World-Renowned Sports Sociologist and SJSU Alumnus Harry Edwards to Serve as 2016 Commencement Speaker

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu

Harry Edwards speaks at a campus event in May 2012 (photo: Christina Olivas)

Harry Edwards speaks at a campus event in May 2012 (photo: Christina Olivas)

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University announced today that human and civil rights icon Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, will serve as its 2016 Commencement speaker. In addition, Edwards will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Commencement. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. May 28 at Spartan Stadium. The event will be streamed live on the university’s website.

“Harry Edwards came to San Jose State to pursue an education while representing the university in intercollegiate athletics, and he accomplished both with extraordinary distinction,” said SJSU Interim President Susan Martin. “Dr. Edwards went on to dedicate his life to developing innovative approaches for raising the nation’s consciousness about the hidden inequities and barriers that exist in our society through his work in athletics. We are proud to recognize his contributions with an honorary degree and look forward to hearing him address our graduates.”

This academic year, an estimated 9,000 San Jose State students will earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Approximately 15,000 family members and friends are expected to attend Commencement.

Harry Edwards

Harry Edwards, 73, was born in St. Louis, Mo., and raised in East St. Louis, Ill., the second of eight children. With no more than a third-grade education, his father supported the family and encouraged Harry to take advantage of the opportunities the sports world provided.

Edwards followed through, excelling in sports and academics in high school. With financial support from a St. Louis-area attorney, he arrived in California to attend Fresno City College on a track and basketball scholarship. He later transferred to San Jose State University, where he served as captain of the basketball team and set school records for the discus.

Edwards set SJSU records for the discus (courtesy of Spartan Athletics).

Edwards set SJSU records for the discus (courtesy of Spartan Athletics).

After graduating in 1964 with a degree in sociology, Edwards had three choices: professional football, professional basketball, or graduate school. He chose graduate school, and began work on master’s and doctoral degrees at Cornell University in New York. After completing his master’s degree, he took a break from his studies to return to San Jose State, where he worked as a part-time instructor of sociology.

The year was 1966, and the civil rights movement was in full swing. Drawing on his childhood experiences, his years as a college athlete, his academic training, and his desire to educate, Edwards began gaining national attention for speaking out on the inequities he perceived in the nation and the sports world.

“During the 1967 college football season, Edwards, then a part-time instructor… presented a list of civil rights grievances to the administration on behalf of the school’s black students, particularly its athletes. Edwards’s group threatened to ‘physically interfere’ with the opening game if demands were not met. It was a regional watershed in radical sports activism, and the mainstream reaction was also a first; the opening game was canceled,” according to The New York Times.

Taking a Stand

The following year brought the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy. Edwards lent his voice and support to the Olympic Project for Human Rights, a movement calling upon black athletes to boycott the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Watching television in the United States, Edwards observed SJSU track stars and U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos take a stand for human rights on the awards podium.

Harry Edwards and Sandra Boze Edwards met at SJSU, and have been married 47 years (courtesy of Mr. Edwards)

Harry Edwards and Sandra Boze Edwards met at SJSU (courtesy of Mr. Edwards).

At the time, all three men were heavily criticized for their actions. Three decades later, San Jose State student leaders recognized the courage of these Spartans by memorializing the moment with a 24-foot tall sculpture in the heart of our campus.

Edwards went on to earn a doctoral degree from Cornell University in 1971, and to begin a distinguished, three-decade career as a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. A giant of a man with a caring presence, his “Sociology of Sports” course was among the most popular on campus.

During that time, he remained in constant contact with the professional sports world, where he served as a consultant to two luminaries who also graduated from San Jose State: Major League Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, ’59 Business, and the late San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Bill Walsh, ’55 BA, ’58 MA Education.

Providing Opportunity

In addition, Edwards worked with the Golden State Warriors and the University of Florida. In all of these roles, he sought to develop practices and programs to increase minority representation in the coaching ranks and to support players of color as they navigated the opportunities and pressures of college and professional sports. Edwards delivered a moving eulogy for Walsh, summarizing the ways they sought to provide opportunities to all NFL players.

Harry Edwards is the author of four books: “The Struggle That Must Be,” “Sociology of Sports,” “Black Students,” and “The Revolt of the Black Athlete.” He has been married for 47 years to Sandra Boze Edwards, ’70 BA Liberal Studies, ’88 MA Education. The couple resides in Fremont, Calif., and they are the parents of three now adult children: a lawyer, a physician, and an information technology/computer programming specialist.


About San José 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 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 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.

Spring 2014 Begins

Ask me anything sign

Have a question? Look for “Ask Me” stations on campus where volunteer faculty, staff and students will help you (Christina Olivas photo).

