Spartan Football Receives $1 Million Gift from Kevin and Sandy Swanson

Kevin and Sandy Swanson at the Spartan football All In campaign event in 2017. Photo: David Schmitz

Media contacts:

Robin McElhatton, SJSU Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749,
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217,

San Jose, Calif.— San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1 million gift commitment from alumnus Kevin Swanson, ’87 Finance, and his wife Sandy Swanson. Their gift will contribute to a new football operations center on the east side of the CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans.

“This gift reflects the support and love Kevin and Sandy have for our football program and for San Jose State University,” said Director of Athletics Marie Tuite. “Win or lose, they are committed to improving the experiences and well-being of our student-athletes through their generous donation. They understand the value of the football operations center to San Jose State, and their generosity is an indication of their belief in Coach Brent Brennan and his staff. We offer a sincere and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to two of the best Spartans in our community.”

Supporting Common Goals

The Swansons’ San Jose financial services office is decorated in Spartan regalia, from a SJSU flag hanging on the wall to Kevin’s diploma. As an undergraduate, Kevin was active in the Delta Upsilon fraternity, a network of friends and colleagues who invited him back after graduating to serve as a fraternity advisor. For 11 years, he mentored Spartans and Sandy attended countless pledge dances and university events. The chance to connect with students on a personal and professional level inspired the Swansons to attend Spartan football games, enjoying tailgates with a community of friends.

“One thing I love about athletics is the opportunity it brings to students who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to pursue an education,” said Kevin. “It offers the opportunity for young men and women to learn more about themselves and to work on a team with a common goal as a community.”

In 2018, the couple learned about Beyond Football, which offers unique programming for Spartan football players to develop career and life skills that extend beyond the sport. Together, they volunteered to offer mock interviews alongside a cohort of Silicon Valley professionals to critique the students’ interview techniques. The chance to interact one-on-one with football players in a professional capacity inspired them to find a lasting way to give back.

“It really struck us that the football team and the Beyond Football program were really making a difference in these young men’s lives,” said Sandy, a CSU Hayward graduate who calls San Jose State her adopted alma mater. “That type of foresight on the part of the athletics department is inspirational for us, and we’d love to see those types of things continue.”

“Kevin and Sandy Swanson have been amazing to us since we came on board two years ago,” said SJSU Head Football Coach Brent Brennan. “They believe, like many of us do, that in the process of building a top-flight football program, we need to invest at a high level. This gift is another huge step in the direction of giving our program the facilities it needs to compete at the highest level in the Mountain West. I am so thankful for their belief in what we are building here.”

Football Matters

The Swansons believe that by supporting the football program, they can multiply their impact for all student-athletes at San Jose State.

“The impact that athletics has on athletes in any sport is significant and one of the reasons we are making this donation,” said Kevin. “We believe that on most campuses football is a major factor in fundraising and revenue generation for the entire campus. When you have a strong football program, you have a strong athletics program. Athletics really does change students’ lives.”

“Kevin and Sandy are longtime passionate supporters of San José State University and of Spartan football, and this commitment speaks volumes about just how passionate they are,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for university advancement and CEO of SJSU’s Tower Foundation. “We’re grateful and proud to count them among the growing number of major benefactors who believe in this project and want to see it happen as quickly as possible.”

To track fundraising progress and learn how you can support the football operations center, please visit or contact Joshua Thiel, deputy athletics director for athletics advancement, at 408-924-1697 or via email at

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce

The university is proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State Athletics

San Jose State University sponsors 22 (nine men’s and 13 women’s) NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports programs for approximately 470 student-athletes annually.

In football, the Spartans are a member of Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the NCAA’s highest level of competition.

The Spartans’ primary conference affiliation is with the Mountain West. Selected teams belong to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Golden Coast Conference (GCC).

San Jose State has 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles. Sixty-two (62) Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. San Jose State athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.

Annually, about one-third of the student-athlete population earns either an institutional, conference or national recognition based on outstanding academic performance.

SJSU, Spartan Football Receive $2 Million Gift from Alumnus John Hopkirk and Anne Murphy

Media contacts:
Robin McElhatton, SJSU Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749,
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217,

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $2 million gift commitment from alumnus John Hopkirk and his wife Anne Murphy. Their gift will support a critical resource for the Spartan football program; a new state-of-the-art football operations center on the east side of CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans.

“John and Anne have been long-time Spartan supporters and their gift to the football operations center demonstrates their love for San Jose State University,” said Athletics Director Marie Tuite. “They understand and support the priority of investing in football to provide Coach Brennan and his staff the tools they need to build a championship program.  In addition, John and Anne understand the value and impact their gift will have on changing the lives of the student-athletes we serve. We are so grateful for their generosity.”

The football operations center will include locker rooms, offices, a student-athlete lounge, an auditorium and premium seating options on the 50-yard line. The project will rebuild the stadium’s east side. The gift will add to improvements underway throughout South Campus, including the recently completed soccer, tennis, golf, and softball facilities.

Proud Spartans: John Hopkirk and Anne Murphy

John Hopkirk worked his way through school at San Jose State while pursuing a degree in business accounting. Hopkirk’s love for SJSU athletics took off after he graduated and began his professional career as a certified public accountant. As an avid supporter of SJSU football and basketball, Hopkirk believes he may be the only fan who has seen every SJSU men’s post-season basketball game since he first enrolled at San Jose State in the late 1960s.  

In 1987, John met his wife, Anne Murphy, a University of San Francisco graduate. Anne has embraced John’s passion for SJSU athletics and the couple travels all over the country to watch the Spartans compete.

“I have been following Spartan football for over 50 years.  It has brought me much joy, and we have made many great friends through our common love of Spartan football,” said Hopkirk. “I received a great education from San Jose State, and Anne and I thought we needed to give back to the university to show our appreciation. I hope our gift inspires others to do the same.

