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Arizona State University History

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Athletic Program

Arizona State University has nine men's and eleven women's varsity teams competing in the NCAA Pacific Ten Conference. The men compete in Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Swimming/Diving, Tennis, Track, and Wrestling. Women compete in Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Swimming/Diving, Tennis, Track, Volleyball, and Water Polo. ASU competes in the PAC-10 Conference.


Athletes at ASU are known as "Sun Devils," a nickname adopted in 1946; earlier nicknames were the Normals or the Owls and, later, the Bulldogs. The nickname was said to have come from an article in the newspaper in which the writer said the quote "Lets call them Sun Devils," and the name eventually caught on the with the university. The Sun Devil mascot, Sparky, was designed by Disney illustrator Bert Anthony. The ASU fight song is Maroon and Gold, named for the school's colors. ASU's chief rival is the University of Arizona.

Notable Athletic Achievments

ASU won 16 national championships.



The Sun Devils played in the Border Conference between 1931 and 1961, before joining the Western Athletic Conference the following year. Led by legendary head coach Frank Kush, the Sun Devils posted a remarkable 62-9 record between 1970 and 1975, culminating in a 17-14 upset of the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 1975 Fiesta Bowl.

In 1978, both ASU and the University of Arizona joined the Pacific Ten Conference, and in that year ASU celebrated with an emotional 20-7 victory over number-one-ranked University of Southern California. The Sun Devils then began a slow decline, interrupted only briefly by victories in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl and 1987 Rose Bowl. After a 1987 Freedom Bowl victory over Air Force, the Sun Devils went a combined 43-44-1 between 1988 and 1995.

In 1996, the Sun Devils went a surprising 11-1, highlighted by a 19-0 shutout of the number-one-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in Tempe. ASU quarterback Jake Plummer led the Sun Devils, propelling Arizona State into the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. In a game with National Championship potential, the Sun Devils held a slim 17-14 lead with 1:47 left in the fourth quarter, but surrendered a late touchdown to Ohio State, falling by a final score of 20-17.

Between 1997 and 2000, the Sun Devils underachieved greatly, leading to the dismissal of popular head football coach Bruce Snyder. The hiring of head coach Dirk Koetter from Boise State University gave the Sun Devils a charismatic leader with a penchant for molding strong quarterbacks.

Arizona State began the Dirk Koetter era with a thud, falling to 4-7 in 2001. However, ASU improved to 8-6 in 2002, highlighted by the play of defensive end Terrell Suggs and wide receiver Shaun McDonald. Quarterback Andrew Walter emerged to pass for a staggering 3,877 yards and 28 touchdowns. The Sun Devils eventually lost a nailbiter to Kansas State University in the 2003 Holiday Bowl.

In 2004, the Sun Devils surprised nearly everyone, jumping out to a 5-0 record (including an impressive 44-7 victory over Iowa in Tempe). Andrew Walter led the suddenly resurgent Sun Devils, passing for 1,249 yards and 15 TDs through five games. This set up an attractive matchup between ASU and Southern California in Los Angeles on October 16, 2004, which they lost. After a dramatic come from behind victory over Stanford University and a win over Washington State in a game in which ASU retired Pat Tillman's number, they ended up losing to rival University of Arizona. ASU won the Vitalis Sun Bowl over Purdue, 27-23, on New Year's Eve.

2005 brought a 6-5 record. The Sun Devils narrowly lost to Louisiana State University in that school's first game after Hurricane Katrina. Another narrow loss to USC was emotional, considering the Sun Devils led at the half. However, the school was still looking forward to a BCS bowl until Stanford University upset the Devils, which cost the school its national ranking. The wins over Washington State and Washington were unable to get back the ranking. In a thrilling 23-20 victory over archrival Arizona, the Sun Devils clinched a berth in, and eventually won, the Insight Bowl against Rutgers.

