San Jose State Spartans

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San Jose State Spartans
University San José State University
Conference Mountain West Conference
NCAA Division I / FBS
Athletic director Marie Tuite
Location San Jose, California
Varsity teams 19
Football stadium CEFCU Stadium
Basketball arena San Jose State Event Center
Baseball stadium San Jose Municipal Stadium
Other arenas Sharks Ice at San Jose
Mascot Sammy the Spartan
Nickname Spartans
Fight song Spartan Fight Song[1]
Colors Blue, White, and Gold[2]
San José State Spartans wordmark.svg
San Jose State is a member of the Mountain West Conference

The San Jose State Spartans are the athletic teams that represent San José State University. SJSU sports teams compete in the Mountain West Conference at the NCAA Division I FBS level. San José State is one of seven universities in the state of California to participate in NCAA Division I FBS athletics, along with California, Fresno State, San Diego State, Stanford, UCLA, and USC. SJSU has participated in athletics since it first fielded a baseball team in 1890.

San José State University sports teams have won NCAA national titles in track and field, cross country, golf, boxing, fencing and tennis.[3] As of 2017, SJSU has won 10 NCAA national Division 1 team championships[4] and produced 50 NCAA national Division 1 individual champions.[3] SJSU also has achieved an international reputation for its judo program, winning 51 National Collegiate Judo Association (NCJA) championships in 56 years (as of 2017).[5][6][7][8][9]

SJSU alumni have won 19 Olympic medals (including seven gold medals) dating back to the first gold medal won by Willie Steele in track and field in the 1948 Olympics. Alumni also have won medals in swimming, judo and boxing.

The track team coached by "Bud" Winter earned San Jose the nickname "Speed City", and produced Olympic medalists and social activists Lee Evans, John Carlos and Tommie Smith. Smith and Carlos are perhaps best remembered for giving the raised fist salute from the medalist's podium during the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City.

San José State University sponsors teams in seven men's and thirteen women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[10]

Nickname and mascot history[edit]

Due to the school's original designation as a teachers' college, SJSU's mascot changed many times before the school finally adopted the Spartans as the official mascot and nickname in 1922. Mascots and nicknames prior to 1922 included the Daniels, the Teachers, the Pedagogues, the Normals, and the Normalites. The school's current mascot is Sammy the Spartan or Sammy Spartan for short.

After 1887, the official name of the San Jose campus was the State Normal School at San Jose. The school's athletic teams initially played under the "Normal" identity, but they gradually shifted to the State Normal School identity, as evidenced by images of the SNS football and basketball squads from this era. Despite the SNS identity, the school continued to be referred to as the California State Normal School, San José in official publications. A recent historical exhibit in the Martin Luther King Library on the San José State campus featured a number of pieces of State Normal School memorabilia, including a SNS pennant.

Sports sponsored[edit]

All varsity teams representing San José State University compete in the Mountain West Conference except beach volleyball (Independent), gymnastics and women's water polo (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation), men's soccer (Western Athletic Conference), and men's water polo (Golden Coast Conference).

Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Beach volleyball
Cross country Cross country
Football Golf
Golf Gymnastics
Soccer Soccer
Water polo Softball
Swimming and diving
Track and field
Water polo
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.


  • The Spartan baseball team made NCAA Tournament appearances in 1955, 1971, 2000 and 2002. In 2000, the team advanced to the College World Series.[11]
  • From 1997–2013, the SJSU baseball team competed in the Western Athletic Conference, earning three WAC pennants in 1997, 2000 and 2009.[12]
  • Under head coach and SJSU alumnus Sam Piraro (1987–2012), the SJSU baseball team reached the 30-win mark 17 times (including five 40+ wins seasons) and appeared in the national rankings 47 times.[12]
  • The SJSU baseball team has fielded sixteen All-Americans including four first-team selections.[12]
  • From 1965–2013, over 95 Spartans were taken in the Major League Baseball draft. As of 2013, 11 former Spartans are active professional baseball players in both major and minor leagues.[12]


  • The SJSU men's basketball team has garnered 10 conference championship titles beginning with a California Coast Conference championship victory in 1925. The Spartans' most recent conference championship victory occurred in 1996 when SJSU defeated Utah State in overtime to win the Big West championship tournament.[13]
  • The SJSU men's basketball team has made three NCAA tournament appearances (1951, 1980 and 1996). SJSU was defeated in the first round all three times.[13]
  • The SJSU men's basketball team has made one National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearance (1981), but was defeated in the first round.[13]
  • The SJSU men's basketball team has made one College Basketball Invitational (CBI) tournament appearance (2011), but was defeated in the first round.[13]
  • Eleven former SJSU men's basketball players have been drafted into the NBA.[13]
  • San Jose State began fielding a varsity women's basketball team in 1974.


The State Normal School at San Jose football team in 1910. Jerseys display a large "N" for "Normal."

San Jose State first fielded a football team in 1893[14] and has won 16 conference championships dating back to 1932. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Spartan football program was considered a powerhouse, winning eight conference championships over an 18-year span. The 1932 team finished 7-0-2 and the 1939 team finished 13-0, marking the only undefeated seasons in school history.[14]

San Jose State shares an American football rivalry — known as the Valley Cup — with the Bulldogs of Fresno State University.

