Dennis Wise, a local private investor and former rugby coach at San Diego State, will donate $500,000 toward the construction of SDSU's $1.25-million Hall of Fame and athletic department office complex, it was announced Friday.
Fred Miller, SDSU athletic director, said the remaining funds are expected to come from Aztec Athletic Foundation fund-raising, increased football and basketball gate receipts and concerts to be held this summer.
Construction will not begin until all the needed funds are received. The structure will include SDSU's Hall of Fame, named in honor of Dennis and Joan Wise, plus administrative and coaching offices for all sports but football. A new football office is under construction nearby the new building.
"It's long overdue to recognize Aztecs who put us where we are," said Thomas Day, SDSU president. "It's long overdue to renovate and upgrade our coaching facilities. And it's long overdue to get the Aztecs back on top not only regionally but nationally."
Wise, 45, graduated from SDSU in 1965. He played for SDSU's rugby team and was its coach from 1966-72.
"Years ago, when I went to San Diego State, these same facilities were here," Wise said. "These (new) facilities are a must. San Diego State needs a first-rate athletic program to match up with the first-rate education program it already has."
Miller said those to be honored in the Aztec Hall of Fame will include All-Americans, Olympic medal winners and national champions. A committee will be formed to select Hall of Fame members.