Special Announcement: Track and Field

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

Speed City's legacy lives on August 1.

Speed City’s legacy lives on August 1.

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

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

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

SJSU Hosts Celebration of Life for Charlie Whitcomb

Dr. Charlie Whitcomb

Dr. Charlie Whitcomb

Dr. Charles (Charlie) Whitcomb, a beloved member of the SJSU community for more than four decades, passed away July 15. He earned two degrees from San Jose State, and then served as a faculty member, department chair and academic leader.

At his request, a celebration of life will be held on campus in the Music Concert Hall on July 25, at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow immediately (directions to campus and parking).

In lieu of flowers, friends can donate to the Charlie Whitcomb Scholarship Fund. Gifts can be made online or by mail (Tower Foundation of SJSU, One Washington Square, San Jose, Calif., 95192-0183).

Statesman

His impact is readily apparent from the many personal reflections and expressions of affection for Whitcomb received since his family shared news of his passing.

“He was the kindest person you ever met,” said Jessica Larsen, who worked with him in the Provost’s Office. “He was always positive, cheerful and never said anything bad about anybody. He always took bad situations and found the goodness in it.”

Larsen noted that he was an advocate for SJSU students from less fortunate backgrounds, who didn’t have as many opportunities.

“I will always remember his smile,” she said. “That is how I remember him.”

Devoted to diversity

Whitcomb was especially devoted to diversity and his passion is reflected in his many speaking engagements during his tenure as a faculty member and chair. He presented on issues related to diversity and athletics at multiple National Collegiate Athletic Association events and served as SJSU’s NCAA faculty representative for 20 years. In 1991, Whitcomb was appointed the first chair of the NCAA’s Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. The group was, by any measure, incredibly impactful during his 10-year tenure.

In addition, he served on dozens of college and university-wide committees, including the University Commencement Committee, the Accommodations Review Board, the University Campus Climate Committee, Academic Senate and multiple search committees, among others.

He started his distinguished career at SJSU in 1971 as a faculty member in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (now part of Health Science and Recreation), serving as a department chair from 1988 to 2002. He was appointed executive assistant to the provost in 2003, eventually serving as vice provost of academic administration and personnel through his retirement in 2012.

He earned two degrees from SJSU: a bachelor’s in Justice Studies with a minor in Psychology in 1971 and a master’s in Recreation Management in 1975, before going on to earn his doctorate in higher education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Positive and hopeful spirit

Those who knew him best describe Whitcomb as bringing a positive and hopeful spirit to every situation, with an infectious laugh and smile, and an unwavering dedication to our students.

“He took with him his fun, playful spirit, his undeniable dedication to SJSU for over 44 years, his belief in dignity and justice across all people, his love of students, athletes, faculty, staff and friends, regardless of race,” said colleague Dr. Kate Sullivan, a hospitality management professor. “He listened AND he heard. So many considered him a friend on this campus! I will always see his smile and hear his laughter and remember all the things he taught me as my dear mentor over the last 28 years.”

Before joining SJSU as a tenure-track faculty member in 1972, he worked as a counselor for Santa Clara County Juvenile Probation Department Children’s Shelter for six years. He was involved with many community organizations as well. He served on the board of directors for the National Park and Recreation Association from 1978 to 1981 and as a board director with Community Kids to Camp from 1985 to 1988,

 

SJSU Breaks Ground on $10.2 Million Spartan Golf Complex

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

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

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

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

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

Spartan Golf Complex map (courtesy of SJSU Athletics)

Spartan Golf Complex map (courtesy of SJSU Athletics)

Project

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

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

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

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

Cindy and Rich Thawley (courtesy of the Thawley family)

Cindy and Rich Thawley (courtesy of the Thawley family)

Donors

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

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

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

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

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

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

SJSU alumna Juli Inkster (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

SJSU alumna Juli Inkster (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

San Jose State Golf

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

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

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

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

SJSU Alumnus Mark Hubbard (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

SJSU Alumnus Mark Hubbard (courtesy of Spartan Athletics)

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

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

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

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

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harry Edwards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taking a Stand

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

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

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

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

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

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

Providing Opportunity

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

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


About San José State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

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

Ten Things to Know about SJSU and the Super Bowl

  1. San Jose State is proud to serve as the practice site for the Carolina Panthers. Following Super Bowl custom, practice will be closed to the public. But you’re bound to catch a glimpse of the Carolina Panthers caravan making its way from the San Jose Marriott to South Campus. And who knows? You might even spot a Panther because…
  2. A Spartan is on a Super Bowl team! Bené Benwikere, ’13 Sociology, is a cornerback for the Carolina Panthers. He’ll travel with the team, although he’s on injured reserve as he recovers from a leg fracture. It’s still a dream come true. What advice does he have for students? “Challenges are essential to your personal growth as a person; so do not shy away from any challenge,” Benwikere said.
  3. Photo via Twitter.

    Photo via Twitter @BigPlayBene

  4. Make that two Spartans on the field! Keith Ferguson, ’82 Accounting, will be the back judge, wearing jersey number 61.  This will be his second Super Bowl. Three more Spartans have officiated the NFL’s biggest game. They include alumnus Darrell Jenkins, who served as the umpire in Super Bowl XLVIII (Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks). He was a running back on the 1973, 1974 and 1975 SJSU football teams.
  5. There will be plenty more Super Bowl events right here in downtown San Jose. Super Bowl Opening Night is Feb. 1 at the SAP Center. Every major sports network in the nation will be there. So will Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism, and Randy Vazquez, ’15 Journalism, representing the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications. In addition, you’ll see SJSU students seated near the NFL Network set, thanks to a special connection with NFL Marketing Manager Jason Whitcomb, ’11 Kinesiology.
  6. Photo: Tom Cherrey

    Neal Dahlen earned seven Super Bowl rings as a team executive (Photo: Tom Cherrey).

