John Chambers's Bracket

3:25 PM -- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) CEO John Chambers is a college basketball fan who roots hard for Duke but holds degrees from West Virginia. (He also attended Duke briefly.) And so, during CES in January, I took the opportunity to ask him: If it's Duke against West Virginia for the NCAA men's college basketball championship, who do you root for?

That might sound like a waste of an opportunity, considering one doesn't get to grill Chambers every day. But it was during a reception specifically for the media, and you could say I did it on a dare. Totally worth it. It's the first time I've seen him unable to answer a question.

He's partially off the hook. The way the brackets fell, Duke and West Virginia can't meet in the finals. But they could square off in the Final Four on April 3.

And if they do? Chambers's answer to me, after an agonized silence, was, "I would root for Duke second." — Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:40:57 PM
re: John Chambers's Bracket

It occurs to me -- Pankaj Patel, another Cisco exec, is a Duke fan, and apparently so is Dan Scheinman (Cisco's Eos exec).

No wonder Chambers doesn't like to talk about not rooting for Duke.  These guys could corner him in the cafeteria and beat him up.  (Actually Scheinman's office is in San Francisco, so he'd have to do it by telepresence.)

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:40:35 PM
re: John Chambers's Bracket

Wow - I guess it's actually going to happen. Saturday evening would not be the time to schedule a meeting with John Chambers.


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