Groundbreaking Ceremony Set For New SJSU Football Operations Center

An artist rendering shows the future Football Operations Center.

An artist rendering shows the future Football Operations Center.

San Jose State University and its Division of Intercollegiate Athletics will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the future construction of a new Football Operations Center on the east side of CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. The ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday morning, June 5 at 11 a.m., inside CEFCU Stadium.

Following the program, light refreshments will be served and tours of the renovated Spartan locker room in the Simpkins Football Center will be available.

RSVP online.

This is a rain or shine event.

Conceived in 2016 as a centerpiece in the development of the university’s 62 acres of land at the South Campus, the Football Operations Center will be a multi-story structure centralizing all of Spartan Football’s needs into one state-of-the-art building. The new facility will enhance all facets of football operations and provide a first-class environment for our student-athletes to succeed in the classroom, in competition, and in life.

“The Football Operations Center will provide our football team, athletics department and the entire university state-of-the-art spaces to compete and learn. This critical project will provide much needed services for our football program and will be utilized by other sport teams and campus divisions. The center will provide enhanced game-day experiences for our fans,” said Marie Tuite, San Jose State’s director of athletics.

“This project is a crucial footprint to the overall renovation and enhancement of facilities on South Campus. Although our football program will be the main tenants, building multi-use facilities is always our objective.”

The new operations center will include locker rooms, an auditorium, offices, spectator seating on the 50-yard line and a Hall of Champions event space. The total project would be a rebuild on the stadium’s east side and also provide support to the Spartans’ men’s and women’s soccer programs.

Currently, the project budget is listed at $40-million. To date, $24.7 million has been raised for the Football Operations Center.

The work slated to take place during the summer includes removing bleacher sections along the stadium’s east side and landscape in order to set the foundation for building. During this time, San Jose State will initiate a formal bidding process to determine both construction and architecture firms.

After the 2019 football season, the next phase of work will include moving the hill and relocating the scoreboard including lighting currently located along the east side – all required preparation for the physical construction of the center.

When the Football Operations Center is completed, the football program would move out of the Simpkins Stadium Center, opened in 1993 on the 7th Street side of CEFCU Stadium, to the opposite side of the stadium.

“The Football Operations Center will be a game-changer for San Jose State University. We are building a winning program here and our new home will provide our players, coaches, and staff the opportunities to succeed on the field, academically, and through our Beyond Football program,” said San Jose State football head coach Brent Brennan.

“It will show future Spartans that we have a vision and a plan for a winning football program that goes to bowl games and competes for conference championships.”

The groundbreaking ceremony is open to the public. Parking will be available in the Park & Ride Lot, located across the street from the 7th Street side of CEFCU Stadium.

To learn how you can support Spartan football, please visit sjsufootball.com or contact Josh Thiel, deputy athletics director for athletics advancement, at 408-924-1697 or joshua.thiel@sjsu.edu.


About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its eight colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce. The university is proud of the accomplishments of its more than 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 (62) Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. San Jose State athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.

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

Civil Engineering Student Andrea Coto Earns NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

SJSU student Andrea Coto presented work with SJSU AVP for Undergraduate Programs Thalia Anagnos at the Stanford Blume Center/SURI Affiliates/Alumni Meeting in fall 2018. Coto, '19 Civil Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue a graduate degree at Stanford.

SJSU student Andrea Coto presented research with SJSU AVP for Undergraduate Education Thalia Anagnos at the Stanford Blume Center/SURI Affiliates/Alumni Meeting in fall 2018. Coto, ’19 Civil Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue a graduate degree at Stanford.

By Abby McConnell, SJSU Office of Research

Despite her acceptance to graduate school at Stanford in the fall and an impressive undergraduate career, which boasts three associate degrees, internships with NASA and the Port of San Francisco, along with participation in the McNair Scholars Program, the Engineering Leadership Pathways Scholars Program (ELPS) and the Stanford Summer Undergraduate Research Programs (SURF), Andrea Coto is still a bit shocked that she was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP). Securing a fellowship is intensely competitive: For the 2018 competition, NSF received over 12,000 applications and made 2,000 award offers.

