San Jose State University Celebrates Completion of the Spartan Golf Complex

The men's and women's golf teams at the groundbreaking of the Spartan Golf Complex in May 2016 (Photo by: Neal Waters, ’07 Geography, ’16 MS Mass Communications)

The men’s and women’s golf teams at the groundbreaking of the Spartan Golf Complex in May 2016 (Photo: Neal Waters, ’’07 Geography, ’’16 MS Mass Communications).

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University will celebrate the completion of the Spartan Golf Complex at an event planned for 10:30 a.m. June 1. Among the first significant renovations to South Campus athletics facilities in recent years, the privately-funded project was made possible by a $5 million gift from alumni Rich and Cindy Thawley and multiple gifts from other donors.

“San Jose State University is thrilled to open a golf facility that will benefit student athletes, the broader university community and our neighbors,” Athletics Director Marie Tuite said. “This project is a significant milestone in our efforts to revitalize all campus facilities for academics, athletics and extracurricular activities.”

The opening of the 15-acre, $10.2 million complex, one year after construction began, will be preceded by a short program featuring President Mary A. Papazian, Tuite, Rich and Cindy Thawley, members of the men’s and women’s golf teams and their coaches. The facility is located at 579 E. Alma Ave. This event is open to the university community, the public and the media.

The power of philanthropy

Cindy and Rich Thawley (Photo: Courtesy of the Thawley family)

Cindy and Rich Thawley (courtesy of the Thawley family)

College sweethearts, Rich and Cindy have been married since 1979. They met at Cindy’s sorority house, when Rich was running what would prove to be a successful campaign for student body president. Rich also worked in San Jose State Athletics as an associate athletics director.

Rich and Cindy started their extended career in the life insurance and securities business in 1980. Early on, they helped to develop a company known today as Primerica Financial Services. In 1991, they left Primerica and founded a company now known as World Financial Group.

“The generosity of the Thawleys and other donors demonstrates the power of philanthropy to advance San Jose State University’s impact in and beyond our community,” Vice President for Advancement Paul Lanning said.

New facilities

Spartan Golf Complex near completion (Photo: Courtesy of Spartan Athletics).

The Spartan Golf Complex near completion (photo courtesy of Spartan Athletics).

After a ribbon cutting, guests will be invited to a ceremonial first swing. Two grass tee areas will provide hitting positions for 80 golfers. In addition, the complex will offer two large tour-quality putting greens, three bunkers, and two chipping greens. Three target greens will be positioned in a 400-yard-long driving range for distance hitting practice.

Blach Construction and Gensler served as general contractor and architect, respectively. Fundraising is underway now for phase 2, which will include a clubhouse with a fitness center, locker room and coaches’ offices.

Other recently completed South Campus projects include a new field for the men’s and women’s soccer teams and the Stephens Family Pitching and Hitting Facility for the baseball team.

A rich history

San Jose State’s men’s and women’s golf programs have rich histories. Since college golf first became a NCAA sport in 1897, and with the addition of women’s golf to the NCAA’s championship calendar starting in 1982, the Spartans are one of only nine programs to claim a NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and Division I Women’s Golf Championship. The Spartans are one of 11 schools with a NCAA individual men’s champion and women’s champion.

Professionally, San Jose State alumni have 131 victories on the PGA, LPGA, Champions, Nationwide and PGA Tour Canada tours. Spartan golfers can claim 23 major and United States Golf Association (USGA) championships through 2016. Ken Venturi, Juli Inkster and Patty Sheehan have major championship victories as part of their World Golf Hall of Fame careers. Mark Hubbard, ’11 Business Management, is the latest Spartan to join the PGA Tour.


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 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.


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.

 

SJSU Names Seasoned Administrator and Committed Spartan Marie Tuite to Serve as Athletics Director

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif. — President Mary A. Papazian announced today that she has appointed Marie Tuite to serve as the university’s next athletics director. A seasoned administrator and committed Spartan who had been heading Spartan Athletics on an interim basis, Tuite brings to the office a lifetime of professional experience in athletics leadership that she began as an aspiring teacher and outstanding collegiate basketball and field hockey player.

