Larry and Elaine Sparling Give $500,000 to the Spartan Athletics Center

Media contacts
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics media relations director, 408-924-1217,
Robin McElhatton, SJSU media relations specialist, 408-924-1749,

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $500,000 gift commitment from Larry and Elaine Sparling. The gift will support the Spartan Athletics Center, the future home of San Jose State football and men’s and women’s soccer.

“Larry and Elaine Sparling believe in the direction of this Athletics program and understand the importance of the Spartan Athletics Center,” said Marie Tuite, San Jose State’s director of intercollegiate athletics. “I spend quite a bit of time with this wonderful couple and I can tell you they support the efforts of our coaches and student-athletes. They are so positive and encouraging when it comes to the important work our coaches are doing. They are terrific Spartans and we are so thankful and appreciative of their generous gift.”

The Spartan Athletics Center will include new locker rooms, an auditorium, coaches’ offices, position-specific classrooms, stadium game day suites and a state-of-the-art athletic training room that will be accessible to all student-athletes.

About the Sparlings

Elaine and Larry Sparling.

Elaine and Larry Sparling. Photo by David Schmitz.

Though the Sparlings did not graduate from San Jose State, they are longtime supporters of Spartan football. Over the years, they have driven their RV all over the U.S. to watch the football team compete. The Sparlings are leadership donors to the Spartan Athletics Fund and attend many Spartan sporting events. They believe that by supporting San Jose State, they are investing in their community and helping their neighbors and friends succeed.

“I love the fact that at San Jose State we can be so connected to everybody, from the coaching staff to the athletic director and the university president,” said Larry. “We know how crucial the Spartan Athletics Center is for all the athletes at San Jose State. I like donating to student-athletes because we can tell how much it means to them to play their sport and get a degree from a great college.”

In 1966, the Sparling family took over Tiny Tots, a cotton diaper home pick-up and delivery service based in Campbell. At that time, they had only 80 customers, two Kenmore washer-dryers and a delivery vehicle. The couple helped grow the business before Larry’s sister and brother-in-law took the reins. Over the past 50 years, Tiny Tots has laundered more than 680 million diapers. Tiny Tots has offered free Diapering 101 classes to members of the community since 1980, as well as monthly support groups, workshops and CPR trainings. Larry went on to found Healthcare Laundry Services.

“This gift from Larry and Elaine Sparling is a tremendous support to the university and our athletics program,” said Interim Vice President of University Advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation Peter Smits. “By investing in the Spartan Athletics Center, they are establishing a legacy that will help countless generations of Spartan student-athletes. We thank them for their contribution to San Jose State.”

“The Sparlings have always been very dedicated supporters of SJSU Athletics,” said SJSU Football Head Coach Brent Brennan. “This gift will make a huge difference to our football program, as well as Spartan soccer and all of athletics. Thank you, Larry and Elaine!”

To learn how you can support Spartan Athletics, please contact Joshua Thiel, deputy athletics director for advancement, at 408-924-1697 or

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 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 270,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State Athletics

San Jose State 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 Spartans have 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.