Blue skies and “Ask Me” volunteers greeted the thousands of Spartans who returned to San Jose State today for the start of spring term 2014. A special welcome goes out to more than 540 new transfer students and 640 new graduate students, joining approximately 30,000 existing students. More new Spartans are on the way. SJSU received 28,900 first-time frosh and 15,000 transfer applications for fall 2014. Don’t panic about the traffic! The admissions process typically yields around 7,000 new students each fall, replacing those who will graduate. Still, now is a great time to check out Transportation Solutions. Get your EcoPass and sign up for Bay Area Bike Share. On campus, you’ll see tons of construction underway. The good news is the Student Union west wing is nearly done. You’ll find the Spartan Bookstore there in temporary digs soon and, before long, all kinds of new eats at Union Square.

(Christina Olivas photo)

Students search for textbooks in the bookstore (Christina Olivas photo).

Speaking of books, it’s time to get to work. A huge shout out goes to the more than 12,000 students who have devoted 197,000 service learning hours over the past eight years to CommUniverCity San Jose. Recently honored as San Jose’s greatest civic gift, CommUniverCity helps students gain real-life experience addressing neighborhood issues near campus. In Long Beach, California State University Chancellor Tim White is preparing to deliver the first State of the CSU Address, which will be live streamed 11 a.m. Jan. 29. The chancellor will share his vision for the 23-campus system, including top policy priorities for 2014-15 to advance student achievement and degree completion. What about tuition? The governor’s proposed budget calls for no tuition increases while stabilizing state funding for the CSU. That means extra change in your pocket. You’ll find lots going on at the Event Center. Coming soon are Spartan men’s basketball Jan. 29 (free admission for students with ID) and Winter White featuring Steve Aoki Jan. 30. Of course spring term’s biggest events come at the very end: Honors Convocation April 25 and Commencement May 24. Good luck, Spartans!

Spartan Darnell Hillman stands with his white basketball jersey with the number 45

San Jose State Retires Darnell Hillman’s #45

Spartan alum Darnell Hillman stands with a white basketball uniform number 45

San Jose State University Athletics recently concluded a weekend celebration honoring Darnell Hillman with his #45 jersey being retired

San Jose State University Athletics recently concluded  a weekend celebration honoring Darnell Hillman with his #45 jersey being retired.

Hillman played for the Spartans’ freshman team in 1967-68 and the 1968-69 varsity squad that posted a 16-8 win-loss record. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, he became the first San Jose State player chosen in the first round of a NBA draft. In the 1971 draft, the Golden State Warriors made him the eighth pick overall. He played 682 professional games in the ABA and NBA for five different teams.

Today, he is the Indiana Pacers’ associate director for community relations and specializes in camps and clinics.

Read more from Spartan Athletics.

San Jose State Retires Darnell Hillman’s #45

 

Spartan alum Darnell Hillman stands with a white basketball uniform number 45

San Jose State University Athletics recently concluded a weekend celebration honoring Darnell Hillman with his #45 jersey being retired

 

San Jose State University Athletics recently concluded  a weekend celebration honoring Darnell Hillman with his #45 jersey being retired.

Hillman played for the Spartans’ freshman team in 1967-68 and the 1968-69 varsity squad that posted a 16-8 win-loss record. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, he became the first San Jose State player chosen in the first round of a NBA draft. In the 1971 draft, the Golden State Warriors made him the eighth pick overall. He played 682 professional games in the ABA and NBA for five different teams.

Today, he is the Indiana Pacers’ associate director for community relations and specializes in camps and clinics.

Read more from Spartan Athletics.

Spartan Basketball’s Talvin Hester: Keeping the Faith, Staying Grounded

Coach Hester on the court with players.

“Black History symbolizes the people who laid the path for what our country was supposed to stand for. They fought for us so that now, we can all live in a society that is free and can join together.” (Dillon Adams photo)

(Editor’s note: In celebration of Black History Month, we profiled five campus leaders. Here’s the first in the series.)

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

 

Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Talvin Hester enjoys helping young people just starting out in life, and he hopes it means as much to them as it does to him.

“I always had a desire to help young men and I think that basketball is what I do best and so I use that as a vehicle,” he said.

After graduating in 2003 from Texas Wesleyan University, Arlington, with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and education, Hester worked as an assistant coach at Texas College and Prairie View A&M, where he spent six years.

When the Prairie View Panthers emerged as a defensive powerhouse, SJSU Head Coach George Nessman took note and persuaded Hester to come to San Jose State, where he has coached since 2010.

“It’s gratifying going to bigger situations as my career progressed,” Hester said. “The people I work with are like my family away from family.”

Hester has observed over the years that no matter where players are from, they need the same things.

“They all need the same growth and they all need the same mentorship or leadership to do the things they need to do,” Hester said.