  7. Many Spartans have Super Bowl rings, but only one has seven of them. Neal Dahlen, ’63 BA ’64 MS Kinesiology/Physical Education, earned his rings during a 25-year career as an executive with the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos.
  8. The Spartans-Broncos connection runs deep. The late Jack Elway, father of Broncos General Manager John Elway, served as Spartan football head coach from 1979 to 1983. The late Jana Elway-Sever, ’83 Kinesiology/Physical Education and John’s twin sister, played on SJSU’s tennis team for two years. Janet Elway, John’s mother, worked at SJSU’s Department of Industrial Technology. Back then, John Elway was the quarterback at Stanford, where this son of an SJSU coach was on the road to becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. “The San Jose State-Stanford football games were magical: Stanford won in 1979 and 1980; San Jose State won in 1981 and 1982. The 1980, 1981 and 1982 games each drew more than 60,000 fans to Stanford Stadium,” SJSU Sports Information Director Lawrence Fan said.
  9. David Diaz-Infante, ’91 Social Science, was an offensive lineman on the Denver Broncos teams that won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII (Photo: David Schmitz).

    David Diaz-Infante was an offensive lineman on the Denver Broncos teams that won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII (Photo: David Schmitz).

  10. SJSU is the alma mater to five former Super Bowl head or assistant coaches including two legends: Bill Walsh, ’55 BA, ’58 MA, Education, led the San Francisco 49ers to victories in 1982, 1985 and 1989, and Dick Vermeil, ’58 Physical Education, ’59 MA Education, took the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl in 1981 and 2000.
  11. Nineteen former Spartan football players have played for Super Bowl teams, including three in the past 15 years: wide receiver Rashied Davis, ’06 Sociology (Chicago Bears) wide receiver James Jones, ’06 Sociology (Green Bay Packers); and defensive back Duke Ihenacho, ’11 Speech Communication (Denver Broncos). David Diaz-Infante, ’91 Social Science, was an offensive lineman on the Denver Broncos teams that won Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII. Today, he is an ESPN college football analyst. Steve DeBerg, ’80 Physical Education, was 45 years old when he played backup quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. Teased for being much older than Super Bowl 50 Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is just 39.
  12. Photo: David Schmitz

    Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications John Delacruz (Photo: David Schmitz).

  13. Many Spartans played leading roles in bringing the Super Bowl to the South Bay. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, ’82 Chemistry, is a Super Bowl 50 Host Committee Advisory Group member. Alumnus Jamie Matthews is mayor of the city of Santa Clara, home to Levi’s Stadium. Jill Bryant Meyers ’91 BA Journalism, ’98 MA History, is executive director of the Triton Museum of Art, including “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” William Kelly, ’89 BS Aeronautics/Business Administration, ’14 MA Public Administration, is the Santa Clara Fire Department chief. He helped develop the security and emergency management plan for Super Bowl 50 and related events. “The knowledge gained through  completing the MPA program was extremely helpful in that effort,” he said.
  14. Photo: David Schmitz

    San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy and Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi (Photo: David Schmitz).

  15. Did you know all pro football players wear tiny devices that track speed, distance and orientation? This was one of many insights shared at two Super Bowl symposiums held right here at SJSU. Moderators included Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Cole Armstrong, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications John Delacruz, and Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi. Jill Stelfox, vice president and general manager for location solutions at San Jose-based Zebra Technologies, described Zebra’s nickel-sized RFID chips, which are embedded inside the shoulder pads of every NFL player.

 

How the Super Bowl Will Impact SJSU

Editor’s note: This message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on Jan. 29. 2016. 

Dear campus community,

Super Bowl 50 in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara is just nine days away. San Jose State has many direct ties to this game and the activities throughout our region.  This message is intended as a guide to what to expect during Super Bowl Week.

SJSU and the Super Bowl

The National Football Conference champion Carolina Panthers will utilize SJSU’s South Campus facilities next week for practices and team activities. (These are all closed to the public.) We are proud to be a host site and the opportunity it affords us to showcase many of SJSU’s distinctions to a global audience.

For example, SJSU alumnus Bene Benwikere, ’13 Sociology, will return to San Jose with the Panthers next week despite a mid-season injury that prematurely ended his season. Bene, a starting cornerback before his injury, is an inspiration to current and future Spartans.

SJSU and the American Football Conference champion Denver Broncos also have legacy connections. The parents of Broncos general manager and executive vice-president and two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback John Elway are Spartans. Jack Elway, John’s dad, was our head football coach from 1979 to 1983. Janet Elway, John’s mom, was an administrative assistant in the industrial technology department.

Many on campus are working to celebrate these and other connections. In collaboration with the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, the College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, University Advancement sponsored SportsTech symposia in December and earlier this month, exploring the many ways technology has influenced professional sports.

University communications staff members and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics are working on several features, and are collaborating with regional and national media on other stories that we expect to see in the days leading up to the game. You may see media on or around campus.

You can follow all stories on SJSU web properties and social media platforms, including theSJSU Newsroom blog, Twitter @SJSU, Twitter @sjsuathletics, the SJSU Facebook page,SJSU Alumni Association Facebook page and SJSUSpartans on Instagram.

Facility enhancements 

In collaboration with and support from the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee and the San Jose Sports Authority, improvements have been made to some of SJSU’s practice facilities and locker rooms, including a new turf installation last week. These enhancements will benefit students, coaches and staff for years to come.

Impacts

SJSU athletics representatives and UPD officials have been closely collaborating with the NFL and law enforcement to ensure a safe environment for everyone. Following Super Bowl custom, the practice site will be closed to the public. Authorized personnel only will be permitted at South Campus during this time. While the stadium and athletic facilities will not be accessible, the Park and Ride lot will remain open to students, staff and faculty.

