A three-time All-American, Danielle Ammaccapane won the 1985 NCAA women’s golf title and was named Golf Magazine’s College Player of the Year and Golf Digest’s Female Amateur of the Year before distinguishing herself on the LPGA Tour. She was inducted into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
Competitive excellence, on the field and in the classroom
Elite athletics program
Before Arizona became this country’s 48th state in 1912, athletics were deeply embedded in the college campus scene.
From the beginning — a baseball game in 1891 versus a team from the nearby Mormon settlement of Stringtown — and through more than 125 years of competitions, Arizona State University’s sporting teams have been a part of the fabric of the state and also the nation. Today, Sun Devil Athletics boasts a robust roster of 26 NCAA varsity sports and more than 650 student-athletes.
The greats — from around the corner, throughout the country and even across the globe — have come to ASU to compete for and represent the Sun Devils. From nationally recognized heroes like Pat Tillman to two-time Olympic gold medal winner Melissa Belote-Ripley to Academic All-Americans of the Year Gea Johnson and Casey Myers, Sun Devils have led the way on the field and in the classroom. There are Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, home run king Barry Bonds, Golden Spikes winner Bob Horner in baseball; football hall inductees Danny White, Randall McDaniel, Curley Culp; golfing headliners Phil Mickelson, Grace Park, Jon Rahm; hoops standouts James Hardin, “Jumpin’ Joe” Caldwell; basketball-softball crossover Jodi Rathbun; Boston Marathon winner Desiree Davila-Linden; and Olympic gold medalists Herman Frazier, Amy LePeilbet and Dwight Phillips. All, and many more in every honorific category, have earned international acclaim for their achievement, their sport, their school.
Top students and top athletes have been inspired at ASU through nearly 130 years of competitive excellence. Among the many are:
A four-time All-American, Melissa Belote won four national championships while swimming for the Sun Devils. She claimed three Olympic golds in 1972 and was presented the Broderick Award as the outstanding collegiate swimmer in 1977. She was inducted into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
A two-degree Sun Devil who won the 2018 Boston Marathon, Desiree Davila was a four-year track/cross country standout at ASU (2001–04) who earned All-America honors in track and cross country and competed in the 2012 Olympics. Photo: Fay Foto—Boston Athletic Association
All-American softball pitcher Dallas Escobedo’s career at ASU earned her selection as the No. 1 National Pro Fastpitch draft pick in 2014; a 115-26 record; three Women’s College World Series tournaments, including the 2011 title; four All-Pac-12 and two All-American honors; and a gold medal at the 2011 World Championships.
The “straw that stirs the drink,” Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson was recruited to play football for head coach Frank Kush, but earned All-America first team honors playing baseball for manager Bobby Winkles. He was a charter inductee into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.
One of the most-decorated and best all-around athletes ever at ASU, Jackie Johnson is a seven-time individual national champion. Helping the Sun Devils win the 2007 NCAA track team national title, she earned a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and competed in the heptathlon before sidelined by injury.
Recognized as the face of amateur golf as a Sun Devil in the early 90’s, Phil Mickelson was a four-year All-American, three-time Haskins Award winner and a three-time NCAA title winner. Professionally, he has five PGA major titles to his credit and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Despite being born with only one leg, Anthony Robles finished his three-year wrestling career at ASU as a three-time Pac-12 champion, three-time All-American and the 2011 national champion. He is the author of “Unstoppable: How I became a champion” and a sought-after motivational speaker.
A member of the Sun Devils’ 1997 Rose Bowl team, Pat Tillman starred on the field and in the classroom at ASU. A College Football Hall of Famer and Academic All-American, he played four seasons with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals before enlisting in the U.S. Army following the attacks of 9/11. He was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2004.
Success across generations
Legendary leaders have guided Sun Devil success across nearly 130 years of competition.
Forty-seven times Sun Devil coaches have earned national Coach of the Year honors. Count 74 who have earned Pac-10/Pac-12 Coach of Year recognition. Those on the sideline, in the dugout and with the competitors include legendary leaders Frank Kush, Jim Brock and Bobby Winkles, Ned Wulk, Charli Turner Thorne, Mark Bradshaw, Randy Lein and Steve Loy, Linda Vollstedt and Missy Farr-Kaye, Bobby Douglas and Mark Bradshaw. Among the others and those above, are included these coaching giants at ASU:
Mentor of the world’s most decorated Olympian, Michael Phelps, Bob Bowman’s swimmers have set 43 world records and more than 50 American records under his guidance. He was named 2017 Pac-12 men’s swimming Coach of the Year, his third such conference award.
Mark Bradshaw is a nine-time Pac-12 Diving Coach of the Year — an all-time conference record. Twice the NCAA Diving Coach of the Year, he has coached 32 All-Americans, four NCAA champions, nine Pac-12 Divers of the Year and six Pac-12 Newcomers of the Year.
Jim Brock coached Sun Devil baseball for 23 years, leading his teams to 13 College World Series appearances and two national titles. A member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame and a four-time National Coach of the Year, Brock won an astounding 1,099 games.
