Throwback Thursday: La’Roi Glover

La’Rio Glover during his playing days at SDSU (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

School prestige, playing time, coaches, and as of late, uniforms – all of these can be influential factors when a highly sought-after high school football star is contemplating which school to attend.

But what about food?

For a hulking defensive tackle who craves the savory Mexican food unique only to his hometown, food can actually play quite an important role.

San Diego native La’Roi Glover had several scholarship offers from illustrious programs coming out of high school in 1992, but none of the schools offered what his hometown school San Diego State did.

Delicious, savory Mexican food.

“Believe it or not, it was the food,” Glover said, explaining why he turned down other offers to remain in San Diego. “I love Mexican food, and you don’t get the same type of taco shop in other places across the country.”

Glover played Pop Warner at an early age, but after flirting with the weight limit, he was eventually too big to play. It wasn’t until he enrolled at Point Loma High School that he was able to strap up the pads and step on the gridiron again.

“I was finally able to play football again as a freshman in high school,” said Glover, who started on the junior varsity team that year. “That’s when I fell back in love with football. I always loved it along the way, but I was just too big to play at a young age.”

After a stellar career at Point Loma, schools were salivating at the mouth with hopes of Glover joining their program. Little did they know, Glover was salivating at the mouth in sunny San Diego, devouring carne asada burritos and fish tacos on a daily basis.

“The recruiting process was interesting because I had opportunities to go to a lot of top programs around the nation,” Glover said. “I wanted to come to SDSU to stay home and be close to my family. My older brother was a freshman at SDSU, and that influenced my decision as well.”

It didn’t take long for Glover to establish himself at SDSU. He was a four-year starter on the defensive line, and his rare blend of size and athleticism created chaos for opposing offenses.

“La’Roi was an amazing player,” said current SDSU wide receivers coach LeCharls McDaniel, who coached the defensive backs at SDSU in Glover’s last season in 1995. “He worked his tail off because he was a bit undersized, but having him always gave us a chance to win.”

Off the field, instead of focusing solely on football and school during his summers at SDSU, Glover added another responsibility to his plate. Unlike his other obligations, though, this was a tasty one.

“I actually worked at Old Town Mexican Cafe in the summer while I was in school,” Glover said. “That was a pretty good fit for me, I got to eat all my favorite dishes all the time, and still made a pretty good amount of income.”

After four solid seasons at SDSU, Glover was ready for the next level. In the 1996 NFL Draft, he was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round. The Raiders released Glover after just one season, but he refused to let this event hinder his future.

In 1997, Glover was picked up by the New Orleans Saints, and his career took off. He spent the next five seasons in New Orleans, and solidified himself as one of the top defensive tackles in the league. After his stint with the Saints, he played with the Dallas Cowboys from 2002-2005, and the St. Louis Rams from 2006-2008.

In his 13 seasons in the NFL, Glover was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro selection. He was also named the NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2000, when he led the NFL with 17 sacks while playing for the Saints.

The honors mean a lot to Glover, but he took away more than just plaques and awards from his NFL career.

“All the accolades were fantastic, but being a part of many different organizations was great as well,” Glover said. “Being engrained in the community in New Orleans and learning about the history of a fabulous city, and going on to Dallas and being a part of that strong tradition, those are things I’ll never forget. I will also never forget the relationships I built with the teammates, coaches, and front office individuals.”

The relationships Glover made with front office staff members proved to be very beneficial, as they eventually got him a new job. Following his NFL career, Glover was hired by the Rams as the director of player programs.

Now in his third year, his duties include helping players with financial education, career development, continuing education, and family assistance. He also helps rookies transitioning into the league, and older veterans transitioning out.

Glover continuously stresses to players the importance of education, something he exemplifies in his own life. He received his degree from SDSU after double majoring in public administration and sociology. He then received his masters in business administration from Fontbonne University in St. Louis while working with the Rams.

The educational road does not end there for Glover, as he is now pursuing a doctoral degree through the University of Maryland University College.

Today, Glover lives in St. Louis with his wife and three children. Although he is admittedly busy, he always finds time to help his alma mater. He has stayed close with the SDSU athletic department since his collegiate days, contributing to the alumni association and even providing voice-overs for commercials.

