Bronco Salute to San Jose State Football

San Jose State alumni have put forth impressive credentials since the school was founded in 1857. The Spartans are not only located in one of America's great cities (the virtual world center for technology!), but they have a tremendous record of academic and athletic success. BroncoCountry salutes you San Jose State!

(Editor's Note:  This is part of a continuing series of tributes to WAC schools as Boise State completes its final season in the conference.  The series is meant to spread good will throughout the conference, highlight the rich heritage at member schools and to thank the WAC members for having Boise State in their conference for the last ten years.)

San José State is situated in a prime location in the Silicon Valley midway between the Monterey/Carmel area and San Francisco .  The campus consists of 55 buildings on 154 acres in downtown San José .  San José State offers more than 134 bachelor's and master's degrees with 110 concentrations.  Because it is in the heart of the technology field, Silicon Valley firms seek SJSU students for internships, summer work programs and for assistance with research and development projects.  Silicon Valley employers hire more graduates from San José State than from any other university in the nation. 

San José was founded in 1777 as California 's first settlement.  It was the site of the state's first capital in 1850.  The city is located 50 miles south of San Francisco . 

It has been a long time since Dionne Warwick sang the song "Do You Know the Way to San José ?"  Once a small farming city to support Spanish military installations at San Francisco and Montery, San José experienced rapid growth from the 1950s to the present. The city exploded over the last 30 years and now is the third-largest city in California (1,023,000) behind Los Angeles and San Diego and the 10th-largest in the United States . 

San José is now a newly revitalized city which hosts major sports, the arts, museums and restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines. It has the largest concentration of technological expertise in the world with 6,600 companies employing more than 254,000 people.  The Santa Cruz coastline is less than an hour away. 

Del Monte cannery was the city's largest employer up until World War II when the economy shifted to industrial manufacturing.  The Food Machinery Corporation (later known as FMC ) won a contract from the United States War Department to build 1,000 Landing Vehicle Tracked.  FMC (later United Defense and currently BAE Systems) continued as a defense contractor, designing and manufacturing the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and subsystems of the M1 Abrams.

IBM established its West Coast headquarters in San José in 1943.  Reynold Johnson and his team in San José invented the Hard disk drive and the San José economy soon took off.  City manager Dutch Hamann led a major growth campaign in the 1950's and 60's.  Between 1976 and 2001, San José sported the highest increase of housing costs (936%) in the nation. 

The San José area is the world headquarters for Adobe Systems, Apple, Cisco Systems, Dolby, eBay, Electronic Arts, Google, Intel, Intuit, Logitech, Maxtor, McAfee, National Semiconductor, Netscape, Oracle, Seagate, Sun Microsystems, Symantec and Yahoo, just to name a few.  Major divisions of companies like IBM , 3Com, Apple, Facebook, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard,  LSI Corporation, Magellan Navigation, Memorex, Microsoft, Nintendo, PayPal and Sony are located in the area.

In 2009, the city of San José was named the nation's top mid-size metro college destination, according to the American Institute for Economic Research College Destinations Index for 2009-2010.  The index analyzes the academic environment, quality of life, and professional opportunity in more than 360 cities across the U.S.

San José State is the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast, having been founded in 1857 by George W. Minns as the Minns' Evening Normal School in San Francisco .  At that time, it was what was called a "normal school" to train teachers for the fast-developing frontier.  By 1862, the school became the California State Normal School .  It was moved to San José in 1871 and given property at Washington Square Park where the campus remains to this day.  In 1881, the first branch campus of the California State Normal School was announced that would later become known as the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).  A large bell was forged that year to commemorate the original location in San José .  It was rung on special occasions until 1946 and that original bell is still located on the SJSU campus today.

In 1921, the school became known as the State Teachers College at San José .  Fourteen years later, the name was changed to the California State Colleges and then to San José State College.  San José State was granted university status in 1972. 

In 1930, San José State founded the Justice Studies Department as a two-year police science degree program.  It was the first policing degree in the United States and a stone monument and plaque are currently displayed close to the site of the original Police School near Tower Hall.

  • In 1999, San José State and the City of San José agreed to combine their main libraries to form a joint city/university library located on campus, the first known collaboration of this type in the United States . The new library has won several national awards since its initial opening in 2003.  The $177 million Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library won the Library Journal's prestigious 2004 Library of the Year award. The library is eight stories high, has 475,000 square feet of floor space, and houses approximately 1.6 million volumes.
  • In 2008, SJSU received a CASE WealthEngine Award in recognition of raising over $100 million. SJSU was one of approximately 50 institutions nationwide honored by CASE in 2008 for overall performance in educational fundraising.