“We searched nationally for the best athletics director we could find—and we found her, right here,” President Papazian said. “Marie Tuite has demonstrated a genuine commitment to the success of all students, to our university’s mission, and to the principle that athletics should be woven into the fabric of the university.”

As the search committee found (members listed below), Tuite’s accomplishments are many. She spent five years working in the NCAA head office. She has served in leadership roles on six college campuses including the past seven years at San Jose State. She played an integral role in major initiatives such as securing SJSU’s membership in the Mountain West, cultivating new revenue sources, recruiting and supporting key personnel, and the planning and implementation of a massive update to SJSU’s athletics facilities.

“I am delighted that we have found in Marie Tuite an outstanding leader who has so clearly and amply demonstrated what we were seeking: an enthusiastic, committed, hardworking, forward thinking athletics director firmly focused on the success of all our students during their time here and after graduation,” said Annette Nellen, search committee chair, SJSU Athletics Board chair, and professor of accounting and finance.

Accomplished collegiate sports leader

Tuite will also leave her mark in SJSU history as the first woman to serve as athletics director since San Jose State combined its men’s and women’s programs in 1987 and one of just a handful of women to lead an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program. At a news conference announcing her appointment, she thanked colleagues, mentors, family and friends for their support, and she vowed to make the same opportunities available to everyone aspiring to follow in her footsteps.

“I’m excited to take on these new responsibilities as San Jose State’s next athletics director. I’m looking forward to working with our campus and community partners, donors, and most importantly, our student athletes, coaches and Athletics Department staff,” Tuite said. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work closely with President Papazian, and I’m elated with the new opportunity.”

During her tenure, the Spartans played in and won two football bowl games and won 11 conference championships in seven sports, including incredible performances this year by tennis and softball, earning both teams NCAA tournament berths.

Tuite’s many contributions since arriving at SJSU in 2010 include:

  • administering the athletics department’s $26 million budget in support of 450 student athletes, 110 staff members and 20 sports;
  • helping cinch a naming rights agreement for CEFCU Stadium, the Home of the Spartans, and an all-sports apparel partnership with Adidas;
  • eliminating a $2.3 million department deficit while bringing five new sports to campus: men’s water polo, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, beach volleyball, men’s track and field;
  • serving as the administrative lead for the football, men’s and women’s basketball and women’s golf programs.

Committed teacher and mentor

Previous to San Jose State, Tuite served as senior associate athletics director for sports programs at the University of Washington, assistant women’s athletics director at UC Berkeley, assistant director of championships for the NCAA, and special assistant to the athletics director at Seattle University. She began her career as a physical education instructor at primary and secondary schools before moving on to coaching and teaching at Alma College, all in her home state of Michigan.

Tuite remains committed to teaching and mentoring, serving as an adjunct professor for the University of Washington Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership master’s program. She earned a bachelor’s in education and a master’s in athletics administration from Central Michigan University, where she was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Tuite holds memberships in the National Association of College Directors of Athletics, Women Leaders in College Sports, and the Women’s Sports Foundation. She is the proud mother of two grown sons.

Search committee members

  • Annette Nellen, Search Committee Chair, SJSU Athletics Board Chair, and Professor of Accounting and Finance
  • Stefan Frazier, Associate Professor of Linguistics and Language Development and Academic Senate Vice Chair
  • Brandon Clarke and Nicole Iloanya, Students
  • Wayne Wright, Women’s Gymnastics Head Coach
  • Steve Caplan, Alumnus and Tower Board Member
  • Walt Jacobs, Dean of the College of Social Sciences
  • Jaye Bailey, Vice President for Organizational Development and Chief of Staff
  • Paul Lanning, Vice President for University Advancement and Tower Board CEO
  • Andy Feinstein, Provost and Senior Vice President

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.

 

SJSU Announces Athletics Department Leadership Changes

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

San Jose State University announced Thursday that Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier has taken on a new role as special advisor to the president, with responsibility for ensuring momentum and progress on development plans for our athletics facilities.

“I am looking forward to this opportunity to focus fully on our South Campus master plan, which is critical to the future success of our athletics programs,” Bleymaier said.

The multi-phased South Campus plan, which relies on private financial support, is now transitioning into its second phase after the successful completion of a golf practice facility that will open this spring. Bleymaier will immediately focus on the transition to the project’s next phase.

