Tulowitzki’s donation announcement headlines Long Beach State Hall of Fame dinner

Troy Tulowitzki announces he will donate $1 million toward renovating Blair Field.

Tulowitzki’s donation announcement headlines Long Beach State Hall of Fame dinner

Todd Johnson

Former Dirtbag Troy Tulowitzki speaks during his induction to the LBSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Nine of Long Beach State’s many prominent former sports figures gathered at the Long Beach Convention Center Tuesday night to be inducted into LBSU’s biannual athletic Hall of Fame.

The most widely known names honored included former men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg, the late former NFL head coach George Allen, the 1989 College World Series baseball team and MLB All-Star Troy Tulowitzki.

Tulowitzki drew one of the most responsive moments of the evening when he announced that he would donate $1 million to LBSU to help renovate the Dirtbags’ home ballpark, Blair Field.

“I want to make a donation to the university,” Tulowitzki said, “and I know there’s a big view that these guys have that they want to build a new facility … It’s a lot of money, but at the same time, I wouldn’t want to give it to anybody else.”

The Blair Field renovations are projected to begin in June 2015, Athletics Director Vic Cegles said in August. Cegles said at the time that about $16 million still needed to be raised to fund the project, which includes new batting tunnels, a new administration building and the addition of a practice infield where the visiting bullpen is currently located.

The induction ceremony marked The Beach’s quintessential step of recognition for the former players’ and coaches’ standout years at LBSU, forever linking these athletes’ names to the forefront of 49er history.

“I want the inductees attending tonight to understand that Long Beach State Athletics… [will] continue to win championships, and graduate our young men and women,” Athletics Director Vic Cegles said.

Greenberg led the ‘Niners to two NCAA Tournament appearances and to what he noted as the most memorable game of his nine-year duration at LBSU when the ‘Niners beat No. 1 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on national television.

“I always say that coaching is one thing,” Greenberg said. “Coaching is helping someone get somewhere they couldn’t get themselves. And to me, those guys right there, they helped me get somewhere I couldn’t get myself.”

George Allen’s son, Greg Allen, spoke on behalf of the former LBSU football head coach, who passed away in 1990. Greg Allen spoke about the media’s uncertainty surrounding his father’s transition from a future Hall of Fame NFL coach to coaching a college team that was ranked 163rd out of 170 NCAA Division I teams.

“George Allen came to Long Beach State to do more than coach a sports team,” Allen said. “He felt the most honorable profession anyone could have would be to be a teacher or a mentor to young people … and he did that.”

NFL player Shawn Wilbourn, water polo all-time scoring leader Cassie Azevedo, 1997 pole vaulting champion Jason Hinkis, four-time volleyball All-American Alexis Crimes and Oklahoma softball head coach and NCAA champion Patty Gasso were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Before the Hall of Fame Awards were distributed, more recent and current 49er athletes were honored. Softball second baseman Cya Neil, Dirtbags left-handed pitcher Ryan Strufing, track and field athlete Willie Alexander and former soccer player Nadia Link were each awarded the Student-Athlete Inspirational Awards for their determination in succeeding despite facing adversity while doing so.

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