SJSU’s Olympic Legacy Continues at Tokyo Games

A picture of 6 SJSU alumni who will be competing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

Seven SJSU Spartans will participate in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo from July 23 to August 8. Not pictured: Coach Greg Massialas.

San José State has been a part of nearly every Olympics since 1924. The university will be well represented in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which run from July 23-August 8.

Seven former Spartans will participate in five sports:

  • Suzy Brookshire Gonzales, Mexico softball — first Olympic Games
  • Colton Brown, USA men’s judo — second Olympic Games
  • Michelle Cox, Australia softball — first Olympic Games
  • Emma Entzminger, Canada softball — first Olympic Games
  • Clara Espar Llaquet, Spain women’s water polo — second Olympic Games
  • Robyn Stevens, USA women’s track and field (20k race walking) — first Olympic Games
  • Coach Greg Massialas, USA fencing head coach — seventh Olympic Games, fourth as a head coach (2008, 2012, 2016, 2020)

The five female Olympic athletes are the most for SJSU in any one Olympics. Stevens is the first Spartan women’s track and field Olympian since USA shot put and discus thrower Margaret Jenkins competed in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. .

This is also the first time an SJSU alumnae will appear in softball, which returns to the Olympics schedule for the first time since 2008.

Colton Brown continues SJSU’s impressive judo legacy that began with alumnus Yoshihiro “Yosh” Uchida, ’47 Biological Science, head judo coach at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. Brown shared his thoughts on competing in his second Olympics and his quest for a gold medal in a Q&A before leaving for Tokyo.

SJSU Hosts Historic Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, Showcasing Very Best of Women’s Tennis

Bay Area tennis fans hungry for a glimpse of some of the world’s top women’s hardcourt players have a rare opportunity to see many of their favorites in action early next month, as the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic (MSVC) returns to San José State in an important U.S. Open tuneup.

The historic women’s tennis event — which marks its 50th anniversary this year — takes place Aug. 2-8 at the SJSU Tennis Center. Tickets, which start as low as $20 for the opening round, can be purchased by visiting MubadalaSVC.com or by calling 1-833-94-MATCH (1-833-946-2824).

Hitting the ball at the Mubadala SV Tennis Classic

Beginning on Aug. 2, the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic will take place at the tennis courts at CEFCU Stadium in San Jose, Calif. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

“We are excited to be returning to San Jose State University for the 50th Anniversary of this historic Bay Area tennis event and to do so at 100 percent capacity,” said Vickie Gunnarsson, Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Tournament Director. “This tournament holds a special place in history as a precursor to the establishment of the WTA and with the fight for gender equality in sports. Our former champions are some of the best players ever and given the talent we have competing this year I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or more of this year’s players joining the list of all-time greats when it’s all said and done.”

“San José State could not be more excited to again be hosting a professional tennis event of this caliber,” said Jeff Konya, SJSU athletic director. “We love showing Bay Area sports fans our exceptional tennis complex, which we feel offers a delightful fan experience, inviting hospitality options and the intimate atmosphere this tournament has become renowned for over the years.”

Highlighting the field are a collection of top-ranked American players, Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title winners and recent Grand Slam champions. Topping the list of U.S. players will be 2020 Australian Open Champion Sofia Kenin, 2017 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Champion Madison Keys and 2017 U.S. Open Champion Sloane Stephens.

Other top players include 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, World No. 16 Elise Mertens, 2021 Australian Open semifinalist and 2021 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Karolina Muchova, 2021 French Open quarterfinalists Elena Rybakina and Paula Badosa and Chinese star Zhang Shuai.

The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic showcases SJSU’s exceptional tennis complex, offering a delightful fan experience, inviting hospitality options and an intimate atmosphere. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

Another recent addition to the MSVC main draw is 18-year-old British sensation Emma Raducanu, who accepted a wildcard invitation. In her first-ever Grand Slam tournament earlier this month, Raducanu advanced to Wimbledon’s fourth round, becoming the youngest British woman to reach the final 16 at Wimbledon in the Open Era.

The Mubadala event is slated to be one of the most competitive in the tournament’s storied history, with 17 of 19 players entered having won at least one WTA singles title and 15 having advanced to a Grand Slam quarterfinal or better. The field has combined to win 46 career singles titles.

