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July 01, 2005

Heroic Cal Football Player

Cal's football team again starts the season highly ranked at number 15 in the Sporting News Poll. But while the Golden Bears' finish last season was less than heroic, their freshman offensive lineman Mike Tepper should be a hero in anyone's book.

A University of California, Berkeley, football player was seriously injured when authorities say he was allegedly intentionally struck by a car driven by a group of men leering at a female friend.

Mike Tepper, 19, was walking with the woman near campus during the weekend. The men began taunting the woman, a Cal volleyball player, and eventually cut the pair off with their car, police said.

When the men refused to leave the woman alone, the 6-foot-6, 312-pound lineman jumped between the car and the woman. The men allegedly then ran over Tepper twice, breaking his leg.

'My season's toast,' Tepper said Wednesday as he recuperated from surgery to repair a broken fibula and torn ankle ligaments. He had nine screws and one plate put in his leg and can't walk on it for eight weeks.

Police have arrested Johnny Ray Smith, 33, and Calvin Joe Kelley, 29, for violating terms of their probation or parole, authorities said. Officers also arrested a third man, but prosecutors declined to file charges against him because of scant evidence.

Police are investigating the incident as an assault with a deadly weapon.

Cal football coach Jeff Tedford said he was 'proud of the courage Mike showed Saturday night.'

Thank God chivalry is not dead. i sure hope Mike Tepper gets to play again, he's a real hero.

Update: Mike's dad describes the incident here.

Mike was walking on Telegraph Saturday night. A good looking girl was on her way home just ahead of him and was trying to cross the street (I think at Dwight) and a car pulled up with 4 or 5 men in it. They started taunting the girl, making unwanted propositions. She said she wasn't interested and was trying to get by. As she started to walk ahead of the car to pass in front of it, they sped up and blocked her.

By this time, Mike caught up with the girl and told the guys she wasnt interested and together they walked behind the car to get by.

As they were crossing the street behind the car, the driver put the car into reverse and punched it, intentionally attempting to hit them. Mike immediately pushed the girl out of the way, but could not get out of the way himself. She landed across the street with scraped knees and a scraped up face.

Mike wasnt as lucky, the car hit him, he fell, then the car ran over mike's leg. Then, the idiots put the car in Drive and ran over him again (over the ankle again).

A police lieutenant witnessed the whole thing from about a block away. He was at Mike's side within seconds and called an ambulance. He took statements from 5 witnesses at the scene. The lieutenant put a turniquette on Mike's leg (he has a very deep gash), because it was bleeding fairly severely. The lieutenant also said that it was intentional.

At the hospital, they x-rayed Mike, and found he had a broken Fibula, and ligament damage. He also has a dislocated Tibia. They had to spend a little time trying to stop the bleeding.

He had an operation this morning, where they put a plate and two screws into the broken bones, and will repair the ligament damage. He will be in a cast for 6-8 weeks before they take the plate off. After that he will be able to jog lightly on it, but will not be in any condition to "play hard" at least until November at the earliest.

The lieutenant called for backup and had the guys arrested within 5 blocks of the incident as he came to Mike's aid. The driver was on parole, and another passenger was on probation.

The driver is going to be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, and both of those guys had had their paroles/probation revoked that night. They will both finish their earlier convictions behind bars, and are behind bars now.

. . .

Personally, I think Mike saved a life that night. Had he not been there, who knows what those scumbags would have done to that girl, the least of being run over by a car. I think he deserves a medal for what he did. I am proud of his behavior.... He is a great kid, and an outstanding citizen, and I am constantly reminding him of that.

In his meeting with the surgeon yesterday, he was told that he would heel 100%, and that 4 or 5 CAL players have had similar surgeries and have gone on to play in the "pros." That was great news, and we are looking to a speedy recovery and a fantastic year, next year. He will be working out with the team, but staying off the foot until such time he can play again.

Good news indeed. Get well soon, dude.

Posted by annika, Jul. 1, 2005 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Sports


I was wondering, who is Mikes father? I ask because there is a college football coach named Lou Tepper.

Posted by: Kyle on Jul. 1, 2005

The message board says "Gus Tepper." so different guy.

Posted by: annika on Jul. 1, 2005

Not to take anything away from Tepper, but I'll take a preseason #5 Ranking any day. Go BUCKEYES!

Posted by: Casca on Jul. 1, 2005

This story kinda got to me. This guy is a fine man, and the world is better off b/c of guys like him.

Posted by: gcotharn on Jul. 2, 2005