Andrea Coto poses at a project at the Port of San Francisco in 2019.

Andrea Coto poses at a project at the Port of San Francisco in 2019.

The GRFP is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, and recognizes outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. NSF Fellows often become knowledge experts who contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.

In the more immediate future, the fellowship will fund three years of Coto’s graduate program. While still processing the news, she is already mapping out the possibilities. Her NSF proposal and anticipated graduate research will focus on one of her passions: sustainable design and construction as it relates to extreme environments, specifically outer space.

“Space exploration is really a giant lab, right?” she said. “I want to bring that research back to earth.”

When asked how she’s achieved so much in such a short time, she shrugged and smiled. “I apply to programs I’m interested in,” she said. “I figure they have to pick someone, so why not me?’”

From El Salvador to the Mission District

Several years ago, Coto herself might have doubted this kind of self-assuredness. If not for a handful of key mentors, she said, she wouldn’t have made it this far.

Coto was born in the Bay Area, but much of her young life was spent in El Salvador, the native county of both her parents. After their separation and divorce, Coto’s mother was left to raise Coto and her brother on her own.

“My mom is the most resilient and resourceful person I have ever met,” Coto said. “She even learned to bake so she could sell bread to pay our bills.”

Although Coto earned a technical degree in civil engineering in El Salvador, upon graduation, there were no job opportunities. Soon afterward, relatives in San Francisco invited her to come live with them. Coincidently, she had saved just enough money for a flight to the Bay Area. She was hesitant to leave her family and her boyfriend behind, but she knew it was the only way.

Her early days here were challenging, from trying to learn conversational English to working at a Dollar Store in the Mission for $6 an hour. Things shifted when she started taking non-credit ESL classes at City College of San Francisco, and her English language skills were buoyed by her work in retail, which included selling shoes at Macy’s.

Andrea Coto, '19 Civil Engineering, participated in NASA's Community College Aerospace Scholars program while earning an associate's degree.

Andrea Coto, ’19 Civil Engineering, participated in NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars program while earning an associate’s degree.

She eventually matriculated at the Ocean City College campus, where she met a key mentor, Dr. Edgar Torres. After a difficult semester juggling three jobs and failing Calculus II, she told Torres she was going to drop out.

“I told him I wasn’t smart enough to be an engineer,” she said. “He told me that wasn’t the problem, and that I should take the class again with a different professor. I did, and got a B+.”

Early mentors like Torres were invaluable to Coto, and she has consistently sought out female and Hispanic engineers, graduate students and professors as role models along the way.

“I don’t believe in the ‘you can’t see, you can’t be’ philosophy, but representation is incredibly important,” Coto said.

Finding a ‘Pathway’ at SJSU

Andrea Coto joined SJSU as a transfer student. Here she poses for a photo on Admitted Spartans Day after she accepted admissions to SJSU.

Andrea Coto joined SJSU as a transfer student. Here she poses for a photo on Admitted Spartans Day after she accepted admissions to SJSU.

Once at SJSU, she worked diligently to leverage the resources available to her. She also credits professors and administrators such as Dr. Laura Sullivan Green from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, McNair Scholars Director Dr. Maria Elena Cruz, and Engineering Leadership Pathway Scholars program founder Dr. Thalia Anagnos, for guiding her and showing her what was possible.

Anagnos created the ELPS program in partnership with the NSF, and it has provided scholarships, mentoring, leadership and career development to more than 70 low-income, academically talented students at SJSU.

While they have all been exceptional, Anagnos said Coto stands out. “From her first weeks at SJSU, she sought opportunities to both better herself and give back,” she said. “Andrea is a natural leader in all areas of her life—academic, professional and personal—but she also brings a genuine optimism to her every interaction.”

Even when discussing the recent death of her father, that optimism is evident. Coto learned he had terminal cancer in the midst of applying to graduate schools and the NSF program. As she toured places like MIT and Stanford, she sent him photos and videos so that he could share in the experience. She also returned to El Salvador several times last fall to visit him.