Next week, downtown San Jose will welcome many visitors attending public events and activities. Hotels and restaurants, parking facilities and some surface streets will be considerably busier than usual. Traffic mitigation measures have been carefully considered, and few street closures are expected. The San Jose Mercury News has created a Super Bowl Street Guide infographic that you may find helpful and you can stay updated by downloading the Nixle app (text SB 50 to 888777).

Other sites offering updates on activities and impacts in our area include:

City of San Jose

City of Santa Clara

Super Bowl 50

Following last December’s exciting win by our own Spartans in the inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl, Super Bowl 50 is an exciting opportunity for San Jose State to showcase its legacy and future. Let’s take full advantage of it!

Sincerely,

Sue Martin

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.

 

Yoshihiro Uchida Hall, Renewed

Walking through the newly renovated Yoshihiro Uchida Hall is a study in old meeting new. Much of the year-long construction project includes seismic retrofitting and other refurbishments not visible to the naked eye, yet threaded throughout and around the historic building, modern amenities cannot be missed.

The building’s signature spiraled turrets are still in place, but a new, glass-front main entrance encases the structure on the west side, bringing the old exterior in. What used to be a dilapidated swimming pool now houses an instructional gym. Above it, a world-class dojo lit by original floor-to-ceiling windows finally provides a venue befitting San Jose State’s premiere judo program.

Shared by the kinesiology, athletics, and health science and recreation departments, Uchida Hall houses state-of-the-art academic facilities such as an exercise physiology research lab, a stress management lab and classroom, a sports medicine center and many fully equipped, modern classrooms, as well as beautiful new locker rooms for men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball and gymnastics—all centered around the heart of the building, the retrofitted gymnasium.

To top it off, a second-floor outdoor patio is open to the university community for enjoyment. A grand opening celebration and rededication with attendance from Yoshihiro Uchida and other local dignitaries is tentatively set for early November.

SJSU Memorial Service Honors the Late Phyllis Simpkins

SJSU Memorial Service Honors the Late Phyllis Simpkins

Phyllis Simpkins

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

San Jose State is set to honor the life and extraordinary commitment of Phyllis Simpkins,’46 Home Economics and Marketing, on Friday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. in Morris Dailey Auditorium. A reception will follow in the rose garden and bell plaza area outside Tower Hall. Both events are open to the public.

Mrs. Simpkins, who passed away July 7 at 87, and her late husband Alan Simpkins, ‘48 Physics, were lifelong supporters and donors to SJSU. Among San Jose State’s most generous benefactors, the couple committed nearly $20 million to many athletic and academic programs.

The Simpkins’ led the effort to restore the Spartan Marching Band in 1977 after several years of absence. Last year, Phyllis provided seed money for a campaign to provide the band with new uniforms. On Sept. 8, when SJSU football takes on UC Davis, the band will wear those new uniforms in a half-time show dedicated to the couple. Sewn inside each uniform is a label bearing the name of a donor, including Phyllis and Alan Simpkins.

Among SJSU Most Generous Donors

“The legacy created by Phyllis Simpkins’ leadership and generosity will benefit San Jose State University students for generations to come. Not only did she give generously, she inspired others to support San Jose State,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “It is important that we pay tribute to the many ways in which Phyllis and Alan supported our students and university as a whole.”

Gifts from the Simpkins support the following:

  • Phyllis Forward Simpkins International Center (the SJSU International House)
  • Alan B. Simpkins Intercollegiate Athletics Administration Building
  • Simpkins Stadium Center
  • Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
  • Department of Nutrition and Food Science
  • Department of Kinesiology
  • School of Music and Dance

Giving and Getting Involved

But the Simpkins did much more than give to SJSU; they got involved. The International House was a personal passion for Phyllis who, in addition to being a regular visitor and occasional cook, oversaw its purchase, renovation and upkeep. Phyllis served as president of the SJSU Alumni Association in 1977. She and with her husband were among the founders of the association’s Santa Cruz Chapter.

San Jose State and the California State University have honored Phyllis and Alan Simpkins many times over the years. In 1979, Phyllis Simpkins received the Tower Award, SJSU’s highest honor for philanthropy and service. Phyllis and Alan Simpkins were named CSU Philanthropists of the Year in 1989. Both Phyllis and Alan Simpkins also received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters at the SJSU commencement in 1996.

Parking for the event is available in the South (Seventh Street) Garage, located at South Seventh and East San Salvador streets.

CASA Dean Charles Bullock with Phyllis Simpkins at an International House pancake breakfast.

SJSU Remembers Phyllis Simpkins: “She was There Every Step of the Way”

SJSU Remembers Phyllis Simpkins

Phyllis Simpkins

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

San Jose State University extends its condolences to the family and friends of Phyllis Simpkins,’46 Home Economics and Marketing, who died July 7 at 87. Phyllis and her late husband Alan Simpkins, ‘48 Physics, were lifelong supporters and donors to SJSU. Their son Bob Simpkins and many extended family members are also San Jose State alumni. View a photo gallery of the Simpkins’ through the years.

In 2003, while reflecting on their philanthropy, Phyllis Simpkins told Washington Square, the SJSU alumni magazine, “Alan and I received very good educations at San Jose State. I could try to be very philosophical about ‘giving back,’ but it’s not that complicated — we knew there were financial needs on the campus, and we knew we wanted to help.”

Phyllis and Alan Simpkins gave in excess of $10.8 million for the following:

  • Phyllis Forward Simpkins International Center (the SJSU International House)
  • Alan B. Simpkins Intercollegiate Athletics Administration Building
  • Simpkins Stadium Center
  • SJSU Marching Band
  • Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
  • Department of Nutrition and Food Science
  • Department of Kinesiology
  • School of Music and Dance

“Phyllis and Alan Simpkins understood that everyone should receive the very best opportunities San Jose State could provide, whether it was on the playing field, in the classroom or in their interactions with other students from across the country and around the world,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “As recently as this spring, when we joined the Mountain West, Phyllis was a steady presence at many campus events. Her leadership inspired countless others to support SJSU.

