California State University, Long Beach
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Proud “Dirtbag” Gives Back

Published: February 15, 2016

Former CSULB star pitcher Jered Weaver, a 10-year Major League Baseball veteran with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, attended the 2016 Dirtbags Lead Off Dinner where he announced a donation of $500,000 to his alma mater, further assisting the renovation project at Blair Field. Weaver was emotional when discussing his time as a Dirtbag and made clear how meaningful his time in Long Beach was on both his career and his life.

“I never thought I’d be in this position to be able to give back to a team that did so much for me,” Weaver said. “There’s not an amount of money that I could give to show them how much I appreciate everything they did, not only from athletics but academics as well. I wasn’t the greatest of students, but I had the right people by my side to help me get through it, and it’s nice to be here and finally be able to do this.”

Weaver is one of many former CSULB baseball players who have given back to the program, showing the strong connection between the Dirtbags’ program, its alumni and the university.

“Baseball is synonymous with family and tradition and Jered Weaver exemplifies those virtues,” said CSULB athletic director Vic Cegles. “His giving back to Long Beach State demonstrates a commitment to young men pursuing a dream and the appreciation of his collegiate opportunity and the Dirtbags’ legacy.”

Current Dirtbag head coach Troy Buckley, who is entering his sixth season in charge of the program, was an assistant coach during Weaver’s time at Long Beach, and acknowledged the impact Weaver has made on the university.

“We are very grateful for Jered’s generosity,” Buckley said. “His impact during his three years is immeasurable and he is arguably one of the most impactful athletes in the rich history of Long Beach State Athletics. I would personally like to thank him not only for this gift, but also for his friendship throughout the years.”

Weaver’s contribution comes on the heels of a $1 million gift from longtime supporter Marilyn Bohl, who was also in attendance at the Lead Off Dinner. Weaver’s former collegiate teammate and current Toronto Blue Jays shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, has also contributed greatly to the Blair Field project, giving a $1 million gift back in 2013. CSULB has also received a $100,000 gift from another former Dirtbag who wishes to remain anonymous.

Weaver–known as the “Friday Knight” during his time in Long Beach–spent the 2002-04 seasons with the Dirtbags, going 37-8 with 431 strikeouts in 370 innings with a 2.43 ERA. He was a two-time first-team All-American and the National Player of the Year in 2004, after which he was selected with the 12th overall pick by the Angels. He has had a decorated career with the franchise, being selected a three-time All-Star, making the start for the American League in the 2011 All-Star game and finishing second in the Cy Young Award voting that year.

One of the fiercest competitors to ever take the mound at Blair Field, Weaver personifies what it means to be a Dirtbag on the field. He was bestowed that honor by his head coach at Long Beach, Mike Weathers, and it’s a badge of honor that Weaver still carries with him over a decade into his professional playing career.

“It was one of those things you had to earn, it wasn’t just given to you,” Weaver explained. “I’m proud to say that Weathers said that I earned that title. It’s nice to still hear people in major league parks saying ‘Hey Dirtbag’ and stuff like that–it still gives you chills.”

–Tyler Hendrickson