Team preview: San Diego State

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(All information as of July 1, 2006)


Citizens of San Diego, even more than other southern Californians, have often been considered a laid-back, relaxed group -- likely a result of living in one of the most aesthetically pleasing cities in the world.

But don't let that perception trick you into thinking they aren't passionate about sports. As of late, San Diego State administrators have made it clear that future success across the board is in their plans.

Start with the hiring of men's basketball coach Steve Fisher, who led Michigan to the 1989 national title. This year, Fisher led the Aztecs to a school-record 24 wins, regular-season and tournament titles in the Mountain West Conference and an NCAA Tournament bid. In women's softball, Kathy Van Wyk led SDSU to a conference title and NCAA Tournament berth as well.

And the baseball coach? You may know something about him. Eight-time National League batting champion Tony Gwynn -- a certain first-ballot selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 -- just completed his fourth season as head coach at his alma mater and won the regular-season conference title in 2004. One of just five players in baseball history to hit .350 for five consecutive seasons, Gwynn has won 77 games in his four years at San Diego State.

New head football coach Chuck Long may never have hit .394 in a season. But he was the 1985 Heisman Trophy runner-up to Bo Jackson (losing by 45 points, the closest voting in the history of the award) and has a national championship ring as an assistant coach. He also directed one of the nation's most potent offenses during his six seasons as an assistant at Oklahoma, and one would expect it won't be long before Aztec football starts bringing home a few titles as well.