San Jose State Announces Inaugural Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament

December 15, 2009

Five Teams To Play 10 Games In Four Day Event

San Jose, Calif. – San Jose State University baseball head coach Sam Piraro has announced that his program will co-host the inaugural Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament, March 11-14, at two venues in the South Bay.

The tournament is named after the late John F. (Jack) Gifford, an avid baseball fan and long-time supporter of several college programs all around the Bay Area, as well as at his alma mater, UCLA, who passed away in January. His generous financial support helped the Spartans in areas such as equipment, uniforms, travel

San Jose's Municipal Stadium

San Jose's Municipal Stadium

and facilities, including the renovation of the batting cages at Blethen Field, their practice and alternate game site on South Campus.

San Jose State will co-host the event with Santa Clara University, another program that Gifford contributed to. The Broncos are led by ninth-year head coach Mark O’Brien, who played for Piraro’s Spartans in 1991-92, earning team captain distinction as a senior before graduating in 1993. The five-team, 10-game tournament features San Jose State, Santa Clara, UC Davis, Southern Illinois University and the United States Air Force Academy.

Five of the games are slated to take place at San Jose Municipal Stadium, beginning with a neutral-site tilt between Air Force and UC Davis on Thursday night, March 11, at 6:00 p.m. San Jose State plays host to Air Force on Friday, March 12, and Southern Illinois on Saturday, March 13, with first pitch set for 6:00 p.m. for both of those contests. The Spartans round out their involvement with a doubleheader on Sunday, March 14, taking on Air Force at 11:00 a.m. and UC Davis at 3:00 p.m.

Santa Clara is set to host five games of its own at Stephen Schott Stadium, which opened on campus in 2005. The Broncos face Southern Illinois on March 11 (6:00 p.m.) and March 14 (1:00 p.m.) around match-ups with Air Force (1:00 p.m.) and UC Davis (6:00 p.m.) on March 13. UC Davis plays Southern Illinois inside Schott Stadium on Friday, March 12, at 6:00 p.m.

“The genesis of the tournament was something Coach O’Brien and I discussed prior to Jack’s passing,” explained Piraro. “We have to handle scheduling two to three years in advance, and felt it would be good for the community if we were able to establish a tournament which was not going to be overly costly, but still could attract good Division I teams to participate. We agreed to give it a two-year commitment, so we have this tournament through 2011.

“When Jack passed, I suggested to Coach O’Brien that we consider naming the tournament after him, since Jack was such an important part of our programs, with his tremendous support for both schools, among others. We just felt that this would be a great way to give him some everlasting recognition. Coach O’Brien agreed 100 percent, and so the process began.

“We checked with the family, to see if they were in favor of it. The first person that I contacted was Mrs. (Rhodine) Gifford. I informed her of our intentions, and she was very enthusiastic. She thought that it was a great idea, and referred us to her son-in-law, Kevin Lynch. We then had lunch with Kevin, again just letting him know what we want to do, what some of the logistics are, some of the future plans, expenses, things of that nature, and he was very excited as well.

Santa Clara's Stephen Schott Stadium

Santa Clara's Stephen Schott Stadium

“We have a good feeling about this tournament because it gives us a chance to keep Jack in the back of our minds, be able to have his name in perpetuity, and just give recognition to someone who was so vivacious, and so important to us.”

Gifford attended UCLA on a baseball scholarship, graduating in 1963. He started his career in the semiconductor industry in 1964 at the age of 24 with Fairchild Semiconductor. Gifford went on to co-found Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), run Intersil, and found and serve as the CEO since 1983 of Maxim Integrated Products, headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif. Considered one of the founding fathers of the analog microchip industry, he retired as Maxim’s CEO in 2007.

Inaugural Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament


San Jose State University, San Jose Municipal Stadium, San Jose, Calif.

Santa Clara University, Stephen Schott Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.

Dates: Thursday, March 11-Sunday, March 14, 2010

Participating Teams: San Jose State, Santa Clara, Air Force, UC Davis and Southern Illinois

Tournament Schedule:

Thursday, March 11

Southern Illinois at Santa Clara, Stephen Schott Stadium, 6:00 p.m.

Air Force at UC Davis, Municipal Stadium, 6:00 p.m.

Friday, March 12

Southern Illinois at UC Davis, Stephen Schott Stadium, 6:00 p.m.

Air Force at San Jose State, Municipal Stadium, 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 13

Santa Clara at Air Force, Stephen Schott Stadium, 1:00 p.m.

UC Davis at Santa Clara, Stephen Schott Stadium, 6:00 p.m.

San Jose State at Southern Illinois, Municipal Stadium, 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 14

San Jose State at Air Force, Municipal Stadium, 11:00 a.m.

Santa Clara at Southern Illinois, Stephen Schott Stadium, 1:00 p.m.

UC Davis at San Jose State, Municipal Stadium, 3:00 p.m.


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