Cal Poly Mustangs
|Cal Poly Mustangs|
|University||California Polytechnic State University|
|Conference||Big West Conference|
Big Sky Conference (football only)
Pac-12 Conference (wrestling)
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (swimming and diving)
|Athletic director||Don Oberhelman|
|Location||San Luis Obispo, California|
|Football stadium||Alex G. Spanos Stadium (football, soccer), 11,075 capacity|
|Basketball arena||Robert A. Mott Athletics Center|
|Baseball stadium||Robin Baggett Stadium|
|Softball stadium||Bob Janssen Field|
|Soccer stadium||Alex G. Spanos Stadium|
|Other arenas||Anderson Aquatic Center|
Miller and Capriotti Athletics Complex
Mustang Tennis Complex
|Colors||Forest Green, Vegas Gold, and Copper|
The Cal Poly Mustangs are the athletic teams representing California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. The university fields twenty-one teams and compete in NCAA Division I; they are primarily members of the Big West Conference, but the football team plays in the Big Sky Conference, the wrestling team is an associate member of the Pac-12 Conference, and the swimming and diving program competes as an affiliate member in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Athletic Program history
- 1.1.1 1960 Cal Poly football team airline crash
- 1.1.2 Student Referendum and Move to NCAA Division I Level
- 1.1.3 Conference alignment
- 1.1.4 NCAA infractions
- 1.1.5 Other athletic department controversies
- 1.1.6 Academic Progress Rate Public Recognition awards
- 1.1.7 Philanthropic endeavors
- 1.1.8 Adidas partnership
- 1.1 Athletic Program history
- 2 Sports sponsored
- 3 Baseball
- 4 Men's basketball
- 5 Women's basketball
- 6 Cross country
- 7 Football
- 8 Men's soccer
- 9 Women's soccer
- 10 Women's Beach Volleyball
- 11 Women's volleyball (Indoor)
- 12 Swimming and Diving
- 13 Men's Tennis
- 14 Women's Golf
- 15 Wrestling
- 16 NCAA Championships
- 17 Rivalries
- 18 Notable Athletics Alumni
- 19 ESPN Radio affiliate
- 20 References
- 21 External links
Athletic Program history
The Cal Poly Mustangs athletic department's first sports team was fielded in 1907 as the men's basketball team played their first game. The university was not yet a four-year institution, but the school sponsored sports. The Cal Poly official team nickname is the "Mustangs." The nickname was chosen in a 1925 vote by the students. The two finalists were "Mustangs" and "Mules" and the students chose "Mustangs."
1960 Cal Poly football team airline crash
Student Referendum and Move to NCAA Division I Level
Cal Poly put a referendum vote to its student body on Nov. 20-21, 1991. The referendum passed, with students voting to elevate all 16 NCAA sports teams at the time (since increased to 21 intercollegiate teams in the years to follow) from Division II of the NCAA to Division I by the 1994-95 school year, passed by 267 votes in the largest voter turnout in school history, featuring 10,369 total votes cast, with 5,318 (or 51.2 percent) passing the measure. This move would be accommodated by the student body individually paying a total of $35 more per quarter by 1994 (steadily going in increments from the incumbent $8 Athletics fee at the time to $43 per quarter by 1994).
Afterward, the NCAA officially certified Cal Poly as a Division I-AA football school on Aug. 9, 1993. Its first year of playing at the Division I level in all sports (volleyball and wrestling were already Division I, being the two exceptions) was 1994-95.
Announced Oct. 14, 1994, Cal Poly joined the Big West Conference for a majority of its sports programs, from the American West Conference. The 1996-97 school year then marked Cal Poly's first season competing in the Big West.
Cal Poly was accepted into the Big Sky Conference as an affiliate member for football on September 7, 2010. The Mustangs' first-ever Big Sky game was played on September 22, 2012, a 28-20 home win over UC Davis.