Additional Football Facts


  • The SJSU women's golf team has garnered three NCAA Championships (1987, 1989, 1992), one AIAW individual champion (Patty Sheehan in 1980), one NCAA individual champion (Pat Hurst in 1989), 17 conference championships, and 37 All-America honors. The team's most recent championship came in 2011, when the Spartans won the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament for the third year in a row.[18]
  • The SJSU men's golf team has garnered one NCAA Championship title in 1948 and two NCAA individual champions, Bob Harris in 1948 and Terry Small in 1964.[19]
  • The SJSU men's golf team has won 10 conference championships:
  • The SJSU men's golf team has garnered 12 Western Intercollegiate tournament team championships and 12 individual Western Intercollegiate championships, thus earning its place as the winningest team in tournament history.[19]
  • The SJSU men's golf team has produced 33 All-America team members (including four 1st-team members) and seven different PGA Tour winners.[19]


  • The Spartans men's soccer team went an undefeated 18-0-1 during the 2000 regular season, finishing with a 20-1-1 overall record. The team concluded the regular season as the No. 1-ranked team in the country.
  • The Spartans men's soccer team has made a total of 14 NCAA championship appearances.
  • The Spartans men's soccer team won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) championship title in 2000 and 2003.
  • As of 2009, seven Spartans have been taken in the Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft since 1998.
  • The Spartans women's soccer team won the Western Athletic Conference championship title in 2000, 2009 and 2010, and won the Mountain West Conference championship title in 2015.


  • The San Jose State Spartan volleyball team has made 11 NCAA tournament appearances since it first became recognized as a varsity sport at SJSU.
  • Spartan volleyball made it to the "final four" in the NCAA tournament in 1984.
  • The Spartan volleyball team joined the Western Athletic Conference in 1996 and is currently a part of the Mountain West Conference as of the 2013 season.
  • In Spartan volleyball program history, seven coaches have coached the team with Craig Choate compiling the best win-loss record.
  • Following Choate, coach Oscar Crespo led the Spartans for six years before retiring. The Spartan volleyball team is now coached by husband-and-wife team Jolene and Aaron Shepardson.
  • The Shepardson team was hired at the end of January 2014. They were previously the head coaches of the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners.
  • The Shepardsons left the Runners with a winning record of 21-12.
  • The Spartan volleyball team participated in its first inaugural sand season last March and with recognition by the NCAA as a championship sport, the team will continue as both an indoor and outdoor program.
  • After playing the 2013 season in the San Jose State Event Center, Spartan volleyball will play the 2014 season in the newly renovated Yosh Uchida Hall (YUH) building.[22]

Club sports[edit]

San Jose State has a very active and thriving club sport program consisting of 25 sports and 30 teams.[23] These sports include:

Archery, badminton, bowling, boxing, cycling, dance, ACHA Division II and Division lll ice hockey, judo, karate, MCLA Division III men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, mountain biking, power lifting, quidditch, roller hockey, men's rugby, salsa, men's & women's soccer, softball, swimming, table tennis, track & field, triathlon, ultimate frisbee, men's & women's volleyball, men's water polo, and wrestling.[24]


Founded in 1990, the San Jose State men's ice hockey team garnered one PCHA Division ll championship (1992) and four PCHA Division l championship titles (1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997), before withdrawing from the PCHA and becoming an independent American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division ll team in 1998.[25]

  • In 1992, the team went undefeated, finishing the season with a 17-0 record.[25]
  • The team finished 26-1-1 (18-0-1 at home) in 2006, and went undefeated through 42 consecutive home games from 2004–2007.[25]
  • The SJSU hockey team has qualified for the ACHA national championship tournament eight times, finishing as high as 10th in 2010.[25]
  • San Jose State hosted the 2011 ACHA national tournament.[25]


The San Jose State judo program was established in 1937 for the Police Studies Department. In 1940, sophomore biology major Yosh Uchida was hired as the student-coach. The program was disbanded during World War II, and reestablished in 1946 upon Uchida's return to the college.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Uchida and University of California, Berkeley coach Henry Stone established rules to allow their students to compete with each other, including a weight class system. Uchida and Stone convinced the Amateur Athletic Union to sanction judo as a sport, and San José State hosted the first AAU national championship in 1953.

In 1962, the Spartans won the first National Collegiate Judo Championship. They would continue to dominate the event to the present day, winning their 51st national championship in 2017.[5][6]

In 2005, alumnus and coach Mike Swain announced the establishment of the Swain Scholarship, the first full athletic scholarship in judo at an American university. In 2008, the SJSU judo program was named one of six National Training Sites by USA Judo.

