Art Preston

By Hunter O. Hewitt


Art Preston has a name plate in the Aztec football locker room so no one forgets about the legacy he left at SDSU

These days, it’s no secret that there is an abundance of money in professional sports. Each year, athletes rake in millions of dollars to compete in their sport.

Because of these potential earnings, dual-sport athletes are scarce. Athletes often focus on one sport, because devoting time and energy to more than one sport can hinder chances of playing professionally.

When Art Preston was in college, however, things were different.

Salaries in professional sports were mere chump change compared to figures today, and athletes played sports for a different reason: the love of the game.

From 1949-1951, Preston was a star on the gridiron at San Diego State College (now San Diego State University).

In his three seasons on the football team, he rushed for 1,664 yards and 34 touchdowns. Even after 71 years, his touchdown total still ties for third on the all-time list of career touchdowns at SDSU.

He was also a part of one of just four undefeated teams (1966, 1968, 1969) in the history of SDSU football. In 1951, Preston helped lead his team to a 10-0-1 record and the school’s first-ever bowl victory over the University of Hawaii in the Pineapple Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.

After each football season, Preston’s routine was different than that of the average football player. He did not take time off to rest his body, focus on school, or start training for the next season.

Instead, he started gearing up for baseball season. And as if his success on the football field wasn’t enough, Preston was just as impressive, if not more, on the baseball diamond.

In 1951 and 1952, he led the team in batting average, runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, and stolen bases. His career batting average of .431 is the highest by any player in SDSU history.

Preston passed away in 1985, but it is clear that he left an unforgettable and incomparable legacy at SDSU. He was a member of the first-ever Aztec Hall of Fame class when he was inducted in 1988, and his name will likely remain in the record books for years to come.

Although Preston was no longer around to see the phrase come to life, he is undoubtedly an Aztec for life.