Rich history and Bay Area roots

Legendary sportswoman, visionary and activist Billie Jean King and her friend Rosie Casals — a San Francisco native and, like King, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame — played significant roles in establishing the event decades ago.

Sensing a growing passion and enthusiasm for women’s tennis, the pair joined forces and helped bring the Virginia Slims of California — the inaugural Bay Area women’s tennis tournament — to the San Francisco Civic Auditorium in 1971. It was the first event of that year’s historic tour, which paved the way for today’s WTA.

The tournament’s list of past champions reads like a who’s who of women’s tennis, including Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, and Kim Clijsters. 

The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic represents the first women’s stop on the US Open Series, which begins after Wimbledon and concludes with the US Open. 

Owned and operated by IMG, the WTA 500 event features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $565,530.

SJSU Alumnus Colton Brown Going for Gold at Tokyo Olympics

A photo of Colton Brown

Colton Brown, ’15 Business Administration, will compete in the 2021 Summer Olympics. Photo courtesy: David Schmitz.

Colton Brown, ’15 Business Administration, will represent Team USA in judo at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, later this month. This is Brown’s second Olympic games after competing in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.

Brown is the latest judoka who graduated from SJSU to compete on the world’s most storied athletics stage — a legacy that began with Yoshihiro Uchida serving as the head coach of the first U.S. judo team in 1964, the last time the Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo. Race walker Robyn Stevens joins Brown as the two Spartans who will compete for Team USA at the 2021 Games. 

Editor’s Note: See the timeline of SJSU-affiliated participants representing Team USA in nearly every Olympics since 1924. 

Ahead of Brown’s quest for his first Olympic medal, which begins with his first match on July 28, he shared his thoughts on representing the U.S. at the Olympics, how the pandemic affected preparation for the games, and what it means to him to be part of SJSU’s judo legacy. 

1) What does it mean to you to be able to represent the U.S. again at the Olympics?

The more time I spend competing at the highest level, the more I realize that I am very fortunate to be able to do what I love every day. Representing my country on the Olympic stage is an incredible honor, and I am happy to have gotten this opportunity twice. 

2) With the pandemic pushing the Olympics back a year, did you see that as a benefit or difficult to manage — especially since you likely have a routine as you prepare for the Olympics?

Great question. During the beginning of the pandemic, things were very confusing. There was a lot of uncertainty, so I wasn’t sure whether or not the Olympics were even going to take place. I was used to training three to four times a day, but when everything shut down, the only thing I was able to do was run and bike through the mountains. 

To be honest, I was a little sad that the Olympics weren’t happening in 2020 because I felt my preparation up to that point was great. But, I soon realized the severity of the situation and understood that it was best for the world if they postponed the games. 

Throughout the months that I wasn’t able to do judo, I realized how much I genuinely loved the sport. When something is taken away from you, I feel like it gives you a new perspective. I found that I was no longer worried about whether or not the Olympics would happen, I was just excited to be able to train again. It took me back to when I was a child doing judo because I loved it. So, at the end of the day, the pandemic made me realize why I started judo and restored my love for the sport.

3) This will be a return to Tokyo for you since you competed there in 2019 at the World Championships. Although there will be restrictions in place there, what are you most looking forward to?

Tokyo is one of my favorite cities in the world. A lot of people don’t know this, but when I graduated high school, right before I went to SJSU, I lived in Japan for four months. I went there to train at Nihon University, and I was the only American in the all-Japanese dormitory. Between the training and language barrier, it was one of the most difficult experiences of my life, but the amount of friendships that formed because of that experience are priceless. 

Since then, I have traveled back to Japan twice a year to train, so I’m very familiar with Tokyo. I’m looking forward to performing in front of my friends and the Japanese fans that are allowed to attend the Olympics. I’m also looking forward to the amazing food that Tokyo has to offer.

Editor’s Note: As of July 8, fans will not be allowed at the Tokyo Olympics.

4) You are a standout in a storied history of judo competitors and coaches from SJSU,  starting with Yoshihiro Uchida. What does it mean to you to be a part of the Spartan judo legacy?

Mr. Uchida is one of my idols. Throughout my time at SJSU, he taught me countless lessons on and off of the mat. When I first arrived at SJSU as a freshman, I was impressed by all of the amazing individuals who came through the judo program. I remember looking up to people like Marti Malloy and Mike Swain. Hearing stories of how they trained and the obstacles they had to overcome throughout their careers really inspired me. 