Notable San José State alumni include:

*       Ralph Abascal, founding director of the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment and the 1995 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Award


*       Donald Beall, retired chairman and CEO of Rockwell


*       Mary Blair, artist, graphic designer and illustrator who helped create Disney's Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953)


*       Lindsey Buckingham, guitarist and singer in Fleetwood Mac


*       Lee P. Brown, 1964 (Masters in Sociology) former mayor of Houston ; professor; law enforcement


*       Valerie Coleman-Morris, former anchor for CNN Financial News 


*       Irene Dalis, 1946, former Metropolitan Opera star and founder of Opera San José, Tower Award 1974


*       Charles W. "Chuck" Davidson, major Bay Area home builder, and chair of the SJSU Tower Foundation


*       Mike Deaver, influential member of Ronald Reagan's staff in California and the White House


*       Ray Dolby, founder of Dolby sound systems


*       Dian Fossey, 1954 (Occupational Therapy) (1932-1985) gorilla researcher, author, teacher


*       Charles Gingold, vice president, Discovery Channel 


*       Robert Graham, internationally acclaimed sculptor whose work includes the Olympic Gateway in Los Angeles  


*       Eric Grigorian, photojournalism, recipient of the 2002 World Press Photo of the Year Award


*       Carl Guardino, president and CEO , Silicon Valley Leadership Group


*       Krazy George Henderson (professional cheerleader and inventor of the audience wave 


*       Lou Henry Hoover, 1893 (1874-1944), first lady (Herbert Hoover, 31st U.S. President)


*       Jerry Juhl, (1937 - 2005), head writer and producer for The Muppets and Fraggle Rock 


*       Omid Kordestani, Google's senior VP for Global Sales and Business Development


*       Bob Ladouceur, coached De La Salle High School to a national-record 151 consecutive wins from 1992-2003


*       Jenny Ming, former president, Old Navy


*       Gordon Moore, philanthropist and founder of Intel Corporation 


*       Gaylord A. Nelson, 1939 Political Science; 1960 Honorary Master of Arts degree; founder of Earth Day, former U.S. Senator and governor of Wisconsin


*       Stevie Nicks, member of Fleetwood Mac


*       Lyn Nofziger, 1950 (BA in Journalism) (1924 - 2006), aide to Governor Reagan, advisor to Presidents Nixon and Reagan, campaign advisor for Steve Forbes and Pat Buchanan



*       William Pence, National Science Teachers Association "Outstanding Biology Teacher"


*       Ernie Reyes, Sr., world-renowned martial artist


*       Tony Reyes, Professional Bowlers Association tour winner


*       Ed Rollins, political strategist


*       Patty Sheehan, pro golf


*       Tom and Dick Smothers, popular comedy duo


*       Amy Tan, 1972 (B.A. English and Linguistics), novelist, author of The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter's Daughter, The Opposite of Fate, and others


*       Luis Valdez, 1964 (English), prize-winning playwright, film actor director


*       Peter Ueberroth, 1959 (Business), former Baseball Commissioner, head of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Time Man of the Year for 1984


*       Dick Vermeil, former UCLA and Philadelphia Eagles' Coach


*       Bill Walsh, a member of the 1952 and 1953 Spartan football team and legendary San Francisco 49'er coach who led his team to three Super Bowl championships in the 1980's and was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame


*       David Willman, 1978 (B.A. in Journalism), Los Angeles Times reporter who won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting 


Today, 31,000 students attend the university.  Popular undergraduate majors include business, engineering, visual and performing arts, biology, nursing, psychology, justice studies, kinesiology, journalism and computer science.  Roughly 23% of all undergraduates are business majors.  The university's College of Business , with nearly 6,000 students, is among the largest business schools in the nation.  It is accredited by the AACSB International at both graduate and undergraduate levels, a distinction held by less than 5% of business programs in the world.  San José State also features unique degrees such as aviation science, transportation management, meteorology, software engineering and sustainable and green manufacturing technology.  Master's programs include engineering, library and information science, education and social work.  In 2009, San José State launched its first independent doctoral degree (educational leadership).  They have joint Ph.D. programs with Queensland University of Technology (library science) and Mississippi State (engineering).