“San Jose State must have the facilities in place to attract the best and brightest student-athletes,” Hopkirk continued. “Hopefully our donation will enhance Spartan football’s chance to be a championship program and result in many more talented student-athletes proudly earning their diplomas from San Jose State University.”

“This critical project will have a major impact on Spartan football and our entire athletics program, as well as the gameday experience for our students and all who attend our games,” stated Paul Lanning, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “Building a modern football operations center that revitalizes CEFCU Stadium is our most urgent fundraising priorities, and we’re thrilled to see two of our greatest fans make such a generous commitment to this project.”

“I am so grateful for John and Anne’s tremendous commitment and generosity to support and build a championship football program at San Jose State,” added Head Football Coach Brent Brennan. “Their gift provides us with a critical recruiting tool, enhances the student-athlete experience and helps SJSU compete in the Mountain West. I can’t thank John and Anne enough for their commitment to the program.”

To learn how you can support the football operations center, please visit or contact Joshua Thiel, Deputy Athletics Director for Athletics Advancement, at (408) 924-1697 or via email at

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.


SJSU Names Josh Thiel as Deputy Athletics Director for Athletics Advancement

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748,
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217,

Josh Thiel

Josh Thiel

San Jose, Calif.
 — San Jose State University is pleased to announce Josh Thiel has been named deputy athletics director for athletics advancement, marking the successful culmination of a national search to fill this new position. An accomplished fundraising professional and seasoned administrator with two decades of successive experience in higher education, Thiel will lead a new University Advancement team dedicated to supporting SJSU Athletics. His first day heading the athletics advancement unit will be Jan. 29.

“I am thrilled to introduce Josh Thiel to the San Jose State University community,” Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning said. “Thiel is well prepared to lead the growing University Advancement team that is dedicated to collaborating with SJSU Athletics on expanding support for student athletes, coaches and the university overall, with the goal of meeting, and then perhaps exceeding, peer institutions.”

Thiel brings to San Jose State a successful record as senior associate athletics director and chief development officer at Rice University, where he and his team completed $41.5 million in fundraising for capital projects including a football operations and student-athlete training center, locker and team rooms for six sports, a grandstand and team space for track, and a new batting cage and hospitality area for baseball. Previously, Thiel served as an associate development director for Stanford Athletics and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Important asset for SJSU and SJSU Athletics

“Josh Thiel will be an important asset for San Jose State and SJSU Athletics as we grow competitively in the Mountain West and complete improvements to our South Campus sports facilities,” Athletics Director Marie Tuite said. “Josh’s athletics, collegiate and development experience is exactly what we need to realize the potential for our athletics advancement unit as we seek to leverage everything we have with the goal of transforming support for our student athletes, coaches, staff, and the university as a whole.”

Reporting to the vice president for University Advancement, with a dotted-line reporting relationship to the director of athletics, Thiel will oversee collaborations with athletics and advancement leadership on major gifts, special events and other external functions. In addition, he and his team will guide athletics-focused annual giving and related efforts currently housed in the Spartan Foundation, the Order of Sparta and the Quarterback Club.

“I have long admired San Jose State University for the value Spartans place on success on the field, in the classroom, and through service to the larger community,” Thiel said. “As San Jose State seeks to capture more conference titles and as it continues to modernize its storied athletics complex, there are many opportunities to build support in the heart of Silicon Valley and beyond. I am looking forward to leading a team with such enormous potential.”

Proven leader and seasoned professional

Thiel brought a new sense of energy and enthusiasm to Rice Athletics, where he and his team revitalized fundraising as follows:

  • Completed $41.5 million in fundraising for capital projects including a football operations and student-athlete training center, locker and team rooms for six sports, a grandstand and team space for track, and a new batting cage and hospitality area for baseball.
  • Doubled cash received to $14.75 million during his first year as chief development officer.
  • Assisted with solicitation plan for $12 million gift, the largest in Rice Athletics history.
  • Increased the number of donors by 78 percent in three years, including a 110 percent increase in annual fund donors.

At Stanford, Thiel fostered relationships that resulted in a number of firsts for the medical school and for athletics.

  • Served as a development liaison for football, men’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, women’s lacrosse, synchronized swimming, men’s and women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s water polo, and wrestling.
  • Closed $750,000 in gifts for the university’s first two student-athlete summer school scholarships.
  • Secured the lead gift for a $700,000 wrestling team room renovation.
  • Raised $3 million for the medical school’s Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge.

By accepting this new role at San Jose State, Thiel will be returning to the California State University system. He received a bachelor’s in business administration-finance from California State University, Fullerton, in 1996, and a master’s of sports management from the University of San Francisco in 1999.


San Jose State University — Named Josh Thiel deputy director of athletics for athletics advancement.

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State University Athletics

San Jose State University’s athletics program sponsors 20 NCAA Division I sports (7 men’s and 13 women’s) and offers an intercollegiate athletics experience to at least 450 student-athletes annually. The Spartans compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of college football. San Jose State is a member of the Mountain West — a conference of 12 football-playing schools in the Pacific, Mountain and Hawaiian time zones.


Alumnus Receives NCAA’s Highest Honor

Peter Ueberroth

Peter Ueberroth (right) continues to support the SJSU men’s water polo program (photo: Terrell Lloyd).

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from an NCAA news release posted on Dec. 16. 

Marking a successful career in business and sports, Peter Ueberroth will be recognized in January at the NCAA Convention with the NCAA’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award. Named after the former president whose concern for the conduct of college athletics led to the formation of the NCAA in 1906, the award is given annually at the NCAA Honors Celebration to an individual who exemplifies the ideals of college sports. Ueberroth was previously named a 1984 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award honoree commemorating the 25thanniversary of his graduation from college.