As I began to achieve some success, I realized that I could be an example for the younger generation. SJSU graduates like Mike and Marti gave me hope when I was younger that I could be something special. The thought that I could now have that impact on the lives of other Spartans truly means the world to me. 

https://fb.watch/v/A4Nb7he37/

Editor’s Note: Watch Brown train with Yoshihiro Uchida ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

5) Is there anything from your time at SJSU that you still carry with you today (a training method, something a professor or coach told you, etc.)?

SJSU is a great place. I tell people all the time that my time at SJSU was the most fun I’ve ever had in my career. I think when you put a bunch of people together who are trying to achieve a common goal, it makes for a special place. The one thing that SJSU taught me was to lead by example. I’ve learned so much by simply watching successful people who came before me. Without that example, I don’t know if I would be where I am today. 

6) Any words for Spartan Nation as they get ready to cheer you on at the games?

I just want to say thank you to all of the Spartans supporting me! I appreciate all of the love and will keep the Spartan mentality in mind when I’m out there fighting. 

SJSU Athletes Leading The Battle For Change

SJSU women’s soccer players Natasha Harris and Darrian Reed and men’s basketball player Caleb Simmons recently joined together to form Athletes4CHNGES, a group dedicated to raising awareness within and beyond the athletic community. CHNGES stands for Community, Humanity, News, Gender, Equality and Solidarity. The group raised nearly $80,000 in their initial fundraiser.

Read the full story from Matt Penland here: https://sjsuspartans.com/news/2020/6/11/general-spartans-leading-the-battle-for-change.aspx.

SJSU’s Lisa Millora and Marie Tuite Named 2020 “Women of Influence” by Silicon Valley Business Journal

San Jose State University’s Lisa Millora and Marie Tuite have been named to the 2020 list of 100 “Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Millora serves as chief of staff in SJSU’s Office of the President and acting vice president of university advancement, while Tuite is the university’s director of intercollegiate athletics.

“Lisa and Marie are extraordinary women and leaders,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian, herself a SVBJ “Woman of Influence” in 2019. “San Jose State is a better institution because of them, and I am grateful they are part of our leadership team.”

Each year, the SVBJ honors and celebrates the 100 most influential women in Silicon Valley. Honorees have been selected from the private, public and nonprofit sectors and include leaders in corporations, startups, small businesses, nonprofits, healthcare, education and community services. The SVBJ will honor its 2020 Women of Influence award-winners at an October 15 dinner event.

Lisa Millora, SJSU chief of staff

Lisa Millora, SJSU’s Chief of Staff, Office of the President.

“While I’m honored to be recognized in this fashion, the real ‘influencers’ at San Jose State are the faculty and staff who work each day—often unnoticed—to provide our students with the best education imaginable while helping them to become educated citizens and the next generation of leaders,” said Millora. “They, along with our students, are the true inspiration.”

As chief of staff, Millora works with the president’s cabinet to oversee the day-to-day operations of the university and its 40,000 students, faculty and staff. She drives progress on strategic priorities and promotes operational effectiveness across the top levels of leadership, through oversight of the Office of the President, Strategic Communications and Marketing, Community and Government Relations, University Personnel and, for a period of time, the Division of University Advancement. The values she learned during her days at an all-girls Catholic school, said Millora, led to a career path that would let her work toward social justice outcomes.

“Through Catholic social teaching, I learned that justice meant caring for the most marginalized in society,” she said. Working for a university early in her career, Millora said, helped her discover “the connection between the values I embraced as a child and the path I wanted to pursue professionally.”

Marie Tuite, SJSU athletics director

Marie Tuite, SJSU’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Photo by: Thomas Sanders/San Jose State University.

Tuite, a two-sport student-athlete and Athletics Hall of Fame inductee at Central Michigan University, leads and manages a college athletics program with a $34 million budget that supports 22 sports programs, 490 student-athletes and more than 150 coaches and staff members. She is one of only 11 women nationally with the responsibilities of athletics director at a NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institution, that organization’s highest level of college athletics competition among 130 colleges and universities nationwide. In addition, she is the only woman with the athletics director leadership position among the seven NCAA Division I FBS schools in California.