“Being there with him before he died healed a lot of things,” she said.

Looking Toward the Future

Despite this loss, she continues to move forward. Her mother, brother and her boyfriend (who is now her husband) were able to join her in the U.S. in 2013, and she views her accomplishments as collective achievements. “All that really matters is that we are together,” she said.

As graduation nears, Coto is focused on yet another goal: outreach. She wants underrepresented students like herself to hear her story and see where they can go, and in the process, hopefully shift negative narratives around Latino immigrants.

“Storytelling is powerful. I believe it’s the way we change lives and perspectives, especially in light of the current administration,” she said. “I want to fight the misconceptions about El Salvadorians and other immigrants from my own ‘trench’ in this way, in order to increase knowledge and understanding.”

SJSU Opens $130 Million Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center

Students and community members are invited to a ribbon cutting for the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center on April 18. Photo by David Schmitz

Students and community members are invited to a ribbon cutting for the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center on April 18. Photo by David Schmitz

Media contact: Robin McElhatton, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University will hold a grand opening ceremony for the new Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center (SRAC), a facility that provides new modern recreation facilities and services for students and the entire university community, on Thursday, April 18. San Jose State President Mary Papazian will be in attendance to welcome the campus community and share remarks.

Students can begin queuing east on San Carlos Street at 11:30 a.m. for the ribbon cutting, which will begin at noon. The first 4,000 students will receive an SRAC beach towel, cake, and light food, and will be able to enter a drawing for giveaways.

During the weeks before its grand opening, construction crews put the finishing touches on the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center. Photo by David Schmitz

During the weeks before its grand opening, construction crews put the finishing touches on the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center. Photo by David Schmitz

“This contemporary facility will provide another important gathering spot for our university community—especially our students—to recreate, swim, exercise and keep fit,” said Charlie Faas, SJSU vice president for administration and finance. “It was envisioned for and by students, and we are proud to continue providing them and our entire campus community with modern amenities both inside and outside the classroom.”

The facility, said Faas, features something for every student. There will be fitness classes, various sporting and recreation clubs, rock-climbing, pick-up game availability and other activities for all skill and fitness levels.

The SRAC offers a variety of features and amenities:

  • Five workout areas featuring 20,000 ft2 of cardio and strength equipment
  • Three full-court gyms for basketball, volleyball, and badminton
  • Four exercise studios for yoga, spin, Les Milles GRIT Strength training, and aerobics
  • 1/8-mile indoor track
  • Rock wall and bouldering area
  • 50-meter lap pool
  • Recreation pool with sundeck and barbecue area
  • Two casual lounges
  • Numerous exercise classes, and personal trainers
The new Spartan Recreation and Aquatics Center will include a variety of features and amenities for students as well as faculty, staff and community members with paid memberships. Photo by David Schmitz

The new Spartan Recreation and Aquatics Center will include a variety of features and amenities for students as well as faculty, staff and community members with paid memberships. Photo by David Schmitz

“The new Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center is more than a recreation center. The state-of-the-art, open, inviting design creates another key destination on campus (like the Student Union) for students to relax, socialize, and study,” said Cathy Busalacchi, ’76 Recreation, executive director for the Student Union, Inc. “It is a home away from home for all our students, including Clubs Sport teams, intramurals and the Athletics’ aquatic teams.”

Gensler, a world-renowned architecture firm, designed the new SRAC, with Hunt Construction serving as the general contractor. The 128,000-square-foot structure sits at the site that previously housed an aquatic center and two residence halls.

The $130 million project is funded through a non-tuition Student Union mandatory student fee, which covers the bond for construction, the annual operational costs, and any future major or minor maintenance repairs. In 2006, the university presented two fees, a Student Union mandatory student fee that funded the Student Union renovation and expansion (completed in 2016) and also funded the new SRAC project, and a Health Center fee that funded the Student Wellness Center (completed in 2015).

SRAC is free to all enrolled SJSU students. Paid memberships are available to faculty, staff, alumni and community members. Visit the Spartan Recreation website for more information.