“I want to express gratitude on behalf of the SJSU community, including our devoted alumni and other friends of athletics, for all that Gene has done since his arrival in 2012 to advance Spartan athletics,” Papazian said.

In a letter to the campus community, Papazian commended Bleymaier for a variety of successes since his arrival in 2012:

  • Full transition of SJSU’s intercollegiate sports programs into the highly competitive Mountain West conference.
  • Completion of the first phase of South Campus renovations, including a new golf practice facility.
  • Two post-season bowl victories for the football program (2012 Military Bowl and 2015 Cure Bowl).
  • Partnership agreement between SJSU and Citizens Equity First Credit Union, providing funding for renovations to newly-named CEFCU Stadium-Home of the Spartans.
  • Sustained competitive excellence in numerous sports.
  • Sustained improvements in the academic performance and graduation rates of SJSU’s student-athletes.

Deputy Athletics Director Marie Tuite has been named interim director. A national search for a permanent successor will begin soon.

SJSU Reinstates Men’s Track and Field Program and Announces Plans for New Stadium

From Speed City to Mexico City: The Impact of the Olympic Project for Human Rights Panel Discussion:

Track and Field Announcement:

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

Visuals:
Historic photos and broadcast-quality video are available upon request.

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University will announce today that it will restore its men’s track and field program in 2018. The program is historically renowned for producing record-setting athletes devoted to the advancement of human rights.

In addition, SJSU will seek private funding for a new venue to house its men’s and women’s track and field programs.

President Mary Papazian and Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier will deliver the news to a crowd of several hundred track and field alumni and families who will return to campus for the occasion.

“In bringing back a once-storied athletics program known the world over and building a new track and field venue, we are welcoming home and reuniting with a group of Spartan legends who have left their mark in sports and society,” President Papazian said, “as well as providing needed support for our current and future student athletes.”

“This is an enormously proud day for all of us, a day to celebrate a storied past and look ahead to a bright future.”

Among those expected to be in attendance at the announcement ceremony are SJSU alumni Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised global consciousness for the struggle for racial and social equality in the United States when they took a stand for human rights at the 1968 Olympics. Smith and Carlos—each of whom earned medals that year in the 200-meter dash—were heavily criticized for their courageous actions.

Also slated to return to SJSU on Aug. 1 are fellow alumni and track and field Olympians Lee Evans, John Powell and Ed Burke, as well as alumnus, former faculty member and world renowned sports sociologist Harry Edwards.

The men’s track and field program at SJSU officially will return 50 years after that landmark action by Smith and Carlos, which is memorialized by a sculpture commissioned by student leaders in 2005 and placed in the heart of the downtown San Jose campus. Today’s announcement will be made next to the sculpture.

Stadium Planned for Bud Winter Field

Smith, Carlos and Evans were just three of many track and field athletes who trained at San Jose State and went on to earn so many Olympic medals and set so many NCAA and world records that San Jose State became known as “Speed City.” Their coach was the legendary Lloyd “Bud” Winter, who headed the SJSU men’s track and field program from 1941 to 1970.

Winter put his athletes through innovative drills on a portion of San Jose State’s athletics complex that came to bear his name. Today, Papazian and Bleymaier announced plans to build a $5 million track and field facility at Bud Winter Field. The project will be funded by the SJSU Student Union and private gifts specifically made for this purpose.

The stadium will be home to the men’s and women’s track and field programs (the women’s program began in 2014). In addition, the new track and field facility will serve the campus and the broader community.

“We began a women’s indoor and outdoor track and field program in 2014.  We believe that 2018 is the right time to reinstate men’s track and field so we can commemorate and celebrate the achievements of San Jose State student athletes at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City,” Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier said.

“San Jose State was renowned around the world for its track and field program. We want to build on that rich tradition and bring back the pride, visibility and prestige track and field garnered for SJSU. This is a golden opportunity to celebrate the historic 1968 Olympics and the 1969 NCAA Track and Field Championship that was won by San Jose State,” Bleymaier continued.

