Football at UC San Diego

The announcement of UC San Diego’s move to Division 1 and the Big West Conference in 2020 has put the spotlight on our sports teams. One, however, remains perpetually absent: football. It may come as a shock to students and alumni alike that UC San Diego did, in fact, have a football team in the fall of 1968! Triton magazine spoke via phone with a member of that team, alumnus Michael Fagan ’70:

UC San Diego varsity letter, courtesy of Michael Fagan '70
UC San Diego varsity letter, courtesy of Michael Fagan ’70.

“We played the University of LaVerne for the opener. I think we played maybe seven or eight games in total. I enjoyed it. There wasn’t a lot of pressure. We were all out there just for the fun of it. We only had two home games. A lot of people came. Granted, we didn’t have a stadium; they just had to stand.

“Of course, we lost every game. We even lost to Cal Tech. That game might have seen the greatest collection of GPAs on a football field. Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some–we lost them all. It was kind of a humbling experience to learn to lose like that.

“I enjoyed being on the first, and only, football team. I enjoyed the guys; we were all friends. We had some guys on our team taking 20 units a quarter, which you would never see with players at another university. Basically, the guys on our team were studying their rear ends off. We had practice but we still had to study. Back then, we were all focused on academics.

“We were just a bunch of kids having fun and playing for the game. None of us were going pro or getting financial benefit from the program but yet everyone went out and practiced. I think it’s the kind of purest form of people who love sports.”

—Michael Fagan ’70


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