The Best Advice

What Hester remembers the most from his mentors is that life is a marathon, not a sprint. The best advice, however, came from his mother.

“She’s taught me that if I can keep my faith and stay grounded, then I will stay blessed,” Hester said.

According to Hester, she stayed fast in her faith, which gave her the strength to raise three kids on her own.

“People complain all the time about what they don’t have,” Hester said. “She never did that in front of us. She always told us what we could do.”

His favorite quote reflects this: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians  4:13.

A Lasting Impression

When asked who in history has impacted his life, Hester answered Ben Jobe, a basketball coaching icon at historically black colleges and universities.

He is best known for his 12-year tenure as the head coach at Southern University. He also served as head coach at Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Talladega, Tuskegee and South Carolina State.

“He was one of the first black coaches to coach at what had been an all-white university, and one of the only head coaches from among the historically black colleges and universities to win a national tournament,” Hester said.

Hester dreams of giving back and leaving a lasting impression, the same way Jobe did.

“Hopefully, some young man will look at me in that same manner, and say that I inspired him to do some of the things he wanted to do,” Hester said.

A female (left) and male (right) basketball player with Spartan head (center). Background is american flag.

Spartan Athletics: Military Appreciation Day

A female (left) and male (right) basketball player with Spartan head (center). Background is american flag.

Military Appreciation Day will be Dec. 19 & 20.

San Jose State University invites all active members of the military to join us for two upcoming Spartan basketball games on December 19 and 20 as we honor the men and women who serve our country.

Active service members can show their military ID and purchase discounted tickets for either the women’s basketball game against Air Force on December 19 or the men’s basketball game against UC Davis on December 20. Both games tipoff at 7:00 p.m.

This is a great opportunity for our servicemen and women to come out and enjoy some exciting college basketball action as we honor military personnel from every military branch throughout the game.

Tickets for these games are available now at the Spartan Athletics Ticket Office. For more information, call 408.924.7589 or stop by the ticket office located at 1393 South 7th Street across the street form Spartan Stadium.

Read more on Spartan Athletics.

SJSU alumnus Adrian Oliver prepares to shoot a basketball with the American flag hanging behind him.

Adrian Oliver Signs With Sacramento Kings

SJSU Alum Adrian Oliver takes a shot in a Spartan uniform with the American flag hanging behind him.

Adrian Oliver is one of five Sacramento Kings rookies. (Photo by Terrell Lloyd)

Sacramento, Calif.—–Adrian Oliver, second on the San Jose State career scoring list, signed a free agent contract with the Sacramento Kings. Geoff Petrie, the Kings’ President of Basketball Operations made the announcement.

Oliver completed his San Jose State career scoring 1,750 points in 80 games during the 2009 through 2011 seasons. He was a two-time first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection and the first Bay Area men’s college basketball player to finish in the top five nationally in scoring average twice.

Read more from SJSU Athletics.

Picture of an SJSU basketball game being played at spartan stadium with a crowd of people watching in the audience.

SJSU Hoops for the Holidays

Picture of an SJSU basketball game being played at spartan stadium with a crowd of people watching in the audience.

Give the gift of SJSU basketball for the holiday season!

San Jose State Athletics celebrates this holiday season with the Hoops for the Holidays promotion. Fans of Spartan basketball can purchase $5 General Admission basketball tickets that will be donated, on your behalf, to one of three local  organizations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley or the YMCA of Silicon Valley; you may also purchase these discounted tickets and donate to your own organization. For every ticket purchased San Jose State Athletics will also match the number of tickets donated for each organization.

Read more from SJSU Athletics.

SJSU Athletics and Second Harvest Food Bank Holiday Drive

A banner showing the 2011 Holiday Foodfun featuring the icon of the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Spartan helmet logo.

By participating in the 2011 Holiday Food and Fun Drive, participants will be rewarded with a coupon for discounted admission to various Spartan basketball games.

San Jose State Athletics and Second Harvest Food Bank want to thank you for helping those less fortunate this holiday season. As a reward for your donation we would like to make a contribution to you! If you participate in the Second Harvest Food Bank 2011 Holiday Food and Fund Drive in any manner you will be eligible to receive a coupon for discounted admission to one of the following Spartan Basketball games:

– Men’s Basketball vs. Holy Names (November 22, 7pm SJSU Event Center)

OR

– Women’s Basketball vs. Eastern Illinois (November 23, 7pm SJSU Event Center)

Please visit your local Second Harvest Food Bank location to obtain a coupon. The Spartan Ticket Office located at 1393 S 7th ST, San Jose CA, 95112, will also have receptacles for donations and offer discounts to those who contribute on site.