“Hundreds, maybe thousands, of students have benefitted from the generosity of Phyllis and Alan Simpkins. Their support of our athletics, band, marine science, nutrition, kinesiology, music and dance, and international programs have touched the lives not only of those who study and work here, but everyone who our alumni have gone on to work with throughout their lives.”

As important as the high-profile gifts were the more modest ones. The Simpkins’ almost single-handedly saved the SJSU Marching Band after its several years of absence in the 1970s. They were among the founders of the SJSU Alumni Association Santa Cruz Chapter. In addition to football and athletics in general, Phyllis and Alan Simpkins generosity extended to the softball, tennis, cross country and water polo teams.

“Phyllis Simpkins clearly saw and understood the value of an NCAA Division I-A intercollegiate athletics program to San Jose State University,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director John Poch. “When the program needed to take the next step, she was there every step of the way with our student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators. Her devotion to the Spartans was unparalleled. Her leadership inspired many to help make San Jose State athletics what it is today — a comprehensive sports program that thrives in competition and in the classroom and gives tomorrow’s leaders a solid foundation for future success.”

San Jose State and the California State University have honored Phyllis and Alan Simpkins many times over the years. In 1979, Phyllis Simpkins received the Tower Award, SJSU’s highest honor for philanthropy and service. Phyllis and Alan Simpkins were named CSU Philanthropists of the Year in 1989. Both Phyllis and Alan Simpkins also received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters at the SJSU commencement in 1996.

Services will be held 2 p.m. July 19 at the Los Altos United Methodist Church, followed immediately by a reception on the church grounds.  The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the SJSU International House or the SJSU Marching Band. Gifts may be made online (http://www.sjsu.edu/giving/) or by sending a check to the SJSU Tower Foundation, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192 -0256.

SJ Mercury News: Sports Information Director Receives His Profession’s Highest Honor

Longtime San Jose State sports information director Lawrence Fan getting Hall of Fame recognition

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News June 22, 2012.

By Jon Wilner

The list of San Jose State Spartans in national halls of fame, which includes Bill Walsh, Peter Ueberroth and Juli Inkster, is about to add another name.

Longtime staff member Lawrence Fan will be inducted into the College Sports Information Directors Hall of Fame on Monday in St. Louis, along with six colleagues from a slice of college athletics that employs thousands of people across the nation.

Fan also will receive the Arch Ward Award — the highest honor in his profession — for outstanding contributions to his field.

“It’s a big deal for my parents,” said Fan, 57, the first Chinese-American to be inducted into the sports information Hall of Fame. “It’s also big for San Jose State. It gives the school another level of repute.”

Officially, Fan has been the liaison between SJSU sports and the media for 32 years, arranging interviews and providing an endless array of information about Spartans sports.

“No one in our industry is more respected than Lawrence,” said Jim Young, Stanford’s senior assistant athletic director for communications, who has known Fan for decades.

“A lot of people in our profession are known for their glossy publications and the voluminous notes and the number of ‘likes’ on Facebook. But Lawrence has always been about connecting with people, and he does that better than anyone.”

Unofficially, Fan fills a far more significant role in his cramped office in the athletic department. To a greater

extent than any athlete or coach to pass through SJSU in the past quarter century, Fan is Spartans athletics.

“If San Jose State had a pyramid of success, Lawrence would be one of the major building blocks,” said former basketball coach Stan Morrison, who led SJSU to the 1996 NCAA tournament and had dinner with Fan on Sundays at Grande Pizzeria near campus.

Fan has seen every Spartans football game since 1980 and possesses encyclopedic knowledge of SJSU athletics. He has a story for any occasion and knows everyone from John Elway to Bill Hancock, the executive director of the Bowl Championship Series, who called Fan “the consummate professional.”

“His dry wit and attention to detail have earned many friends for San Jose State through the years,” Hancock added.

Fan is tireless, methodical and a tad eccentric. He loves “Leave It to Beaver” and roller derby and drove a 1978 Ford Granada until it had 412,000 miles. He replaced it with a 2000 Oldsmobile, which has 234,000 miles (and counting).

Fan is well known in college basketball circles for baking a cake for SJSU officials and media members before home games. Dubbed “Fan cake,” its ingredients have never been disclosed.

In order to manage his massive workload — SJSU’s media relations department has fewer resources than Stanford and Cal — Fan has been known to sleep in his office.

Or his car.

“That’s a bit of an exaggeration,” he said. “I haven’t done that more than five times.”

The oldest of three children, Fan grew up in San Francisco with a love for the Giants and 49ers. He attended Y.A. Tittle’s final game at Kezar Stadium and was in the crowd for the infamous wrong-way run by the Minnesota Vikings’ Jim Marshall.

After graduating from Lowell High, Fan enrolled at Cal with plans to be a math major. But he was drawn to athletic administration and eventually became the sports information director at La Salle University, in Philadelphia, in 1978.

Two years later, Fan accepted the same post at San Jose State, crammed his belongings into the Ford Granada, and made the cross-country trek.

In the three decades since, Fan has produced tens of thousands of pages of media guides, news releases, game notes and statistics. He also has been a friend and adviser to many Spartans athletes and coaches.

“If you have a bad game, he always has a good word to lift you up,” said third-year football coach Mike MacIntyre, who videotaped a testimonial about Fan that will be shown at the Hall of Fame induction.

Along the way, Fan has established relationships with media members in the Bay Area and throughout the country.

