Fresh and familiar coaches guiding SDSU

by Antonio Morales

Steve Fisher is back to help men’s basketball build off of last season’s Sweet-16 run. Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor
Steve Fisher is back to help men’s basketball build off of last season’s Sweet-16 run. Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor

While incoming students at San Diego State are excited to begin their journey in college, they are not the only ones who are in a brand new position this year.

Students who follow Aztec football will note there is a different man at the helm for SDSU this season.

Rocky Long, who spent the last two seasons as the Aztecs’ defensive coordinator and much of the last decade patrolling the sidelines as New Mexico’s head coach, is taking on head coaching duties from former coach Brady Hoke.

Long is anxious to start his second stint as a head coach in the Mountain West Conference.

“I’m excited to be getting out there,” Long said. “I’m not nervous whatsoever, because I’ve done it before and I know what to expect. But I do have butterflies in my stomach today that I did not have yesterday,” Long said to the media at a press conference at SDSU Media Day.

Another new coach on campus is Leslie Spalding. She was named head women’s golf coach on Aug. 1.

SDSU football is in year one of the Rocky Long era. Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor
SDSU football is in year one of the Rocky Long era. Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor

Spalding, like Long, is eager for her shot as a head coach on Montezuma Mesa.

“This is a dream opportunity for me to be named head women’s golf coach at San Diego State,” Spalding said. “I’m looking forward to helping the team improve and to reach their true potential.”

Although there are new coaches at school, incoming students should become familiar with some staples of the SDSU coaching community.

Men’s basketball head coach Steve Fisher is leading a hoops renaissance as he has turned the Aztecs program into a Mountain West power since he arrived on campus in 1999.

New students will recognize right away that Fisher is the most beloved coach at SDSU.

Another coach who has guided her team to an enormous success is softball head coach Kathy Van Wyk.

Van Wyk has helped the Aztecs earn four consecutive NCAA tournament bids and earned the 500th victory of her coaching career this past April.

Softball is one of the more stable athletic programs on campus and that is mostly thanks to Van Wyk.

New students should also be familiar with head baseball coach and Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn.

Gwynn, who became head coach in 2002, signed a three-year contract extension last week, which ensures Gwynn will have a shot at helping the Aztecs rebound from a disappointing 2011 season.