San Jose, Calif. - On a sunny December 1 afternoon, San José State University celebrated the opening of the Spartan Tennis Complex, the third significant renovation to its South Campus athletics facilities in the last six months. The $1.2 million privately funded complex was made possible by gifts from alumni Rich and Cindy Thawley and head tennis coach Chad Skorupka and his family.
"This is another piece in the puzzle of the revitalization of South Campus," Athletics Director Marie Tuite said. "We couldn't be more thrilled to welcome our student-athlete tennis players back to campus, and were equally excited to show off this wonderful facility to the student body, faculty and staff."
Located at the northwest corner of Stadium Way and 10th street, the opening of the complex featured a program with comments from President Mary A. Papazian, Tuite, Rich and Cindy Thawley, Skroupka and junior Miyo Kobayashi of women's tennis team.
"I never thought this day would happen, let alone this fast," said Skorupka, the 2017 Mountain West Coach of the Year. "It's not only a facility for the tennis team, but the entire San José State community; faculty, staff and students.
"I think we now have one of the best tennis facilities in the Mountain West Conference," Skroupka said about the impact the facility will have on recruiting. "It definitely helps. To what degree I can't say yet, but it will be great to show to recruits when they come here and it puts us in a great position to continue to have the success we have enjoyed the last couple of years."
The women's tennis season's dual match schedule begins January 26 against Sonoma State in a dual match at the new tennis complex.
Now in its 39th season, San José State's tennis program has been enjoying a renaissance. In the last five years, the team has posted six consecutive winning seasons and won two conference titles, the 2013 Western Athletic Conference crown and last season the Mountain West championship. In addition, last year the team made just the second appearance in the NCAA Women's Tennis Championship Tournament in school history.
Off the court, 11 players have earned Academic All-Mountain West honors and nine have received Mountain West Scholar-Athletes recognition. In 2016 and 2017 the team earned ITA All-Academic Team awards for maintaining a cumulative team grade point average of at least 3.20 on a 4.00 scale. The Spartans currently enjoy a streak of six consecutive years as a team ITA Academic Award winner and individually has also garnered eight ITA Scholar-Athlete Awards.
The power of philanthropy
College sweethearts, Rich and Cindy have been married since 1979. They met at Cindy's sorority house, when Rich was running what would prove to be a successful campaign for student body president. Rich also worked in San José State Athletics as an associate athletics director.
Rich and Cindy started their extended career in the life insurance and securities business in 1980. Early on, they helped to develop a company known today as Primerica Financial Services. In 1991, they left Primerica and founded a company now known as World Financial Group.
"The generosity of the Thawleys and other donors demonstrates the power of philanthropy to advance San José State University's impact in and beyond our community," Vice President for Advancement Paul Lanning said.
Other recently completed South Campus projects include The Spartan Golf Complex, a new field for the men's and women's soccer teams and the Stephens Family Pitching and Hitting Facility for the baseball and softball teams.
About San José State University
The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study -- offered through its eight colleges.
With more than 32,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing 10,000 graduates to the workforce.
The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 260,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.
About San José State University Athletics
San Jose State University sponsors 20 (seven men's and 13 women's) NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports programs for approximately 470 student-athletes annually. In football, the Spartans are a member of Division I's Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the NCAA's highest level of competition.
The Spartans' primary conference affiliation is with the Mountain West. Selected teams belong to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and the Golden Coast Conference (GCC).
San Jose State has 10 NCAA team championships and 52 NCAA individual titles. Sixty-two (62) Spartans competed in one or more Olympic Games. San Jose State athletes have won seven gold, six silver and seven bronze medals at the Olympics.
Annually, about one-third of the student-athlete population earns either an institutional, conference or national recognition based on outstanding academic performance.