Former Hornet quarterback Aaron Garcia to be inducted into Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame

Aaron Garcia ’94 (Physical Education), a Sacramento native who spent two seasons as the starting quarterback for the Hornet football team before going on to a successful career in the Arena Football League, is one of five local athletes who will be inducted later this month into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame.

garcia1Garcia, who grew up in Del Paso Heights and graduated from Grant High School in 1989, spent two seasons as the quarterback for Washington State University before transferring to Sac State, throwing for 1,798 yards and 16 touchdowns in his senior year.

After graduation, Garcia found a home in the Arena Football League, spending 19 years in the league and winning Arena Bowl XXIV with the Jacksonville Sharks while also earning the game’s most valuable player honors. He finished his career as the league’s career leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns.

Following his playing career, Garcia spent one season as the coach of the Las Vegas Outlaws. Today, he is the head of athletics at Sacramento’s Capital Christian High School.

Garcia and his fellow honorees will be formally inducted into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame during a celebration Saturday, Jan. 26, at Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

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Yet another Hornet joins defending Super Bowl champs

Lars Hanson celebrates homecoming win
Lars Hanson (76) played four seasons with Sacramento State, earning honorable mention All-Big Sky honors at left tackle in 2015. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

With their latest signing, the Denver Broncos’ locker room is starting to feel more and more like Broad Fieldhouse East.

This week, former Sacramento State offensive tackle Lars Hanson inked a free agent deal with the defending Super Bowl champions. He joins linebacker Todd Davis, quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp, and offensive line coach Clancy Barone among the ranks of mile-high Hornets.

Hanson played four seasons with Sacramento State, starting his last 39 consecutive games at the most important position on the offensive line, left tackle, aka the “blind side.” In 2014, he presided over an offense that set single-season school records in total yards (5,780) and points (458). In 2015, the 6-foot-8, 305-pound captain was an honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference selection.

Signing with Denver, fresh off a 2016 Super Bowl championship victory over the Carolina Panthers, is a dream come true for Hanson: Despite hailing from Southern California, he grew up a lifelong Broncos fan.

Now, he’ll have the chance to toe the line for the team he loves alongside a whole host of familiar faces.

Former Hornet receiver scoring big in Hollywood

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Ryan Coogler was one of the Hornets’ top wide receivers; now, he is one of the film industry’s brightest rising stars. (Sacramento State/Randy Allen)

In just a few years, writer and director Ryan Coogler has gone from making catches on the football field to making Oscar-nominated films in Hollywood.

Coogler (’07, Business Administration) was one of Sacramento State’s most dynamic wide receivers and a three-time winner of the Big Sky Conference’s All-Academic award, but this year he’s bringing in a whole other kind of hardware: His latest film, the highly touted Rocky sequel, Creed, earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor – the first Oscar nod for one of the young director’s movies.

It has been a whirlwind ride for Coogler, 29, who first got behind a camera while a business major at Sac State; still, despite his relative youth, he clearly has no problems directing A-list talent:

Creed’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor is a category came for a performance by megastar Sylvester Stallone, who won a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award for his portrayal of a world-weary Rocky Balboa. The film also netted Coogler the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association “Next Generation” Award.

The awards are the culmination of this past year’s buzz surrounding Coogler’s latest film, which was both a critical and commercial darling. His major motion picture debut Fruitvale Station grossed $16 million worldwide; Creed netted more than two and a half times that its first week in theaters.

Coogler still is just getting started as a Hollywood filmmaker, though you would be hard-pressed to tell given his body of work to date. With demand for his talents surging and even bigger directing projects on the horizon – including Marvel’s Black Panther for 2018 – it is hard to imagine that Creed will be his last Oscar-nominated film.

Click here to check out Ryan’s Made at Sac State story.