In 1987 while competing as an NCAA Division II school, the National Collegiate Athletic Association found the athletic department guilty of infractions relating to the men's basketball program. During the course of the investigation, then head coach Ernie Wheeler resigned from his position and was later publically reprimanded.
As the department was transitioning from Division I to NCAA Division I in 1994, the department self-reported violations related to the baseball program. Cal Poly identified head coach Steve McFarland as having given improper financial aid to both players and members of his coaching staff. In 1995, the NCAA accepted Cal Poly's self-imposed penalties which included forfeiture of their NCAA Division II baseball championship and other top finishes and a postseason ban.
In April 2019, the athletic department was placed on probation for multiple years and was forced to vacate regular season championships and conference tournament records by the NCAA. The NCAA reported years worth of infractions involving 265 athletes across 18 sports. Additionally, the school must now inform all recruits about the department's infractions prior to official visits. In deciding on the severity of punishment, the NCAA noted Cal Poly SLO's two earlier infractions from 1987 and 1995.
Other athletic department controversies
In November 2013, a student assistant coach who previously played for the Cal Poly Mustangs football team was shot in a drug deal. The following year in August 2014, further problems beset the football team when 5 current Cal Poly student-athletes were arrested and charged with a total of 23 felonies which made national headlines. The players were subsequently suspended indefinitely from the team.
California Polytechnic State University president, Jeffrey Armstrong, stated that the August 2014 event "bears striking commonalities" with the November 2013 event, which was also noted by San Luis Obispo Police Department Chief Steve Gesell as having "disturbing" similarities. Armstrong, with athletic director, Don Oberhelman, launched an investigation into the football team's potential further involvement with illegal drugs and criminal activity and rolled out a new drug policy for the athletics department. It was reported by The Tribune that cost was a factor cited by Cal Poly when testing just 41 of its 540 student-athletes for banned substances within the last year. Oberhelman later stated that some of the players involved "... should not have been at Cal Poly." He also stated that he had heard of illegal drug usage among members of the football team. According to current and former players who spoke with The Tribune confidentially, the consensus was that illegal drug usage at the football program was widespread, with estimates ranging between 40% to 60% of the student-athletes. Athletic director Oberhelman kept faith in head coach Tim Walsh and his coaching staff despite Randy Hanson, a former coach brought on by Walsh, had multiple felony charges brought upon him just a few years earlier. One of the student-athletes in the August 2014 event later accused head coach Tim Walsh in court of coercion to talk to the police without a lawyer present.
In April 2015, a football student-athlete was arrested for driving under the influence, a felony, after crashing his car. A number of the passengers in the car were also football student-athletes. Previously in March 2011, a different Cal Poly football player was arrested for a DUI and ultimately chose to transfer out of the program.
In 2014, Cal Poly went to court to cover up or remove mentions of Moriarty Enterprises from the scoreboard at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Al Moriarty, a former Cal Poly football player who was inducted to the Cal Poly Hall of Fame in 2002, purchased naming rights to the scoreboard in 2009 for a total of $625,000. He was convicted of running a ponzi scheme and Cal Poly argued that they were "...suffering harm by having the name 'Moriarty Enterprises' remain on the scoreboard." When bankruptcy trustees asked Cal Poly for the money to be returned to benefit Moriarty's creditors, Cal Poly declined. After nearly a year in court, an agreement was reached wherein Cal Poly repaid $480,000 of the original donation to remove mentions of Moriarty, leaving the school with a $145,000 profit from the original sponsorship.
Academic Progress Rate Public Recognition awards
In May 2019, Cal Poly received seven Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA for Academic Progress Rate performance for the 2017-18 academic year. The seven awards included six from Big West Conference teams in the department, the most throughout the Big West (edging UC Davis by one award).
As part of the Big West Conference's 12th annual February Coin Drive, Cal Poly student-athletes raised more than $3,300 for Hearst Cancer Resource Center at nearby French Hospital. The total was the most Cal Poly has raised in a single year and ranked second among the conference's nine universities for 2019. Combined from 2012-2019, Cal Poly student-athletes raised $11,179 through the drive, with previous causes also including the Jessie Rees Foundation and CURE International.