Visionary in the Sport

Perhaps less known is the fact that San Jose State’s Olympic track and field history began with a woman. While enrolled at what was then known as San Jose Teachers College, Margaret Jenkins participated in baseball, basketball, hockey, volleyball and tennis and was introduced to the javelin. After graduating in 1925, she trained for the Olympics and subsequently competed in the discus and shot put at the 1928 and 1932 games.

The Speed City era began with the arrival of Coach Bud Winter in 1941. Not only did he bring to San Jose State a host of innovative coaching techniques, but he also welcomed to his program the very best athletes―race, ethnicity and national origin notwithstanding.

As word of his success spread, Americans came from as close as Overfelt High School (Lee Evans) and as far as Harlem, N.Y., by way of East Texas State University (John Carlos). Others came to SJSU from abroad, and then went on to represent their countries in the Olympics, including Jimmy Omagbemi (Nigeria), Lloyd Murad (Venezuela) and Dennis Johnson (Jamaica).

Between 1941 and 1970, under the guidance of Coach Winter, 91 Spartans were ranked in the top 10 worldwide by Track and Field News, 27 were Olympians, and men’s track and field won the NCAA team title in 1969. Details are provided below.

Taking a Stand for Human Rights

In the late 1960s, San Jose State became ground zero for the Olympic Project for Human Rights, a movement that called upon black athletes to boycott the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. With school record-setting discus thrower Harry Edwards as its chief spokesperson, the project attracted international attention at a time when the civil rights movement was in full swing.

In the end, all nine SJSU track and field team members who qualified chose to compete in the 1968 Olympics. Three found other meaningful ways to express their views on equity and civil rights. Smith and Carlos left an indelible mark in the memories of many with their stand. Evans struck a similar note by wearing a black beret on the awards podium after his gold medal performance in the 400-meter relay race.

All team members of the Speed City era came to SJSU to engage in the most rigorous and technical program of their time and trained hard to reach their full potential. Many returned home to become teachers, coaches and mentors, dedicating their lives to sharing what they learned at San Jose State.

For example, Dennis Johnson returned to Jamaica to found a coaching college. Today, he is known as “a godfather of Jamaican track.” Due to the opportunities he and others have provided young athletes, the tiny island nation has produced a steady stream of top sprinters, including Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world today.

Men’s track and field, wrestling, men’s cross country and women’s field hockey were discontinued in spring 1988. In a reallocation of resources, the university initiated a strength and conditioning program and a student-athlete support services unit based on surveys conducted with the student-athlete population.

Background information on SJSU track and field. 


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 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.

 

SJSU Track and Field Background Information

San Jose State University will announce today that it will restore its men’s track and field program in 2018. The program is historically renowned for producing record-setting athletes devoted to the advancement of human rights.

Fast Facts (Men’s Track and Field)

  • Since 1948, 25 San Jose State University men’s track and field athletes from the United States, Greece, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo and Venezuela represented their country in an Olympic Games.
  • Olympic Games medal winners in track and field include Willie Steele (1948, long jump, gold medal), Tommie Smith (1968, 200 meters, gold medal), John Carlos (1968, 200 meters, bronze medal), Ronnie Ray Smith (1968, 4×100 meter relay, gold medal), Lee Evans (1968, 400 meters & 4×400 meter relay, gold medals), and John Powell (1976 and 1984, discus throw, bronze medals). Jim Doehring (1992, shot put, silver medal) had his medal performance vacated.
  • San Jose State University hammer thrower Ed Burke was voted by the U.S. Olympic team members to carry the American flag during the 1984 Olympic Games opening ceremonies.
  • San Jose State University athletes are responsible for 43 world and 49 American track and field individual records between 1958 and 1979.
  • John Carlos, Lee Evans, Tommie Smith, and Coach Bud Winter are members of the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.
  • San Jose State University won the 1969 NCAA Division I Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Knoxville, Tenn. In outdoor track and field, the Spartans also have three seconds, a third and three fourth-place team finishes from 1952 through 1975 at the NCAA Championships. San Jose State’s best finish at the NCAA Division I Men’s Indoor Track and Field Championships was third-place in 1969.
  • Despite not sponsoring men’s track and field since 1988, San Jose State’s 24 individual NCAA outdoor champions still ranked in a tie for 21st place among all Division I programs prior to the 2016 NCAA Championships. The Spartans have an NCAA champion in 12 of the 20 individual outdoor events. San Jose State also has three individual NCAA champions in indoor track and field.
  • San Jose State’s honorary doctorate recipients who competed as Spartan track and field athletes include Dick Smothers (distance runner), Tommie Smith (sprinter), John Carlos (sprinter) and Harry Edwards (discus thrower). Lee Evans (sprinter) was a Fulbright Scholar.
  • San Jose State men’s track and field alumni also include quarter-miler Christopher Darden, prosecuting attorney in the O.J. Simpson murder trial; long jumper Louis Wright, the first Spartan football player selected in the first round of a National Football League draft; high jumper Darnell Hillman, a 1971 Golden State Warriors’ first-round draft choice and winner of the 1977 NBA Slam Dunk competition; sprinter Dennis Johnson, characterized as the “Godfather of Jamaican track” by the New York Times, and sprinter Ray Norton, given the title of “World’s Fastest Human” entering the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Fast Facts (Women’s Track and Field)

