San José State Spartans

San José State Spartans

Infobox college athletics

logo_width = 200px
name = San José State Spartans
university = San José State University
conference = Western Athletic Conference
division = Division I
director = Tom Bowen
city = San José
state = California
stateabb = CA
stadium = Spartan Stadium
baseballfield = San Jose Municipal Stadium
arena = San José State Event Center
arena2 = Sharks Ice at San Jose
mascot = Sammy Spartan
nickname = Spartans
fightsong = Hail Spartans Hail
color1 = Gold
color2 = Blue
hex1 = FFF100
hex2 = 000BE9
pageurl =
pagename = SJSU Spartans

The San José State Spartans are the names of the athletic teams representing San José State University. SJSU sports teams compete in the Western Athletic Conference or WAC in NCAA at the Division I (I-Bowl Subdivision for football) level. The university has participated in athletics since it fielded a baseball team in 1890.

The school has achieved an international reputation in judo, having won 42 out of 46 national championships in the sport (as of 2007). [cite news | url= | title=Judo team wipes out field, claims 42nd national title | author=Rainier Ramirez | work=The Spartan Daily | publisher=San José State University | date=April 4, 2007 | accessdate=2007-07-16 ;] Additionally, SJSU students and alumni have won more than half of the U.S. Olympic medals in judo. The SJSU men's club ice hockey team was ranked #1 in the west (ACHA) for the 2005–2006 season. San José State University sports teams have also won NCAA titles in track and field, golf, and boxing.

SJSU alumni have won 18 Olympic medals through the years, dating back to the first gold medal won by Willie Steel in track and field in the 1948 Olympics. Alumni have won medals in track and field, swimming, judo and boxing. Due to pressures created by Title IX, several of these programs have been eliminated, including the historical track team known as "Speed City" which produced Olympic medalists and social activists John Carlos and Tommie Smith.

San José State University was a boxing powerhouse during the latter years of NCAA sanctioned intervarsity boxing. The university is one of only a select number of colleges that sponsor a top-flight intercollegiate boxing team.

Nickname and mascot history

Because of the school's background as a teacher's college, the original mascots changed many times for several years before finally adopting the Spartans as the official mascot and nickname in 1925. Mascots and nicknames prior to 1925 included the Daniels, Teachers, Pedagogues, Normals, and Normalites.

After 1887 the official name of the San José campus was the "State Normal School at San José". The school's athletic teams initially played under the "Normal" identity as indicated in the photo at left. 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 like the 1919 school bulletin at right. The recent historial diaplsy in the in The Martin Luther King Library on the San José State campus featured a number of pieces of State Normal School memorabilia, including an "SNS" pennant.



The San José 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 forty third national championship in 2008. [cite web | url= | title=2008 USA Judo Youth and Scholastic National Judo Championships | publisher=National Collegiate Judo Association | accessdate=2008-04-02 ]

In 2005, alumni 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
*Joe Wanang, gold medalist, 1991 Pan American Games

Olympic medalists

Notable sports alumni

*Tariq Abdul-WahadNBA player (played at SJSU as Olivier Saint-Jean)
*Kim Bokamper – former NFL linebacker, Miami Dolphins
*John Broussard – Wide Receiver Jacksonville Jaguars
*Ken Caminiti – former Major League Baseball player
*Ben Nighthorse Campbell1963 Pan American Games gold medalist in judo
*John Carlos – 1968 Olympic bronze medalist, best known for "Black Power" salute with fellow SJSU student and medalist Tommie Smith
*Sherman Cocroft – former defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs
*Rashied DavisNFL Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears
*Steve DeBerg – former NFL quarterback, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons
*Mervyn Fernandez – Former NFL Wide Receiver, Los Angeles Raiders
*Kevin Frandsen – Infielder, San Francisco Giants
*Jeff Garcia – Quarterback, Calgary Stampeders, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
*Krazy George Henderson – professional cheerleader, inventor of the audience wave
*Darnell "Dr. Dunk" Hillman – former ABA/NBA player
*Pat HurstLPGA Golfer
*Juli InksterLPGA Golfer
*Johnnie Johnson – Former NFL running back
*James Jones – Wide Receiver Green Bay Packers
*Rick Kane – former NFL running back with the Detroit Lions
*Joe Nedney – National Football League kicker San Francisco 49ers
*Arron OberholserPGA golfer
*Ernie Reyes Sr. – Martial artist
*Tommie Smith – 1968 Olympic gold medalist, best known for "Black Power" salute with fellow SJSU student and medalist John Carlos
*Peter Ueberroth – head of 1984 Summer Olympics, "Time" 1984 Man of the Year and commissioner (1984 – 1989) of Major League Baseball
*Yosh Uchida – 1964 Olympic judo coach
*Dick VermeilAmerican football coach [ [ "Dick Vermeil, Head Coach"] , Kansas City Chiefs]
*Bill Walsh – American football coach [ [ Bill Walsh Of The 49ers Is Named SJSU's 2001 Tower Award Winner] , 2001, "CSU Newsline"]
*Gerald Willhite – former NFL running back with the Denver Broncos


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