San Jose State Spartans

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San José State Spartans
University San Jose State University
Conferences Mountain West Conference
Pacific Western Conference Rugby
NCAA Division I
Division III Hockey
Athletic director Gene Bleymaier
Location San Jose, CA
Football stadium Spartan Stadium
Basketball arena San Jose State Event Center
Baseball stadium San Jose Municipal Stadium
Other arenas Sharks Ice at San Jose
Mascot Sammy Spartan
Nickname Spartans
Fight song Spartan Fight Song
     Gold       Blue       White
Homepage SJSU Spartans

The San José State Spartans is the name of the athletic teams representing San Jose State University. SJSU sports teams compete in the Mountain West Conference (MWC) at the NCAA Division I level. (Football Bowl Subdivision formally known as Division 1-A for football.) The university has participated in athletics since it first fielded a baseball team in 1890.

San Jose State University sports teams have won NCAA national titles in track and field, cross country, golf, and boxing. As of 2012, SJSU has won 10 NCAA Division 1 national team championships and produced 50 NCAA Division 1 national individual champions.1 SJSU also has achieved an international reputation for its judo program, winning 45 collegiate judo national championships in 51 years (as of 2012).2

SJSU alumni have won 19 Olympic medals (including seven gold medals) dating back to the first gold medal won by Willie Steel 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.

As of 2010, current head coaches from the women's golf, women's gymnastics, men's soccer, and women's soccer programs had all received conference "Coach of the Year" honors.3

Current Varsity Athletics Teams

As of 2013, San Jose State University competes at the Division 1 level in each of the following sports:

Nickname and mascot history

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 1925. Mascots and nicknames prior to 1925 included the Daniels, the Teachers, the Pedagogues, the Normals, and the Normalites.

After 1887, the official name of the San Jose campus was the State Normal School at San José. 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.


  • The SJSU baseball team has earned three Western Athletic Conference (WAC) pennants in recent years (1997, 2000 & 2009).5
  • Under head coach Sam Piraro, the SJSU baseball team reached the 30-win mark 15 times and appeared in the national rankings 47 times.6
  • The SJSU baseball team has fielded sixteen All-Americans including four first-team selections.6


  • The SJSU men's basketball team has garnered 12 conference 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.7
  • 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.7
  • Eleven former SJSU men's basketball players have been drafted into the NBA.7


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 18938 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.8

San Jose State shares football rivalries with Stanford and Fresno State. The annual game played between Stanford and San Jose State is titled the Bill Walsh Legacy Game, after distinguished SJSU alumnus, the late Mr. Bill Walsh. The Fresno State and San Jose State game is simply known as the Valley Rivalry game.

Additional Football Facts

  • SJSU earned more Big West Conference football championship titles than any other team in the history of the Big West conference.9
  • The SJSU football team has made nine bowl appearances. Its most recent bowl appearance occurred in 2012 when the Spartans defeated the Bowling Green Falcons in the Military Bowl.1010
  • SJSU, the University of Dayton, Eastern Illinois University and the University of Arkansas are the only schools known to have produced two alumni who would go on to serve as head coaches of Super Bowl-winning teams.9
  • SJSU has produced over 70 All-America team members, including five first-team selections.9
  • SJSU has sent 110 football players to the NFL, including six NFL Pro Bowl selections, six first-round draft picks, two MVP award winners, and one NFL Rookie of the Year.1112
  • As of the 2010-2011 season, seven former SJSU Spartans are actively playing in the NFL.912 Among them is SJSU alumnus James Jones, a former starting wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers.
  • On November 10, 1955, the SJSU Spartans played the Washington State Cougars in Pullman, Washington before the lowest paid attendance in history: 1.13


  • The SJSU women's golf team has garnered three NCAA Championships (1987, 1989, 1992), 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.14
  • 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 1964.15
  • 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.15
  • The SJSU men's golf team has produced 33 All-America team members (including four 1st-team members) and seven different PGA Tour winners.15


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 45th national championship in 2012.18

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


  • 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.

Notable SJSU Club Sports

  • San Jose State has a very active student body with a thriving Club Sport program consisting of 19 sports with 23 teams to choose from:19

Badminton, Bowling, Boxing, Cycling, Dance, Ice Hockey NCAA Division II, Ice Hockey NCAA Division III, Lacrosse Men's & Women's, Mountain Biking, Power Lifting, Men's Rugby, Soccer Men's & Women's, Softball, Swimming, Track & Field, Triathlon, Ultimate Frisbee, Men's Volleyball, Women's Volleyball NCAA Division I & II, Men's Water Polo, Wrestling20


  • 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 1998.21
  • In 1992, the team went undefeated, finishing the season with a 17-0 record.21
  • The team finished 26-1-1 (18-0-1 at home) in 2006, and went undefeated through 42 consecutive home games from 2004-2007.21
  • The SJSU hockey team has qualified for the ACHA national championship tournament eight times, finishing as high as 10th in 2010.21
  • San Jose State hosted the 2011 ACHA national tournament.21
  • Ice Hockey at SJSU, Division III Team, competes as a member of the Pacific Collegiate Hockey Association (PCHA), a regional league within the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA).


San Jose State Spartan Rugby was established in 1971 and plays in the Pacific Western Rugby Conference. Pacific Western Rugby Conference plays Division 1 AA rugby. San Jose State does compete for the USA Rugby National Championship both in 15's and in 7's. San Jose State Rugby Mission is the following: "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."

Additional SJSU athletics facts

  • SJSU garnered 17 NCAA boxing championship titles including three consecutive national team titles (1958–1960) before the NCAA banned the sport in 1961.
  • SJSU men's cross country team won the NCAA National championship in 1962 and 1963.
  • In July 2007, SJSU was selected by the United States Olympic Committee to serve as the primary processing center for all Team USA members bound for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. All team members used SJSU campus housing and dining facilities during at least two days of document checks, health exams, cultural briefings, portrait sittings, uniform fittings and last-minute workout sessions. The actual location of the processing center on the SJSU campus was kept secret for security reasons.
  • The SJSU women's water polo team has earned a top-10 postseason national ranking nine out of 12 seasons beginning in 1998, and earned a top-20 postseason national ranking 12 seasons out of 12 from 1998 through 2009.
  • The SJSU women's gymnastics team was named the Western Athletic Conference regular-season champion in 2012.
  • The SJSU women's swimming and diving team won two consecutive WAC championship titles in 2012 and 2013.
  • Wrestling has a history at San Jose State University dating back to the early 1930s. The various teams throughout the years have gone up against other colleges, universities, military bases and even prisons.22 Being in one of the most popular high school wrestling states in America, unfortunately California only has a handful of colleges/universities with wrestling programs. San Jose State University has minimal finances to start and maintain a program in spite of the great interest in the area around the bay what some in the wrestling community would call a wrestling hotspot. Gilroy High School has one of the best high school wrestling programs in the state and has a high rate of graduates attend SJSU, as well as the surrounding areas interest in continuing the sport of wrestling in higher education, not to mention Southern California and the rest of the state. With a great deal of student interest, despite lack of funds, there has yet to be a Division 1 wrestling program established at the University since the 1984 season. Eddie Baza is one of three two-time All-American wrestlers in San Jose State University history and was inducted into the Spartan Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.23

Notable sports alumni

SJSU Alumnus Bill Walsh and former Spartans Head Football Coach Dick Tomey





Olympic Games



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