“He’s a nice guy even when he’s not selling you something,” said KRON sports anchor and KNBR host Gary Radnich, who refers to Fan as “The Great Lawrence Fan” on his radio show.

“He called my 90-year-old mother just to say he enjoyed being on my show.”

For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner’s College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.

SJ Mercury News: Sports Information Director Receives His Profession's Highest Honor

Longtime San Jose State sports information director Lawrence Fan getting Hall of Fame recognition

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News June 22, 2012.

By Jon Wilner

The list of San Jose State Spartans in national halls of fame, which includes Bill Walsh, Peter Ueberroth and Juli Inkster, is about to add another name.

Longtime staff member Lawrence Fan will be inducted into the College Sports Information Directors Hall of Fame on Monday in St. Louis, along with six colleagues from a slice of college athletics that employs thousands of people across the nation.

Fan also will receive the Arch Ward Award — the highest honor in his profession — for outstanding contributions to his field.

“It’s a big deal for my parents,” said Fan, 57, the first Chinese-American to be inducted into the sports information Hall of Fame. “It’s also big for San Jose State. It gives the school another level of repute.”

Officially, Fan has been the liaison between SJSU sports and the media for 32 years, arranging interviews and providing an endless array of information about Spartans sports.

“No one in our industry is more respected than Lawrence,” said Jim Young, Stanford’s senior assistant athletic director for communications, who has known Fan for decades.

“A lot of people in our profession are known for their glossy publications and the voluminous notes and the number of ‘likes’ on Facebook. But Lawrence has always been about connecting with people, and he does that better than anyone.”

Unofficially, Fan fills a far more significant role in his cramped office in the athletic department. To a greater

extent than any athlete or coach to pass through SJSU in the past quarter century, Fan is Spartans athletics.

“If San Jose State had a pyramid of success, Lawrence would be one of the major building blocks,” said former basketball coach Stan Morrison, who led SJSU to the 1996 NCAA tournament and had dinner with Fan on Sundays at Grande Pizzeria near campus.

Fan has seen every Spartans football game since 1980 and possesses encyclopedic knowledge of SJSU athletics. He has a story for any occasion and knows everyone from John Elway to Bill Hancock, the executive director of the Bowl Championship Series, who called Fan “the consummate professional.”

“His dry wit and attention to detail have earned many friends for San Jose State through the years,” Hancock added.

Fan is tireless, methodical and a tad eccentric. He loves “Leave It to Beaver” and roller derby and drove a 1978 Ford Granada until it had 412,000 miles. He replaced it with a 2000 Oldsmobile, which has 234,000 miles (and counting).

Fan is well known in college basketball circles for baking a cake for SJSU officials and media members before home games. Dubbed “Fan cake,” its ingredients have never been disclosed.

In order to manage his massive workload — SJSU’s media relations department has fewer resources than Stanford and Cal — Fan has been known to sleep in his office.

Or his car.

“That’s a bit of an exaggeration,” he said. “I haven’t done that more than five times.”

The oldest of three children, Fan grew up in San Francisco with a love for the Giants and 49ers. He attended Y.A. Tittle’s final game at Kezar Stadium and was in the crowd for the infamous wrong-way run by the Minnesota Vikings’ Jim Marshall.

After graduating from Lowell High, Fan enrolled at Cal with plans to be a math major. But he was drawn to athletic administration and eventually became the sports information director at La Salle University, in Philadelphia, in 1978.

Two years later, Fan accepted the same post at San Jose State, crammed his belongings into the Ford Granada, and made the cross-country trek.

In the three decades since, Fan has produced tens of thousands of pages of media guides, news releases, game notes and statistics. He also has been a friend and adviser to many Spartans athletes and coaches.

“If you have a bad game, he always has a good word to lift you up,” said third-year football coach Mike MacIntyre, who videotaped a testimonial about Fan that will be shown at the Hall of Fame induction.

Along the way, Fan has established relationships with media members in the Bay Area and throughout the country.

“He’s a nice guy even when he’s not selling you something,” said KRON sports anchor and KNBR host Gary Radnich, who refers to Fan as “The Great Lawrence Fan” on his radio show.

“He called my 90-year-old mother just to say he enjoyed being on my show.”

For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner’s College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.

SJSU President Names New Athletics Director

SJSU President Names New Athletics Director

SJSU President Names New Athletics Director

Gene Bleymaier and President Qayoumi (Christina Olivas photos)

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, University Media Relations, (408) 656-6999
Lawrence Fan, Athletics Media Relations, (408) 768-3424

SAN JOSE, CA – San José State University President Mohammad Qayoumi has appointed Gene Bleymaier as SJSU’s new athletics director, effective June 30, 2012.

“I am thrilled Gene Bleymaier has agreed to bring his tremendous leadership skills and record of success to San José State, especially at a time when our football team is showing such strong potential,” President Qayoumi said. “We are also fortunate he will arrive at SJSU as we move to the Mountain West from the Western Athletic Conference, a transition he navigated with great success at Boise State.”

As Boise State’s athletics director for nearly three decades, Bleymaier is widely credited with transforming the Broncos football team into a national phenomenon, with a top-10 ranking in the past three seasons. His staff built or expanded nearly every athletics facility on campus, and he added four women’s sports without dropping any men’s sports, noted the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

“I see the same great potential in San José State that I saw in Boise State when I first arrived there,” Bleymaier said. “I am pleased to accept President Qayoumi’s offer, and to have the opportunity to take the reins at Spartan Athletics at such an exciting time. My wife Danell and I are looking forward to joining our four children, all of whom now reside in the Bay Area.”

After graduating from Borah High School in Boise, Bleymaier went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA in 1975, where he played football for legendary coaching great and SJSU alumnus Dick Vermeil. Bleymaier earned a law degree from Loyola Law School in 1978, and served as a UCLA assistant athletics director before returning to Idaho. He joined the Boise State athletics department as an assistant athletics director in 1981, and was promoted to athletics director in 1982.