He worked with the alumni association in 2008 when the phrase “Aztec for life” was established, and is a big supporter of the phrase.

“Together we established a mantra or catchphrase, and that’s still the mantra to this day,” Glover said. “It’s something that can stand the test of time and something that people in the community can rally around. This is not something that is a one or two year deal.

“The mantra is going to be here for awhile. It’s built to last, and I am an Aztec for life.”

Glover provided a voice-over for this and two other SDSU football commercials in 2012

Throwback Thursday: Marshall Faulk

Marshall Faulk scores one of his many touchdowns during his career at SDSU (SDSU Media Relations)

Marshall Faulk: The Aztec For Life

In 2008, a new phrase was introduced to the San Diego State community.

It was far from just another catchy slogan or the latest marketing ploy. The intentions for this phrase were much bigger.

The intentions for this phrase were for it to become a way of life. Three words used to create a new sense of pride for everyone associated with the university.

Aztec for life.

This phrase wasn’t introduced by just anybody. It was introduced by the man who could easily be tabbed as San Diego State’s most famous alumnus; it’s prized possession.

This phrase was introduced by the epitome of an Aztec for life – Marshall Faulk.

The SDSU Alumni Association established the catchy motto in 2008, and Faulk became a key component in its growth and popularity. He sponsored an “Aztec For Life”  event that year, and continues to promote the phrase today.

“I take ‘Aztec for life’ very seriously,” Faulk said of the phrase. “Once you come to San Diego State, the memories that you had and everything else you learned stays with you forever. I am proud to be an Aztec and others should be too.”

The confident charisma

When Marshall Faulk talks, you can’t help but listen. With a confident tone and impeccable swagger that captivate the ears and eyes, he lures in the audience with ease.

He knew when he was growing up in a rough New Orleans neighborhood that he had talent. Once he arrived to college, he knew he was going to turn heads and gain exposure, even if it was at little-known San Diego State.

Once he was drafted, he knew he was going to take the NFL by storm, and leave a legacy that would never be forgotten.

And now, he knows he can use his legacy and prosperity to change the lives of thousands of young kids throughout the country.

A legend is born

It didn’t take long for Faulk to make a name for himself at San Diego State.

Whether he used his array of killer juke moves or his top-notch speed, he had an uncanny ability to avoid defenders.

Although he fumbled his first-ever collegiate carry, he immediately bounced back. In just his second collegiate game, he rushed for a jaw-dropping 386 yards and seven touchdowns; both NCAA records for a freshman that still stand today.

“I was just having fun, just playing the game I love,” Faulk said about the wild performance. “I really didn’t realize what I had done until after the game during the interviews.”

This unbelievable performance was just the beginning of a stellar collegiate career, which culminated with Faulk being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts as the second overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft.

“Being drafted was a dream come true,” Faulk said. “Ever since I was young, all I wanted to do was play football. I put everything I had into it, and that day it truly paid off.”

NFL milestones and memories

Faulk didn’t slow down at all once he arrived to the NFL.

He became a rare breed of running back – one that rarely left the field on offense. Not only did he carry the football, he also caught the ball out of the backfield and blocked in pass protection.

“It’s hard to do what I did,” Faulk said. “It’s not the trend anymore, to have a running back do everything and play every down. You have to be versatile, and you have to really understand the schematics of how the offense works.”

During his 12 NFL seasons, Faulk set records, won awards, and registered incredible stats that exemplified his greatness as a player. When Faulk looks back at his career, however, the individual accolades don’t even come close to the importance of the shiny ring on his finger.

“Winning the Super Bowl was without a doubt my greatest achievement in sports,” Faulk said. “I had to sacrifice a lot because I didn’t carry the football as much. I changed the way I played, but everything I endured was well worth it.”

The Marshall Faulk Foundation

For several years on the football field, Faulk was on the receiving end of things.

He received countless handoffs and passes in games, he received a variety of awards and honors, and most recently, he received an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After years of receiving, though, Faulk wanted to switch roles. He wanted to focus on giving.

“Once I got to the NFL, I knew right away that I wanted to help and give back,” Faulk said. “I really wanted to help provide for inner-city youth, and give them opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Faulk retired in 2007, and shifted his focus to the Marshall Faulk Foundation, a charitable organization established to help underprivileged children. He established the foundation in 1994, but it wasn’t until he retired that he was able to take it to the next level.