Meanwhile the Cal Poly softball program has raised over $19,600 for Hearst Cancer Resource Center from 2007-2018 through its annual StrikeOut Cancer Challenge event.
Cal Poly student-athletes have also actively been involved with the Salvation Army’s Adopt-an-Angel program since December 2015, purchasing toys, clothing and gift cards while collecting donations to benefit local families in the San Luis Obispo area. In 2017, Mustang student-athletes adopted 50 children from 24 families, an increase of three sponsored children from the 2016 season. The December 2018 drive saw Cal Poly student-athletes adopt 32 children for the program.
On May 25, 2017, Cal Poly announced a five-year exclusive partnership with adidas. The partnership beginning in June 2017 would provide official footwear, apparel and various equipment items through the 2021-22 year.
|Men's sports||Women's sports|
|Cross country||Cross country|
|Swimming and diving||Swimming and diving|
|Track and field||Track and field†|
|† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor|
The Cal Poly Mustangs baseball team first fielded a team in 1948.
The Cal Poly Mustangs men's basketball teams first season was 1907 and its first season as a four-year institution was the 1941–42 season. The team had its most successful year in 2014, when the team won the Big West Tournament, clinching its first NCAA basketball tournament bid in school history.
The Cal Poly Mustangs women's basketball teams first season was the 1974–75 season.
In 2012, coach Mark Conover and his men's squad collected its second straight Big West Conference title and 12th in the past 15 seasons. Their last national placing was in 2011, when they finished 28th at the National Cross Country Championships. Also in 2012, the women’s program nabbed its first Big West Conference crown since 2001.
The Cal Poly Mustangs men's cross country team appeared in the NCAA Division I Championships seven times, with their highest finish being 10th place in the 2004–05 school year. The Cal Poly Mustangs women's cross country team never made the NCAA Division I Championships as a full team.
In the fall of 2018, Cal Poly swept both team titles at the Big West Conference Championships, and went on to advance both Miranda Daschian and Katie Izzo as individuals to the NCAA National Cross Country Championships in Madison, Wisconsin. Peyton Bilo was the program's most recent All-American, taking 23rd place at the 2016 national championships as a sophomore.
Team USA members
Cal Poly alumnus Phillip Reid represented Team USA at the Great Edinburgh International Run in Scotland in 2012-13 and at the North America/Central America/Caribbean Championships in Jamaica in 2013.
Mustang Football plays in the Big Sky Conference, competing in the Football Championship Subdivision. Prior to joining the Big Sky Conference in 2012, the team competed in the Great West Conference and is the first Great West Football Conference participant in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Each year Cal Poly plays rival UC Davis in the annual Battle for the Golden Horseshoe.
The Cal Poly Mustangs men's football team have an NCAA Division I FCS Tournament record of 1–4 through four appearances.
|2008||First Round||Weber State||L 35–49|
|2012||Second Round||Sam Houston State||L 16–18|
|2016||First Round||San Diego||L 21–35|
The Cal Poly Mustangs men's soccer team has had success in recent years. In 2008, Coach Paul Holocher led his team to a 3rd place in the Big West and a spot in the NCAA Division I tournament. They went on to beat UCLA and ended up losing to UC Irvine in the 2nd round.
Cal Poly soccer has a strong fan base, averaging over 3,000 fans per match in 2010. In 2011, collegesoccernews.com chose Cal Poly vs. UC Santa Barbara as the No. 1 rivalry in college soccer. Since 2007, the rivalry matches have regularly drawn upwards of 8,000 fans to watch the matches.