In the three seasons since its launch, San Jose State women’s track and field accomplishments are many:

  • Successfully recruited student-athletes from California, Idaho, Texas, Florida, England and New Zealand.
  • Ten entries in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Regional Championship meet. Entries must be in the top 48 of their respective events from the western half of the United States.
  • One Mountain West champion: long jumper Kelsey Johnson-Upshaw in 2015.
  • Five All-Mountain West honors for finishing in the top three in an individual event at a conference championship meet.
  • One Capital One Academic All-America Third Team: distance runner Rebecca Garcia in 2015.
  • Eight Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars as selected by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
  • Twenty-four Mountain West Scholar-Athlete awards for earning a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50 at the time of the nomination.
  • Seven President’s Scholar and 10 Dean’s Scholar awards earned by team members at the last three annual San Jose State University Honors Convocations.

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 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.

 

Special Announcement: Track and Field

A special announcement will be made about the future of track and field at San Jose State at 11 a.m. Aug. 1 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture.

Speed City's legacy lives on August 1.

Speed City’s legacy lives on August 1.

Olympians Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Lee Evans, Ed Burke and John Powell are among the many Spartan luminaries from the Speed City era who plan to travel to campus for the event. SJSU President Mary Papazian, Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will participate in this announcement. All faculty, staff, students and members of the public are invited to attend.

SJSU’s men’s track and field program was once world renowned for the caliber of its athletes and for an uncommon dedication to the advancement of human rights. Unfortunately, the program was discontinued in spring 1988 amid a reallocation of university resources.

The special announcement will be streamed live on the university’s website.

SJSU Alumnus Harry Edwards Reflects on Muhammad Ali’s Legacy

Harry Edwards in May 2016 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture on the grounds of San Jose State University (David Schmitz photo).

Harry Edwards in May 2016 at the Smith/Carlos sculpture on the grounds of San Jose State University (David Schmitz photo).

The following statement should be attributed to pioneering sports sociologist and human rights leader Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology:

I first met Muhammad Ali just before my freshman year at San Jose State. Ali —
then Cassius Clay — was training for the 1960 Rome Olympics at San Jose State in the summer of that year. The boxing coach was Julie Menendez, who was the boxing coach at San Jose State as well. Both Julie and I were from East St. Louis, Ill., and he invited me over to meet some of the boxers — especially the younger ones (Ali was born in January of 1942; I in November of that same year).

Julie warned me that he couldn’t “stop Clay from talking,” and he was right. I thought at the time that “Clay” was “nuts.” Of course he wasn’t nuts, just brashly, wonderfully unique and iconoclastic, especially for a “Negro” athlete in those times. There was no way that I could’ve anticipated that our paths would intersect as they have over the years or the auspices under which that would happen.

It is only when a GIANT passes from among us, and we stand blinking and rubbing our eyes in the glaring reality of our loss, that we come truly to appreciate the extent to which we all have really been just living in his shadow. So it is with Muhammad Ali: He was an athlete of unparalleled brilliance, beauty, and bravado at a time when black athletes (other than the Harlem Globetrotters) were expected to be seen, not heard — silent, self-effacing “producers,” not loquacious, verbose entertaining performers in the arena.