The young man peered at a striped yellow ball – he had never encountered one like it before.

It was four weeks before his graduation from Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, California, and Peter Ueberroth was about to be presented with a life-altering opportunity. After swimming a few laps, a cinch given his background as a lifeguard, he fired that ball into a target, again and again.

Six decades later, Ueberroth still remembers trying that strange new sport in front of San Jose State University water polo coach Ed Rudloff. The meeting was arranged by Ueberroth’s high school football coach, Ken Stanger, a former San Jose State football player who recommended Rudloff take a look at the strong-armed football and baseball player.

If not for the opportunity provided by the water polo scholarship that resulted from that tryout, the future Time magazine Man of the Year said he wouldn’t even have attended college. Ueberroth’s experience at San Jose State served as a springboard to a career spent at the highest levels of business and sports.

Read the full release.

Men’s Water Polo Returns to SJSU

Men's water polo coaches gather around their players at the edge of the pool.

The San Jose State men’s water polo team jumped back in the pool after a 34-year hiatus for its season opener against the Santa Clara Broncos on September 5 (Photo: Terrell Lloyd).

In the 1960s and 1970s, SJSU had a powerhouse water polo team. They won a national title in 1968, and finished in the top five nationally four times in the 1970s. But in 1981, the school discontinued the program to comply with Title IX regulations.

Bill Simpkins, a former college water polo player himself and son of long-time SJSU benefactors and alumni Alan and Phyllis Simpkins, repeatedly pressed the university to reinstate the sport. But the funds weren’t there. So Simpkins spearheaded an effort to raise enough money to bring the sport back.

“The team had a winning history. It needed to come back,” Simpkins said. “The sport of water polo has not added a new D1 team for over 30 years. Hopefully, this will start a trend. My parents, Alan and Phyllis, were my wingmen.”

Alumni support

Before the team’s first game, several donors and former water polo players participated in a cap ceremony, giving swim caps to the 19 players on the current roster (Photo: Terrell Lloyd).

Bill Simpkins and his wife Brigid made a generous donation. So did Peter Ueberroth,’59 Business Administration. Ueberroth is a former travel industry executive, Major League Baseball commissioner and U.S. Olympic Committee chairman.

Jane Hind set up a $1 million dollar endowment in her late husband’s name. Greg Hind, ’69  Health Science, was an All-American water polo player in the 1970s at SJSU.

Altogether, more than 100 people donated more than $3.5 million, which will sustain the program for five years until the university takes over the financing. Interest from the Greg Hine endowment will fund student-athlete scholarships beginning next year.

Cap ceremony

Before the team’s first game in September, several donors and former water polo players participated in a cap ceremony, giving swim caps to the 19 players on the current roster.

For a moment in time, right there on the pool’s edge, the years melted away as the generations bonded over their love of the game and their quest to keep this Spartan tradition going strong.


Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

First and Foremost an Educator

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

Women’s water polo Head Coach Lou Tully, BA ’67, MA ’73 Physical Education, passed away Dec. 17 at the age of 70. He was undergoing treatment for cancer, which he had beaten once before and expected to beat again. Coach Tully was looking forward to his 18th season with San Jose State.

Tributes to his life and legacy are pouring in from across the country,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “My heart goes out to all of his players and colleagues, especially those who were looking forward to his return in a few short weeks.”

Lou Tully was first and foremost an educator. He took deep pride in his degrees and teaching credential from San Jose State, encouraging his players to not only excel in class but to compete at the highest levels in athletics. In 1997, his first year as head coach, he took women’s water polo from a club sport to the top 25 nationally. His teams ranked in the top 10 for 12 years, with the 2001 and 2011 teams finishing fifth nationally.

His players understood that he was teaching them far more than how to win in a sport that he described as a combination of ice hockey, basketball, swimming and soccer. In a 2010 Washington Square alumni magazine feature, then co-captain and two-time All-American Adriana Vogt summarized his legacy by saying “what he teaches us as a coach are lessons I’m probably going to keep for the rest of my life.”

A Vietnam veteran, Lou Tully first came to SJSU in 1962 to play on the men’s water polo team. He began his coaching career in 1966 at Menlo Junior College, where he worked with both the water polo and swimming teams. He went on to coach other community college and high school teams, taking Mount Pleasant High School and Leland High School to league championships.

Coach Tully gave generously of his time and talent well beyond the campuses served. He founded San Jose Splash, a club team for junior women’s water polo players, and officiated at just about every level up to the U.S. Senior Men’s and Women’s National Championships.

Services are pending. He is survived by his wife Susan, daughter Megan, son Ian, daughter-in-law Caroline and grandson Chase.

Power of Gratitude: A Winning Attitude

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

David Fales, ’13 Psychology

I’m so grateful for everything I’ve received here. It’s something I’ll remember forever. It’s been a great time.”

“If I hadn’t gotten a scholarship,” says David Fales, ’13 Psychology, “I probably wouldn’t be going to school here.” Which would be too bad for the Spartans. Since the quarterback came to San José State on a football scholarship in December 2011, he has become a single-season record holder in seven categories. In the 2012 season, Fales led the Spartans to an 11-2 record—throwing more than 4100 yards and 33 touchdowns with a pass completion rate of more than 72 percent—that culminated in a Military Bowl win and a move to the Mountain West Conference. Fales has not disappointed this season either: the Spartans are once again bowl-eligable following their last win, during which Fales threw for a school-record 547 yards and six touchdowns to spoil the Fresno Bulldogs’ perfect season.

“I always tell everybody that I don’t know what exactly I would be doing without the scholarship,” says Fales, who transferred from a junior college where he shouldered the cost of his education. “I’m very fortunate. Life is a lot easier now.”

