This post is part of the APUSH Gameday series.
San Diego State University “Leadership Starts Here” San Diego State University (SDSU, San Diego State) is a public research university in San Diego, California, and is the largest and oldest higher education institution in San Diego County. Founded in 1897 as San Diego Normal School, it is the third-oldest university in the 23-member California State University.
After the athletic teams were established in 1921, media referred to the teams as “Staters” or “professors”. The school newspaper tried to encourage “Wampus Cats” during its coverage of the 1923-24 school year. In the fall of 1924, Athletic Director C.E. Peterson urged the students to select a nickname and the school newspaper, The Paper Lantern, invited suggestions. Over the next few issues, names such as Panthers, Balboans and Thoroughbreds were suggested and submitted to a committee of Dean Al Peterson, C.E. Peterson and a student. In 1925, student leaders chose the nickname “Aztecs” over such other suggestions as “Balboans”. They felt the terminology was more representative of a southwest image and the selection met with no dissent. In February of 1925, President Hardy gave his formal approval to the “Aztec” nickname and teams adopted that identity within a week.
I work the San Diego State Aztecs into my course when I cover the following topics:
From Pangaea to Paradise – The Americas Before European Conquest  Pre-Columbian indigenous populations were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness, rather, a vastly more populous and sophisticated civilizations that actively shaped and influenced the land around them .
The Spanish Mission System – “A Wealth of Souls to Harvest”The Spanish clergy, particularly Jesuits and Franciscans, played a critical role in settling the Southwest using the mission system.Over the centuries, this became the most effective means of “civilizing” natives.