On Saturday, April 29, it was a day that honored the past, present and future of Cal Poly football.
In the morning, it started with the final scrimmage of the spring season followed by the ground breaking ceremony for the $30 million John Madden Football Center in Memorial Plaza outside Spanos Stadium.
The day began with a new look Mustangs team headlined by 5-star transfer quarterback Sam Huard.
The offense shined under Huard who went 11/12 with a pair of touchdown tosses to Tyrece Fairly-Diyem and Logan Booher.
The defense would show out as well with three sacks from Elijah Satcher and one from Antonio Vakameilalo. Boston Wilson and Thomas McNamara would each nab an interception.
That would end what was a productive first spring camp under new head coach Paul Wulff but what took place after put the stamp on what’s to come for the football program.
The legacy of John Madden further ingrained itself into Cal Poly with the groundbreaking of the program's state-of- the-art football facility introduced by Athletic Director Don Oberhelman.
“This building symbolizes where we are headed, growing this program, being able to offer even greater support to our amazing student athletes, competing for and recruiting those top prospects," Oberhelman said. He went on to say that other goals with the facility will be "winning the Big Sky Conference and of course, moving deep, deep into the Division I FCS playoffs.”
Dr. Gil Stork was a teammate of Madden's and was one of the survivors of the 1960 plane crash that killed 16 Cal Poly football players as he was one of many to speak on Madden’s pursuit of excellence.
“Excellence was about becoming an excellent person, about learning through the game of football, about how to be a leader, how to win gracefully, how to lose and be humble about that,” Stork explained of his late teammate.
Madden’s family was in attendance for the ceremony including his two sons, Mike and Joe and wife Virginia.
Virginia, didn't hold back in her remarks about how once upon a time, John Madden left the university for the NFL but then returned after an injury stopped his playing career.
“Due to the second chance Cal Poly gave John, Cal Poly, I hope to God is still giving the second chances to worthwhile human beings."
The John Madden Football Center expected to be fully operational in 2024.