Notable SJSU Judoka

  • Yosh Uchida, head coach 1964 United States Olympic Judo Team
  • Ben Nighthorse Campbell, gold medalist, 1963 Pan American Games
  • Gerardo Padilla, gold medalist, 1979 and 1983 Pan American Games
  • Bobby Berland, silver medalist, 1984 Olympic Games
  • Kevin Asano, silver medalist, 1988 Olympic Games
  • Mike Swain, bronze medalist, 1988 Olympic Games; gold medalist, 1987 World Championships (first American male to win World Championships); head coach, 1996 U.S. Olympic judo team
  • Joe Wanang, gold medalist, 1991 Pan American Games
  • Marti Malloy, bronze medalist, 2012 Olympic Games; silver medalist, 2013 World Championships


San Jose State Spartan Rugby was established in 1971 and competes in the Pacific Western Rugby Conference. The Pacific Western Rugby Conference plays at the Division 1AA level. The Spartans compete against Chico State, Fresno State, San Francisco State University, Stanford University, University of California Santa Cruz and University of Nevada. San Jose State competes for the USA Rugby National Championship in both 15's and in 7's. In 2013, SJSU finished first in the conference in 7's competition.[26] According to the published SJSU rugby team mission statement, "San Jose State Rugby teaches Spartans honesty, humility, and hard work through the game of rugby for Spartan success both on and off the field."[26]


San Jose State's salsa team, "Spartan Mambo", was established in 2010 and competes at amateur and collegiate competitions across the country. Spartan Mambo holds two championship titles from the College Salsa Congress in 2011 and 2015 as well as the 2015 and 2016 Collegiate Salsa Open.[27][28] Spartan Mambo also won the Collegiate Teams division at the 2013 World Latin Dance Cup.

Table tennis[edit]

The San Jose State table tennis team rose to No. 4 in the national rankings and competed in the NCTTA national championship tournament in 2012.[29][30]



Wrestling has a history at San Jose State University dating back to the early 1930s, although SJSU has not sponsored a Division 1 wrestling program since the 1988 season.[31] Eddie Baza is one of three two-time All-America wrestlers in San Jose State University history and was inducted into the Spartan Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.[32]

NCAA team championships[edit]

San Jose State has won 10 NCAA team national championships.[33]


Fresno State[edit]

San José State's biggest rival is the Fresno State Bulldogs of California State University, Fresno, in large part due to the American football rivalry informally known as the Valley Cup.[34] Fresno State is San José State's most played opponent in the Mountain West Conference for college football and college basketball. Also, Fresno State and San José State played against each other mostly in conference play, ranging back to competition in the California Coast Conference in the 1920s.[35][36]


San José State has a natural athletics rivalry with the Stanford Cardinal of Stanford University, due to both institutions being established as well as having athletic competitions in the 19th century.[37] The approximate proximity between both universities is 23 miles on the Interstate 280 in Santa Clara County, California. In addition, San José State and Stanford are known for their respective workforce productivity in Silicon Valley, which enriches the rivalry despite differing goals of both universities.[38]


Utah @ San José State at CEFCU Stadium – 2009

The Event Center, Aquatic Center, and the Spartan Complex are the principal sports facilities on the main campus for athletes. Additional athletics facilities, including CEFCU Stadium (formerly known as Spartan Stadium) and Blethen Field (baseball), along with the athletics department administrative offices and multiple training and practice facilities, are located on SJSU's 62-acre (25.1 ha) south campus approximately 1.5 mi (2.4 km) south of the main campus.

A north end zone building addition for CEFCU Stadium is currently in the planning stages. The estimated cost of the project is $40 million. The 61,000 square feet (5,700 m2) facility will house sports medicine and athletic training space, a football team locker room, football coaching staff offices, meeting rooms, a hall of fame, and an auditorium. The facility will serve the day-to-day operations of the athletic department, and provide hospitality space on game days. It will be located at the South Campus site, north of Spartan Stadium.[39]

In April 2014, a new $75 million master plan to renovate the entire South Campus was unveiled. The estimated cost has since been increased to $150 million including the cost of the new football stadium addition. The plan calls for construction of a 9-hole golf facility, new baseball and softball stadia, new track and field facilities, new soccer and tennis facilities, and three beach volleyball courts. The golf and soccer facilities broke ground in 2016, and the new tennis facility broke ground in 2017. The remaining projects are currently in the planning stages.[40]

In August 2015, a $55 million renovation of the Spartan Complex was completed. The Spartan Complex houses open recreation spaces, gymnasia, an indoor aquatics center, the kinesiology department, weight rooms, locker rooms, dance and judo studios, and other classroom space. The primary project objectives were to upgrade the structures to make them compliant with current building codes, correct ADA deficiencies, correct fire safety deficiencies, expand and modify existing structures, and hazmat abatement.

A new student recreation and aquatic center is currently under construction. At a projected cost of $139 million, the new facility will house a gymnasium, weight and fitness center, exercise rooms, rock climbing wall, sports club organizations, and competition and recreation pools with support spaces. The new facility will be located on the main campus at the corner of 7th Street and San Carlos close to the existing aquatic and student recreation centers. The estimated project completion date is set for December 2018.[41]

Main Campus[edit]

South Campus[edit]

Notable sports alumni[edit]

SJSU Alumnus Bill Walsh and former Spartans Head Football Coach Dick Tomey
James Jones catches a touchdown pass against Stanford in 2006 at Spartan Stadium.





Olympic Games[edit]



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External links[edit]