In popular culture, he almost single-handedly deepened our understanding of  “religious freedom” as something more than an American “historical and political cliche.” He influenced people from the most powerful (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, for example) to the most naive college students and “draft vulnerable” youths in the community to rethink their positions on the issue of “war and peace.”

He was the model for generations of athletes on questions of the political relevance of sports and athletes’ activist potential and involvement in political causes, from the Olympic Project for Human Rights in 1968 to the threatened boycott by the University of Missouri black football players in support of University of Missouri students protesting racism on campus in 2015.

He taught us all by word and example that there can be no “for sale” sign, no “price tag” on principles, human dignity, and freedom, among so many of his other contributions. “THE GREATEST?” Compared to who? Compared to what, of his era or any other? “The Greatest” doesn’t begin to truly capture the magnitude and measure of his broad scope, contributions and legacy.

He stood astride the last four decades of the 20th Century like a statuesque athlete colossus, the most recognizable human face on Earth, one foot firmly planted in the sports arena, the other in the world beyond, eventually dwarfing us all in both spheres. His athletic brilliance long since faded, now his very physical presence among us will be missed, but his spirit of principled courage, commitment, and sacrifice will always be with us because it has so penetrated our visions of who we are as a people and impacted our standards of what we should and could become as a society.

It was a blessing and a profound privilege to have known him. WELL DONE, CHAMP, AND GODSPEED, MY BROTHER!

 

SJSU Breaks Ground on $10.2 Million Spartan Golf Complex

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748, pat.harris@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it will break ground next week on the Spartan Golf Complex. The $10.2 million project will be the first-ever on-campus training facility for SJSU men’s and women’s golf. The entire project will be funded by private giving, including a $5 million lead gift commitment from entrepreneurs, financial industry executives and alumni Rich and Cindy Thawley.

“Revitalizing campus facilities— for academic, athletics and extracurricular activities—is a top priority for San Jose State,” said Vice President for University Advancement Paul Lanning. “To make some of these projects possible, we must rely upon philanthropic support from donors such as Rich and Cindy Thawley. We are so thankful for the leadership of the Thawleys and everyone who is making the Spartan Golf Complex a reality for our student-athletes and our university community.”

The ground breaking will take place 11 a.m. May 13 at South Campus, near East Humboldt and South 10th streets. The complex will be located on acreage bordered by these two streets plus East Alma Avenue and Senter Road.

The groundbreaking will be celebrated by Interim President Susan Martin, incoming President Mary Papazian, Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier, donors Rich and Cindy Thawley, and members of the men’s and women’s golf teams and their coaches. This event is free and open to the university community, the public and the media.

Spartan Golf Complex map (courtesy of SJSU Athletics)

Spartan Golf Complex map (courtesy of SJSU Athletics)

Project

“The Spartan Golf Complex will provide the campus, our community and San Jose State’s teams with a world-class practice facility,” Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier said. “The complex will help our student-athletes prepare for competition at the very highest level while supporting our efforts to recruit the best and brightest. In addition, the facility will serve students enrolled in physical education courses and strengthen our ties with alumni and neighbors through memberships and learning opportunities.”

The complex will span from East Humboldt Street in the north to East Alma Avenue in the south. Two grass tee areas will provide hitting positions for 80 golfers. In addition, the complex will offer two large tour-quality putting greens, three bunkers, and two chipping greens. Three target greens will be positioned in a 400-yard-long driving range for distance hitting practice.  This work is slated for completion in December 2016.

Phase 2 will include a clubhouse with a fitness center, locker room and coaches’ offices. SJSU has selected two San Jose-based companies, Blach Construction and Gensler, to serve as general contractor and architect, respectively.

The baseball, softball, soccer and tennis facilities will be moved to other South Campus locations.

Cindy and Rich Thawley (courtesy of the Thawley family)

Cindy and Rich Thawley (courtesy of the Thawley family)

Donors

Rich and Cindy Thawley consider themselves, first and foremost, family people. College sweethearts, they have been married since 1979. They first met at SJSU at Cindy’s sorority house when Rich was running a successful campaign for the student body presidency. Rich also worked in San Jose State Athletics as an associate athletics director. Rich and Cindy attribute a lot of their early personal development to their experiences at SJSU and are proud alumni. Shortly after their marriage, Rich and Cindy left San Jose State to pursue a career in financial services.

