Jul 04, 2020

Walk-on or walk-off

Brianna Campbell / The Collegian
Many Fresno State students pursue the student-athlete life even though they were not recruited.

Around this time of year we hear about athletes signing letters of intent to put on a Bulldog uniform for the upcoming season. What we don’t always hear about are the athletes that are not approached, but instead go to the coach and ask for a chance to make the team.

Walk-on athletes are non-scholarship athletes that train hard to get a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a collegiate team without being asked.

Many Fresno State students take the risk of embarrassment and tryout despite the chance of being rejected.

For freshman Tyler Stirewalt, his athletic career at Fresno State is still left to be determined. The prospective quarterback from Aquinas High School in San Bernardino led his team in passing yardage and was a First Team All-CIF Eastern Division selection as well as Co-MVP.

Stirewalt threw a total of 2,835 yards his senior year, averaging 236.3 per game as well as rushing for 149 yards.

“Over the summer after my senior year I worked out a lot with a trainer back in my hometown,” Stirewalt said. “I basically worked out every day. I worked out with my brother, threw balls every day, worked on my footwork, ball accuracy and things like that.”

Walking on to such a big team as Fresno State leaves no room for slack and requires nothing short of your best.
“It is a little intimidating when you come up here the first time, but it’s good, they welcome you. We have a nice little family over here.”

But when all is said and done, the athletes do not regret their act of bravery to put on the cardinal red uniform.

“I was very happy that I had a chance to come up and actually play Division I sports,” Stirewalt said. “I was very excited to come up here.”

Courtesy of Darren Brown / QMI Agency

Unlike Stirewalt, Fresno native Showron Glover didn’t have as smooth of a transition on to the basketball team.

The 5-foot-10-inch guard from Sunnyside High School averaged 18 points, 5.9 assists and 4.6 steals per game. He then continued his career at Fresno City College and continued on to College of the Sequoias, where he played for two years.

“In high school, I felt like I was overlooked, because I was small,” Glover said. “ I am a small guy, and I was smaller back then in high school.”

After his two years at junior college he attempted to be a walk-on for Fresno State. “ What would be better than to come here in my hometown and try to play,” Glover said.

Glover was short two classes for a transfer in 2008 and planned on making those classes up at the College of the Sequoias, over the summer. But that didn’t stop Glover from spending many hours playing with the team and getting to know the players at open gym, as well as speaking to assistant coaches.

“I really wanted to come to Fresno State,” Glover said. “When I was in high school I would come up here and play with Demetrius Porter and Melvin Ely in open gyms. I always wanted to come here.”

But things were not going as well as Glover would have wanted and he received another offer.

“The situation that I was in, that I had to take two classes, made it tough for them because it was right before season. I guess they didn’t want to take the chance on me,” Glover said.

Glover knew he wanted to be pursued for his talents and ability. He saw Canada as a new beginning where he could start over and make a name for himself in an all new environment.

“What is better. A coach that wants you to come right now and do this, or a coach that is unsure about me.”

Glover continued to Canada to play for two years at University of Saskatchewan where he averaged a team high 28.1 points per game and led the country in steals.

Glover led his team to the CanWest Championships to win the trophy and the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) title, and he was named CIS First Team All-Canadian.

Call it a missed opportunity for Fresno State, but Glover is grateful for the opportunity he had to go to another country and play ball.

“I feel like Fresno missed on a good opportunity, but at the same time things happen for a reason,” Glover said. “It was a great experience for me in Canada and a humbling experience.”

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