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USD Student-Athletes are #GameChangers, on-and-off the field.

Since fielding its first sports teams more than six decades ago, the University of San Diego has been committed to developing student-athletes dedicated to making a difference, on-and-off the field. It’s a dedication founded in the university’s core values of fidelity, courage and compassion, and something that can’t be measured strictly in wins and losses.

“Above all else, we want our student-athletes to be thinking about how they can change the game by going bigger, by doing more, than what is expected, and not just in their respective sports,” said Donte’ Carty, assistant athletic director for marketing and promotions at USD. “It’s about how they can make a lasting difference, whether it’s on the field, in the classroom, or when they graduate and move into the next phase of their lives.”

Such was the impetus behind the development of USD Athletics’ #GameChangers digital marketing campaign, which highlights how Torero athletes make positive and lasting contributions to their teams, to their university, and to their community. It’s a tag line that’s inextricably tied to the university’s institutional capital campaign: Leading Change: The Campaign for the University of San Diego, but unique in its promotion of the success of Torero athletes in every phase of their USD experience.

“Game changers are aspirational; they’re driven to be the best they can be, and they’re inspirational in the work they put in to be the best,” Carty explained. “When you translate that kind of commitment and focus to academics, to serving others … there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.”

The #GameChangers campaign also looks to highlight the successes of USD Athletics’ myriad community partnerships. Last summer, the USD Baseball team traveled to the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico, to build homes for families in need. It’s an experience that clearly left an indelible impression on all involved.

“An experience like this is so important to our athletes,” said USD Head Baseball Coach Rich Hill. “It shapes them, it provides perspective, and shows them how lucky they are to have the opportunities they have. It’s up to them to make the most of those opportunities.”

Additionally, USD Athletics recently earned the Legacy Award for its work with the Autism Tree Project Foundation, and has posted videos and stories of its baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer teams making impactful contributions to local youth sports programs, children with special needs, cancer awareness and much more.

Head Men’s Basketball Coach Lamont Smith, staff and players, through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and USD team physician Dr. Paul C. Murphy, have adopted 14-year-old Leo Padilla, a young boy who has had two surgeries for a brain tumor.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have this young man and his family in our basketball family,” said Coach Smith after Padilla met with the Torero team for the first time this past summer. “We look forward to this unique opportunity to give back.”

So no matter whether they’re pitchers or point guards, setters or strong safeties, Toreros are more than just athletes. They’re #GameChangers.

– Mike Sauer