“When I read the names of the other honorees and noticed the footprint of their professional work, I was so honored to be included with these extraordinary and influential women,” said Tuite, who leads a program that has earned 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles over the years. Tuite oversees a population of student-athletes, coaches and staff members who collectively participate in more than 10,000 hours of community service and campus engagement activities annually.

“I imagine the professional journey for many of them may not always be an easy path to navigate,” said Tuite. “So this wonderful acknowledgement serves as a positive beacon for all women—from every imaginable background—and a reminder to believe in and listen to our inner spirit that speaks to us every day. It’s a privilege to stand with and be included among these women of Silicon Valley.”

In addition to Papazian, Millora and Tuite join Karen Philbrick, executive director of SJSU’s Mineta Transportation Institute, and Stacy Gleixner, former associate vice president for student and faculty success, as past SVBJ Women of Influence award winners from San Jose State.

Lazares Family Commit $1 Million to Support Spartan Athletics Center

Cindy and Dave Lazares

Cindy Lazares, ’76 Accounting, and Dave Lazares have committed $1 million to support the Spartan Athletics Center. Photo: Terrell Lloyd, San Jose State University Athletics.

Media contacts
Kenneth Mashinchi, senior director of media relations, 408-924-1167, ken.mashinchi@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, associate athletics director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University is pleased to announce it has received a $1 million gift commitment from Cindy Lazares, ’76 Accounting, and Dave Lazares. The gift will support the Spartan Athletics Center, the future home of San Jose State football and men’s and women’s soccer.

“This generous gift from the Lazares’ is a testament to the belief that Coach Brennan is moving our football program in the right direction,” said Marie Tuite, San Jose State director of intercollegiate athletics. “This gift is one more example of the countless times Cindy and Dave have stepped up to assist San Jose State. They both also realize their gift to the Spartan Athletics Center will greatly enhance the educational and athletic experience for all 22 sports we sponsor. On behalf of our entire athletics department, a sincere ‘thank you’ for this incredible gift.”

About the Lazares Family

Cindy Lazares came to San Jose State as a transfer student on a California state scholastic scholarship. She went on to co-found Shilling and Kenyon, a regional accounting firm, in 1982. She sold the firm in 1998 to CBIZ, a national consulting company, and joined her husband in Lazares Companies, a real estate development corporation, where she oversees all financial and tax activities. Cindy is a member of San Jose State’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business Advisory Committee, the Heritage Society and Exceptional Women Executives. She is a past-chair of the Silicon Valley Football Classic and Spartan Foundation Fund Drive.

A graduate of Arizona State University, Dave has worked in real estate since 1978 and has been the president of Lazares Companies since 2006. The parents of three sons, Dave and Cindy believe it is important to invest in education.

“The stability and the leadership—and the enthusiasm—that San Jose State has today feels different than it ever has before,” said Cindy, who has been active with SJSU for more than 25 years. “Dave and I put ourselves through school. That is more difficult to do today. But attending state schools changed our financial profile. Schools like San Jose State change lives—they change entire families.”

“I want our gift to help create a sustainable program that graduates people, is competitive and is a team sport—a team people want to be on,” added Dave. “We want people from outside the university to say, ‘I want to be on this team because it is a team of winners—because of the program, the building, the environment and the education SJSU has created.’”

Both longtime supporters of SJSU, the couple is energized by SJSU Football Head Coach Brent Brennan and his coaching staff, and believe that by supporting athletics, they will be helping impact the lives of countless students.

“What amazing news about this gift from Cindy and Dave Lazares,” said Brennan. “As we strive daily to build a championship program here at San Jose State, I’m well aware it will take the belief and support of so many to climb this mountain. Cindy and Dave Lazares have been incredible Spartans for decades, donating time, effort or resources to our university. They always show up. I’m so grateful that Cindy and Dave Lazares are involved in the Spartan Athletics Center project. Let’s go!”

To learn how you can support SJSU Athletics, please contact Steve O’Brien, deputy director of athletics, at steve.obrien@sjsu.edu or 408-924-1175.


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 nine colleges.With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 280,000 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 500 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, the Western Athletic Conference and the Golden Coast Conference. San Jose State has 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles. Sixty-two Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. San Jose State athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.