San José State ranks 38th out of 125 master's-level institutions in the West according to U.S. News and World Report.  The school ties for 19th place for the best overall undergraduate engineering school in the nation, ties for 5th for the best computer engineering program and is 3rd for the best industrial/manufacturing engineering program out of 550 master's-level colleges and universities nationwide.  San José State's graduate school of Library and Information Science ranked 22nd in the country and its e-learning division was named the number one provider in its discipline by U.S. News and World Report.  SJSU's occupational therapy graduate program was ranked 24th in the nation while its graduate program in social work came in #71 in the country.    

Computerworld magazine cited San José State's computer engineering program as an "IT School to Watch" in 2008.  In 2007, Business Week listed San José State's School of Art and Design as one of the 60 Best Design Schools in the World.  San José State made the Forbes list of "America's Best Colleges" in 2008 and 2009.  Another prestigious honor was bestowed upon the university when San José State was ranked among the top 360 universities out of over 17,000 universities in the world according to the July 2009 Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.

About 80 percent of San José State's nearly 200,000 alumni of record live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The other 20 percent are scattered around the globe, with concentrations in Southern California, Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Nearly 200 SJSU graduates have founded, co-founded, served or serve as senior executives or officers of public and private companies reporting annual sales between US$40 million and US$26 billion.  Notable companies founded by SJSU students and alumni include Dolby Laboratories in 1965, Intel Corporation in 1968, Specialized Bicycle Components in 1974, Oracle Corporation in 1977 and Seagate Technology in 1979.

Since 2001, the university has operated the Survey and Policy Research Institute ( SPRI ), which conducts the quarterly, high-profile California Consumer Confidence Survey and many other research projects.

In spring 2007, an SJSU engineering professor and his students made headlines with their development of the ZEM (Zero EMissions) Car, a Human Hybrid Powered Vehicle (HHPV). The vehicle won the National I2P (Idea-to-Product) Competition for EPICS and Social Entrepreneurship and is the first of its kind to be powered by human, solar, and electric energy.


San José State first featured a football team in 1893 and has won 16 conference championships since 1932.  San José State was a national powerhouse in the 1930's and 40's playing as an independent.  .  In 1939, the Spartans were 13-0.  The Spartans joined the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) in 1968 and won eight league titles in 18 years (PCAA and Big West combined).  San Jose State was a member of the Big West Conference from 1988-1995 before becoming a member of the Western Athletic Conference.  San José State has appeared in eight bowl games, most recently in 2006 when SJSU defeated New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl.  Quarterback Mike Perez guided the Spartans in back-to-back California Bowl appearances and was honored as the MVP in San José's 1986 win over Miami of Ohio.  In 1990, San José State won the California Raisin Bowl 48-24 as tailback Sheldon Canley tied a NCAA bowl-game record with five touchdowns against Central Michigan.


Additional Football Facts:

  • San José State has produced 70 All-Americans, including five First-Team selections.
  • As of 2009, ten former SJSU Spartans are actively playing in the NFL.
  • From 1969 - 1995, SJSU earned more Big West Conference football championship titles than any other team in the history of the Big West conference
  • The 1941 San José State Spartans football team served unexpectedly with the Honolulu Police Department during World War II.  The Spartan team had just arrived to play Hawai'i in the Shrine Bowl, but was stranded on the islands after the Pearl Harbor attack.  The team was employed to improve island defenses against a possible Japanese amphibious assault and as guards for military bases on the island.

·        In 2004, San José State defeated Rice 70-63 to set the NCAA Division I record for total points scored and total touchdowns for a non-overtime game.


Spartan Stadium was completed in 1933 with a capacity of 18,000. Two stadium expansions and renovations in the 1980's increased the capacity to 30,456. 

The annual game played between San José State and Stanford is titled the annual Bill Walsh Legacy Game, after distinguished SJSU alumnus, the late Bill Walsh. The teams first played each other in San José in 1900. As of 2009, Stanford leads the series 49-14-1 with 60 of the 64 games played at Stanford.  SJSU's best success came when the Spartans were 3-0 against Stanford from 1981-1983, and again from 1998-2000.  The 1981-1983 series pitted Stanford quarterback John Elway against his father, Jack Elway, who was San José State's coach from 1979-1983. 

Deonce Whitaker (1998-2001) is the career rushing leader at San Jose State with 3,515 yards on 602 attempts (5.8 avg.).  Adam Tafralis (2004-2007) is the career passing leader, throwing for 7,548 yards (603 of 1,027 for 58.71%) and also holds the total offense record with 8,111 yards.  Steve Clarkson (1979-1982) is the career leader for passing touchdowns with 59.  Kevin Jurovich (2005-2009) holds school records for receptions in a season (85 for 1,183 yards in 2007) and career receptions 160 for 2,143).

