Spartan Notes: Oscar Crespo steps down as volleyball coach at San Jose State

After seven seasons as head coach of the Spartans and another 16 as an assistant at several universities, volleyball coach Oscar Crespo is stepping down. He finishes he career with an overall record of 70-138; the San Jose State was 7-23 in his lone season coaching the team in the Mountain West.

Crespo, a San Jose State graduate, was an assistant at St. Mary’s, California and Nevada before returning to San Jose. A replacement has not been named.

He is the third head coach to leave this year. Men’s soccer coach Gary St. Clair, also a San Jose State alumnus, also called it a career earlier this year after 24 seasons with his team falling just short of a WAC tournament title. Tim LaKose, the women’s basketball coach, resigned abruptly at the end of August and was replaced by Sacramento State coach Jamie Craighead.

Add in the recent change of head coach in baseball also from Sam Piraro to Dave Nakama, and we are seeing a major changing of the guard in the San Jose State away from coaches that have both been at the school a long time and have ties to it, to coaches looking to newer coaches looking to take a step up, it would seem.

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Spartan Notes: James Jones talks about how much Thanksgiving means to him

Many of us spend Thanksgiving doing two things: gorging ourselves stupid and pining over cheap crap to the point where we fight people over it at the nearby Walmart. It’s easy to forget that this is a day of thanks, and how much we have to be thankful for given how many in this country go without.

Not James Jones.

The San Jose State wide receiver from 2004 to 2006, now a star with the Packers, spoke about growing up poor in the Bay Area with the NFL Network, and how thankful he is to have plenty now.

“Someone would donate some food to the homeless shelter, and what ever they served, you eat,” he said. “Now, it’s a blessing to be able to cook everything you  you want and eat all the deserts you want. … I’m truly blessed to play this game; I came from humble beginnings. I’m excited and happy be here every day I walk into this stadium.”

He hasn’t forgotten his roots. He and his wife doing a lot of charity work in San Jose, where he grew up, and Green Bay.

“I never want my family to go through anything that I ever went through,” he said.

Other San Jose State sports notes …

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Spartan Notes: San Jose State men’s hoops wins second straight

Chris Cunningham recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Jose State men’s basketball team won its home opener and second straight game going away, 81-59, over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.

The Spartans led 28-6 to open the game after Devante Wilson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and really the team never looked back. Wilson finished with 16 points, and Rashad Muhammad and D.J. Brown each added 17 off the bench.

It’s the first 20-or-more-point win for the Spartans since they beat UC Davis in 2011 79-59.

The team is starting to figure this out earlier than expected, although they are still shooting poorly (just 37.7 percent in Saturday’s win.) It helped that the Titans shot a season low 37 percent. The Spartans also hit 11 of 28 3-pointers on Saturday, making 25 from beyond the arc in their two wins this season.

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Spartan Notes: Bubble bursts in second half of WAC championship on SJSU soccer

san_jose_stateFor 56 minutes and 11 seconds, it looked like the San Jose State men’s soccer team could do the impossible.

Then Seattle scored, and everything came crashing back to Earth. The Spartans, nearly flawless through the first two-and-a-half games of the Western Athletic Conference men’s soccer tournament, couldn’t hold off the conference’s only elite team, falling to Seattle 2-1 thanks to two second half goals by the Redhawks.

San Jose State took an early lead on an unassisted goal by Ben Cowdrill. But Seattle had spent the first half peppering goalkeeper Emmanuel Espinoza, throwing 10 shots his way with two needing to be stopped.

In the 57th minute (at 56:12 to be exact), the dam finally broke for the Spartans. Miguel Gonzalez netted his team leading 13th goal of the season with the help of Ian Hines-Ike. The Redhawks took the lead for good when Hines-Ike assisted Hamza Haddadi on his fifth goal of the game in the 71st minute. All told, of Seattles eight shots in the second half, seven were on net, with Espinoza stopping five others.

The Redhawks earn the WAC’s automatic bid into next week’s NCAA tournament, concluding the regular season 10-8-2, and undefeated (7-0-3) in WAC play. Despite a valiant showing at the conference tournament, San Jose State ends its season with a record of 4-13-4.

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Spartan Notes: San Jose State soccer scores another upset, makes WAC final

Freshman Eric Mendez lifted San Jose State to another upset at the Western Athletic Conference men’s soccer tournament at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, scoring the only goal of Friday’s game against Cal State Bakersfield to lift the Spartans to a 1-0 win.

The Spartans lost twice to the Roadrunners in the regular season, 4-3 at home and 1-0 in Bakersfield.

Now, the Spartans get No. 1 seed Seattle, a team that beat the Spartans to close out the conference season, 1-0.

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Spartan Notes: Spartans’ soccer scores upset at WAC tournament

san_jose_stateThree wins. That’s it. At least they were all in conference.

It’s been a hard year for the San Jose State men’s soccer team. They didn’t get into the win column until late September, a month and a half into the season. They struggled to score at times, and lost a lot of games by wide margins to mediocre competition (5-0 to Houston Baptist; 6-1 to Cal Poly).

So, they were going to be easy pickings at the WAC tournament at the Air Force Academy on Thursday, right? Wrong. the Spartans, the sixth seed in the tournament, knocked off No. 3 UNLV on penalty kicks, 9-8, after playing to a 2-2 tie through two overtimes.

They got a lift from freshman Uriel Ayala, who score the game-winning goal in a shootout. Frankie Beauchamp had a goal and assist, and team scoring leader Rory Knibbs added his eighth goal for San Jose State.

The Spartans entered the WAC soccer tournament at the Air Force Academy not exactly riding a high. Yes, they were better in their last five games — 2-2-1 — then they had been all season. It helped that the Spartans had beaten UNLV for their first win of the season.

If the Spartans are to run the table at the WAC tournament, it will likely have to include defeating the conference’s top three seeds. They knocked off UNLV Thursday, will have to knock off No. 2 seed Cal State Bakersfield on Friday to reach the final, where top-seeded Seattle will likely be waiting.

They face the Roadrunners at 5 p.m. Friday.

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MWC Roundup: A building boom at two of conference’s Calif. schools

935_-mountain_west_conference-primary-2011These are boom times for the Cal State’s football schools, at least in terms of athletics, with San Diego State and San Jose State are each building up their facilities.

The Vermeil-Walsh Athletic Complex, which will be the new North end zone at Spartans Stadium, is set to break ground soon at San Jose State and will make the stadium in general more hospitable. Spartan Gym, which houses the volleyball and gymnastics teams, is also getting a sorely needed facelift along with the rest of the Spartan Complex. The facility is also privately financed which, considering the hard times the school has fallen on financially, is a relief.

Athletic director Gene Bleymaier hopes its the first step of a rebuild of Spartan Stadium, he said back in May. The stadium hasn’t had significant renovations since the 1980s.

San Diego State is building a new basketball practice facility on campus. But with the future of Qualcomm Stadium uncertain and likely short, the Aztecs are looking at all options, including building an on-campus stadium.

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