Sun Devil wrestling champion, National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee, three-time All-American, U.S. Olympic medalist as a competitor and as a head coach, and back-to-back choice as Pac-12 Coach of the Year, Zeke Jones led his grapplers to the 2017 and 2018 conference championships.
Missy Farr-Kaye has won three NCAA women’s golf championships as a Sun Devil — as a player (1990), as an assistant coach (2009) and as a head coach (2017). In 15 years as a Sun Devil coach, she has mentored 45 all-conference golfers and 44 Academic All-Americans.
Frank Kush is the winningest football coach (176) in ASU history. His teams recorded 19 winning seasons during his 22 years at the helm, including two undefeated seasons. A member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the namesake of the playing field at Sun Devil Stadium.
Randy Lein guided the ASU men’s golf teams to eight Pac-12 titles, and he was conference coach of the year seven times, including in 1996 when the Sun Devils won the NCAA title. He is a member of the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame.
Charli Turner Thorne
Charli Turner Thorne is the winningest women’s basketball coach in ASU history and No. 2 all-time in the Pac-12. Her teams have won two Pac-12 titles, and she has been conference coach of the year twice. In 21 seasons, her ASU teams have been to 13 NCAA tournaments.
Ned Wulk is the winningest coach (406) in ASU men’s basketball history. He led the Sun Devils to 17 winning seasons in 25 years at the helm, including eight conference titles and 10 NCAA tourney appearances. The court at Desert Financial Arena is named in his honor.
Leaders on the field and in the classroom
Sun Devil student-athletes have distinguished themselves away from the playing field — they have thrived while succeeding in the classroom and in professional careers. It isn’t surprising — some 120 Sun Devil student-athletes have earned Academic All-American honors since 1963, including four honored as Academic All-American of the Year.
Committed to building success
Sun Devil Athletics is committed to helping its student-athletes build upon the characteristics necessary to be successful in their time as a Sun Devil, both while on campus and in their personal and professional lives.
The Office of Student-Athlete Development
The Office of Student-Athlete Development provides services, resources and guidance to foster academic success, development of life skills, graduation and transition to a “Championship Life” after intercollegiate athletics.
Barrett, The Honors College
Mirroring Sun Devil Athletics’ charge to “Compete in the classroom and in life,” a record 68 ASU student-athletes are members of Barrett, The Honors College, called by The New York Times “the gold standard” of U.S. honors colleges.
Athletic facilities: functionality, technology, vibrancy
Always with an eye to the future, Sun Devil student-athletes will soon display their championship skills at the heart of a growing training and athletic facilities district that includes a reimagined Sun Devil Stadium — Community Union 365 — and will be joined by high-profile, Olympic-quality sports and lifestyle venues and spaces.
Included in the unique living-learning community will be the addition of an expanded, state-of-the-art training facility. This new and vibrant district, emerging along the southern shore of Tempe Town Lake, is an undertaking that combines bold ideas, impactful human connections and community good while celebrating Sun Devil Athletics and ASU's student-athletes. Some of the more recognizable Sun Devil facilities are pictured below.
New Sun Devil golf home
ASU and the City of Phoenix have announced plans to bring ASU golf — men’s and women’s — to Papago Golf Course, with features including a main clubhouse and practice facility designed in part by former Sun Devil golf star Phil Mickelson.
Farrington Softball Stadium
Upgraded in 2013 and 2014, the 1,500-seat Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium at ASU is recognized as one of the premier softball facilities in the Pac-12 and also touted as one of the best playing surfaces in the nation.
Oceanside Ice Arena
Oceanside Ice Arena has been the home of the ASU hockey program since 1985 and has seen the Sun Devils transition from club level to full NCAA Division I status. The ice surface is between Olympic and NHL size.
This flexible-design complex encourages different and evolving training methods, promotes learning and productivity, and offers a high-quality indoor environment with technology that drives athletic advancement.
Phoenix Municipal Stadium
Since 2014 the home of Sun Devil baseball, this historic ballpark is situated within the picturesque Papago Mountains and honors the program’s storied traditions in a variety of fan-focused ways, inside and outside.
Mona Plummer Aquatic Center
Considered one of the country’s finest outdoor swimming and diving facilities, the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center consists of an Olympic-size competition pool, diving well, warm-up pool, three-platform diving tower and four springboards.
Sun Devil Stadium
The home of Sun Devil football since 1958, the storied stadium is nearing completion of a $300 million reinvention and reimagination that includes an integrated, 84,500-square-foot student athletic facility and the ability to host community events 365 days a year.
Desert Financial Arena
This 10,197-seat multi-use arena hosts men’s and women’s basketball, as well as volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling. It features a multimillion-dollar, center-court-hung video scoreboard offering the best in modern technology.
Whiteman Tennis Center
The Whiteman Tennis Center is home to men’s and women’s Sun Devil tennis and features eight fully lighted asphalt-based courts, men’s and women’s locker rooms, team areas, coaches’ offices and a state-of-the-art 6,400-square-foot Robson Players Facility.