While Cal-Poly had their tournament bid come to an end last night at the hands of Wichita State, the Mustangs will take away more than just the on-court memories of playing in the Big Dance—they met Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.
“Definitely it was great to meet a legend,” said guard Kyle Odister. “I talked to him just how it was back in Cal Poly, and he said that we just put Cal Poly on the map just as far as just making it here. He said we already won before the game even started.”
Smith was a freshman at Cal Poly in 1974 and was a four-year starter on the baseball team where he earned All-American recognition. Ozzie still holds the school records for career stolen bases (110), stolen bases in a season (44) and career at bats (754).
“He is a first‑class person and the way he reached out,” echoed head coach Joe Callero. “Great words of wisdom for the team. Camaraderie, came in and hey, I want to be here to support you and congratulate you.”
“He said hey, let me get out of your hair. And we said you can stick around a little bit, you know. We had another 15, 18 minutes before the game started. So he signed things and hung out and talked and visited.”
Callero hopes that other alums such as John Madden and Weird Al Yankovic will be next to visit with the team.
“And it was just an honor just to meet him,” added Odister. “I got an autograph with him, a picture with him. Something I will remember the rest of my life. My first time being in the NCAA Tournament and meeting Ozzie Smith, it’s something I really can’t beat. It would have been nice if we got a win though.”
Cal Poly (14-20) won the Big West tournament and beat Texas Southern in a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament.
Besides meeting with the Mustangs, helping Budweiser gain 100,000 signatures to petition Opening Day as a national holiday, and serve as a guest instructor at Spring Training for the St. Louis Cardinals, Smith is also hosting a one-night only benefit with Vince Gill, Kathleen Madigan, and Nikko Smith to benefit PGA Reach on May 21st.