I'm going to get this count wrong because there are so many Spartans that have gone on to the National Football League over the years but I came up with 116 AFL or NFL players and numerous other professionals .  Here are just a few of the all-time greats that have gone on to outstanding NFL careers: 

Wide receiver Stacey Bailey was an all-conference selection in 1980 and 1981 for San José.  He holds the school record for career receiving yards (2,223 on 123 catches) from 1978-1981 and had 10 100-yard receiving games in his career to tie another mark.  Bailey is one of the co-record holders with three touchdown catches in a game (vs. Fresno State in 1981).  Bailey (1982-1990) was selected in the third round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.  He played with the Falcons throughout his career.  Bailey finished his nine-year career with 206 receptions for 3,422 yards (16.6 avg.) and 18 touchdowns.  He had great years in 1983 and '84, catching 55 passes for 881 yards and six touchdowns in 1983 and 67 for 1,138 yards and six scores the following season. 

Offensive tackle John Blain played for British Columbia of the CFL for 11 seasons (1977-1987).  Blain made the All-CFL team in 1983 and 1985 and is a member of the British Columbia All-Time Dream Team.

Linebacker Kim Bokamper was All-PCAA in 1975 and played in the East-West Shrine Game, the Blue-Gray Classic and the Senior Bowl in 1975 and the College All-Star Game in 1976.  He was selected in the first round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphin and played for Miami from 1977-1985.  Bokamper was a member of Miami's "Killer B's" defense and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1979.  Bokamper started at right defensive end for Miami in Super Bowls XVII and XIX.  Bokamper had 12 sacks from 1982-1985 (the NFL did not keep sack statistics prior to 1982) and had one safety and six interceptions.

Defensive back Gill Byrd is one of the most famous ex-Spartans.  Byrd was All-PCAA and Honorable Mention All-America in both 1980 and 1982 and was chosen to play in the 1982 Blue-Gray Classic and the 1983 East-West Shrine Game.  Byrd was drafted as the 23rd overall selection in the 1983 Draft by the San Diego Chargers and played his entire career in San Diego from 1983-1992.  Byrd was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1991 and 1992.  Byrd was selected into the Chargers' Hall of Fame in 1998. 

Guard Jim Cadile (1962-1972) was an Honorable Mention All-American in 1960.  He was chosen in the 4th round of the 1962 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears and played 11 years with the Bears.

Linebacker Dave Chaney was an All-American on the 1971 Associated Press team.  He holds the school record with 527 tackles in his brilliant career (1969-1971). 

Defensive Lineman Dan Colchico (1960-1969) was chosen in the seventh round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49'ers and also played for the New Orleans Saints.

Quarterback Steve DeBerg earned All-PCAA honors in 1976.  DeBerg (1978-1998) was selected in the 10th round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys but proved to be one of the longest-lasting quarterbacks in league history.   DeBerg played for 21 seasons in the NFL as a talented backup and started for the Kansas City Chiefs in the early 1990's.  DeBerg also played for San Francisco, Denver, Tampa Bay, Miami and Atlanta.   DeBerg set several records for completions and attempts in his first two seasons (347-578 (60%) for 3,652 yards and 17 TD's in 1979) with San Francisco but was moved to second string when Joe Montana was drafted.  DeBerg was traded to Denver, which subsequently brought in another legend in John Elway.  At Tampa Bay, DeBerg started briefly but soon played behind Steve Young and Vinny Testaverde.  DeBerg was 308-509 (60.5%) for 3,554 yards and 19 touchdowns in 1984. 

But Steve finally got a chance to start again at Kansas City.  In 1990, DeBerg enjoyed his best overall season when he completed 258-of-444 passes (58.1%) for 3,444 yards and 23 TD's against only 4 interceptions.  When DeBerg came out of retirement at the age of 44, he became the oldest player ever on a Super Bowl Roster (45) for Atlanta when they played in Super Bowl XXXIII.

DeBerg passed for 34,241 career yards (18th in NFL history) and 196 scores (28th), and ranks in the top 20 all-time for attempts (5,024) and completions (2,874), and yards passing. His best years were with the Chiefs, during which he led the team to two playoff berths and had his best year in 1990 with a 96.3 quarterback rating, passing for 3,444 yards, 23 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. Throughout his career, he was frequently noted as one of the best  play-action pass quarterbacks of all-time. 

