NEW YORK-Former Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed and current radio play-by-play broadcaster Joe Starkey were honored at the National Football Foundation's Annual Award Dinner on Tuesday evening in New York City. Mohamed was recognized as one of 16 members of the 2010 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class and finalists vying for the prestigious 21st William V. Campbell Trophy that was won by Sam Acho of Texas. Starkey received the Chris Schenkel Award, which recognizes a sports broadcaster who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career at a single institution.
The star-studded event featured a keynote speech from American icon Bill Cosby, winner of the organization's highest honor, the Gold Medal. Several other awards were presented and the 2010 College Football Hall of Fame Class was inducted.
"I'd like to thank the National Football Foundation for having me here; this is wonderful," said Mohamed. "The past four and a half years has been a true blessing in my life, not only to be able to attend a great academic institution but to also play football. Just to be part of such a great group of guys up here, it's awesome. I am thankful to have been able to come to New York and be part of this ceremony."
Each member of the National Scholar-Athlete Class will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.
Mohamed played in 50 games with 27 starts as a player in the Cal football program from 2006-10 and finished his career fourth on the school's all-time tackles list with 340, while adding 20.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, seven interceptions (with two returned for a touchdown), nine pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles. He earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2010 after leading Cal in tackles for the second straight year despite missing the only collegiate game of his career and having his playing time limited in two other contests due to injuries. Mohamed finished the 2010 campaign with 95 tackles for an average of 8.6 stops per game that was second among all Pac-10 players during the regular season. In 2009, he led the Pac-10 with 112 tackles and an average of 8.6 stops per contest to earn first-team All-Pac-10 recognition, adding 8.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, a team-high three interceptions, one forced fumble, three pass breakups and three quarterback hurries.
In the classroom, Mohamed has a cumulative 3.43 grade point average and is on track to graduate from Cal this month with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He has been named to the Pac-10 All-Academic team four times, including first-team recognition in each of the last three years (2008-10). He also received District 8 All-Academic first-team honors from CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine in 2009.
Starkey recently finished his 36th season in the Golden Bears' radio booth in 2010. Arguably best known for his legendary call of "The Play" in 1982 - when the Cal football team famously returned a five-lateral kickoff return for a touchdown in between Stanford band members - Starkey has been named the Best Play-by-Play Announcer in the state of California nine times.
A graduate of Loyola University, after briefly playing football at Thornton Junior College, Starkey began his career as a television and radio broadcaster for the California Golden Seals in 1972. Three years later, he became a freelance announcer for Cal football games, a relationship that continues to this day. He joined KGO Radio as its sports director in 1979, leading the station to a No. 1 ranking in the market for 15 consecutive years. After stints with the Minnesota Vikings and the USFL's Oakland Invaders, Starkey became the play-by-play announcer for the San Francisco 49ers in 1989 and stayed on the job for 20 seasons until his retirement from the franchise in 2008. He was also a color analyst for San Francisco in 1987 and 1988.
The 2010 College Football Hall of Fame Class inducted Tuesday includes the late Dennis Byrd (North Carolina State) Ronnie Caveness (Arkansas); Ray Childress (Texas A&M); Randy Cross (UCLA); Sam Cunningham (USC); Mark Herrmann (Purdue); Clarkston Hines (Duke); Desmond Howard (Michigan); Chet Moeller (Navy); Jerry Stovall (LSU); the late Pat Tillman (Arizona State); Alfred Williams (Colorado); and coaches Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin) and Gene Stallings (Texas A&M, Alabama).
In addition to the award won by Cosby, several other major honors were presented at the dinner including the Distinguished American Award to renowned journalist and author Tom Brokaw. The late Joe Kearney, a longtime athletics administrator, was posthumously presented with the NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award for his contributions to the game while former Rutgers Athletics Director Robert Mulcahy took home the John L. Toner Award for his superior administrative abilities as an athletics administrator. Rogers Redding, the recipient of the Outstanding Football Official Award, and Starkey rounded out the 2010 NFF Major Awards honorees. Former NCAA Executive Vice President Tom Jernstedt was recognized with an NFF Legacy Award for his support of the NFF and its mission. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships was awarded.