Read full story on www.sjsuspartans.com

midnight madness logo

Spartan Basketball Midnight Madness

midnight madness logo

Spartan Midnight Madness 2011 will be presented by the Graduate Sport Marketing Group with the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Date: October 14, 2011

Time: Doors open at 9:30pm

Location: Spartan Gym, Uchida Hall

Description: San Jose State will join the top college basketball programs around the nation in celebrating Midnight Madness.  The event is just the second time that San Jose State will present the men’s and women’s basketball players in this manner. Midnight Madness will be the first chance for students and fans to see this year’s San Jose State basketball teams.

Midnight Madness is the official term to describe the annual event that marks the first day that the NCAA permits formal basketball practice for the upcoming season.

Spartan Midnight Madness is a FREE event, and is open to all students, Spartan Squad members and fans. Friday night after the Homecoming football game against Hawaii, the Spartan football shuttles will drop you off near Spartan Gym, and those who walk down to YUH at 10 p.m. will have a chance to rock Spartan Gym with music, multiple opportunities to beat the players in free throw shooting, three-point shooting and a slam dunk contest. There will be multiple t-shirt winning photo and autograph opportunities and everyone in attendance will also be in the drawing to win several prizes from our sponsors.

Our beverage sponsor Red Bull Energy Drink will be there to lift fans to fly in YUH Gym with a drink that vitalizes body and mind. Details of ongoing season-long basketball promotions will also be unveiled at Spartan Midnight Madness. Spartan Midnight Madness 2011 is presented by the SJSU Graduate Sport Marketing Group in partnership with the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

The SJSU Graduate Sport Marketing Group consists of 20 students enrolled in a graduate level kinesiology course:  KIN 282 Sport Marketing.  The partnership is a fabulous opportunity to challenge the students with an active, student-centered learning problem, with logistics that are very similar to an “apprentice-style” task.  This is the second year that graduate sport management students have teamed with the SJSU athletic department to create and execute a real world sport marketing task.

Michael Beaubien (Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing and Multimedia Services) and Dan Hackett (Promotions and Fan Experience Coordinator) will be on hand to provide guidance and support, but essentially this is a student-motivated event.

The modern teaching toolbox must include innovative pedagogical tools. Active, student-centered learning, the inclusion of diverse instructional technologies and critical thinking activities are a necessary component of modern curriculum design. Educational creativity has become essential to capture the attention of our college students.

This partnership with SJSU athletics is perfect, we are lucky that athletics is willing to allow the students to tackle a real-life business challenge, and that both Athletics Director Tom Bowen and Senior Associate Athletics Director John Poch understand the importance of classroom stimulus in order to maximize student learning against the backdrop of sport management theory.  Both of them have been extremely supportive of the sport management program for a number of years.

The students have developed a specific marketing communications plan, event operations execution plan, very clear event success objectives and are hoping to support the men’s and women’s basketball teams as they start their season.  The main impetus for the SJSU Graduate Sport Marketing Group will be to get as many students in attendance as possible. They feel that many students sit in their dorms on Friday nights waiting to go out. This is the perfect opportunity to go somewhere on campus that is exciting, connect with the university, try some Red Bull, play some basketball, AND maybe go home with a new bike or printer.

— Submitted by sport management instructor Dr. Sonja Lilienthal, (408) 314-9576

Spartan Men’s Basketball Team Visits Rome

The Spartan men's basketball team is visiting Rome to sharpen their game by playing Italian college-age and professional teams (photos courtesy of Raymond Barbour).

Center Matt Ballard and guard Keith Shamburger shared their thoughts before the team’s trip to Rome. Read the full story on www.sjsuspartans.com.

Ballard and Shamburger are two of the Spartans’ three returning starters from the 2011 team that recorded San Jose State’s first winning season since 1994 and advanced to post-season tournament play.

As of August 8, the Spartans had three games scheduled during their nine-day Italian tour: two games in Rome and one in Latina, Italy, 40 miles south of Rome.

“We are eagerly anticipating our trip to Italy. Our preparations have gone well, and we look forward to some exciting competition. It will be a privilege to compete against AB Latina, a franchise that has achieved considerable success in Italian professional basketball. Latina has routinely defeated American College teams through the years,” said San Jose State head coach George Nessman.

“We also get the great experience of competing against LottoMatica’s U20 team. LottoMatica, Virtus-Roma is literally one of the top clubs in Europe let alone Italy. In facing their U20 team, we will be competing against some of the best college-age basketball players in the country.”

The Spartans departed for Rome Aug. 13 and return Aug. 22.

George Nessman, wearing a suite, talks to a basketball player during a game who is wearing a grey jersey with blue stripes.

Nessman Gets New 3-Year Contract

George Nessman, wearing a suite, talks to a basketball player during a game who is wearing a grey jersey with blue stripes.

