming from a company that specializes in sports lockers.

But the real point here in my mind is what this gift can mean for branding and recruiting. I don't think there's another team in the country who wouldn't kill for this. Up to the Staff to spin this gold in to more gold.
GMP
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Sebastabear said:

GMP said:

This is unquestionably great news - and yet I do have a question:

What needs to be renovated in a 7 year old locker room?
Old lockers were made by a company that specializes in cabinets not lockers. They started to fall apart almost immediately and generally looked like hell. New lockers are coming from a company that specializes in sports lockers.

But the real point here in my mind is what this gift can mean for branding and recruiting. I don't think there's another team in the country who wouldn't kill for this. Up to the Staff to spin this gold in to more gold.


Ahh. Thanks!
okaydo
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25To20
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Sebastabear said:

Boom. Fantastic gift but even more fantastic branding. Should do wonders to tie Cal to NFL legends in the minds of recruits. So happy to see this get done.
Sebastabear,

Is this one of the big announcements you mentioned a few weeks ago? If so, the count is now two, correct?
YamhillBear
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Guess this puts to rest all of the hand-wringing about AR hating Cal, only liking Butte College etc.
okaydo
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YamhillBear said:

Guess this puts to rest all of the hand-wringing about AR hating Cal, only liking Butte College etc.


Don't forget that Rodgers said this when Dykes was head coach (shortly before he was fired).


Yogi Bear
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Is the lockerroom really in need of renovation already? It was brand new not that long ago.
YamhillBear
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The value (in recruiting etc) of having the "Aaron Rodgers Team Locker Room" could be even more than the actual seven-digit value of the donation and renovation. The scholly might be a nice piece in terms of recruiting JC talent too, again in terms of visibility/cachet as much or more than the $ value...
79 Bear
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What a tremendous gift from one of Cal's greatest! Huge thanks to AR!
okaydo
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Rodgers discusses Wilcox, Tedford, nudists, treesitters at the start of this interview...


B.A. Bearacus
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hanky1
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Sebastabear said:

GMP said:

This is unquestionably great news - and yet I do have a question:

What needs to be renovated in a 7 year old locker room?
Old lockers were made by a company that specializes in cabinets not lockers. They started to fall apart almost immediately and generally looked like hell. New lockers are coming from a company that specializes in sports lockers.

But the real point here in my mind is what this gift can mean for branding and recruiting. I don't think there's another team in the country who wouldn't kill for this. Up to the Staff to spin this gold in to more gold.


This is why Cal is the stupidest AD in the world. We can't even build lockers that last a few years. Hopefully this time it's different.
hanky1
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okaydo said:

I can't wait til Hanky1's reaction.





I think it's great that he gave back to Cal, but it doesn't change the fact that Cal is incompetent.
Yogi Bear
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hanky1 said:

Sebastabear said:

GMP said:

This is unquestionably great news - and yet I do have a question:

What needs to be renovated in a 7 year old locker room?
Old lockers were made by a company that specializes in cabinets not lockers. They started to fall apart almost immediately and generally looked like hell. New lockers are coming from a company that specializes in sports lockers.

But the real point here in my mind is what this gift can mean for branding and recruiting. I don't think there's another team in the country who wouldn't kill for this. Up to the Staff to spin this gold in to more gold.


This is why Cal is the stupidest AD in the world. We can't even build lockers that last a few years. Hopefully this time it's different.
Reminds me of the original flooring in Haas Pavilion.
Fyght4Cal
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Thanks to AR. So generous. Glad to have you back in the fold. I love the branding, as much as I hate the fact that we already need new lockers.
🎵There‚Äôs the Highland Dutch and the Lowland Dutch
The Rotterdam Dutch and Tim DeRuyter 🎶
BGolden
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Thank you AR. We support you as fans, and you show your appreciation by giving back to something we all love, Cal athletics.

Cal classy.
79 Bear
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B.A. Bearacus said:




Wow! Tremendous comments. Like so many of us, he has a lot of confidence and great things to say about Wilcox and staff and direction of the program. I also love how he talked about coaching staff's attitude about helping our student-athletes thrive as men, both during their time at Cal and afterwards. Awesome!
Goobear
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hanky1 said:

okaydo said:

I can't wait til Hanky1's reaction.





I think it's great that he gave back to Cal, but it doesn't change the fact that Cal is incompetent.
I think they cut cost out of the budget when they did it, Looked great but not sturdy enough and deteriorated over time. I have been in the room many times. It looks fine but the lockers needed tlc. Would not be surprised that they will upgrade the space and rearrange some of it. Coach Wilcox is very much involved and knows what he wants for the players.
Sebastabear
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25To20 said:

Sebastabear said:

Boom. Fantastic gift but even more fantastic branding. Should do wonders to tie Cal to NFL legends in the minds of recruits. So happy to see this get done.
Sebastabear,

Is this one of the big announcements you mentioned a few weeks ago? If so, the count is now two, correct?
Correct.
75bear
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Awesome news - big props to Aaron.

I was hoping we would get a sign of a reconciliation between AR and Cal, and this more than confirms it. Perhaps a public appearance by Aaron will happen in the near future?
Golden One
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GMP said:

This is unquestionably great news - and yet I do have a question:

What needs to be renovated in a 7 year old locker room?
Exactly! I'd like to know more about exactly what is being done to the locker room. If they're adding new features or bells and whistles, that's one thing. But surely, a 7-year old facility shouldn't need renovations to existing hardware. When I was in there 7 years ago, it looked pretty damn spiffy to me.
Golden One
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Sebastabear said:

GMP said:

This is unquestionably great news - and yet I do have a question:

What needs to be renovated in a 7 year old locker room?
Old lockers were made by a company that specializes in cabinets not lockers. They started to fall apart almost immediately and generally looked like hell. New lockers are coming from a company that specializes in sports lockers.

But the real point here in my mind is what this gift can mean for branding and recruiting. I don't think there's another team in the country who wouldn't kill for this. Up to the Staff to spin this gold in to more gold.
Spin this gold into more gold? The Cal AD is more likely to spin this gold into raw horsesh*t.
HungryCalBear
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Renovation is the minor part. Wouldn't mind spending that 7 figures donation to put up the sign with Aaron Rodgers name and photo on it. Good for school pride and recruiting.
59bear
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Class act. Thanks Aaron!
CaliforniaEternal
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The new lockers will be made by Longhorn Locker, which is a company that specializes in football lockers. Google them to see examples of their stuff, it's pretty awesome.

I'll post some before and after pictures. And yes, the current cabinetry is showing signs of wear after heavy use for 7 years.
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