Defensive lineman Charles DeJurnett (1976-1986) played for San Diego and the Los Angeles Rams.

Offensive lineman David Diaz-Infante was a co-captain on the 1986 Spartan team, when he was named All-PCAA and Honorable Mention All-America.  He played guard and center in the NFL for San Diego, Denver and Philadelphia from 1987-2001 and also played in the Canadian Football League and the World League of American Football.  Today, Diaz-Infante is an analyst for ESPN and ESPNU. 

Linebacker Carl Ekern was selected to the All-PCAA team from 1973-1975 and played in the East-West Shrine game his senior year.  He is the school record holder with 11 career fumbles recovered from 1972-1975.  Ekern played in the NFL from 1976-1988 and had two sacks and five safeties.  He was an All-Pro selection in 1986.  Ekern died of head injuries on August 1, 1990 when the Jeep he was driving ran off a highway en route to Minden, Nevada.  Ekern was a volunteer counselor and coach at the Rite of Passage, a camp for juvenile delinquents located about 15 miles east of Lake Tahoe. 

Defensive lineman Wilson Faumuina was a standout player for the Spartans, earning All-PCAA honors in 1974, 1975 and 1976.  He was an Honorable Mention All-America in 1975 and played in the 1976 East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.  Faumuina was the 20th player selected in the 1977 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.  Faumuina played five seasons for Atlanta and died of heart failure five years later at the age of 32.

Wide receiver Mervyn Fernandez is a co-record holder with three TD catches in a game vs. Fresno State in 1981.  Fernandez played six years for the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League and played for the Los Angeles-Oakland Raiders of the NFL.  Fernandez made an immediate impact as a rookie in 1982, finishing with 1,046 receiving yards and winning the CFL Western Division Most Outanding Rookie award.    Fernandez was a two-time CFL All-Star (1984-1985), being selected as the 1985 CFL Most Outstanding Player and is a member of the BC Lions Wall of Fame.  In 2003, Fernandez was voted a member of the BC All-Time Dream Team. In 1983, Fernandez again had 1,000 yards receiving but exploded for 95 catches for 1,727 yards (18.2 avg.) and 15 touchdowns in 1995 in leading his team to the Grey Cup championship.  Fernandez became the first Lion to win the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award.  In 1986, he was finally persuaded by Al Davis to join the Raiders following the 1986 CFL season.

In six years (1987-1992), Fernandez had 209 receptions for 3,764 yards and 19 scores for Oakland.  His career average yards per catch of 18.1 leads all receivers to ever wear the Silver and Black.  In 1988, he led all NFL receivers with a 26.0 average.   In 1989, Fernandez had 57 catches for 1,069 yards and 9 touchdowns, becoming the sixth Raider to gain over 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

Quarterback Jeff Garcia was All-Big West and Honorable Mention All-America in 1992 and was chosen as the Outstanding Offensive Player in the 1994 East-West Shrine Game.  He began his professional career in the Canadian Football League and became the starter for Calgary of the CFL in 1996 and in three years, led his team to records of 13-5, 10-8 and 12-6.  In 1997, Garcia was honored as the Most Outstanding Player in the CFL Western Division.  He led the Stampeders to the Western Final in 1996 and the Semi-Final in 1997.  In 1998, Garcia quarterbacked the team to the Grey Cup Championship and was named Grey Cup MVP.  He was also selected to the CFL All-Star team for the third time. 

Following the Grey Cup win, Garcia moved to the San Francisco 49'ers.  In 1999, Steve Young suffered his final concussion and Garcia split time as the starter.  In 2000, Garcia set a new 49'ers team record with 4,278 passing yards and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl.  Garcia had 31 TD passes and only 10 interceptions that season.  The following year, he had a career-high 32 TD passes, including 21 over an eight-game span, and led San Francisco to the playoffs.  In 2002, Garcia led the ‘Niners to the NFC West title and playoff wins over Dallas and the New York Giants.  The win over New York represented the second-largest comeback ever in playoff history with San Francisco coming back from a 38-14 deficit to win.  Garcia played in the Pro Bowl for the third straight season in 2002. 

