The sixth class of Cal State Fullerton’s Athletics Hall of Fame to recognize Titan sports leaders and legends both on and off the field will be held Oct. 15 at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim.
The 2015 Hall of Fame class features: Neale Stoner, Titan athletics director in the 1970s; Jenny Topping, former softball player; Ted Silva, former starting pitcher and member of the 1995 NCAA National Championship baseball team; Mark Covert, cross country and track student-athlete; Paul Folino, visionary of the golf program and philanthropist; and Associated Students Inc.
Stoner oversaw the University’s Athletics Department from August 1972 to September 1979, a period in which the Titans transitioned from NCAA Division II to Division I.
During his tenure, Stoner hired Augie Garrido, and the baseball program quickly became successful, winning six consecutive conference championships from 1974-79 and making two College World Series appearances, including the 1979 appearance when the squad captured the first of four national titles.
Stoner also hired men’s basketball coach Bobby Dye, who led the Titans to their first Division I NCAA Tournament appearance during the 1977-78 season.
Philanthropist Paul Folino was the financial architect and force that worked to reinstate the Titan men’s and women’s golf programs in the 2009-10. The former chairman emeritus of Emulex Corp., is responsible for the Folino Invitational golf tournament, which has generated more than $200,000 annually for Cal State Fullerton.
He also serves on the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation Board of Governors and the Dean’s Advisory Board of Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.
In his first season at Cal State Fullerton, Mark Covert won the NCAA Division II individual cross country title while leading the team to a second-place overall finish behind champion Eastern Michigan. One year later, Covert and the Titans claimed the NCAA Div. II title.
Covert currently serves as the cross country and track and field head coach at Antelope Valley College, a position he has held since 1990.
In 1995, Ted Silva was outstanding on the mound, finishing 18-1 — the best record in the country. He posted a 2.83 earned run average in 29 appearances and 19 starts that season, fanning 142 batters in 152 and 2/3 innings pitched and added six saves for a team that many consider the greatest NCAA baseball team ever assembled.
That year, the Titans finished the year ranked No. 1 in the nation with a 57-9 overall record and 18-3 in conference and their second straight College World Series.
After earning NCAA First Team All-American honors as a freshman at the University of Washington, Topping made the move to Cal State Fullerton for her sophomore season and excelled on the softball field.
She was named a First-Team All-American in all three seasons as a Titan and finished her career with a .443 batting average in 170 games. Topping is one of just two Titans to earn three All-American honors in her CSUF career, and she is among seven with multiple All-American awards.
Associated Students Inc.
ASI’s leadership has been integral to the growth of Cal State Fullerton athletics. The student body continues to serve as a leading source of financial support for the Division I program.
The Student Success Initiative will leave an enduring impact on the university. By the third year of implementation, the Student Success Initiative will generate nearly $4 million annually for athletics. The fees will include support funding for athletics scholarships, facilities and operational expenses.
The student body has generated support for Fullerton’s athletic teams in other ways, such as leading cheers at games and partnering in inspiring Titan Pride.