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

Alumni Tommie Smith and John Carlos Inducted into U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame

John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the Olympic Statues on the San Jose State University campus during the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. (Photo: Josie Lepe/San Jose State University)

San Jose, CA – Fifty-one years after San Jose State University alumni Tommie Smith and John Carlos were removed from the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) is awarding Smith and Carlos their highest honor. On November 1, 2019, the Olympic sprinters were inducted into the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame.

“The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame represents the pinnacle of competitive excellence in our nation, and its inspiring members are champions who have transcended sport through the legacy they leave both on and off the field of play,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “It’s an honor to welcome the class of 2019 into this prestigious and celebrated honor roll. We thank them for their impact on sport and society, and for continuing to inspire the next generation of athletes and fans.”

Tommie Smith, ‘69 Social Science, ‘05 Honorary Doctorate, and John Carlos, ‘05 Honorary Doctorate, were SJSU track and field team members when they qualified to compete in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. After earning gold and bronze medals, respectively, they bowed their heads and raised gloved fists on the medal stand while the national anthem was playing. In doing so, they created an iconic moment in athlete activism

“It is never too late to do what is right—especially regarding those who have sacrificed so much for so long—not to benefit themselves, but in defense of human rights. Congratulations Tommie and John—two extraordinary athletes and human rights advocates who will be remembered and treasured as heroes as long as the Olympic Games shall exist. Never has induction into this prestigious Hall Of Fame been more deserved,” stated Harry Edwards, ’64 Sociology, ’16 Honorary Doctorate, and Kenneth Noel, ’66 BA, ’68 MA, Sociology, co-founders of SJSU’s Olympic Project for Human Rights.

Smith and Carlos are the second and third San Jose State athletes inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame. They join fellow Spartan teammate and two-time Olympic gold medal winner Lee Evans, ‘70 Physical Education, who was inducted in 1989.

“I cannot say enough about the sacrifices John and Tommie have made and the rich tradition of student activism they both represent for our university,” said Mary A. Papazian, president of San Jose State. “More than 50 years after Mexico City, they are still working to improve people’s lives. We are very proud that John and Tommie got their starts as San Jose State Spartans, and I am delighted to see them honored by the USOPC for the work they did and continue to do on behalf of others.”


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 36,000 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.

 

Two Major Gifts Support SJSU Football Operations Center

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

San Jose, Calif. — San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received two major gifts to support a new football operations center on the east side of CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. Thomas Thompson, ’72 Behavioral Science, and his wife, Jane Bradley, have committed $500,000 to support the development of the new football facility, with a remaining percentage of their trust to establish the Thomas E. Thompson Athletics Scholarship. SJSU Athletics is also proud to share that an additional gift of $500,000 has been committed to support the football center by an anonymous donor.

“Both of these gifts come from long-time football season ticket holders and steadfast supporters of our Athletics program,” said Marie Tuite, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “They are also keenly aware of the importance and significance of completing the funding for the football operations center. Tom and Jane believe in San Jose State and support the mission of the entire university. Our anonymous donor may be one of my favorite individuals–he simply wants us to build the football center and enhance the opportunities for our football program. I’m offering a sincere and gracious ‘thank you’ to these terrific Spartans.”

By supporting the creation of the new SJSU football operations building, these gifts will enable future generations of Spartan athletes to pursue an education while playing NCAA Division I sports.

Bringing Sport to New Heights

At 6 feet 8 inches, Thompson gravitated toward basketball at a young age, playing in high school and community college. He later transferred to San Jose State. Thompson was the first in his family to graduate from both high school and college–achievements that made it possible for him to pursue careers in juvenile probation, construction management, trade association management and real estate. He and his wife are grateful for the opportunity to give back to his alma mater.

“Jane and I want to show our appreciation to SJSU and to assist future students,” said Thompson, a long-time fan of SJSU football and basketball. “San Jose State provided my only opportunity for a good education at essentially no cost, and a great foundation to help me later earn a graduate degree. With the scholarship, we hope that students will have the chance to play football or basketball while earning a degree, just like I did.”

The anonymous donor, who graduated from San Jose State in the 1960s, is also a loyal fan of Spartan football.

“I am making this gift because I believe the football program is moving in the right direction under the leadership of Marie Tuite and Coach Brennan,” the anonymous donor said. “I know there are other Spartans like me who care deeply about this program and want to see it thrive. It is my hope that other Spartans will join the growing group of donors in doing what they can to provide Coach Brennan and the program with the resources necessary to compete in the Mountain West.”