About San Jose State University

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

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

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

San Jose State to Build Recreational Field, Tribute to Speed City Legacy and Parking Garage

Editor’s Note: Updated on August 26, 2019: To clarify San Jose State Student Union, Inc. donation in the amount of $2.5 million dollars is for the field.

Media contacts
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics media relations director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu
Robin McElhatton, SJSU media relations specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu

Bud Winter Field Track at 10th and Alma.

Future south campus.

San Jose State University will break ground in June on a project to build an intramural recreation field, walking path and multi-level parking garage at the university’s Bud Winter Field. San Jose State plans to build a special tribute at the site to honor those known as the “Speed City” athletes and their legendary track and field coach, Bud Winter.

The new recreational field will be used by thousands of San Jose State students. This field will be home to SJSU clubs, intramurals, ROTC practice, kinesiology classes, marching band practice, Greek life competition and other activities. A walking path around it will be open to the community members who currently use the Bud Winter Field track at South 10th Street and East Alma Avenue, which will be removed.

The university recently informed its track and field athletes that it cannot proceed with a previously announced plan to build a new track at the site, where some of its world-class Speed City athletes once trained. “After requesting proposals for construction of a track atop a planned multi-level parking structure, university administrators learned the track would cost up to $20 million more than originally anticipated, due to building-code changes,” said Charlie Faas, the university’s vice president of administration and finance. After learning of the higher-than-expected track cost, the university considered whether to build a replacement track at the university’s park-and-ride lot in the area—but the space was insufficient.

San Jose State’s Student Union, Inc. originally gave a $3 million donation for a new field. Thereafter, the $3 million was allocated as such: $2.5 million for a new field that would be used for a wide variety of student uses and $500,000 for a new softball field.

“It was heartbreaking to me to realize that we wouldn’t have a new track facility,” said Marie Tuite, the university’s director of intercollegiate athletics. “As the enduring success of our athletics programs remain a key priority and a point of pride for the university and alumni, we are committed to sponsoring all 22 sport programs,” Tuite said. “We will continue to support and fund activity for our men’s and women’s track programs off campus.”

As the 51-year-old Bud Winter Field facilities have long fallen into disrepair, the men’s and women’s track teams have been practicing at San Jose City College for some time. “Our current goal is to secure a long-term agreement there or at another facility to ensure our track and field teams have a high-quality venue at which to practice and train for competition,” said Tuite.

History of SJSU’s Two Tracks: Bud Winter Field and 7th Street Track

Coach Bud Winter (left) and legendary John Carlos on the Bud Winter Field Track at 10th and Alma.

Before the Bud Winter Field was built in the late 1960s at South 10th Street and East Alma Avenue, Winter trained many world-class caliber athletes at another track, located nearby at South 7th and East Humboldt streets on the South Campus. “San Jose State’s track and field legacy gained a sprinter’s momentum when Bud Winter was named head coach in 1941. For three decades, he attracted record-setting athletes that were ranked among the best in the world. These athletes made Speed City famous competing at the old 7th Street track, later training and racing at Bud Winter Field on 10th Street and around the world for nearly 40 years,” said Lawrence Fan, the university’s athletics media relations director.

Years later, the Koret Athletic Training Center was opened in 2001 over a portion of the old 7th Street track, for use by San Jose State’s intercollegiate athletics program. That building also now houses the Jeff Garcia Hall of Champions, which honors all those inducted into San Jose State’s Sports Hall of Fame—including track and field stars.

The Simpkins Stadium Center also now covers a portion of the old 7th Street track, Fan said.

Bob Griffin (left), Coach Bud Winter, and Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith at Spartan Track previously located at the corner of 7th and Humboldt.

Some Speed City athletes who qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team trained at Bud Winter Field in preparation for the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics. Those Games are remembered in part for San Jose State track stars Tommie Smith, a gold medalist in the 200-meter dash, and John Carlos, a bronze medalist in the same event. They raised their fists atop the medals stand in Mexico City to protest racial injustice for African-Americans.