The Cal Poly Mustangs men's soccer team have an NCAA Division I Tournament record of 1–3 through three appearances and have never advanced past the second round.
|1995||First Round||UCLA||L 1–2|
|2015||First Round||UCLA||L 0–2|
Cal Poly's women's soccer program is coached by Alex Crozier, formerly an assistant coach at Santa Clara under Jerry Smith. Entering the 2018 season, Crozier held a won-loss-draw career record of 281-178-53 in 26 previous seasons, ranking No. 32 in NCAA history for career head coaching wins among active coaches (including a ranking of fourth among coaches at California colleges).
The Mustangs have an NCAA Division I Tournament record of 1-5 through five appearances, with the win coming over Fresno State in the first round in 1999, 2-1 in Fresno. Cal Poly fell 3-1 at Stanford in the second round.
Gina Oceguera became the first Cal Poly women's soccer alumna to play professionally in 2000-02, in the WUSA, after being drafted by the San Diego Spirit with the 35th overall selection of the 2000 draft. Oceguera played the 2001 season for the Bay Area CyberRays, helping to lead the club to the championship.
From 2016-17, former Cal Poly goalkeeper Alyssa Giannetti played for Arna-Bjornar in the Toppserien in Bergen, Norway. She signed with the club in February 2016. Giannetti was named the league's Goalkeeper of the Year following her rookie season.
Division I All-Americans
|2000||First Round||Santa Clara||L 1–3|
|2002||First Round||Stanford||L 0–4|
|2003||First Round||Arizona State||L 1–3|
|2004||First Round||Stanford||L 0–2|
Women's Beach Volleyball
Cal Poly added an intercollegiate women's beach volleyball program in July 2013, becoming the university's 21st NCAA sport. In February 2016, Cal Poly hired Todd Rogers, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the sport, as its new head coach.
The Mustangs had their most successful season in the spring of 2019, winning the Big West Conference Championship over Hawai'i, 3-2 in Malibu, California. Following the title, Cal Poly advanced to the eight-team NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship, losing to Florida State in the opening match before dropping a rematch against Hawai'i on ESPN.
Following the team's banner season (finishing 25-12 overall), Cal Poly — which had hosted its home contests in nearby Pismo Beach, California — proposed plans to construct five new on-campus beach volleyball courts, implementing an NCAA-regulation facility behind Mott Athletics Center. Derived from private donor support, the facility is aspired to be one of the most elaborate in the country, including a videoboard.
Women's volleyball (Indoor)
The women's indoor volleyball team has been one of the school's best sports programs in recent years and in the 1980s when the team reached #1 in the nation in 1985 in the AVCA Coaches Poll. In 2007 the team captured its second straight Big West title by posting a 15-1 conference record and a 23-8 record overall, and made it to the third round of the playoffs before losing to Stanford in the Sweet 16. The team also went 23-6 in 2006.
The team has an NCAA Division I Tournament record of 14-16 through sixteen total appearances.
Team USA members
- Kylie Atherstone, 2007 (A2 Senior Team)
- Sandy Aughinbaugh, 1981 (World University Games, Romania)
- Taylor Nelson, 2017 (U.S. National Team Thailand Tour)
- Dominique Olowolafe, 2008 (A2 Senior Team) & 2011
- Anicia Santos, 2008 (A2 Junior Team)
- Kylie Atherstone (Gigantes de Carolina - Carolina, P.R./Avarca Menorca - Spain/TSV Düdingen - Switzerland)
- Jennifer Keddy (VC Wiesbaden - Wiesbaden, Germany)
- Taylor Nelson (VK Slávia EU Bratislava - Bratislava, Slovakia)
- Raeann Greisen (Puijo Wolley - Kuopio, Finland)
|San Jose State
UC Santa Barbara
|1984||Regional Semifinals||Fresno State||L 2–3|
|UC Santa Barbara
San Jose State
|1986||First Round||San Jose State||L 1–3|
|UC Santa Barbara
|1988||First Round||Hawaii||L 0–3|
|UC Santa Barbara
|1999||First Round||Michigan State||L 1–3|
|2002||First Round||Pepperdine||L 0–3|
|2018||First Round||San Diego||L 1–3|
Swimming and Diving
Cal Poly alum Jimmy Deiparine went on to set the Filipino national record in the 100-meter breaststroke: 1:02.08 in 2016. In 2017, Deiparine won the silver medal for the 100m breast at the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur. Also in 2017, Deiparine swam at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, breaking his own 50m breast Philippine national record, taking 36th place out of 81 swimmers, via 28.13 seconds.
