October 10, 2008
The San Diego State Department of Athletics will welcome a new class this winter of five individuals into its Aztec Hall of Fame, presented by the Wise Foundation.
The newest Aztecs to enter the Hall of Fame include three football players in wide receiver Issac Curtis (1972), offensive tackle John Farris (1962-64) and defensive back Bobby Howard (1965-66), four-time Golden Glove award-winner baseball player Mark Grace (1985) and women’s basketball standout Kieishsha Garnes (1991-92).
The new class will be enshrined on Hall of Fame Weekend, slated for Nov. 14-15.
The new class will also be recognized on the field at halftime of SDSU’s home football game vs. Utah on Saturday, Nov. 15.
The Aztec Hall of Fame, presented by the Wise Foundation, inducted its first members in 1988 and has welcomed a new group of legends every year through 1999. Inductions were put on hold for two years while work was completed on the Aztec Athletics Center, which is the first permanent home of the Hall of Fame. Not including this year’s class, 98 individuals and four teams have been inducted since the Aztec Hall of Fame’s inception.
The following is a quick look at the newest Aztec Hall of Fame members:
A transfer from California, Issac Curtis played just one year in the Red & Black, but still made his mark as one of the all-time greats during the successful Don Coryell era. Curtis earned the team’s MVP award in helping the Aztecs to a 10-1 record and an unbeaten 4-0 mark in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA). He caught 44 passes for 832 yards and seven touchdowns en route to first team all-PCAA and second team all-Coast honors.
After playing in three post-season all-star games, Curtis was a first-round pick and 15th selection overall in the 1973 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Curtis played 12 seasons with the Bengals and ranks fourth in franchise history in career receiving yards with 7,101 on 416 catches.
John Farris was two-time all-conference offensive tackle for the Aztecs in the early 1960s when the team went a combined 23-6 and 14-2 in league action. Farris was named the school’s top lineman as a junior and senior and was a key component of the Aztec offensive line that helped San Diego State rush for over 2,000 yards in both 1962 and 1964.
Farris was selected in the 11th round of the 1964 draft and played two seasons with the San Diego Chargers in the AFL.
The fourth SDSU women’s basketball player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Kieishsha Garnes (pronounced ky-EE-shuh) starred for the Aztecs from 1990-92. In two seasons, she scored 1,235 career points to rank 11th in school history. Garnes was a two-time all-Western Athletic Conference pick and the league’s player of the year in 1990-91, when she led the team to a 14-14 mark by averaging 23.6 points per game, which ranks second in the SDSU single-season record book.
After playing two years at Saddleback Community College, Mark Grace played one season with the Aztecs in 1985, before embarking on a 16-year Major League Baseball career that included four Gold Gloves and a World Series ring as a first baseman. In his lone campaign on The Mesa, Grace led the team in hitting with a .395 batting average. He also scored 53 runs and collected 55 RBI in playing all 73 games.
Drafted in the 24th round by the Chicago Cubs, Grace made his Major League debut with the Cubs in 1988. Over the next 16 seasons, Grace was a three-time All-Star selection and recorded the most hits of any player in the 1990s with 1,754. He boasts a career batting average and .303 with 2,445 hits and more than 500 doubles. The third Aztec football inductee in this year’s class, the late Bobby Howard, was an all-league pick as a defensive back for San Diego State in 1965-66. Howard helped SDSU to a 19-2 record in his two seasons, including a perfect 11-0 mark and a Camellia Bowl victory as a senior in 1966.
After being taken in the second round of the draft by the San Diego Chargers, Howard had a 13-year NFL career, playing for the Chargers (1967), the Patriots (1975-77) and the Eagles (1978-79). He passed away this past April at the age of 63.