Through Decades Of Change, Sun Devil Season Ticketholder Stays Devoted
By Jourdan Rodrigue, Digital Communications Intern
In the 1945s, Arizona State University was transitioning from the Tempe Normal School to the Arizona State Teacher’s College. Old Main was the central focal point of campus, the Sun Devils were actually Bulldogs, and Eloisa Segovia had her first day of college.
“It was a small campus then, and so beautiful,” Segovia, now 86, said. “As freshmen our curfew was 8 p.m., that was just part of the college life. We dressed up for classes and we only wore our Levis on the weekends.”
Segovia came to ASU from a small mining town in Southern Arizona called Morenci. As of 2000, the town only had about 1,500 residents and was even smaller when Segovia was a child. Once she got to Tempe, her world opened up.
“I’ll tell you something, that school gave me so much,” Segovia said. “Those professors and faculty were just wonderful. They’d walk down the street and say ‘hello’ to you. And when the GI’s came back from the war, by golly, things really picked up around there.”
Segovia’s experience became especially exciting when the Sun Angel Foundation was created to fund an athletics program at Arizona State. Shortly after, Sparky was introduced as the new mascot and ASU began their official football program as Sun Devils.
“We had bleachers out at Goodwin Stadium and I got to see (Wilford) Whizzer White play,” she said. “Oh, lordy. He sure made those other players look silly out there the way he whizzed all around them. He earned that name for sure.”
And for a small-town girl who never even had a physical education class growing up, the ability to participate in P.E. and watch Sun Devil Athletics helped inspire her to become a physical education teacher, which she did (as well as counseling) for 34 years until retiring to travel. All throughout her career and through multiple moves to California and Colorado, Segovia never forgot her time at Arizona State.
“My friend and I were traveling through Tempe and I thought ‘Oh gosh, we should stay here during the winters’,” she said. “As soon as we did that, we decided to get basketball season tickets.”
Those tickets led to season football, baseball, women’s basketball and softball tickets as Segovia’s time back in Tempe grew longer. The Sun Devils had gained a devoted number one fan as Segovia attended as many home events as she could. She spent most of her time at women’s basketball and softball games.
“I got to watch that softball team turn into National Champions,” she said. “And that Katie (Burkhart)! My goodness, what a pitcher.”
She also remembers fondly the year that Women’s Basketball Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne came to Arizona State.
“She’s a real sweetie,” said Segovia of Turner Thorne. “I sure am happy for Arizona State that we swiped her from those Lumberjacks.”
Segovia sits in her motorized scooter (that she named “Sparky”) for almost all of the home women’s basketball and softball games. And ever year she adds more memorabilia to the “Sun Devil Room” in her house.
Segovia says she’ll continue to support her Arizona State through all of its changes and developments.
“It’s so different now, but my gosh, this old lady sure loves her Sun Devils,” she said. “They’re a part of me, they always have been. I support them because ASU has given me so many opportunities. I had a wonderful four years.”