Bleymaier has been recognized nationally for his leadership. He received the prestigious Bobby Dodd Athletic Director of the Year Award in 2011. He was one of five nominees for the Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily Athletic Director of the Year for 2010, and the only nominee from a non-automatic qualifying Bowl Championship Series school. Bleymaier left Boise State in September 2011, after the NCAA uncovered compliance violations.

“I know people will raise concerns about NCAA compliance issues during Gene’s tenure at Boise State,” President Qayoumi said. “Let me assure you I shared those same concerns. After thoroughly discussing these issues with the NCAA and Gene, and considering Gene’s extraordinary 30-year career, I am confident he is the right choice for San José State.”

Bleymaier, 58, has signed a five-year contract setting his state salary at $220,092, the same amount as his predecessor. Bleymaier will also receive an annual supplement of $102,000 from the Tower Foundation, which will raise funds from private donors for this purpose.

San José State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

SJ Mercury News: President Calls Mountain West Move “Just the Beginning of the Journey”

Mark Purdy: San Jose State gets its revenge by finally joining the Mountain West Conference

Published by the San Jose Mercury News May 4, 2012.

By Mark Purdy

Friday’s big announcement at San Jose State was not just a celebration.

It was revenge.

With speeches and balloons in a building adjoining the football stadium, SJSU officials declared that the school has accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference (MWC) in the summer of 2013.

In doing so, the Spartans will leave behind their former league, the rapidly disintegrating Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

And all this excitement led university president Mohammad Qayoumi to proclaim an Affirmation Of Possibilities (AOP).

“I’m glad these schools and teams in the Mountain West are seeing the potential for what San Jose State can bring to the conference,” Qayoumi said.

And it was especially sweet because many of those very same schools were the ones who totally dumped on and deserted the Spartans 14 years ago when the Mountain West was originally founded. Qayoumi did not add that part. So I will.

Qayoumi does remember, though. In 1996, he was a San Jose State associate vice-president in charge of facilities when the school made its first attempt to move up significantly in the college sports world. With great fanfare, SJS left the very-small-time Big West Conference to join the then-more-prestigious WAC, which included higher-profile programs such as BYU, Air Force and Colorado State.

“I was working on the Spartan Stadium expansion,” Qayoumi recalled. “I went to all the games.”

In jumping to the WAC, San Jose State was joined by several other schools to create a 16-team league that was supposed to be a “superconference.”

It never worked out that way. In 1998, eight of the 16 WAC teams — including BYU, Air Force and Colorado State — decided they were far too superior to do business with plebeian SJSU and seven of the league’s other “new” members. So those eight allegedly superior schools broke away to form the Mountain West. This left SJSU and the other “new” WAC schools to scuffle along and try to survive.

Ah, but now the tables have turned. Over the last few years, college athletic conferences have been shaken and broken as schools have ditched one league to join another — often accompanied by bitterness and espionage and financial treachery. It’s been sort of like the Prussian War, only with network television contracts and water polo.

The Mountain West has been in the thick of the tumult. Over the past two years, the league has been abandoned by 1998 charter members Utah, BYU and San Diego State. This put the Mountain West in desperate need for new schools to step in and keep the conference viable.

Hello, Spartans.

How cool, eh? Four of those Mountain West schools that once ditched and ran away from San Jose State as if it had bad breath — Colorado State, Air Force, Wyoming and New Mexico — are now reaching out in need to the Spartans.

“This is just part of life,” Qayoumi said of the irony, denying any notion of reprisal.

Good strategy on his part. In truth, San Jose State athletics needs the Mountain West as much as the Mountain West needs SJSU. With the WAC falling apart on its own Prussian War front, the Spartans’ other options were not so terrific.

That’s why SJSU worked hard to gain the Mountain West invitation. Qayoumi says the idea was already on the radar when he was named president last year. Over the past several months, he’s spent one-on-one phone time lobbying the presidents of all the current Mountain West schools to gain their backing and convince them SJS is serious about upgrading facilities, fundraising and improving its basketball programs.

“We’ve got to deliver on the entire package,” Qayoumi said. “If any part of your body hurts, you’re sick.”

It surely helped, as Qayoumi lobbied the other Mountain West presidents, that he is a real college sports fan. Qayoumi played soccer as a kid in Afghanistan. And when he served as president of Cal State East Bay from 2006 to 2010, he often drove down from Hayward to attend San Jose State home football games. On a wall of the Simpkins Football Center where donors to the building’s 1994 construction are listed, Qayoumi’s name is on the plaque.

This enthusiasm for sports by a school president very much matters. It means that, as former athletic director Tom Bowen (now at Memphis after resigning last month) and interim athletic director Marie Tuite were trying to finalize the Mountain West deal, Qayoumi was along for the ride at every step.

“These last eight days have been intense,” said Tuite. “But the president has answered every email, returned every phone call, attended every meeting.” And now?

“This is just the beginning of the journey,” Qayoumi said.

Is it ever. We all know the story about San Jose State and its athletic struggles, particularly in football, the largest revenue driver. The university has so many assets — a large local alumni base, many successful graduates in Silicon Valley, a good tradition in many sports — but never has been able to translate those assets into consistent financial sustenance and home attendance.

To remain in the Mountain West, the school needs to upgrade facilities and yearly fundraising. Otherwise, it again could be left out of a party one day. Tuite was seizing the moment Friday, with so many excited alumni and fans gathered for the Mountain West announcement.

“If you’re not a donor, now is the time,” Tuite told them in a room adjoining Spartan Stadium. “And no donation is a small donation. We need all Spartans to step up and buy season tickets. Or if you already own them, you can buy more. And we just happen to have a table set up here where that can be done.”

