The legendary Bob Bronzan proudly served as a SJSU Student-Athlete, Coach, and Director of Athletics.


The Bronzan Society serves as the leadership fundraising society for San José State Football. This society is philanthropic in nature with its members invested in the success of Spartan Football.

Established in 2017, the Bronzan Society recognizes those that make annual commitments of $25,000 or more, separate from any Spartan Foundation donations. In recognition of their generous support, members of the Bronzan Society gain access to exclusive Spartan Football opportunities.

Commitments to the Bronzan Society will be directed to fund football priorities, such as capital projects and program operations. Through their generosity and support, Bronzan Society members will help advance Spartan Football exponentially.


What is the Bronzan Society?

The Bronzan Society is the leadership giving society of San Jose State Football. Its members make commitments of $25,000 and above annually. Many times the annual gifts are part of a five year pledge agreement.

Why should I join the Bronzan Society?

In order to take Spartan Football to the next level, we must continue to invest in football initiatives, and most specifically facilities. Through the generosity of our loyal members, the Bronzan Society will help build a championship caliber football program at San Jose State.

What are the benefits of joining the Bronzan Society?

First and foremost, the Bronzan Society is a philanthropic initiative that supports the mission of San Jose State University. In addition, Bronzan Society members gain access to unique benefits. These include invitations to exclusive events, a portrait display in the Simpkins Stadium Center (will move to the new football facility), an annual Bronzan Society gift, and game-day program recognition. Benefits may also include facility naming opportunities, sideline access for home football games, football away game travel, and more.

If I make a pledge to the Bronzan Society does that fulfill my Spartan Foundation or other seating donations?

No. The Bronzan Society is above and beyond any existing donation requirements for seating and parking benefits. You will still have to fulfill your annual per-seat and parking donations.

If I make a pledge, when and how do I contribute towards my pledge balance?

The Athletics Advancement staff will work with you to create a donation schedule that works best for you. Members can contribute towards their pledge monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

If I join the Bronzan Society, am I a member for life?

No. Bronzan Society membership is awarded annually based on the current fiscal-year giving. Fiscal Year 17/18 = July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018

Can I make a donation through a stock-transfer, donor advised fund, a community fund or a family foundation?

YES - We welcome gifts of stock, donor advised funds, community funds and family foundations.

How do I join the Bronzan Society?

To learn more about joining the Bronzan Society, please contact Tim Rice, Associate Athletics Director for Football Development at (408) 924-1128 or



Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil credit Bob Bronzan for their success in life and the game of football.

Bob Bronzan arrived at San Jose State in 1937 determined to make a difference. Seven decades later, it’s doubtful any Spartan’s legacy looms larger.

Bronzan, a former SJSU football student-athlete, coach, athletic director and professor, had opportunities to go elsewhere but stayed true to his Spartan roots.

“He was a cornerstone of encouragement,” said Dick Vermeil, who played for Bronzan in 1956. “He believed in you more than you believed in yourself.”

Hundreds of current and former coaches at every level of football trace their roots to Bronzan, but he’s best known for mentoring Super Bowl-winning coaches Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil.

“If it wasn’t for Bob, I certainly wouldn’t have achieved any success or had the professional opportunities I have had,” said SJSU alum Bill Walsh, who won three Super Bowls with the 49ers. “He made a huge difference in my life.”

But his vision and influence went far deeper than X’s and O’s.

Bronzan was one of the first coaches on the West Coast to recruit African-American players. And he made a point to build and maintain close relationships that spanned decades. In his home office sits a book filled with the hand-scrawled names and addresses of virtually every person who played for or worked with him.

“He guided us to be prepared for life,” said Joe Barrington, one of the 12 African- Americans recruited by Bronzan in 1955, breaking SJSU’s color barrier. “He touched a whole lot of lives across all races and ages. He made people successful, and to him, that meant living a quality life and being responsible for your family.”

It wasn’t easy following the Bronzan plan. He set high expectations and standards for himself and everyone around him.

“He was tough as a pine knot,” said his wife of 35 years, Jo Ann. “But he was fair. He never would ask someone to do something he wouldn’t do himself.”

Vermeil said, “He kept the pressure on you. He had the ability to recognize talent in people and then helped you take advantage of it, but you had to work.”

One of six children of Croatian immigrants, Bronzan grew up in Tehachapi, a working-class town near Bakersfield. He was a teenager during the Great Depression and decided that education was his only opportunity to get ahead. After receiving his undergraduate degree at San Jose State, Bronzan earned masters and doctorate degrees at Stanford.

“He had a great desire to learn,” Jo Ann said.

Bronzan also was a terrific athlete. He played tackle at SJSU in 1937-39 and was named an honorable mention All-American on the 1939 team that went 13-0 and remains the only unbeaten and untied squad in school history.

After a stint as a U.S. Air Force officer during World War II, Bronzan returned to SJSU in 1946 as an assistant professor and assistant coach on Bill Hubbard’s staff. Four years later, at 31, Bronzan became the youngest coach in Division I football.

Bronzan’s teams went 32-30-5 in seven seasons, but his biggest impact came in 1955, when he recruited African-American players. It was not a popular decision at the time, but one that friend’s say Bronzan was driven to because he knew it was right. Bronzan overcame many obstacles in his life, and one of his deepest passions was to provide opportunities to young men who otherwise might have none.

“Everybody has the same feeling for him out of respect and love for the opportunity,” Barrington said. “He had a vision for what you could be in 10, 20 years, not just what you could do for four years and then you were gone.”

It was also during this period that Bronzan earned the reputation as an offensive mastermind. Legendary Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy brought Bronzan to South Bend, Ind., for spring practices several times to help the Irish.

Bronzan ventured to the NFL in 1958, following Buck Shaw to the Philadelphia Eagles. But after one season, Bronzan returned to San Jose State to resume teaching. In 1960, he was named athletic director, a position he held until 1972. He remained a professor in the school’s department of human performance (an early form of exercise leadership and physical education) until his retirement in 1980.

“He said he never wanted to be a transient coach in the NFL,” Saunders recalled. “He wanted to impact and influence student life, and he wanted to do that at a place he loved, and that was San Jose State.”

Bronzan never lost the zeal for coaching and always had an ear – and an idea – for his protégé’s, whether it was a coach of a high school squad or someone preparing for a Super Bowl.

Vermeil said that during his last head-coaching stint, in 2001-05 with the Kansas City Chiefs, every week he received from Bronzan a two-page, single-spaced typed critique of the team’s performance. Vermeil would take the notes to Saunders (his assistant head coach) and implement some of Bronzan’s ideas. “He loved to do that,” Vermeil said of Bronzan.

(Source: San Jose Mercury News)

2017-18 Bronzan Society Members

Don and Joan Beall
Cheerios and the Ellen Degeneres Show
Mary Clark
Christina La Monico
Art Lund & Agnieska Winkler
Dick Vermeil
Larry & Deirdre Solari
Rich & Cindy Thawley
Mark Pasquale
Terry Potts & Andrea Brown

Contact Us

San José State University Spartan Football


Deputy Athletics Director for Advancement
D: (408) 924-1697

Interested in