“Our momentum continues to build as we move closer to our goal of creating modern, vibrant spaces for our student-athletes and our fans,” said Paul Lanning, vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Tower Foundation. “We are so excited to see donors like these and so many others investing in the future of SJSU football, Athletics and the university.”

To track fundraising progress and 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.

Spartan Football Receives $1 Million Gift

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

SAN JOSE, CA—San Jose State University is pleased to announce that it has received a $1 million gift commitment from donors who plan to remain anonymous. This gift will provide new lockers and Spartan-themed graphics for the football team locker room in the existing Simpkins Stadium Center adjacent to CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans. The upgrades are expected to be completed in May 2019. In addition to the refurbished locker room, the gift will support Head Coach Brent Brennan’s efforts to position the football program for success in the immediate future.

“These gracious donors looked Coach Brennan right in the eye and said, ‘We believe in you, coach, and we want to help you now,’” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Marie Tuite. “This is a unique gift by two extraordinary folks who are simply vested in moving San Jose State football forward. I’m especially appreciative because our senior class will be able to conclude their careers in a first-class locker room. On behalf of our remarkable student-athletes and our entire department, a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to these two significant donors.”

“Locker rooms are a great place for the team to bond,” said the donors, who are long-time Spartan football season ticket holders. “We hope the new locker room will show the team that we support them 100 percent.”

“We were blown away by the generosity of this gift,” said Brennan. “While we are building our new football complex, this gives a huge boost to the Simpkins Stadium Center, which has housed many Spartan greats. This will directly impact our next recruiting class and give a sense of pride to the space where the players spend so much of their time.”

Brennan added that the expansion and upgrade to the training room will help Spartan football players with the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries, aided by SJSU’s certified athletic training staff.

“We are excited to see the momentum continue to build around our football program,” said Vice President for University Advancement and Tower Foundation CEO Paul Lanning. “This gift will have an immediate positive impact on the experience of our student-athletes and will greatly enhance recruiting efforts of our coaches. We’re so thankful to our donors for their investment in the future of Spartan football.”

To track fundraising progress and 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 via email at 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 260,000 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 an institutional, conference or national recognition based on outstanding academic performance.

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

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

Media contacts:

Robin McElhatton, SJSU Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

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

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

Supporting Common Goals

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

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

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

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

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

Football Matters

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

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

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

To track fundraising progress and learn how you can support the football operations center, please visit sjsufootball.com or contact Joshua Thiel, deputy athletics director for athletics advancement, at 408-924-1697 or via email at 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 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State Athletics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media contacts:
Robin McElhatton, SJSU Media Relations Specialist, 408-924-1749, robin.mcelhatton@sjsu.edu
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217, lawrence.fan@sjsu.edu

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

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

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

Proud Spartans: John Hopkirk and Anne Murphy

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn how you can support the football operations center, please visit www.sjsufootball.com or contact Joshua Thiel, Deputy Athletics Director for Athletics Advancement, at (408) 924-1697 or via email at 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 immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

 

SJSU Names Josh Thiel as Deputy Athletics Director for Athletics Advancement

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

Josh Thiel

Josh Thiel


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

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

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

Important asset for SJSU and SJSU Athletics

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

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

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

Proven leader and seasoned professional

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

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

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

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

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

TRANSACTIONS

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


About San Jose State University

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

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

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


About San Jose State University Athletics

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

 

Alumnus Receives NCAA’s Highest Honor

Peter Ueberroth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full release.

Men’s Water Polo Returns to SJSU

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

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

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

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

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

Alumni support

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

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

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

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

Cap ceremony

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

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

 

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

First and Foremost an Educator

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

Lou Tully (Karl Nielsen photo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Power of Gratitude: A Winning Attitude

Photo: Thomas Sanders, ’15 MFA Photography

David Fales, ’13 Psychology

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

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

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

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

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

View The Power of Gratitude series.

A Homecoming to Remember

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you seen the new floor? This is Sparta!

SJSU Basketball Court

This is Sparta! (SB Nation Photo)

 

 

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Student Assistant Amanda Holst contributed to this report.

Athletics Hosts Los Spartans Night

Spartan Athletics Hosts Los Spartans Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gene Bleymaier

Athletics Director on NCAA Advisory Council

Gene Bleymaier

Gene Bleymaier, SJSU Athletics Director

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