She added pointedly: “There is no limit on how many season tickets you can purchase.”

SJ Mercury News: Qayoumi Views Mountain West Move as “Affirmation” of SJSU’s Potential

San Jose State’s Mountain West Conference dream now a reality

Published by the San Jose Mercury News May 4, 2012.

By Jon Wilner

San Jose State’s long, desperate climb into the Mountain West Conference became official Friday. The Spartans will move into their new, more luxurious home in the summer of 2013.

“Events like today are tremendously important markers of affirmation of the kind of potential San Jose State has,” university president Mohammad Qayoumi said. “There’s also a deeper sense of motivation.”

San Jose State will pay the Mountain West a $2 million entrance fee, according to sources. Such fees are standard for most conferences. No state money will be used; the amount can be paid over time and, if necessary, withheld from future revenue distributions by the league office.

The Mountain West will have 10 football-playing members in 2013: San Jose State, Utah State, Fresno State, Nevada, UNLV, Hawaii, Colorado State, Wyoming, Air Force and New Mexico.

There is no departure fee for leaving the Western Athletic Conference, which has been the Spartans’ home since 1996 but probably will cease to exist as a football league next year.

“We’re going to stop getting the question (from recruits) about what conference we’re going to be in,” SJSU coach Mike MacIntyre said. “This gives us stability.”

San Jose State’s location in the heavily populated Bay Area made it an attractive addition to the Mountain West, as did the Spartans’ rivalries with conference members Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii.

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson also cited SJSU’s increased commitment to academic support for student-athletes.”It’s a growing, dynamic university,” he said.

But the Mountain West has higher standards than the WAC. It expects the Spartans to upgrade their struggling men’s basketball program and improve facilities.

SJSU is in the early stages of building a massive football operations center that will feature the Dick Vermeil Spartan Football Complex and the Bill Walsh Legacy Center.

The project is expected to cost at least $15 million and will be funded with private donations. Qayoumi declined to provide a start date for construction.

Asked about the men’s basketball program, which was 9-22 last season, Qayoumi said: “We are looking at what aspects are systemic and what are quick fixes.”

The move to the Mountain West was months in the making and was led by departing athletic director Tom Bowen, who accepted a similar position at Memphis last month. His deputies, Marie Tuite and John Poch, handled most of the Mountain West-related legwork during the tense final stage.

Tuite, who is serving as the interim athletic director, said she barely slept and lost seven pounds while scrambling to extricate the Spartans from the collapsing WAC.

“It’s such a huge deal for San Jose State,” Tuite said.

In a twist, the competitiveness of SJSU’s football program was not a major impediment to joining the Mountain West: Last season, the ascendant Spartans beat three teams — Colorado State, Hawaii and Fresno State — that will be in the league in 2013.

“We feel like we can play with any team in the Mountain West,” said receiver Jabari Carr, who attended Oak Grove High. “This is huge for the football program, not just (the players) but the community as a whole. We’re changing things, and that will change the way the city looks at San Jose State.”

The Mountain West does not sponsor women’s gymnastics, men’s soccer or women’s water polo. SJSU’s soccer and water polo teams will continue to participate in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. SJSU must find a new home for gymnastics.

Also on Friday, Louisiana Tech and Texas-San Antonio announced they will leave the WAC and join Conference USA in 2013.

SJSU Accepts Mountain West Membership Offer

 

SJSU Accepts Mountain West Membership Offer

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, University Media Relations Director, (408) 924-1748 (office), (408) 656-6999 (cell)

Lawrence Fan, Athletics Media Relations Director, (408) 924-1217 (office), (408) 768-3424 (cell)

SAN JOSE, CA – Continuing its long-standing participation in NCAA Division I-A intercollegiate athletics, San José State University has accepted an offer to change its conference affiliation by joining the Mountain West on July 1, 2013.

“Joining the Mountain West in 2013 is an exciting opportunity for San José State University’s student-athletes, coaches and our many supporters,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said. “I want to thank everyone who worked hard to make this happen. The Mountain West and San José State are a great match.

“We are not joining this conference simply to compete. We are joining to win, and to build upon our current record of success reflecting San José State’s role as a leader in the classroom, in research and in athletics.”

Beginning in 2013-14, San José State will share Mountain West membership with the Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Colorado State (Fort Collins, Colo.), Fresno State (Fresno, Calif.), Nevada (Reno, Nev.), UNLV (Las Vegas, Nev.), New Mexico (Albuquerque, N.M.), Utah State (Logan, Utah), Wyoming (Laramie, Wyo.) in many of its sports and Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii) in football only.

“Today is a historic day for San José State University athletics. We are proud to join the Mountain West in 2013 and continue our long and rich history of offering our student-athletes and coaches the opportunity to compete at the Division I-A level. In addition, our fans and alumni will continue enjoying the best in major college athletics,” said San José State University Interim Athletics Director Marie Tuite.

“We will join familiar opponents in competition, gain a better geographic fit when we travel to away games and provide a level of stability, particularly for our improving football program led by Coach Mike MacIntyre, with additional opportunities to grow all of our sports programs.”

With the recent addition of women’s outdoor track, 14 of San José State’s 17 NCAA Division I programs will compete for Mountain West championships. Presently, the Mountain West does not sponsor conference championships in men’s soccer, women’s gymnastics and women’s water polo. SJSU has a total of 450 student-athletes.

The Spartans will be exiting the Western Athletic Conference after securing membership in July 1996.

“As we look forward to becoming a Mountain West member, we want to thank the WAC for its support of San José State University athletics and providing our student-athletes a positive Division I athletics environment,” Tuite said. “On behalf of everyone affiliated with San José State athletics, we look forward to the challenges ahead, and embrace them willingly, as we enter the Mountain West.”