Andre Dome won the Thailand F2 Futures title in May 2015, ending Akira Santillan of Japan’s 11-match winning streak 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-1. Dome’s highest ATP singles ranking came at No. 426 in the world, ultimately retiring with an overall ITF career mark of 41-29 (.586) on the pro circuit, including three titles altogether (also featuring a Mexico F5 championship as well as a Canadian F5 crown).
Cal Poly won the 2017 Big West Conference championship at Oak Quarry Golf Club in Riverside, California, besting the field with a combined total of 887 strokes. After winning the title, the Mustangs advanced to their first Division I NCAA Regional Tournament, finishing 16th in Albuquerque, New Mexico at UNM South Championship Golf Course.
The wrestling program at Cal Poly competes as a member of the Pac-12 Conference, which is traditionally one of the strongest conferences in college wrestling. Cal Poly has had two wrestlers (Tom Kline & Mark DiGirolamo) win the Division I NCAA Wrestling Championship and 46 wrestlers earn All-American honors at the Division I level. In addition to the program's success at the NCAA Championships the program has crowned one champion at the National Collegiate Open Wrestling Championship. On Jan. 30, 2014, Cal Poly hosted Oregon State in a very rare outdoor wrestling match. The match took place in Cal Poly's University Union Plaza following the weekly UU hour. The only other known outdoor matches have been hosted by The Citadel Bulldogs, including one during the 2012-13 season. Arizona State also wrestled Arizona outdoors in the 1970s.
The team competes in Mott Athletics Center on campus opened back in 1960, seating over 3,000 people for home dual meets and tournaments.
Two former Mustang wrestlers after graduation went on to compete in mixed martial arts, more specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championships. The first is Chad Mendes who was a national runner-up at 141 lbs. in 2008, currently competing for the UFC since 2011 (challenging for a UFC featherweight title in 2012). The other wrestling alum is Chuck Liddell, who graduated in 1995 and is now a retired UFC Hall of Fame inductee being a former UFC Light heavyweight champion.
Prior to joining the Division I ranks via the Pac-12 (then the Pac-10) in 1987, Cal Poly was dominant in the College Division/Division II, winning the 1966 national championship and seven consecutive NCAA titles from 1968-74.
The Cal Poly Mustangs competed in the NCAA Tournament across 18 active sports (10 men's and 8 women's) 140 times at the Division I level.
Cal Poly has never won a team national championship at the NCAA Division I level.
Cal Poly won 35 national championships at the NCAA Division II level.
- Men's cross country (2): 1978, 1979
- Women's cross country (10): 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991
- Football (1): 1980
- Men's outdoor track and field (6): 1968, 1969, 1970, 1979, 1980, 1981
- Women's outdoor track and field (6): 1982, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1990, 1991
- Men's tennis (2): 1986, 1990
- Wrestling (8): 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
Below is one national championship that was not bestowed by the NCAA:
- Women's outdoor track and field – Division II (1): 1981 (AIAW)
Below are six national club team championships:
- Co-ed cycling (1): 1992 (USA Cycling)
- Men's rodeo (3): 1970, 1971, 1973 (NIRA)
- Women's rodeo (1): 1989 (NIRA)
- Co-ed Triathlon (1): 1995 (USA Triathlon)
Cal Poly had 12 Mustangs win NCAA individual championships at the Division I level.
