Joe Caldwell '97 B.A.E.

(Editor’s Note: “Jumpin’” Joe Caldwell played for ASU’s men’s basketball in the early 1960s and was selected to play on the U. S. men’s basketball team in the 1964 Olympics. He returned to finish his degree in 1997, and is grand marshal of the 2013 ASU Homecoming Parade.)

Which groups or activities were you most involved in at ASU? What did you gain from that involvement?
Basketball was my primary activity and the source of my scholarship. I also ran track. We were very successful in those days – the basketball team had some of the best all-time win/loss records during the four years I was there – and I knew all the coaches: Ned Wulk, Senon “Baldy” Castillo, Frank Kush, etc. There was a real camaraderie among all the student-athletes in those days, and that was important.

What personal qualities do you think were most strongly developed in you during your years as a Sun Devil?
I had lived in Texas and Los Angeles before I came to ASU, but it was here that I learned how to adjust to different situations, and to deal with almost any sort of circumstance. I grew up here, learning how to relate to people who were different than me or who might have different beliefs, and accept them as they are.

What’s your favorite ASU memory?
Probably the 1962-63 basketball season, when we went 26-3. We wanted to have an undefeated season! Also, being chosen for the 1964 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball team out of ASU was definitely an honor and a key moment in my life.

How and why have you remained connected to ASU?
I have remained connected to the men’s basketball program. I like Coach Herb Sendek and his program. I’m proud of ASU’s growth – when I sit at the International House of Pancakes across from ASU’s Tempe campus and drink my morning coffee, I look at how much ASU has grown. We’ve grown from 11,000 when I went here to more than 70,000 today!

What current development at ASU do you find most exciting? Why?
I was very excited a few years ago when Anthony Robles won the NCAA championship in wrestling. The love he got from this university – it reminded me of how far we’ve come over the years. He became the best in the country!

What are three “can’t-miss” ASU experiences every Sun Devil should participate in?
Here’s what I would advise today’s student-athletes:

  1. Get involved in everything related to athletics that you can. I did basketball, track, swimming, etc.
  2. Make sure you stay in touch with the student body – I used to visit fraternities and other student groups. It’s important to get to know people on campus.
  3. Communicate with athletes in other sports. When I was here, I knew baseball players Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson, track athletes and many others. We all sat and talked. When you don’t communicate with players in other sports, you’re missing out on a lot.

What advice would you give to today’s ASU students?
Be a part of ASU and be active in everything you can. When you reach my age, you’ll look back on your fond memories, and you’ll want to have some things that you did to remember!

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