SAN DIEGO -- Former San Diego State ace Stephen Strasburg donated $141,000 to the Aztecs' baseball program on Friday.
The donation will allow SDSU to upgrade the surface of Tony Gwynn Stadium, with new synthetic turf replacing the grass skirting from dugouts to baselines, and be used to operate the program.
The hard-throwing right-hander, the No. 1 pick overall in the June amateur draft, agreed to a record-setting contract worth $15.1 million over four years with the Washington Nationals.
"It's absolutely a huge thing," coach Tony Gwynn said.
Gwynn, a Hall of Famer who spent 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres, said it's rare that a player can make such a big donation so early in his pro career.
Strasburg will be honored at halftime of SDSU's basketball game against Arizona on Saturday night.
"SDSU baseball and the university have meant so much for my development" Strasburg said in a statement. "As a student-athlete, I knew that it takes more than just coaching and good players to be successful. From academic advisors to athletic trainers to the donors of the program, it takes all to make a successful program. I am proud to become part of the base of donors that want this program to succeed. As I have stated before, I am an Aztec for life."
Strasburg was a two-time consensus All-American and Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year as well as a member of the U.S. team that won the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics. He ended his SDSU career with a remarkable 2009 season. He was 13-1 record with a 1.32 ERA, with 195 strikeouts in 109 innings, helping the Aztecs to a 41-23 record and their first NCAA Regional appearance since 1991. He led the nation in strikeouts and ERA.
He won both the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award as the nation's top collegiate player.
"Stephen was electric on the mound," Gwynn said. "Yet, we knew he was an even better kid. This gift reinforces our belief that for all of his baseball abilities, Stephen is an even better person."