Right now Fales is focused on football, but he has other plans in the works following his graduation in December. “I want to see how long I can play football and hopefully ride it out for a little bit longer. After that, I want to get involved in sports psychology.” Fales was first exposed to the profession during a brief semester at Wyoming. “They had a sports psychologist there and he really got me interested in working with teams.”

“I’m so grateful for everything I’ve received here,” says Fales. “Being with the football team, the different experiences we’ve had, the relationships I’ve built in the two years I’ve been here. It’s something I’ll remember forever, and the relationships I have now I’ll have for the rest of my life. It’s been a great time.”

View The Power of Gratitude series.

A Homecoming to Remember

From the Cookie Kickoff to the final seconds of the game, Homecoming 2013 was outstanding.

The festivities began Monday morning with free gold and blue cookies for everyone. The middle of the week brought circus performers, the Campus MovieFest grand finale and Fire on the Fountain, where the Homecoming king and queen were named.

Seniors Daniel Harris-Lucas and Diana Busaka were selected based on their achievements. But the honor took on special significance this year, believed to be the first time in SJSU history that the king and queen are both African American.

On Friday, San Jose State took over San Pedro Square. The revelry continued Saturday, when Golden Grads from the Classes of 1962, 1963 and 1964 joined current students at tailgate parties before the game.

More than 16,120 fans packed Spartan Stadium. Spartans delivered a nail biter, beating Wyoming in the last few seconds of the game. Fireworks filled the night sky, but the celebration did not end there.

Spartans awoke Monday to learn quarterback David Fales, who threw for a career-high 482 yards and five touchdowns, had been named National Performer of the Week. The former Wyoming walk-on was quick to deflect the attention.

“We’ve got a lot of guys making plays,” he told the San Jose Mercury News.

The excitement continues Saturday, when Spartan Football travels to UNLV, followed by the men’s basketball season opener 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at the SJSU Event Center.

Have you seen the new floor? This is Sparta!

SJSU Basketball Court

This is Sparta! (SB Nation Photo)



Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

SJSU admitted over 1,000 transfer applicants for spring 2014. Admissions Communications Counselor Kali Guidry helps collate all those acceptance letters (Enrollment Services image).

1. Alumna Ranae Moneymaker is a stunt double for Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games,” the sequel “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” A nutritional science major from 2005 to 2010, Moneymaker mastered flips, falls and overcoming fear as a member of the San Jose State gymnastics team.

2. San Jose State is congratulating over 1,000 transfer applicants recently admitted for spring 2014. In addition, thousands of students from across the country and around the world are applying now for fall 2014. Our Enrollment Services Facebook page makes it easy to stay on track.

3. SJSU features a top accounting program. The Lucas College and Graduate School of Business ranks seventh among 30 California’s public and private schools in terms of alumni pass rates on the certified public accountant exam. This is according to a Sacramento Business Journal analysis of National Association of State Boards of Accountancy data.

4. ESPN featured Spartan Racing, San Jose State Judo, Animation/Illustration and Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol during the national broadcast of Spartan football’s Sept. 27 game. Check out this behind-the-scenes reel and join us as we look forward to the Homecoming Game Oct. 26.

5. Kirandeep Deol, ’14 biochemistry, was one of 255 students selected from a pool of nearly 4,000 applicants nationwide for the AMGEN Scholars Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has conducted research at MIT and attended a symposium at UCLA to meet other AMGEN scholars and hear from leading biotech scientists.

Student Assistant Amanda Holst contributed to this report.

Athletics Hosts Los Spartans Night

Spartan Athletics Hosts Los Spartans Night

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with this special pre-game event Sept. 27. $25 VIP ticket includes food, entertainment, this t-shirt and admission to Spartan Stadium.

Contact: Denis Cajina Jr., 408-924-SJTX

For the first time in school history, San Jose State University Athletics will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with “Los Spartans Night,” which will take place Friday, Sept. 27, when SJSU Football takes on Utah State, with kickoff at 6 p.m. at Spartan Stadium. Nationally televised on ESPN, this game is a highly anticipated rematch. Utah State was one of only two teams that defeated the Spartans last season.

Prior to kickoff, San Jose State Athletics will host an Hispanic Heritage Night networking mixer beginning at 3 p.m. on the Spartan practice fields. Top Hispanic businesses and business owners will be in attendance as well as both on and off-campus Hispanic organizations. The mixer will include cultural performances, Hispanic music and food catered by Chavez Supermarkets, one of the official sponsors of this event.

Chavez Supermarkets has donated 1,000 Los Spartan Night t-shirts for those who purchase tickets. Fans can buy tickets online, by phone and at all Chavez Supermarkets. Fans who purchase tickets at Chavez Supermarkets will also receive two free children tickets (12 and under) with the purchase of every adult ticket.

Tickets are $25 and include entrance into the networking mixer event, a reserved seat in section 108, and a limited edition “Los Spartans Night” t-shirt. Supplies are limited. Even though San Jose State students are admitted free into Spartan home games, they must still purchase a ticket to be admitted into the networking event and to receive a “Los Spartans Night” t-shirt.

For more information regarding this event, contact Denis Cajina Jr. with SJSU Athletics at 408-924-SJTX (7589) or on the link found below.


Gene Bleymaier

Athletics Director on NCAA Advisory Council

Gene Bleymaier

Gene Bleymaier, SJSU Athletics Director

SJSU’s Gene Bleymaier is one of 10 Division I athletics directors to accept a position on NCAA President Mark Emmert’s newly-formed advisory council. “My colleagues and I look forward to working with President Emmert on topics that specifically affect NCAA Division I athletics,” Bleymaier said. The 10 athletics directors represent a geographic and competitive cross section of Division I athletics. Bleymaier is in his second year as Spartans Athletics director and in his 32nd year as an athletics director at the NCAA Division I level, making him the most experienced member of Emmert’s advisory council. Read more from The Wall Street Journal.

