As a freshman at San Diego State University in 2009–10, Leonard averaged 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the Aztecs. He helped the team achieve a 25–9 record and led them to win the Mountain West Conference (MWC) tournament title. The Aztecs thus received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament but would lose in the first round to Tennessee, 62–59, with Leonard recording 12 points and 10 rebounds. He led the MWC in rebounding and was named MWC Freshman of the Year, First Team All-MWC, and the 2010 MWC Tournament MVP.
During his sophomore season, Leonard averaged 15.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest as the Aztecs finished with a 34–3 record and won back-to-back conference tournament championships. Led by Leonard, San Diego State once again made the NCAA tournament. This time the Aztecs advanced to the Sweet 16, but then they lost to eventual national champions, Connecticut. Leonard was named to the Second Team All-America and left San Diego State to enter the 2011 NBA draft.
On February 1, 2020, SDSU retired Leonard’s number 15, making him the first player in program history to receive this honor.
Marshall Faulk was a standout high school athlete who played both running back and cornerback. He received several recruitment offers from the top colleges in the NCAA, but because of his standout performance on defense, intercepting 11 passes as a senior, he was primarily recruited to play as a defensive back. He ended up accepting an athletic scholarship to attend San Diego State because they were the first school to offer him a scholarship to play the running back position. Faulk was recruited by Curtis Johnson, and coached by Bret Ingalls and future New Orleans Saints head coach, Sean Payton. In one of the most prolific performances of his entire career, he ran all over the University of the Pacific in just his second collegiate game on September 15, 1991. In 37 carries, he racked up 386 yards and scored seven touchdowns, both records for freshmen (the 386 yards were then an NCAA record). “Faulk had scoring runs of 61, 7, 47, 9, 5, 8, and 25 yards.” That performance sparked one of the greatest freshman seasons in NCAA history, gaining 1,429 yards rushing, with 23 total touchdowns (21 rushings), and 140 points scored. Faulk went on to better 1,600 yards rushing in his sophomore year. In Faulk’s junior season in 1993, he was finally able to showcase his all-purpose ability by catching 47 passes for 640 yards and 3 touchdowns to go with 1,530 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. These numbers put Faulk 3rd in the nation in all-purpose yardage that year and 2nd in scoring.
Faulk left San Diego State with many of the school’s offensive records, among them 5,562 all-purpose yards and 62 career touchdowns, which is the 8th most in NCAA history. After his 1992 season at SDSU, Faulk finished second in the Heisman Trophy award, losing to quarterback Gino Torretta in what was considered a notable snub in the history of the award Torretta’s Miami Hurricanes had again gone undefeated in the regular season and was ranked No. 1 in the country before the Heisman balloting, Faulk’s team finished with a middling 5–5–1 record, continuing a trend of the Heisman going to the most notable player on one of the nation’s best teams. He was a Heisman finalist as well in 1991 (9th) and 1993 (4th). With a year of eligibility remaining, Faulk declared for the NFL draft and was the second overall selection in April 1994. He went on to make 7 Pro Bowls and win three NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards during his NFL career. In 2017, he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
The first Aztec Warrior figure associated with the university initially appeared at a San Diego State athletic event over six decades ago. Art Munzig played the original role in a skit during halftime at the San Diego State-Pomona football game kicking off the 1941 football season. The school’s Rally Committee came up with the idea based on the ruler of the Aztec empire in the early 1500s, Moctezuma II. The character, affectionately known as “Monty” to generations of SDSU alumni, evolved through the years to become emblematic of San Diego State’s athletic teams.
For decades the role was filled mostly by students, who inspired enthusiasm and school spirit during football and basketball games. In 1983, however, Director of Athletics Mary Hill directed Montezuma to adopt a more dignified persona. During that football season, Monty sat atop a pyramid among his attendants on the sidelines at Jack Murphy Stadium. That lasted one year. The next season Moctezuma resumed his more traditional role of involvement and encouragement of Aztec football fans.
Beginning in 2000, some student groups began to propose the university alter its Aztec identity. The new mascot made his first public appearance February 23, 2004 to reveal some costume changes and the modified moniker, “Aztec Warrior.” For all but a very few years from the early 1990s through 2006, Carlos Gutierrez took over the role of mascot, raising the position’s profile and expanding public appearances throughout the San Diego community. In April 2006, the SDSU Alumni Association sponsored student auditions for a new Aztec Warrior.
College Sports Established
San Diego, California
San Diego State University
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1926 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1999 – Present / Mountain West Conference
1978 – 1999 / Big West Conference
1969 – 1978 / Pacific Coast Athletic Association
1939 – 1969 / California Collegiate Athletic Association
1926 – 1938 / Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Aztecs – After nearly three decades of unofficial nicknames, including Professors and Wampus Cats, the student body votes to adopt the Aztec moniker. The decision to choose the Aztec as a moniker was in conjunction with preliminary plans to move to a new campus and was done in unison with changing the name of the school newspaper to ‘The Aztec’ and featuring a yearbook with prominent Aztec symbols.
Men’s Basketball 0
Women’s Basketball 0