Notable football alumni include Jake Plummer, Todd Heap, Danny White, Terrell Suggs, David Fulcher, Darren Woodson, and Pat Tillman


Notable basketball alumni include Byron Scott, Ike Diogu and Eddie House


ASU is arguably one of the most successful baseball programs in the country. They have won five national championships, the third most by any school, and have the third most alumni to ever play in Major League Baseball. Notable athletic alumni include baseball players Barry Bonds, Paul Lo Duca, Fernando Viña and Reggie Jackson, ASU Baseball All-Time Letterman List


One of the nation's founding programs, the Sun Devils are in their 39th season on the diamond a 1,039-561-1 (.649) all-time record since the 1967 team posted a 5-1 record. ASU has recorded 23 season of at least 30 wins and six with 40 or more victories, including an all-time high of 46 in 2002. The Sun Devils have earned 16 postseason bids, fourth all-time in the Pac-10 Conference, and has made four trips to the College World Series. Prior to the current NCAA format, ASU went to seven WCWS, claiming back-to-back national tiles in 1972 and 1973.

Arizona State's storied tradition of softball excellence continues to flourish under the tutelage of 16th-year head coach Linda Wells, one of the most prominent and successful coaches in NCAA history. Wells, who is currently the 7th-most successful active coach in NCAA Division I history with 907 victories (9th all-time), has led the Sun Devils to 11 (seven consecutive 1997-03) NCAA Regional appearances in 15 seasons, including two trips in the past six years to the College World Series (1999/2002). While at ASU, Wells has compiled a record of 554-394 and has had seven players earn a total of 12 All-American awards. Her 554 wins are the most victories all-time in ASU's storied 39-year history, surpassing coaching legend Mary Littlewood's 536. Wells earned the victory with a 3-2 win over Sacramento State (2/13/05). Wells' vast coaching experience and tireless work ethic has not gone unnoticed by the country or by the world as she was named the head coach of the Greek Olympic National Team that competed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Wells has coached 35 career .300 hitters at ASU in her 15 seasons, averaging a combined .335 -- not an easy accomplishment in the pitching-rich Pac-10 where games are traditionally low scoring, and with the addition of three more All-Pac-10 selections in 2004, Wells has now coached 75 all-conference players during her tenure at Arizona State, averaging five All-Pac-10 selections every season.


Notable golf alumni include Phil Mickelson.

ASU Athletic Facilities

Mona Plummer Aquatic Center

  • The Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, located on the campus of Arizona State University, is regarded as one of the country's finest outdoor swimming and diving facilities.

Karsten Golf Course

  • At the ASU Karsten Golf Course, challenge is inherent. Many touring professionals have honed their skills on the fairways and greens of this classic Pete Dye, Scottish links course. The course is home to the ASU Golf Program, which turns out winning teams year after year.

Packard Stadium

  • Packard Stadium, the home of Arizona State baseball since 1974, is one of the nation's most beautiful ballparks. The outfield wall is lined with orange trees and just beyond the left field fence lies the Salt River which winds its way through the Valley of the Sun.

Soccer Stadium

  • On April 1, 2000, Arizona State University unveiled the latest amenity in its sports facilities, the Soccer Stadium. The Soccer Stadium features chair-back bleachers and individual seats with a capacity for 1,051 fans.

Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium

  • On April 8, 2000, Arizona State University unveiled the state-of-the-art Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium. It is the latest amenity among the sports facilities of Sun Devil Athletics. Farrington Stadium features chair-back bleachers and individual seats with a capacity for 1,535 fans.

Sun Angel Stadium, Joe Selleh Track

  • Arizona State University's men's and women's track and field teams compete at Sun Angel Stadium/Joe Selleh Track, which opened in 1976. The stadium was completed in 1975 at an estimated cost of $3 million.

Sun Devil Stadium

  • One of the most aesthetic, dynamic, innovative and beautiful collegiate stadiums in the nation, Arizona State University's Sun Devil Stadium has played host to some of the best football games for more than four decades.

Wells Fargo Arena

  • Wells Fargo Arena, the home for Sun Devil men's and women's basketball as well as volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling, is one of the nation's finest collegiate arenas. Constructed in the spring of 1974 at the cost of $8 million, the 14,198-seat facility also plays host to graduation ceremonies and a variety of concerts and shows.

Whiteman Tennis Center

  • The Whiteman Tennis Center serves as the home to Arizona State's nationally ranked men and women's tennis teams. The original complex was dedicated May 8, 1976. It featured eight fully lit asphalt-based courts with a seating capacity of 1,200.
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