Spartans Defend WAC Swimming & Diving Championship

Swimming & Diving Team Wins WAC Championship

Spartans Defend WAC Swimming & Diving Championship

Alli Davis in the 200 IM (photo courtesy of Regina Cunningham).

San Antonio, Texas — Ashlyn Acosta set a San Jose State University record in the 200 yard butterfly and the team’s overall depth prevailed as the Spartans successfully defended their Western Athletic Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship.

San Jose State had 695 points in the team scoring to finish ahead of Northern Arizona’s 688 and Denver’s 631.5 in the nine-team championship. The Spartans now have back-to-back championships after not having any prior to 2012.

“When you have 25 people working together through the season with a common goal, they can do great things,” said San Jose State head coach Sage Hopkins, who was named WAC Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. “The depth and strength of our team carried us through the whole season.”

Acosta broke the school record twice on the meet’s final day with a 1:59.86 qualifying round time and a NCAA Championship provisional qualifying mark of 1:59.03 to finish second in the championship final.

The Spartans won the championship without a first place finish in any of the last 13 events on the final two days. San Jose State won the first three relay races and 2012 WAC Swimmer of the Year Marisa DeWames captured the 50 freestyle for the second year in a row during the first two days of the four-day championship meet.

Acosta and DeWames in the 100 freestyle and Amy Kilby in platform diving finished second in their events.

“They (Kilby and Jessica Holden) were humungous,” said co-captain Julia Craddock, who was third in the 200 butterfly final, about the Spartans’ diving contingent. Kilby scored points with a third in the 3-meter and fourth in the 1-meter to go along with her second in the platform. Holden’s fourth in the platform was her best finish in the WAC Championship. “They really, really helped the team and dove extremely well.”

“This is a tremendous team, a tremendous group. I’m very lucky to work with a great group of student-athletes,” Hopkins added.

Get all the results from SJSU Athletics. Getting it Back–How San Jose State Excels in the Classroom

Posted by Dec. 21, 2013.

By Ronnie Ramos

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Katie Parry, the learning specialist for the San Jose State football team, knows the exact moment the players became really, truly committed to academics. “We beat Navy and we’re flying back and we’re all excited,” she said of a late September game earlier this year. “Our starting quarterback comes up to me and says, ‘I’m ready to do my paper.’ That is a sign of true turnaround to me. We’ve got student-athletes who want to do school work on the plane after a road win.”

It has been a long road back.

On the football field, the San Jose State football team finished 11-2, its first 11-win season since 1940. The Spartans defeated Bowling Green, 29-20, in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27. It was their first bowl game since 2006.

In the classroom, the turnaround has been even more impressive. The football program has improved its Academic Progress Rate – the NCAA’s team-based metric that measures how well a school retains students and keeps them on track to graduate – by more than 100 points.

“The way it works is you can’t have success in one area and not in the other – everything has to go hand in hand,” said senior offensive tackle David Quessenberry “Academics come first. You have to take care of business in the classroom in order to be successful on the football field.”

That wasn’t always the case.

The school’s APR was so dismal seven years ago that the school had been penalized with the loss of scholarships, faced the real possibility of being banned from bowl games, and even forced the new football coach to ask if he was going to have a team.

The program was in such disarray that six players had to be pulled off the bus before a game against Stanford because they were juniors and had not declared their majors, a requirement to remain eligible for competition. “That was mortifying,” said Eileen Daley who was hired as the lead academic athletics advisor soon after that incident.

The school also hired a new athletics director, Tom Bowen, and a new football coach, Dick Tomey, before the 2005 season. Neither knew the extent of the academic woes until they got to campus.

It was so bad in the fall of 2005 that Tomey asked Daley: Are we going to have a team? I don’t know, she told him. “The biggest reason we struggled so much was our students weren’t going to class,” Daley said. “And those that exhausted their eligibility weren’t going to class and not graduating.”

That is a deadly combination for a school’s APR. In 2004, the football team’s APR was 837. At the time, a score of 925 roughly equated to a 50 percent graduation rate. Today, a team with an APR below 930 cannot compete for a championship or play in a bowl game. San Jose State’s football team had an APR of 959 in 2011, the latest year available.

So how did San Jose State turn things around? The school unequivocally adopted an academics-first priority. Led by the new triumvirate of the school president, the athletics director and football coach, standards were raised, student-athletes were held accountable and resources were added for academic support.

In short, focusing on academics took precedence over winning football games. The road back to academic success started in early 2005 when Interim President Don Kassing was permanently named to the position. He hired Bowen as his athletics director, who then hired Tomey.

The three came aboard together. That was the good news.

The bad news was none of them knew much about the APR – and the dismal academic performance of its student-athletes. “None of us were familiar with the APR,” said Kassing, who was president until 2008. “I was aware but did not pay attention to it. We were six or seven months into our jobs and Tom (Bowen) said we were behind on dealing with APR.”

Said Bowen: “It was a mess. There was no academic support. The academic culture among students was one of disarray and nonperformance.” Across the university, student-athletes were not well regarded. “We were in such dire situation with credibility among the deans, faculty senate,” Bowen said. “We needed to show it was important to me, to the coaches.”

Tomey was not happy. “My mindset was very defensive,” he said. “I wasn’t up to date on APR. I admit that.” After six months of trying to appeal the NCAA sanctions of scholarship reductions, Tomey had a self-realization. “I needed to get myself together and understand that it was a new day in terms of academic accountability and I needed to get on board with it and take a different approach.

“At that point threw myself completely into learning all I could about the history of the APR. I got on every committee I could get on (at the NCAA) having to do with that.”