George Nessman has a hand up on taking the Spartans forward. (Photo by Terrell Lloyd)

Following San Jose State University’s first men’s basketball post-season appearance in 15 years, head coach George Nessman agreed to a new three-year contract through the 2013-14 season. Athletics director Tom Bowen made the announcement.

Nessman directed the Spartans to the 2011 College Basketball Insiders (CBI) 16-team tournament and a first-round game against Creighton. To reach post-season play in 2011, San Jose State achieved a number of meaningful firsts:

  • A 17-win season for the first time since 1981,
  • A winning record for the first time since 1994,
  • Reaching the semifinal round of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament for the first time since joining the conference in 1996.

BOWEN & NESSMAN TALK SAN JOSE STATE HOOPS

“George Nessman took over our men’s basketball program six years ago when it needed more than a cosmetic make-over. Systematically and methodically, he has put San Jose State on a sound footing that is realizing progress and success on and off the court,” says Bowen, who cites the program’s eight Academic All-WAC honors since 2006 compared to five in the University’s first 10 years of conference membership as one measure of academic achievement. “We are looking forward to our continued growth in men’s basketball with George in charge.”

“San Jose State is a great university. I am honored to continue serving as its head basketball coach. I am especially thankful to our student-athletes and basketball staff for putting their all into the program,” says Nessman. “It is important to note my deep appreciation as well for the support of (past) Presidents Kassing and Whitmore and Athletics Director Tom Bowen.”

Read full story on www.sjsuspartans.com

Talvin Hester

Men’s Basketball’s Talvin Hester Chosen for NCAA Coaching Excellence Program

Talvin Hester

Talvin Hester

Media contact:
Lawrence Fan, Sports Information Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

INDIANAPOLIS — San Jose State University men’s basketball assistant coach Talvin Hester is one of a select number of basketball coaches invited to participate in the 2011 NCAA-Black Coaches & Administrators Achieving Coaching Excellence Program.

The four-day program (June 5-8) is designed to prepare racial and ethnic minority basketball coaches for success as future head basketball coaches. Applicants are current full-time employees as a Division I associate or assistant coach or Division II or Division III head coach. Male applicants must have at least five years of full-time college coaching experience.

“It means a lot to me to be a participant in the ACE Program.  I have professional dreams and goals, and to be selected in a program that can have a positive impact on my career going forward is something that is special to me,” says Hester, who completed his first season with the Spartans in 2010-11.

Hester is a 2003 graduate of Texas Wesleyan University who came to San Jose State after five seasons at Prairie View A&M and one season at Texas College.

Participants will attend workshops aimed at enhancing communication skills; understanding the value of campus, media and community relations; and developing program management techniques.

The ACE Program is a NCAA and BCA partnership.  Since the program’s initiation in 2003, more than 25 percent of the participants have become NCAA Division I head coaches.

Talvin Hester

Men's Basketball's Talvin Hester Chosen for NCAA Coaching Excellence Program

Talvin Hester

Talvin Hester

Media contact:
Lawrence Fan, Sports Information Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

INDIANAPOLIS — San Jose State University men’s basketball assistant coach Talvin Hester is one of a select number of basketball coaches invited to participate in the 2011 NCAA-Black Coaches & Administrators Achieving Coaching Excellence Program.

The four-day program (June 5-8) is designed to prepare racial and ethnic minority basketball coaches for success as future head basketball coaches. Applicants are current full-time employees as a Division I associate or assistant coach or Division II or Division III head coach. Male applicants must have at least five years of full-time college coaching experience.

“It means a lot to me to be a participant in the ACE Program.  I have professional dreams and goals, and to be selected in a program that can have a positive impact on my career going forward is something that is special to me,” says Hester, who completed his first season with the Spartans in 2010-11.

Hester is a 2003 graduate of Texas Wesleyan University who came to San Jose State after five seasons at Prairie View A&M and one season at Texas College.

Participants will attend workshops aimed at enhancing communication skills; understanding the value of campus, media and community relations; and developing program management techniques.

The ACE Program is a NCAA and BCA partnership.  Since the program’s initiation in 2003, more than 25 percent of the participants have become NCAA Division I head coaches.

San Jose State University ROME. 2011 Men's Basketball Tour Basketball used for the" O" in Rome.

Spartans Heading To Rome

The word Rome with a basketball in place of the O with a spartan logo on it.

Courtesy: San Jose State Athletics

Courtesy: San Jose State Athletics

The San Jose State University men’s basketball team is headed to Rome, Italy for a 2011 Summer European Basketball Tour and you can join the Spartans!

The 10-day trip begins Saturday, August 13, 2011, and concludes Monday, August 22, 2011.

The InterContinental De La Ville Roma is designated as the team hotel for those wanting to stay at the same location as the team.  The cost is 225.00 Euros per room per night plus a Value Added Tax of 17.50%.  Contact Claudio.Strina@ihg.com to secure your reservation at the De La Ville.