Garcia made stops in Cleveland and Detroit before becoming Philadelphia's starting quarterback in 2006 and leading the Eagles to the NFL Eastern Division title.  Garcia went to Tampa Bay the following year and produced the third-highest quarterback rating in the league.  He led the Buccaneers to the playoffs and played in his fourth Pro Bowl.  Garcia also played with the Oakland Raiders before going to the United Football League.       

Garcia is one of only eight quarterbacks to toss 30 touchdown passes in back-to-back seasons (2000 and 2001).  The others are Steve Bartkowski, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Dan Fouts, Dan Marino and Y.A. Tittle.   In a little over four years, Jeff completed 1,249-of-2,024 passes (61.71%) for 16,442 yards and 111 touchdowns.  All told, Garcia was 3,536-5,739 (61.6%) for 42,205 yards and 275 TD's in his professional career.  He rushed for 2,140 yards and 26 touchdowns in the NFL.  His NFL completion rate of 61.6% is 20th in league history. 

Defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert was an All-WAC performer in 2008 and played in the 2009 East-West Shrine Game.  Gilbert is the school record holder with 42 tackles for loss in his career (2005-2008).

Running back Charlie Harraway represented the Spartans in the 1965 East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl.  Harraway (1966-1973) played with the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins of the NFL.  Harraway enjoyed his best season in 1969 when he ran for ran for 428 yards and six touchdowns and caught 55 passes for 489 yards and three more scores.  In 1971, Harraway ran for 635 yards (4.1 avg.).  He scored six touchdowns in both 1969 and 1972.  Harraway ran 822 times for 3,019 yards (3.7 avg.) and 20 touchdowns in his NFL career.  He also had 158 receptions for 1,304 yards and seven touchdowns. 

Defensive tackle Fred Heron was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1966 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.  Heron played seven seasons (1966-1972) with the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Running back Johnny Johnson earned All-Big West Conference and Honorable Mention All-America in 1988.  Johnson holds the school points record for a season with 116 in 1988 and also holds the mark with 19 touchdowns in a season.  He is the co-record holder for most rushing touchdowns in a game (4), which he achieved vs. New Mexico State in 1988 and also shares the record for rushing TD's in a season (15 in 1988).  Johnson (1990-1994) was chosen in the seventh round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Phoenix Cardinals and played in the 1990 Pro Bowl.  He finished the season with 926 rushing yards and five touchdowns and had 25 receptions for 241 yards and was named NFL Rookie of the Year.  In 1993, Johnson was traded to the New York Jets and he finished second in the American Football Conference in total yards from scrimmage (1,462).  He was one of only two backs that season to lead his team in rushing and receptions. He had 821 yards and three TD's rushing and gathered in 67 receptions for 641 yards and a touchdown.  Johnson finished his five-year career with 1,046 carries for 4,078 yards and 21 touchdowns and had 177 catches for 1,513 yards and 5 TD's.

Defensive lineman Cody Jones earned All-PCAA honors in 1972 and played in both the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.  Jones (1974-1982)  was drafted in the 5th round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams.  He became a starter in 1978.

Wide receiver James Jones is the co-record holder with three TD receptions in a game (vs. Washington in 2006).  Jones was selected to play in the Inta-Juice Classic in 2007.  Jones chosen in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers and is in his fourth season.

Running back Rick Kane played at Oregon before transferring to San José State.  Kane was an All-PCAA performer in 1975 and 1976 and earned Honorable Mention All-America honors in 1975.  Kane played in the East-West Shrine Game following his senior season.  Kane  (1977-1985) was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 3rd round of the 1977 NFL Draft.  Kane gained 1,486 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in his nine-year NFL career with Detroit and Washington. 

Cornerback Dwight Lowery earned All-WAC honors in 2006 and 2007 and  was selected to play in the 2008 East-West Shrine Game.  He holds the school record with nine interceptions in the 2006 season.  Lowery was chosen in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.  Lowery is in his third season. 

Placekicker Joe Nedney graduated at San José State as the school's all-time leading scorer with 236 points, going 39-70 in field goal attempts (including a school record 60-yarder) and 199-132 extra points.  He also punted as a senior and sported a 37.8 yards per punt average.  Nedney was an All-Big West performer in 1992.  Nedney (1996-current) played in the NFL with Miami, Arizona, Baltimore, Oakland, Denver, Carolina and Tennessee before landing in San Francisco.  Nedney has been the 49'er kicker for the past six seasons.  Nedney was 18-29 and scored 90 points in his rookie season in 1996 with Miami.  He enjoyed a phenomenal season with Carolina in 2000, hitting 26-of-28 field goal tries (92.9%) and scoring 104 points.  Nedney was traded the next season.    He was 20-28 and 25-31 in the next two years for Tennessee before coming to San Francisco.  He was 26-28 again, including a 56-yard field goal in 2005, 29-35 in 2006, 17-19 in 2007, 29-33 the following season and 17-21 last season. 

