Monday, December 5, 2016

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Coach Steve Fisher cuts down the net. Coach Steve Fisher cuts down the net.

Star Magnet

A new Basketball Performance Center will attract the best recruits to SDSU.

Steve Fisher, 15-season coach of the Aztec men’s basketball team, will tell you this: Recruiting is the lifeblood of an athletics program. Attracting the best players takes not only a winning record, but also great facilities.

In the next two months, San Diego State University Athletics will break ground for construction of the Basketball Performance Center, having raised $10.2 million of the $14.5-million price tag for the facility.

The campaign’s success is due in large part to significant gifts from San Diegans Jeff Jacobs and William Jeff Jeffery and to a $1-million challenge gift from the Walter J. and Betty C. Zable Foundation.

In order to realize the foundation’s pledge, SDSU must raise a corresponding $1 million through the Basketball Performance Center’s public campaign.

“The Zables were not native San Diegans but strongly believed in giving back to the community,” said foundation president Warren Magill. “With Mr. Zable’s love for sports, the foundation believed this opportunity was a great way to keep the Zable name alive in the community.”

San Diego business leader

A standout football player for the College of William and Mary, Zable was named to the All-America team in his senior year and later played semi-professional ball.

He relocated to San Diego during his 30s, and in 1951, he founded Cubic Corporation, a leading technology company for the transportation and defense industries and a manufacturer of electronic tracking technology. Zable was chairman and CEO of Cubic until his death in 2012.

Zable’s commitment to giving back spawned the creation of the Zable Foundation, a philanthropic force in sports, the military, engineering and science, and community services in San Diego. The four board members, who together clocked more than 100 years working for Zable, include two SDSU alumni — Magill, ’78, and John D. Thomas, ’76.

“We are committed to supporting Mr. Zable’s interests,” Magill said. “The basketball center is the type of project he loved because it involves sports and the San Diego community. Plus the challenge aspect incentivizes other San Diegans to give.”

Momentum for the project

SDSU athletics director, Jim Sterk, said donors have so far given nearly $600,000 to meet the Zable Foundation challenge.

“As we look forward to post-season play, the momentum for the Basketball Performance Center project continues,” Sterk said. “Maintaining success in our basketball programs will be greatly aided by the construction of this facility.”

The 23,500-square-foot Basketball Performance Center will house two full-length courts, eight baskets, locker rooms, film rooms, team lounges, and an athletic training room for SDSU’s championship men’s and women’s basketball teams.

In addition to Jacobs and Jeffery, nine individual donors have made gifts of $200,000 and above, including Steven Altman, Terry Atkinson (’69), Jim Morris, Perry Feuer, Jack Goodall (’60), James S. (’67) and Marilyn C. Brown, Larry Willens (’68) and Ron Fowler, who was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2005.

With its completion expected in summer 2015, the Basketball Performance Center promises to anchor SDSU’s nationally ranked basketball program and become a springboard for recruits to take their game to the next level.

Make your gift now to support SDSU Athletics and the Basketball Performance Center.