Alumni Profile: Stephen (Spike) Spiro '74

Cindy Spiro and Stephen Spiro

Cindy (Bava) Spiro '76 and Stephen Spiro '74 at the dedication of the Amos Alonzo Stagg Plaza at Pacific.

"I'm just a guy who's had a few adventures," says Stephen (Spike) Spiro, reflecting on his journey from San Mateo, CA, to the halls of University of the Pacific and beyond.

Born in 1952, Spike's path led him from Camarillo High School to College of the Pacific, where he graduated with a degree in economics in 1974. "I planned to go into banking or financial services," he recalls. But life had other plans, as he found himself trying his luck in football, first with the Green Bay Packers and later with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

However, it was his gridiron exploits at Pacific that carved some of his fondest memories. Playing Division I football against powerhouses like the University of Washington and Louisiana State University, Spike's defining moment came in a clash against the latter. Blocking a punt against the then top-ranked LSU Tigers, Spike etched his name in Pacific's football folklore, showcasing the values of teamwork and resilience instilled by his coaches. "That was the biggest play of my career at UOP," he reminisces, reflecting on the game that made headlines.

Off the field, Spike found more than just victories. "I met my wife Cindy (Bava) at Southwest Hall after I came back from the LSU game," he recalls with a chuckle. "I showed her the bruise from blocking the punt and we've been together for 52 years," he says, reflecting with pride on their two sons and five grandchildren.

After his football endeavors, Spike embarked on a 28-year career at the San Joaquin County Probation Department. After his retirement at age 50, he worked another 18-years as a substitute teacher at Stagg High School and in the Woodland School District. From part-time work at the family almond ranch to planning cabin expansions in Mariposa, Spike embodies the essence of a life well-lived.

As he looks back on his Pacific journey, Spike credits professors like Bill Topp and Tappan Monroe for shaping his path, along with football coaches Chester Caddas and Ted Leland. "Pacific taught me great life lessons," he says, acknowledging the impact of his education beyond the classroom. His continued involvement in alumni and athletic events underscores his unwavering commitment to his alma mater.

But as he looks forward, Spike's enthusiasm is palpable, especially with the upcoming 50-year reunion for Pacific’s class of 1974. "I'm excited to see all of my classmates and SAE fraternity brothers," he says eagerly, anticipating the opportunity to reconnect and reminisce about old times. "It is time to give back," he remarks emphatically, emphasizing the importance of alumni involvement in supporting the university and its students.

In Spike's narrative, University of the Pacific isn't just a university—it's a place where dreams were pursued, friendships formed, and memories made. And for him, that's a legacy worth celebrating every day.