Kassing, Bowen, and Tomey made a formidable team to ignite the turnaround. “We needed to do it for the right reasons – for the kids,” Kassing said. “I wanted the kids to have respect on campus. We wanted good, strong academic students, not just athletes.”

Tomey’s effort was dubbed “Operation Graduation.” The focus was changed from getting players eligible to getting them to graduate.

“We changed our recruiting practices,” Tomey said. “We changed the way we did almost everything. We had to recruit players we were convinced could graduate.”

Bowen spearheaded the effort to acquire additional resources to help student-athletes with academics. San Jose State, though in Division I, has limited resources. But President Kassing was determined to make improvements. “We had to fund it because we felt it was very important to do,’ he said.

Bowen hired a learning specialist to work with the student-athletes and instituted mandatory study hall. They tried different things. Student-athletes on scholarships were held responsible for their performance. “If you got an F, you had to pay the class back,” Bowen said. “And it worked.”

Coaches checked classrooms to make sure the players were attending class. Tomey left in 2009 and his successor Mike McIntyre picked up what Tomey had started.

McIntyre hired Parry as a full-time learning specialist for the football team and placed her front and center. “My job is only as good as the head coach’s commitment,” Parry said. “If the head coach isn’t supportive of academics, my role doesn’t serve a whole lot of purpose. Academics are front and center for him. It’s really first.”

Every day, as football practice ends, Parry is on the field. “As soon as practice is over, coach calls everyone up,” she said. “I am the first person to speak. Every day. I make academic announcements. He told me, even if you don’t really have any announcements, say something. I need to be a presence. They need to know I come first.”

Parry travels with the team on road games and hosts mandatory study hall in the hotel for at least three hours every Friday night before the game. On the plane to and from the games, the seat next to Parry is left open so students can sit with her and do their work.

“The first year we did that, I faced a little resistance,” Parry said. “Guys were like, ‘I don’t want to do it now.’ This year, I have more guys than I can handle. I had 10 to 15 players per trip, wanting to do work with me. I had to create a schedule. Kids were arguing over who was going to sit next to me so we could talk about their paper, talk about what they had coming up.”

For incoming freshmen, McIntyre started a summer bridge program, which is common at many large Division I schools. “It has made huge inroads in getting kids to learn how to be students,” Parry said. “It’s a five-week program: two classes, three hours a day. They learn study skills, life skills, how to do a presentation, how to do research, how to use the library, how to talk to a professor.

“When they start school in the fall as freshman, they know. They know how to be a student.”

Many of the architects of San Jose State’s turnaround are gone. Kassing and Tomey have retired. Bowen is now the athletics director at Memphis. McIntyre, who replaced Tomey, just left for the head coaching job at Colorado.

But the commitment remains.

Current AD Gene Blaymaier hired a new coach, Ron Caragher, last week. Maintaining the current academic success was “the number one priority,” he said. “I had to have a coach that was going to stress academics. The student-athletes are here first and foremost to graduate.”

Moments after being introduced as the new coach, Caragher said he knew about the past problems and what is expected going forward. “I knew some of the difficulties they have gone through and that came up with the leadership as we went through this process,” he said. “There is a good solid plan in place so we can keep our APR high.”

Today, the torch for academic excellence is carried by Liz Jarnigan, the associate athletic director for student services and a passionate advocate for student-athlete success. A former student-athlete and a former coach, Jarnigan seeks to take that competitive zeal the players embrace on the field and carry it into the classroom.

And unlike eight years ago, there is help. There are three academic advisors – Jose Macias, Gina Archimede and Marwa Abbas – who help all the student-athletes, not just the football players. Learning specialist Nick Mazur rounds out the team. It’s a small unit compared to what large Division I schools have.

At San Jose State, the study hall also serves as the meeting room for the football team. Jarnigan works out of an office barely larger than a closet and talks passionately about setting high standards. “The goal is to go for a 4.0,” she said. “Why shoot for a 2.0, the minimum needed to remain eligible?

“On the field, you don’t go into the season shooting for third place in the conference. You play to win. We should do the same in the classroom. We encourage them to be true to their competitive nature. Don’t change the mindset from the field to the classroom.”

Many of the players, especially the seniors, have embraced the academic part of being a student-athlete. “School has to come first because you can’t predict what is going to happen with football, said senior defensive end Travis Johnson. “But if you have a degree, you are set for life.”

Spartan Football: "History Makers"

Spartan Football Makes History

fan hugs player

Emotions ran high after SJSU clinched the game (Christina Olivas photo).

“The best season in the major college football history of San Jose State concluded with a game that showcased how this team reached levels not before seen,” San Jose Mercury News reporter Jimmy Durkin wrote of SJSU’s 29-20 victory over Bowling Green at the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C. After quarterback David Fales was named MVP, he was quick to share the credit. “I’m just so excited for the coaching staff and the seniors and the people who put in all that hard work,” he said. These achievements provided the Spartan football team, cheer team and marching band with the opportunity to perform on a national level, a transformational opportunity SJSU strives to provide all students. View photos from the game and add a comment on Facebook. See the trophy presentation on ESPN3. Check out ESPN game highlights.

San Jose Mercury News: SJSU Receives A+ for BYU Win

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Nov. 19, 2012.

By Jon Wilner


Result: Beat BYU 20-14

Grade: A+

Comment: For perspective on the Spartans’ first win over BYU since 1968, consider that the Cougars were within a field goal of beating Notre Dame in South Bend.That’s not to say SJSU would take down the Irish, but when combined with the Spartans’ three-point loss at Stanford, it’s a pretty solid indication that they’re a quality team on any level — WAC, Independent, B1G, Pac-12.