Today, the iconic sculpture of Smith and Carlos—with fists raised—represents a silent stand for human rights and is prominently located on the university’s main campus to honor their courage. Their athletics feats and others associated with the Speed City era are on display at the Jeff Garcia Hall of Champions inside the Koret Athletic Training Center and at the SJSU Special Collections and Archives in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

In addition to the Sports Hall of Fame displays located on South Campus and the sculpture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the main campus, San Jose State will continue to honor the Speed City athletes’ legacy by building a special tribute at the site where Bud Winter Field currently stands. The university’s track and field stars have demonstrated athletic excellence, and also made a stand for human and racial equality on the world stage.

“The ’60s was a time of civil unrest throughout this country,” Tuite said. “The actions of the men’s track and field athletes served as a benchmark for social justice and for belief in human equality. SJSU athletes led the movement in the ’60s, and that moment has stood the test of time. This university was built on their voices of democracy, fairness, inclusion and love—and we will honor those voices every single day.”

A Plan for Multi-level Parking Garage

San Jose State has approximately 20,000 commuters who drive to campus each day. With only 5,121 parking spots in three on-campus parking garages and approximately 1,200 parking spots on campus surface lots, there is a real and existing parking challenge. The proposed multi-level parking garage will provide 1,530 new parking spaces which will offer much-needed parking for students, faculty and staff. In addition, the new structure will raise money from parking fees paid by fans of the San Jose Giants minor league baseball team and by those who use the Solar4America Ice venue, also known as “Sharks Ice,” near the university’s south campus, Faas said.

Pending completion of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) study and final approval, construction of this new facility is scheduled to begin in June 2019 and is expected to open in the fall of 2020.


About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study—offered through its eight colleges. With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce. The university is proud of the accomplishments of its more than 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 (62) Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. San Jose State athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.

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

SJSU and CEFCU Announce Partnership Agreement For Spartan Stadium

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
• Janā Stevens, CEFCU Community Relations Manager, 309-633-3675, jstevens@cefcu.com

SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose State University and the Citizens Equity First Credit Union (CEFCU) have forged an $8.7 million, 15-year partnership agreement to rename the football stadium.

“CEFCU Stadium — Home of the Spartans” will host its first football game Sept. 10 against Portland State. The California State University Board of Trustees approved the stadium renaming and broader agreement at its July 19 meeting.

“We are very pleased to extend and enhance our relationship with CEFCU to include the naming of the stadium. Since 2011, CEFCU has been a loyal partner with San Jose State Athletics and we’ve valued its presence in Spartan Stadium. Today’s announcement is a long-term extension of our ongoing relationship with CEFCU,” Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier said about the renaming of the 30,456-seat venue built in 1933.

This is the only such agreement for a football stadium in the California State University system and one of three in the Mountain West Conference.

“There are many opportunities to invest in student success here at San Jose State,” University Advancement Vice President Paul Lanning said. “We hope this partnership motivates other Silicon Valley institutions—public and private—to join with us.”

The agreement will help with the funding of scholarship commitments for student-athletes, support and strengthen athletics operations, and improve the stadium and other facilities.

“CEFCU has been proud to support San Jose State University for many years. Since community involvement is extremely important to CEFCU, this new opportunity allows us to continue to support San Jose State through an even stronger partnership while furthering our commitment to the San Jose community. CEFCU is honored to be associated with an institution that excels in both academics and athletics,” CEFCU Community President Mark Hoffmire said.


About CEFCU

As a community credit union, CEFCU is pleased to serve anyone living, working, or worshipping in Alameda, Contra Costa or Santa Clara counties in California. CEFCU was founded on the idea of savers helping borrowers and borrowers helping savers. With assets of nearly $5.5 billion, CEFCU serves over 314,000 members through four Member Centers in Santa Clara County and 20 central Illinois Member Centers; the surcharge-free CO-OP ATM Network; the CU Service Center Shared Branch Network; the Money Center 24 ATM Network; CEFCU’s website, cefcu.com; and CEFCU Mobile Banking.

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 470 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.

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

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.