|NCAA individual championships|
|1||1960–61||Tom Pagani||Men's outdoor track and field||[page needed]|
|3||1969–70||Mohinder Gill||Men's outdoor track and field||[page needed]|
|4||1970–71||Reynaldo Brown||Men's outdoor track and field||[page needed]|
|5||1970–71||Mohinder Gill||Men's indoor track and field|||
|6||1970–71||Mohinder Gill||Men's outdoor track and field||[page needed]|
|7||1972–73||Reynaldo Brown||Men's outdoor track and field||[page needed]|
|9||1981–82||Karin Smith||Women's outdoor track and field|||
|10||1997–98||Bianca Maran||Women's outdoor track and field|||
|11||1998–99||Paula Serrano||Women's outdoor track and field|||
|12||2004–05||Sharon Day||Women's outdoor track and field|||
At the NCAA Division II level, Cal Poly garnered 120 individual championships.
The Blue-Green rivalry
The main rival of the Cal Poly Mustangs are the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos who compete together in the Blue–Green Rivalry. The Blue-Green Rivalry, which started in November 1921 with a football game, was formalized in 2009. This new format calculates earned points between Cal Poly and UCSB to determine a winner based on their teams' competitive results against each other. Additionally, collegesoccernews.com ranked UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal Poly as the Greatest Rivalry in College Soccer.
The Battle for the Golden Horseshoe
Cal Poly's football rivalry with UC Davis, a fellow member of the Big Sky Conference, is played for the Golden Horseshoe.
Notable Athletics Alumni
- Ramses Barden, New York Giants wide receiver
- Bobby Beathard, NFL GM/Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Reynaldo Brown, Olympic Track and Field high jumper
- Stephanie Brown Trafton, 2008 Olympic gold medalist discus thrower
- Kevin Correia, MLB pitcher and 2011 All-Star
- Gary Davis, NFL running back
- Sharon Day-Monroe, Two-time U.S. Olympic track & field heptathlete
- Jimmy Deiparine, Philippines record-setting swimmer
- Nick Dzubnar, Los Angeles Chargers linebacker
- Mohinder Gill, NCAA triple jump champion and Olympic triple jumper (India)
- Victor J. Glover, NASA astronaut
- Chris Gocong, Philadelphia Eagles/Cleveland Browns linebacker
- Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners All-Star
- Sharon Hanson, Olympic track and field heptathlete
- Asa Jackson, San Francisco 49ers cornerback
- Damone Johnson, Los Angeles Rams tight end
- Mel Kaufman, NFL linebacker/Washington Redskins Super Bowl champion
- Mike Krukow, MLB pitcher/1986 All-Star/San Francisco Giants broadcaster
- Chuck Liddell, former UFC champion/MMA Hall of Famer
- John Madden, Oakland Raiders Super Bowl-winning coach/NFL commentator/Pro Football Hall of Famer
- Chad Mendes, 2008 NCAA second-place wrestler/UFC member
- Steve Miller, Nike director of global sports marketing
- Dana Nafziger, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker
- Bud Norris, MLB pitcher
- David Nwaba, NBA guard (L.A. Lakers/Chicago Bulls/Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Gina Oceguera, Mexico World Cup soccer player/WUSA pro
- John Orton, California Angels first-round draft pick
- Joe Prunty, NBA coach
- Carmelo Rios, Olympic track and field athlete (Puerto Rico)
- Loren Roberts, pro golfer
- Karin Smith, Olympic javelin thrower
- Ozzie Smith, St. Louis Cardinals shortstop/MLB Hall of Famer
- Alex G. Spanos, San Diego Chargers owner
- Chris Thomas, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver
- Ted Tollner, College football coach
- Cecil Turner, Chicago Bears Pro Bowl kick returner
- Drake U'u, Sacramento Kings assistant GM
ESPN Radio affiliate
Cal Poly's ESPN Radio affiliate is ESPN 1280 AM The Ticket, based in San Luis Obispo. Prior to the 2018-19 school year, the station added 101.7 FM carrying Mustangs broadcasts, with greater reach throughout San Luis Obispo County.
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