“If you would ask anybody in America if we’d be 9-2 at this time, I don’t think many people would’ve said it,” coach Mike MacIntyre said after the game.Truer words have never been spoken, at least on the corner of Seventh and Alma.

A stellar season for the Spartans got even better with what could reasonably be considered their best win since beating Stanford in 2006.

At the same time, MacIntyre’s stock is soaring at the same time positions are coming open across the country (and perhaps in the Bay Area).Whether he’s interesting in leaving SJSU is a discussion for another time, but I have to think the Spartans are reworking MacIntyre’s contract.

If not: What are they waiting for?

As opposed to the high-scoring affairs of the past month, this was dominated by the defenses (not surprising, given BYU’s prowess on that side of the ball).Keith Smith’s game-saving blitz/fumble forced was the play of the game, but SJSU was sturdy throughout, holding BYU to 2.6 yards per rush and a 33 percent third-down conversion rate.Oh, and don’t forget the four sacks and three turnovers forced.

Quarterback David Fales was 25 of 34 for 305 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Given the strength of BYU’s defense, this qualifies as the best game of Fales’ career.It’s one thing to carve up UTSA and New Mexico State, quite another to post those numbers against BYU.

Next up: vs. Louisiana Tech

The matchup: The Spartans are getting LaTech at just the right time, following an overtime loss to Utah State in a showdown for the WAC title.How must emotional fuel will the Bulldogs have left?

Even at less than their best, the Bulldogs present numerous problems for the SJSU defense: QB Colby Cameron and WR Quinton Patton are one of the top pass-catch tandems in the country.This will be the best test for SJSU’s defense since Utah State … and maybe the best test of the season.

LaTech leads the country in scoring, and not all of its big games have come against second-tier WAC foes: The Bulldogs posted 57 points on Texas A&M and 41 on Utah State.

The Spartans are favored by 3.5.

San Jose State’s Historic Feet

SJSU’s Historic Feet

San Jose State’s Historic Feet

Fifty years ago, the Spartans fielded the first integrated cross country team to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I title (photo courtesy of Spartan Athletics).

Fifty years ago, the Spartans fielded the first integrated cross country team to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I title. The NCAA has posted a web feature paying tribute to the team, including current SJSU Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Women’s Track Coach Ron Davis. Keep in mind this happened six years before Spartan sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos took a stand at the 1968 Olympics.

“A unique group of young men coached by a motivational mentor captured something they didn’t even realize was special at the time. On Nov. 26, 1962, this collection of speedy Spartans became the first integrated team to win the Division I (then called the University Division) title. As incredible as it was then, the feat may be even more remarkable upon reflection, given the racially charged atmosphere amid a civil rights movement that was dividing the country,” says NCAA writer Gary Brown.

“It was always believed that Blacks couldn’t run anything over 400 meters,” Davis told Brown. “What we did was a major surprise to the country … Looking back, that experience taught us about life, about getting to know people, and about working hard for accomplishments. We were young athletes who struggled in high school to be good enough to receive a scholarship. We were fortunate that all three of us ended up at San Jose State and were recruited not for our color but for our ability.”

Read the NCAA story.

2012 Olympic Judo Bronze Medalist Comes Home

2012 Olympic Judo Bronze Medalist Marti Malloy Celebrates Homecoming

2012 Olympics bronze medalist Marti Malloy greets SJSU Judo Head Coach Yosh Uchida (Christina Olivas photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

SJSU judo bronze medalist Marti Malloy, ’12 Advertising, flew straight from London to the Bay Area last night just in time for dinner following the 22nd Annual Yosh Uchida Golf Classic at the Silver Creek Valley Country Club. “I would like to thank every single person who helped me along the way,” she said before several hundred judo supporters. “Judo is an individual sport, but this medal is ours.” Malloy presented a special coaches’ medal to fellow Spartan Yosh Uchida, 92, saying, “There is no one more deserving of this than you, Mr. Uchida.” Widely credited with elevating judo to an Olympic sport, Uchida still attends nearly every SJSU judo practice as he has done for the past 66 years. Malloy visited each table at the event for photos, reuniting with teammates, SJSU judo Olympians from years past, and assistant coaches including Shintaro Nakano. “Shintaro Sensei, I felt you standing on the podium with me,” Malloy said. She is SJSU judo’s first female Olympic medal winner, and only the second U.S. female Olympic medal winner in the sport. Later in the evening, Sean Clerkin of Pasadena-based architecture firm Clerkin & Clerkin, shared plans for a new dojo (judo practice hall) that will be part of the Spartan Complex Renovation and Seismic Upgrade. The complex, which houses most of SJSU’s kinesiology programs, includes Yoshihiro Uchida Hall. SJSU plans to break ground on the $56 million project in spring 2013.

SJSU President Names New Athletics Director

SJSU President Names New Athletics Director

SJSU President Names New Athletics Director

Gene Bleymaier and President Qayoumi (Christina Olivas photos)

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, University Media Relations, (408) 656-6999
Lawrence Fan, Athletics Media Relations, (408) 768-3424

SAN JOSE, CA – San José State University President Mohammad Qayoumi has appointed Gene Bleymaier as SJSU’s new athletics director, effective June 30, 2012.

“I am thrilled Gene Bleymaier has agreed to bring his tremendous leadership skills and record of success to San José State, especially at a time when our football team is showing such strong potential,” President Qayoumi said. “We are also fortunate he will arrive at SJSU as we move to the Mountain West from the Western Athletic Conference, a transition he navigated with great success at Boise State.”