Read full story on www.sjsuspartans.com.

Two white men wearing suites, on left is Tim La Kose. Tim is holding up a SJSU basketball Jersey with the number 12 on it. They are standing infront of a yellow background with SJSU spartan logos.

Tim La Kose New Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Two white men wearing suites, on left is Tim La Kose. Tim is holding up a SJSU basketball Jersey with the number 12 on it. They are standing infront of a yellow background with SJSU spartan logos.

New head coach Tim La Kose (right) is ready for the 2011-12 season to get underway.

Tim La Kose, a major college head coach with more than 300 wins, is the new San Jose State University women’s basketball head coach. Tom Bowen, the university’s director of athletics, made the announcement.

La Kose and San Jose State agreed to a five-year contract.

He comes to the Spartans after coaching the last 10 seasons at Cal State Bakersfield. His teams won 20 or more games in a season seven times, competed in six NCAA Division II Championship tournaments and two NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Invitationals (WBI).

In his 18 seasons coaching women’s basketball, he has a 347-152 win-loss record.

His first head coaching position was at California Lutheran University. In eight seasons (1994-2001), Cal Lutheran posted a 136-67 win-loss record, won five conference championships and participated in four NCAA Division III Championship tournaments.

La Kose is a 1991 Cal State Northridge graduate. He replaces Pam DeCosta who compiled a 13-116 win-loss record in four seasons at San Jose State.

San Jose State will introduce La Kose at an April 20, 11:00 a.m. news conference in the Simpkins Stadium Center Gold Room (1370 S. 7th Street, San Jose, CA 95112). Parking is available in Lot 1 across the street. Story on www.sjsuspartans.com.

Oliver, number two in grey, with arms raised and ball in hand just about to shoot.

Oliver’s 9-1 Shares Top Honors At PIT

Oliver, number two in grey, with arms raised and ball in hand just about to shoot.

Adrian Oliver made 45.0percent of his field goal tries at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. (Photo by Terrell Lloyd)

San Jose State University men’s basketball guard Adrian Oliver was one of two players in the 64-player Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT) with an individual best 9-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as K&D Landscaping won the 2011 event.

Picking up its third win in three nights, K&D Rounds Landscaping topped the Cherry, Baekert & Holland team, 110-93. K&D’s point total was the most in the 12-game PIT format.

For the week, Oliver averaged 6.7 points and 3.0 assists per game and made 45.0 percent of his field goal attempts. His nine assists tied for second on the team with 6-foot-4 Blake Hoffarber from the University of Minnesota.

SJSU in the News: Spartan Basketball’s Justin Graham Keeps Cool While Breaking Records

SJSU’s easy rider: Nothing rattles laid-back star Graham

Originally published in the San Jose Mercury News March 7, 2011

Read a related story about two-time WAC first team member Adrian Oliver.

By Mark Emmons

The night Justin Graham broke San Jose State’s career assists record, students rushed the Event Center floor and briefly carried him around the court. He kept the hero treatment in perspective.

“It was just my friends,” Graham said after the nationally televised overtime victory against New Mexico State on Feb. 23. “They wanted to get on TV.”

Later, as Graham said this, his skateboard was tucked under one arm. With shoulder-length locks and wispy facial hair, he looked more like a mellow surfer dude than a guy who is a very good, under-the-radar college basketball player.

Overshadowed by scoring-machine teammate Adrian Oliver, Graham heads into the Western Athletic Conference tournament averaging 14.8 points a game and will leave SJSU with his name all over the school record book. How far the Spartans (15-14) advance will depend on what might be arguably the best backcourt tandem in school history.

Still, the 6-foot-4 Graham mostly is known for one thing — his hair. Even when confined by a soccer-style hair band during games, the unruly mop touches his jersey.

And, predictably, the taunts on the road are endless. He has been called Jodie Foster, Justine and Sunshine, after a longhair character in the film “Remember the Titans.” In San Antonio earlier this season, he saw a heart-shaped cardboard placard featuring photos of himself and pop star Justin Bieber.

“They put Bieber’s hair on me, and it was like we were brothers,” said Graham, who grew up in the Central Valley town of Ripon. “That was the best one yet.”

Graham likes his look. But if you don’t, hey, he’s OK with that.

“Nothing really affects Justin,” said his mother, Shari Hernandez. “You can call him Sunshine. You can call him a girl. And it just doesn’t matter to him because he never gets upset.”

That breezy, free-spirit attitude is reflected in his favorite mode of transportation — the skateboard.

“You’ve got to let the guys be college students, too,” SJSU coach George Nessman said with an air of resignation.

Graham probably was destined to be a college basketball player. Both of his parents played at Cal State Stanislaus. (“I think my mom was better,” Graham said of Hernandez, a Cupertino High grad who was a four-year starter.)