In his career including this season, Nedney has connected on 249-of-311 field goal tries (80%) and scored 1,083 points. 

Wide receiver Mark Nichols was honored as an All-PCAA selection as well as an Honorable Mention All-American in 1979 and played in the 1981 East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.  Nichols is a co-record holder with three TD catches against Long Beach in 1979.  Nichols (1981-1987) was a 1st-round draft selection by the Detroit Lions in the 1981 NFL Draft.  He enjoyed his best season in 1985 when he caught 36 passes for 592 (16.4 avg.) and four touchdowns.

Cornerback Christopher Owens was All-WAC in 2008 and was drafted in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. 

Wide receiver Art Powell (1959-1968) played with Philadelphia, the New York Titans, Oakland, Buffalo and Minnesota.  Powell finished second in the American Football League in kickoff returns with a 27-yard average in his rookie season.  He made an impact in his second NFL season with the Titans, catching 69 passes for 1,167 yards to lead the AFL (16.9 avg.) with 14 touchdowns.  He caught 71 for 881 yards and five TD's in 1961 and 64 passes for an AFL -leading 1,130 yards (17.7 avg.) and eight scores in 1962.   In 1960 and 1962, Powell teamed with Don Maynard to form the league's first pair of 1,000-yard receivers.  In 1963, Powell moved to the Raiders and led the AFL with 73 receptions for 1,304 yards (17.9 avg.) and 16 touchdowns.  The following season, Art recorded  76 receptions for 1,361 yards and 11 scores.  Powell had 52 catches for 800 yards and 12 TD's in 1965  and snared 53 passes for 1,026 yards (19.4 avg.) and 11 touchdowns in 1966.  Powell was named to the AFL All-Star team every year from 1963-1966 and was honored later as a member of the All-Time AFL Team.

Powell still ranks as the Raiders' seventh-leading all-time receiver.  In his career, Powell was credited with 479 catches for 8,046 yards and 81 touchdowns and is 19th in NFL history for career touchdown receptions.

Wide receiver Walt Roberts (1964-1970) played for Cleveland, New Orleans and Washington of the NFL.  He was a backup reciver, catching 67 passes for 1,218 yards (18.2 avg.) and 9 touchdowns in his seven-year career. He returned 107 kickoffs for a nice 25.5 average and 72 punts for a 6.2 average.   

Fullback James Saxon earned All-PCAA and Honorable Mention All-America recognition in 1987 and played in the Blue-Gray Classic following his senior season.  Saxon  (1988-1995) was drafted in the sixth round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.  He also played for Miami and Philadelphia.  He gained 533 yards and scored five touchdowns in his career and also had 69 receptions for 515 yards.

Defensive back Gerald Small was an All-PCAA player from 1975-1977 and Honorable Mention All-American for San Jose State in 1976 and 1977.  Small played in the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl after his senior year.  Small (1978-1984) was selected in the fourth round of the 1978 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.  He had seven interceptions in 1980 to rank fifth in the league.  Small also played for Atlanta his final season.  In his career, Small had 24 interceptions that he returned for 380 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Jewerl Thomas was All-PCAA in 1979 and played in the East-West Shrine Game in 1979 and the Senior Bowl in 1980.  Thomas was drafted in the third round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams.  Thomas enjoyed his best pro season in his rookie year when he carried 65 times for 427 yards (6.6 avg.) and two touchdowns.  He had 173 career carries for 783 yards (4.3 avg.) and four touchdowns and caught 28 passes for 167 yards.

End Lloyd Thomas was an Associated Press All-American in 1938. 

Linebacker Jeff Ulbrich (2000-2009) was chosen in the third round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49'ers, where he has played ever since.  Ulbrich has started 75 games and has 356 tackles, two career interceptions and a safety. 