“We are honored and excited to support San Jose State, our alma mater and the university serving the region we call home,” Rich and Cindy Thawley said in a joint statement. “We believe the Spartan Golf Complex will help change the feeling around the university’s South Campus, both elevating the look and feel, and exposing a different part of the community to the Spartans. This facility will be able to impact the school and greater community through youth camps, fundraising efforts and, of course, the men’s and women’s golf teams for years to come.”

Today, the Thawley family consists of two sons, a daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren. Rich and Cindy believe that their greatest accomplishments have been within the walls of their home. They are passionate about their business and industry, but their life’s work is truly about being people of faith and being parents and grandparents.

The Thawleys feel strongly about giving back to the community and those organizations that have touched their lives and continue to reach out and strengthen others’ lives. They routinely teach that “no family financial plan is complete without a determination to share your blessings with others.”

Rich and Cindy started their extended career in the life insurance and securities business in 1980. They quickly excelled in leadership development and as agency builders. In their early career, they helped to develop a company that is known today as Primerica Financial Services. In 1991, they left Primerica and founded a company that is known today as World Financial Group. For more than 30 years, they have been directly or indirectly responsible for introducing and transitioning tens of thousands of people from all walks of life into the financial services industry. The organizations they founded have generated billions of dollars of life premium, annuity deposits, and other investments.

The Thawleys also sit on several consulting and advisory boards with other companies, foundations and universities.

SJSU alumna Juli Inkster (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

SJSU alumna Juli Inkster (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

San Jose State Golf

San Jose State’s impact on the game of golf is defined by world-renowned Hall of Fame players; valued teaching pros and club professionals around the country; Hall of Fame coaches; and the television voices and leaders of the game.

Since college golf first became a NCAA sport in 1897, and with the addition of women’s golf to the NCAA’s championship calendar starting in 1982, the Spartans are one of only nine programs to claim a NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and Division I Women’s Golf Championship. San Jose State won the 1948 men’s championship and became the first school to win three women’s championships with victories in 1987, 1989 and 1992.

The Spartans are one of 11 schools with a NCAA individual men’s champion and women’s champion. Bob Harris finished first in 1948 and Terry Small did the same at the 1964 NCAA Men’s Championships. In 1989, Pat Hurst led from start to finish capturing the NCAA Women’s Championship.

San Jose State, Arizona State, Florida, Georgia and Purdue are the five schools with men’s and women’s NCAA Division I team championships and NCAA Division I men’s and women’s individual champions. Overall, San Jose State has 29 top-10 team finishes and 32 top-10 individual placings at a NCAA Division I Men’s or Women’s Golf Championship.

SJSU Alumnus Mark Hubbard (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

SJSU Alumnus Mark Hubbard (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

Professionally, San Jose State alumni have 131 victories on the PGA, LPGA, Champions, Nationwide and PGA Tour Canada tours. Spartan golfers can claim 23 major and United States Golf Association (USGA) championships through 2015. Ken Venturi, Juli Inkster and Patty Sheehan have major championship victories as part of their World Golf Hall of Fame careers. Mark Hubbard, ’11 Business Management, is the latest Spartan to join the PGA Tour.

Venturi would become one of America’s voices of golf as CBS’s lead TV analyst for 35 years after he retired from the game. Today, Spartan alumni Roger Maltbie, Arron Oberholser, Mark Lye and Inkster offer their expertise to NBC, Fox Sports and Golf Channel shows.

San Jose State’s great coaches include Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Famers Mark Gale, who led the women’s team to three NCAA Championships, and Jerry Vroom whose men’s program appeared in 22 consecutive NCAA Championships.

Lyn Nelson was the chief executive officer of the Northern California Golf Association from 2008 to 2013. She served 150,000 members, managed operations for 400 golf courses and catered to 8,500 children who played the game. And, San Jose State legend Peter Ueberroth is one of the co-owners of the Pebble Beach Company – home of the one of the world’s best-known shrines of the game.

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 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.