Although he was 4 years old when they divorced, his parents directed both Graham and younger sister Jessica — now a player at the University of Idaho — toward the sport. And it was as a second-grader playing in a Saturday morning league that Graham first noticed another youngster.

“I was that boy who was running around and didn’t know what he was doing,” Graham said. “But this kid was amazing. I was thinking: ‘He’s better than all the third-graders.’ ”

That was the first time he encountered Oliver, a native of nearby Modesto.

As he got older, Graham began to grow out the buzz cut he had favored in his youth. But it wasn’t just a fashion statement.

He was diagnosed with vitiligo, a skin depigmentation condition, on his scalp. Faced with an increased risk of skin cancer if out in the sun unprotected, Graham took that as the green light to save money on haircuts.

“Now, he doesn’t have to keep it that long,” his mother said, laughing. “But there is a reason.”

Graham actually cut his hair short again before his junior year at SJSU, a look he called “weird.” But after going 15 months before getting another trim, the hair is back in full flourish — much like his game.

In addition to being the Spartans’ second-leading scorer, Graham is averaging 4.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals as well as shooting 43 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

His all-around game has blossomed after finally getting a full summer of work on the court and in the gym, landing him a spot on the Western Athletic Conference’s all-defensive team and honorable mention all-conference honors.

A lingering wrist injury — from basketball and not a skateboard fall, in case you were wondering — bothered him for two years. A pair of 2009 surgeries to repair a broken scaphoid bone meant he couldn’t pick up a ball the entire offseason before his junior year, and his play stagnated.

But today, a guard whom Nessman once chastised as “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” for his erratic ballhandling tendencies is a calmer court presence and has the WAC’s second-best turnover-to-assist ratio as he has meshed with Oliver, a University of Washington transfer.

Off the court, Graham already has an undergraduate diploma in communication studies and is close to completing his master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in sports management. But he has other career aspirations before using his degrees.

NBA scouts are a regular presence at Spartans games as they study Oliver and his 24.3 scoring average. But the athletic Graham has heard enough whispers to believe he might be able to get paid to play basketball, too — likely overseas. Anywhere that has “some good food” is a place he’s willing to go.

“How could I turn down an opportunity to play professional basketball and live in a foreign country?” Graham said. “Not many people get to have that experience.”

For now, he would like to stretch out his SJSU experience a little longer, even if it means taking more grief for his hair.

“There are some instances where you hear something that’s out of line,” he said of heckling from the stands. “But for the most part it’s all in good fun.”

He thought for a moment.

“I don’t think I look like Jodie Foster,” Graham added. “But maybe I do.”

Contact Mark Emmons at 408-920-5745.

SJSU in the News: Spartan Basketball's Justin Graham Keeps Cool While Breaking Records

SJSU’s easy rider: Nothing rattles laid-back star Graham

Originally published in the San Jose Mercury News March 7, 2011

Read a related story about two-time WAC first team member Adrian Oliver.

By Mark Emmons

The night Justin Graham broke San Jose State’s career assists record, students rushed the Event Center floor and briefly carried him around the court. He kept the hero treatment in perspective.

“It was just my friends,” Graham said after the nationally televised overtime victory against New Mexico State on Feb. 23. “They wanted to get on TV.”

Later, as Graham said this, his skateboard was tucked under one arm. With shoulder-length locks and wispy facial hair, he looked more like a mellow surfer dude than a guy who is a very good, under-the-radar college basketball player.

Overshadowed by scoring-machine teammate Adrian Oliver, Graham heads into the Western Athletic Conference tournament averaging 14.8 points a game and will leave SJSU with his name all over the school record book. How far the Spartans (15-14) advance will depend on what might be arguably the best backcourt tandem in school history.

Still, the 6-foot-4 Graham mostly is known for one thing — his hair. Even when confined by a soccer-style hair band during games, the unruly mop touches his jersey.

And, predictably, the taunts on the road are endless. He has been called Jodie Foster, Justine and Sunshine, after a longhair character in the film “Remember the Titans.” In San Antonio earlier this season, he saw a heart-shaped cardboard placard featuring photos of himself and pop star Justin Bieber.

“They put Bieber’s hair on me, and it was like we were brothers,” said Graham, who grew up in the Central Valley town of Ripon. “That was the best one yet.”

Graham likes his look. But if you don’t, hey, he’s OK with that.

“Nothing really affects Justin,” said his mother, Shari Hernandez. “You can call him Sunshine. You can call him a girl. And it just doesn’t matter to him because he never gets upset.”

That breezy, free-spirit attitude is reflected in his favorite mode of transportation — the skateboard.

“You’ve got to let the guys be college students, too,” SJSU coach George Nessman said with an air of resignation.