***

San José State University’s Intercollegiate Athletics Conference Affiliations

  • 1890 – San José State plays its first intercollegiate athletics contest in baseball.
  • 1950 – San José State philosophically commits to competing in major college athletics. The football team competes as an independent. Baseball and men’s basketball later join the West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC).
  • 1969 – San José State is a founding member of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA).
  • 1982 – San José State’s women’s athletics teams relinquish AIWA membership to compete as NCAA programs with conference affiliation in the NorPac Conference.
  • 1986 – San José State women’s athletics teams join the PCAA.
  • 1988 – The PCAA changes its name to the Big West Conference.
  • July 1, 1996 – San José State is one of six schools joining the Western Athletic Conference.
  • July 1, 2013 – San José State is one of two universities joining the Mountain West.

San José State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

SJSU Appoints Marie T. Tuite as Interim Athletic Director

SJSU Appoints Marie T. Tuite as Interim Athletics Director

SJSU Appoints Marie T. Tuite as Interim Athletic Director

Marie T. Tuite

President Qayoumi Thanks Tom Bowen for Seven Years of Service

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-656-6999
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Sports Information, 408-924-1217

SAN JOSE, Calif., — San José State University President Mo Qayoumi appointed Marie T. Tuite as interim athletics director effective immediately, replacing Tom Bowen, who has resigned to become athletics director at the University of Memphis. SJSU will launch a national search for Bowen’s replacement this summer.

“Tom Bowen did a spectacular job building a team of student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators who elevated our athletics program to a new level,” President Qayoumi said. “We are in great shape, and look forward to the future success of Spartan Athletics.”

Tuite joined SJSU in June 2010, and served as deputy director for internal operations and chief operating officer for Spartan Athletics. She has a long professional history at the Division I level with leadership positions at the University of California, the University of Washington, and the NCAA. She holds a master’s in athletic administration and a bachelor’s in physical education, both from Central Michigan University. A member of the women’s field hockey and basketball teams, she was the third female student-athlete inducted into Central Michigan University Hall of Fame.

“I’m excited and honored that President Qayoumi has asked me to serve as interim athletics director,” Tuite said. “I love San José State University, and I strongly believe in the foundation we have created.  Tom Bowen did a remarkable job of developing and managing the framework that promotes San José State to be a successful NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision program.  My task, along with our coaches, staff, student-athletes and supporters is to continue the momentum established during Tom’s tenure.”

During Bowen’s tenure, SJSU posted conference championship, post-season or nationally-ranked top-10 teams in nine of 16 sports; produced conference or regional coaches of the year in seven sports; dramatically improved its NCAA Academic Progress Rate scores; balanced the athletics department budget; increased giving to Spartan Foundation; and announced the addition of a 17th intercollegiate sport, women’s track, in 2013.

“I am grateful and indebted to the student-athletes, coaches, athletics staff, Spartan Foundation members, faculty, community leaders and Spartan fans who made the last seven-and-one-half years a journey that I will always remember,” Bowen said. “Former SJSU President Don Kassing gave me the opportunity to build a program as the athletics director. Phenomenal people embraced our culture of champions and joined me in challenges and initiatives that resulted in amazing changes at San José State. These changes and growth need to continue.”

San José State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

Image of the SJSU blue and gold spartan helmet.

147 Student-Athletes Recognized For Academic Achievement

A group of SJSU students standing together receiving awards for outstanding academic achievement.

Women's gymnastics had the top GPA for the fall and spring semesters combined. (Photo by Terrell Lloyd)

San Jose State University recognized 147 student-athletes for success and excellence in the classroom at the 2011 Arm & Pat Hanzad Scholar-Athlete Celebration in the Event Center on Thursday, December 1.

Student-athletes who earned a cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 or higher on a 4.00 scale for the 2010-11 academic year were eligible for recognition from the University’s athletics department.

“This event is one of our department’s finest,” Athletics Director Tom Bowen said.  “Seven years ago, when I arrived at San Jose State, we made a commitment to academic excellence.  I could not be prouder of what our athletes have accomplished in the classroom and on the field of play.”

Of the 147 Scholar-Athletes, 106 also received academic All-Conference honors from the Western Athletic Conference or the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. These Scholar-Athletes maintained a 3.00 or better cumulative grade-point average and participated in at least 50 percent of their team’s contests during the academic year.

Darci Anderson of the swimming and diving team; and Kelly Stewart, water polo, were cited as the five female student-athletes with the highest grade-point average. Basketball player Wil Carter; Luis Esparza, cross country, Blake McFarland, baseball, Nick Murphy, soccer and Joey Ruth, football, registered the top-five grade-point averages among the six men’s sports teams. Four of the ladies and one of the men have a cumulative grade-point average above 3.9.

Read more from SJSU Athletics.

SJSU student Darcie Anderson is swimming in a pool wearing her SJSU swimming cap and goggles.

Andrerson, Trammell Qualify For Olympic Trials

SJSU Spartan Darcie Anderson is swimming in a pool wearing her SJSU swimming cap and goggles.

Darcie Anderson is headed to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100 breaststroke. (Photo by Terrell Lloyd)

Senior Kirsten Trammell and sophomore Darcie Anderson of the San Jose State University women’s swimming and diving team swam qualifying times in the 100 breaststroke for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team trials at the AT&T Winter National Championships.

Trammell (Goodyear, Ariz./Xavier College Prep) was timed in 1:11.30 and Anderson (Willows, Calif./Orland HS) in 1:11.31 in the long course preliminary heats at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. The qualifying time for the Olympic Team trials next June in Omaha, Neb., is 1:12.19.

In the 100 breaststroke final (courtesy of USA Swimming & youtube.com) later in the day, Anderson posted a faster time of 1:11.29 to finish in 23rd place. Trammell placed in 26th place with a 1:12.04 time.

Read more from SJSU Athletics.