San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Carl Weathers: athlete, actor and Aztec for life

Excited fans lined up and around Montezuma Hall to hear Weathers speak about his life and successful career
Sumaia Wegner
Carl Weathers sitting in his honorary theater seat, gifted to him by San Diego State University.

Before his infamous match against Rocky Balboa, “Apollo Creed” walked through the halls of San Diego State University. With SDSU’s eclectic roster of famous alumni, Carl Weathers is a headline member of this list.

“Every year I find out a new person went here,” Aztec senior football safety Davaughn Celestine said. “It raised my eyebrows. I didn’t know the pedigree of the people.” 

On Thursday, Feb. 2, the pathway to Montezuma Hall had fans lined up, practicing their jabs and holding themed memorabilia as they eagerly waited to hear Weathers speak. Students, faculty, Aztec athletes and former Aztec alumni were all present, sharing the same commonality: admiration for Weathers’ work and accomplishments. 

Weathers came to speak at the university as a part of the President’s Lecture Series. The event, called “From SDSU to the NFL to Hollywood” was moderated by College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts Interim Dean Heather Canary and hosted by SDSU’s Relations and Development Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Tammy Blackburn. 

The lecture featured Blackburn asking Weathers a series of questions about his time as a student at SDSU, his athletic aspirations and his current roles as a proclaimed actor and director. 

Weathers transferred to SDSU and played as a linebacker for the Aztecs football team between 1968-1970. During that time, it was the legendary Don Coryell who was head coach. 

The former SDSU coach is being considered as a finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame, this year. 

“I just remember feeling comfortable on this campus with that coaching staff, because you know a head coach is really important,” Weathers said. “Coach Coryell was the kind of guy who seemed to treat everyone with an egalitarian attitude.” 

The SDSU football team was in attendance to hear Weathers speak and when Blackburn showed Weathers where they were sitting, he gave them a standing ovation. 

Celestine and senior cornerback Noah Tumblin expressed their gratitude for the pathways that SDSU has given their students in comparison to Weathers’ success. 

“It just shows how good of a university San Diego State is,” Tumblin said.” Not only can you go far in football, but you can go far in other endeavors like acting, or any career you pretty much set your mind to.”

“It makes me feel like I am in great hands and that our name holds weight,” Celestine said. “It’s showing that a lot of successful people come out of here (SDSU).”

Weathers’ talents as a football player led him to the NFL where he played for two years with the Oakland Raiders as well as three years with the Canadian Football League. 

When he wasn’t on the field stopping running backs from getting past the defensive line, Weathers was on stage practicing lines for his upcoming performances.

The man of multi talents graduated SDSU as a theater arts major, showing his duality as a star on and off the stage. 

“It’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde existence,” Weathers said. “My advice is to do what you want to do. If it is authentic to who you are, why not give it a shot. Express yourself as you are.”  

Weathers has starred in the popular “Rocky” movie series, “The Mandalorian,” “Predator,” “Action Jackson,” and “Happy Gilmore” in which he described his admiration for each role being equal. 

“It’s like having kids,” Weathers said. “You have comparisons: one has a skill set, one has a certain personality, one has a look, one has a title-if the audience likes them, then I am happy. I just do the best job I can with whatever  material or people I am working with.”

In wrapping up the lecture, Blackburn pointed out the long line of people that awaited Weathers’ arrival. 

“We are here to celebrate you,” Blackburn said.

“You are all crazy,” Weathers said. “The last long, long, long line I stood in was in the 70’s and it was to see Star Wars.”

Applause and “whoos” from the crowd quickly erupted. 

“Who would have thought all these years later, the way the cosmos works, it’s just the way it is,” Weathers said. 

After the one-on-one with Blackburn, a “Q & A” from fans opened. Questions ranged from asking about Weathers’ roles to seeking advice, with one fan (and boxer) asking, “How important is it to have the eye of the tiger in life?”

“To be successful in anything, you have to be focused,” Weathers replied. 

Dean Canary concluded the Lecture Series by presenting Weathers with a personalized theater seat as part of the “Take a seat campaign” for the new SDSU Performing Arts District in which his plaque includes the engraved words, “Aztec for life.”

About the Contributor
Sumaia Wegner
Sumaia Wegner, '23-24 Managing Editor
Originally from Santa Clarita, California, Sumaia Wegner is a is a double major, studying Journalism and Communication.  She started as a staff writer for The Daily Aztec, then became Arts and Culture Editor, and is now the current Managing Editor. Aside from her leadership role, Sumaia is also a reporter for the men's basketball team. Last year she covered the Mountain West Championship as well as the NCAA Championship. Sumaia is the president of the Asian American Journalists Association (SDSU Chapter) as well as the vice president of Culture and Diversity for SDSU's College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. She started her career as a journalist while she was traveling abroad in Bangladesh, where she was a writer for The Independent newspaper. She wrote for the “Youth and Independent” section focusing on narratives that evaluated eastern and western cultures. Sumaia has received the following awards for The Daily Aztec: "The Inspirer," "Quest for Excellence," and "Best Section." 
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Carl Weathers: athlete, actor and Aztec for life