Running back Gerald Willhite earned All-PCAA in 1980 and 1981 and Honorable Mention All-America in 1981 and 1982.  He holds the school record for the best career average yards per game (107.5 in 1980 and 1981) and holds the school postseason mark for catching 18 passes (124 yards) vs. Toledo in 1981.  Willhite gained 2,364 yards in 22 games for the Spartans.  Willhite played in the 1982 East-West Shrine Game and the Olympia Gold Bowl.  Willhite (1982-1988) was selected in the 1st round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos.  He was best known for his receiving out of the backfield.  In 1986, Willhite had 64 catches for 529 yards and three scores.  He was 7th in the NFL in 1984 with 974 all-purpose yards.  In 1986, Willhite was an All- AFC selection.  He carried 380 times in his career for 1,688 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Broncos and had 207 receptions for 1,767 yards and five TD's.  Willhite also was a great return specialist, averaging 10 yards on 101 punt returns (76th in NFL history) and 20 yards on 26 kickoff returns. 

Wide receiver Billy Wilson (1951-1960) played for San Francisco and was an All-Pro every year from 1954 to 1959 (six years).  Wilson was elected into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.

Defensive back Louis Wright made the All-PCAA team and was Second-Team All-American  in 1974  and was chosen to play in both the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl in 1974 and the 1975 College All-Star Game.  Wright (1975-1986) was a first-round selection by Denver in 1975 and he played his entire 12-year career in Denver.  Wright was a starter in every game he played (166) except one.  He had 26 career interceptions returned for 360 yards and a touchdown, three fumble recoveries and two safeties.  Wright was a five-time Pro Bowler (1977-1979, 1983 and 1985) and two-time All-Pro.  He was named to the 1970's NFL All-Decade Team and is a member of the Denver Ring of Fame.

Fullback Leroy Zimmerman was an All-American on the 1939 Associated Press team.


Mike MacIntyre is the new football coach at San José State.  The past two years, MacIntyre was the defensive coordinator for Duke.  Prior to joining Duke, MacIntyre spent five seasons in the NFL with the New York Jets (2007) and Dallas Cowboys (2003-2006) coaching the defensive secondary.


  San José State sports teams have won NCAA titles in track and field, golf and boxing.  The Spartans have 10 national championships and have produced 50 Division I individual national champions. 

San José State has an international reputation for its judo program, winning 45 out of 48 national college championships in the sport.  The program was established in 1937 for the Police Studies Department and sophomore biology major Yosh Uchida was hired as the student-coach.  Coach Uchida helped to establish a weight class system to allow students to compete with other universities.  Uchida helped to convince the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to sanction judo as a sport and San José State hosted the first AAU Championships in 1953.  Coach Uchida was the Head Coach of the 1964 USA Judo team at the Olympics.  In 2008, San José State was named one of six National Training Sites by USA Judo.  Spartan student-athletes have won four gold medals at the Pan American Games (including Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who would later go on to become a United States Senator), a bronze and two silver medals at the Olympic Games and a world championship.

SJSU garnered 17 NCAA boxing championship titles including three consecutive national team titles (1958-1960) before the NCAA banned the sport in 1961. 

 SJSU alumni have won 18 Olympic medals (including seven gold medals) dating back to the first gold medal won by Willie Steel in the long jump in the 1948 Olympics. Alumni also have won medals in swimming, judo and boxing.  Charles Adkins won the gold medal in boxing at the 1952 Summer Olympics and Jill Sudduth won gold in synchronized swimming at the 1996 Olympics.  .

The legendary track team coached by "Bud" Winter earned San José the nickname "Speed City," and produced Olympic medalists and social activists Lee Evans, John Carlos and Tommie Smith (in photo).  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.  Evans was a two-time gold medalist and world record holder in the 400 meters.  Smith won the gold medal in the 200.

In addition the San José State baseball team has won three WAC championships (1997, 2000 and 2009).  In 2000, the Spartans reached the College World Series by beating nationally-ranked Florida and #5 Houston.  Under Head Coach Sam Piraro, the Spartans have reached the 30-win mark 16 times and have appeared in the national rankings 48 times.  The team has fielded sixteen All-Americans including four first-team choices.  Four former Spartans are currently playing Major League Baseball.  San José State has sent over 80 players to the big leagues, including pitchers Randy Johnson and Mark Langston and third baseman Ken Caminiti.  

The San José State men's ice hockey team captured the 1992 PCHA Division II championship and Division I championships in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997.  The Spartan men's soccer team was 18-0-1 in 2000 and ranked #1 in the nation.  The soccer team has made 14 NCAA championship appearances and seven Spartans have been taken in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft since 1998.

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 ranking all 12 seasons.

In July 2007, SJSU was selected by the United States Olympic Committee 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.

San José State should be very proud of their rich heritage.  Spartans—we salute you!

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