Today, over a million dollars has been provided in financial assistance and hands-on involvement in various programs.

“The charity work has been very special for me,” Faulk said. “I’ve been the kid sitting in those chairs, not knowing or understanding what the future holds. Giving them opportunities and a person that they can identify with brings me joy.”

The “Aztec For Life” returns to San Diego

In 2008, Faulk decided it was time for a change, and he and his staff relocated the foundation to San Diego.

Although they previously worked throughout the country – primarily in New Orleans, Indianapolis, and St. Louis – they shifted their focus to Southern California.

“All the opportunities that I received started in San Diego, and I will always remember my days wearing the red and black,” Faulk said. “I wanted to help the place that helped me the most, so I decided it would be a good place to establish a new home for the charity.”

Over the past few years, Faulk has stayed close with the athletic department at SDSU and never passes up a marketing opportunity to help the school. The “Aztec for life” phrase has carried on since it was first used in 2008, and there is now an annual event known as the Aztec For Life Homecoming Celebration hosted by the Marshall Faulk Foundation.

Former SDSU (2007-2011) quarterback Ryan Lindley, who now plays for the Arizona Cardinals, witnessed first-hand the slogan take its course in creating a new environment around campus.

“The phrase instills pride with everyone associated with the university, and has created an influx of support,” Lindley said. “Whenever I see an another Aztec, I know there is a bond there that is bigger than you find at other universities. I am proud to be an Aztec for life.”

The Marshall Faulk Foundation has also built numerous partnerships within the San Diego community, giving them a chance to help underprivileged children throughout the city.

Michael Brunker, the executive director of the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in San Diego, is grateful for everything Faulk has done for his organization.

“Thanks to Marshall, we have a great relationship with San Diego State football, and we receive hundreds of tickets to every home game,” Brunker said. “These are great opportunities for the kids, and Marshall’s relationship with us has opened up doors that we couldn’t even imagine. We truly value all that he does.”

The future 

What does the future hold for Marshall Faulk?

On top of his charity work, he now works for the NFL Network as an analyst, providing his expertise on current NFL games and storylines. He says he truly enjoys the job, mostly because he misses football and it helps him stay involved with the game.

Faulk also attends Aztec football games as often as possible, and recently became a mentor to former SDSU and now-NFL running back Ronnie Hillman, who has often been compared to Faulk.

In Hillman’s first collegiate game in 2010, he fumbled his first-ever carry.

Watching from the sidelines, Faulk saw what seemed to be a replay of what had happened to him nearly two decades prior, and he knew he had to say something to the young running back.

Moments later, Faulk walked over to Hillman, whispered a few words in his ear, and walked away.

Like Faulk, Hillman bounced back, and scored his first-ever touchdown later in the game. Then, in his best Faulk impersonation, Hillman rushed for 150 yards and four touchdowns against New Mexico State in his second collegiate game.

So what inspirational words did Faulk say to Hillman after the fumble?

When asked about the event, Hillman laughed, and shared the details of the exchange.

“He gave me some good advice and made a good point,” Hillman said with a smile. “He said: ‘The funny thing is, I did the same thing. Now look at me.’ ”

In other words, Hillman had nothing to worry about. That Faulk guy sure turned out alright.


Marshall Faulk San Diego State Highlights

Who would you like to see in the next Throwback Thursday story?

Aztec fans,

I hope you have enjoyed the Throwback Thursday series thus far. It has been very special for me, as I have been able to connect with former Aztecs and hear their incredible stories.

For the next Throwback Thursday story, I want to hear from you, the fans, on who you would like to learn about.

I already have a special story planned for next week, which is homecoming week, and he is a true Aztec for life. This vote is for the story that will be released on Thursday, October 18.

At the bottom of this page there is a poll with four selections. Make sure you vote, and spread the word so others can vote as well!

The candidates are:

La’Roi Glover, defensive tackle (1992-1995)                                     J.R. Tolver, wide receiver (1999-2002)

                                                                               

Kirk Morrison, linebacker (2001-2004)                                              Kevin O’Connell, quarterback (2004-2007)

                                                                              

 

There is also a write-in choice, so if you have suggestions for other candidates, let me know.

 

Please vote!

 

GO AZTECS