Graham probably was destined to be a college basketball player. Both of his parents played at Cal State Stanislaus. (“I think my mom was better,” Graham said of Hernandez, a Cupertino High grad who was a four-year starter.)

Although he was 4 years old when they divorced, his parents directed both Graham and younger sister Jessica — now a player at the University of Idaho — toward the sport. And it was as a second-grader playing in a Saturday morning league that Graham first noticed another youngster.

“I was that boy who was running around and didn’t know what he was doing,” Graham said. “But this kid was amazing. I was thinking: ‘He’s better than all the third-graders.’ ”

That was the first time he encountered Oliver, a native of nearby Modesto.

As he got older, Graham began to grow out the buzz cut he had favored in his youth. But it wasn’t just a fashion statement.

He was diagnosed with vitiligo, a skin depigmentation condition, on his scalp. Faced with an increased risk of skin cancer if out in the sun unprotected, Graham took that as the green light to save money on haircuts.

“Now, he doesn’t have to keep it that long,” his mother said, laughing. “But there is a reason.”

Graham actually cut his hair short again before his junior year at SJSU, a look he called “weird.” But after going 15 months before getting another trim, the hair is back in full flourish — much like his game.

In addition to being the Spartans’ second-leading scorer, Graham is averaging 4.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals as well as shooting 43 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

His all-around game has blossomed after finally getting a full summer of work on the court and in the gym, landing him a spot on the Western Athletic Conference’s all-defensive team and honorable mention all-conference honors.

A lingering wrist injury — from basketball and not a skateboard fall, in case you were wondering — bothered him for two years. A pair of 2009 surgeries to repair a broken scaphoid bone meant he couldn’t pick up a ball the entire offseason before his junior year, and his play stagnated.

But today, a guard whom Nessman once chastised as “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” for his erratic ballhandling tendencies is a calmer court presence and has the WAC’s second-best turnover-to-assist ratio as he has meshed with Oliver, a University of Washington transfer.

Off the court, Graham already has an undergraduate diploma in communication studies and is close to completing his master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in sports management. But he has other career aspirations before using his degrees.

NBA scouts are a regular presence at Spartans games as they study Oliver and his 24.3 scoring average. But the athletic Graham has heard enough whispers to believe he might be able to get paid to play basketball, too — likely overseas. Anywhere that has “some good food” is a place he’s willing to go.

“How could I turn down an opportunity to play professional basketball and live in a foreign country?” Graham said. “Not many people get to have that experience.”

For now, he would like to stretch out his SJSU experience a little longer, even if it means taking more grief for his hair.

“There are some instances where you hear something that’s out of line,” he said of heckling from the stands. “But for the most part it’s all in good fun.”

He thought for a moment.

“I don’t think I look like Jodie Foster,” Graham added. “But maybe I do.”

Contact Mark Emmons at 408-920-5745.

Adrian Oliver shooting a basket.

SJSU in the News: Spartans Basketball Player Adrian Oliver Scores Place at the Top

Adrian Oliver shooting a basket.

Adrian Oliver

Spartans Have One of the Nation’s Leading Scorers

Originally appeared KGO-TV’s website Feb. 17, 2011

By Mike Shumann

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — So who is the best college basketball player in the Bay Area? Chances are you’ve never seen him play. Adrian Oliver is one of the nation’s leading scorers at San Jose State University. Now, he’s the Spartan’s second all-time leading scorer.

San Jose State’s Adrian Oliver can put the ball in the basket. He’s fourth in the nation averaging 24 points a game.

“I understand that God gave me a gift and he’ll be ashamed if I didn’t use it, it’s just natural ability and a lot more hard work goes into it than what people think,” said Oliver.

The senior from Modesto started his career at Washington, but transferred after his freshman year to be closer to his family, when his grandparents became ill.

“Just to have the ability to give back to them for taking care of me when I was younger is just a blessing,” said Oliver.

His mom worked the graveyard shift when he was growing up, so his grandparents helped out. All he wanted to do as a kid was shoot the rock.

“Ever since he was little, that’s all he did at home, so this is like a dream come true to keep on playing the game and hopefully play in the NBA one day,” said Adrian’s mother, Brenda Oliver.

His game has improved dramatically the past three seasons, setting a school record scoring over 30 points 14 times.

“On the court you can see he’s fearless. He’ll put his body on the line, he’ll go after the ball, he’ll go hard to the rim, and off the court he’s really stepped it up,” said San Jose State head coach George Nessman.

Oliver was fourth in the nation last year and is on his way to becoming the first Bay Area player to finish in the top 10 in scoring more than once. His dreams though won’t be complete without an NBA career.

“NBA’s a league of players with a lot of talent, but the thing that separates players from longevity is working hard and that’s what I’m known for,” said Oliver.