As Boise State’s athletics director for nearly three decades, Bleymaier is widely credited with transforming the Broncos football team into a national phenomenon, with a top-10 ranking in the past three seasons. His staff built or expanded nearly every athletics facility on campus, and he added four women’s sports without dropping any men’s sports, noted the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

“I see the same great potential in San José State that I saw in Boise State when I first arrived there,” Bleymaier said. “I am pleased to accept President Qayoumi’s offer, and to have the opportunity to take the reins at Spartan Athletics at such an exciting time. My wife Danell and I are looking forward to joining our four children, all of whom now reside in the Bay Area.”

After graduating from Borah High School in Boise, Bleymaier went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA in 1975, where he played football for legendary coaching great and SJSU alumnus Dick Vermeil. Bleymaier earned a law degree from Loyola Law School in 1978, and served as a UCLA assistant athletics director before returning to Idaho. He joined the Boise State athletics department as an assistant athletics director in 1981, and was promoted to athletics director in 1982.

Bleymaier has been recognized nationally for his leadership. He received the prestigious Bobby Dodd Athletic Director of the Year Award in 2011. He was one of five nominees for the Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily Athletic Director of the Year for 2010, and the only nominee from a non-automatic qualifying Bowl Championship Series school. Bleymaier left Boise State in September 2011, after the NCAA uncovered compliance violations.

“I know people will raise concerns about NCAA compliance issues during Gene’s tenure at Boise State,” President Qayoumi said. “Let me assure you I shared those same concerns. After thoroughly discussing these issues with the NCAA and Gene, and considering Gene’s extraordinary 30-year career, I am confident he is the right choice for San José State.”

Bleymaier, 58, has signed a five-year contract setting his state salary at $220,092, the same amount as his predecessor. Bleymaier will also receive an annual supplement of $102,000 from the Tower Foundation, which will raise funds from private donors for this purpose.

San José State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

ESPN to Profile Judo Legend and Alumnus Yoshihiro Uchida

Marti Malloy

Marti Malloy

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

With the 2012 Olympics just around the corner, and Asian-Pacific Heritage Month in full swing, ESPN recently sent a camera crew to San Jose State to interview judo legend and alumnus Yoshihiro Uchida. Slated to air at 8 p.m. May 20 on ESPN, the segment (now available here) will focus on Uchida’s leadership role in elevating judo to an Olympic sport, and his many years of coaching at SJSU. After enrolling at San Jose State in 1940, Uchida served in World War II, graduated with a degree in biological sciences, and founded and later sold a chain of medical laboratories to Unilab, all the while coaching and advocating for a sport he learned as the child of Japanese immigrants to California. Uchida’s legacy includes recent SJSU graduate Marti Malloy, an American judoka set to make her Olympic debut in London. The ESPN segment follows up on a New York Times profile.

SJSU Accepts Mountain West Membership Offer


SJSU Accepts Mountain West Membership Offer

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, University Media Relations Director, (408) 924-1748 (office), (408) 656-6999 (cell)

Lawrence Fan, Athletics Media Relations Director, (408) 924-1217 (office), (408) 768-3424 (cell)

SAN JOSE, CA – Continuing its long-standing participation in NCAA Division I-A intercollegiate athletics, San José State University has accepted an offer to change its conference affiliation by joining the Mountain West on July 1, 2013.

“Joining the Mountain West in 2013 is an exciting opportunity for San José State University’s student-athletes, coaches and our many supporters,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “I want to thank everyone who worked hard to make this happen. The Mountain West and San José State are a great match.

“We are not joining this conference simply to compete. We are joining to win, and to build upon our current record of success reflecting San José State’s role as a leader in the classroom, in research and in athletics.”

Beginning in 2013-14, San José State will share Mountain West membership with the Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Colorado State (Fort Collins, Colo.), Fresno State (Fresno, Calif.), Nevada (Reno, Nev.), UNLV (Las Vegas, Nev.), New Mexico (Albuquerque, N.M.), Utah State (Logan, Utah), Wyoming (Laramie, Wyo.) in many of its sports and Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii) in football only.

“Today is a historic day for San José State University athletics. We are proud to join the Mountain West in 2013 and continue our long and rich history of offering our student-athletes and coaches the opportunity to compete at the Division I-A level. In addition, our fans and alumni will continue enjoying the best in major college athletics,” said San José State University Interim Athletics Director Marie Tuite.

“We will join familiar opponents in competition, gain a better geographic fit when we travel to away games and provide a level of stability, particularly for our improving football program led by Coach Mike MacIntyre, with additional opportunities to grow all of our sports programs.”

With the recent addition of women’s outdoor track, 14 of San José State’s 17 NCAA Division I programs will compete for Mountain West championships. Presently, the Mountain West does not sponsor conference championships in men’s soccer, women’s gymnastics and women’s water polo. SJSU has a total of 450 student-athletes.

The Spartans will be exiting the Western Athletic Conference after securing membership in July 1996.

“As we look forward to becoming a Mountain West member, we want to thank the WAC for its support of San José State University athletics and providing our student-athletes a positive Division I athletics environment,” Tuite said. “On behalf of everyone affiliated with San José State athletics, we look forward to the challenges ahead, and embrace them willingly, as we enter the Mountain West.”


San José State University’s Intercollegiate Athletics Conference Affiliations

  • 1890 – San José State plays its first intercollegiate athletics contest in baseball.
  • 1950 – San José State philosophically commits to competing in major college athletics. The football team competes as an independent. Baseball and men’s basketball later join the West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC).
  • 1969 – San José State is a founding member of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA).
  • 1982 – San José State’s women’s athletics teams relinquish AIWA membership to compete as NCAA programs with conference affiliation in the NorPac Conference.
  • 1986 – San José State women’s athletics teams join the PCAA.
  • 1988 – The PCAA changes its name to the Big West Conference.
  • July 1, 1996 – San José State is one of six schools joining the Western Athletic Conference.
  • July 1, 2013 – San José State is one of two universities joining the Mountain West.

San José State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.