HONOLULU, Hawaii (KGO) -- After putting in years of hard work, no one deserves to miss their college graduation - especially student-athletes.
In a first for San Jose State University, 13 football players were honored in a special certified commencement ceremony in Hawaii while the team is there for their last game.
"This is a really cool thing, this has never been done before," Head Coach Brent Brennan said.
In a year full of history for the San Jose State football program, there was still one more unique moment to end the season in the island paradise of Hawaii.
SJSU celebrated graduation ceremonies stateside this week, but the team missed them as they were already in Hawaii for their bowl game on December 23.
In a special ceremony more than 2,000 miles away from the SJSU campus, the senior players were honored and recognized for earning bachelor's or master's degrees.
"It was getting rowdy, that was pretty fun," Senior Linebacker Charlie Rogers said. "Everybody was cheering, hooting and hollering. The whole team was there and I was able to have my family come out. So, that was a pretty cool experience last night."
Since taking over as San Jose State football coach, Brent Brennan has highlighted the importance of academics and, of course, graduation.
Holding the school's first football graduation at a bowl game, in Hawaii, was a priority for Coach Brennan to recognize the pride he and the staff have for their accomplishment.
"That was one of the coolest things that I have ever been a part of," Brennan said. "To be able to do it with their friends, family and teammates here while they were preparing for the bowl game was incredibly special. It was a really neat night."
On this night, there were no classmates or professors, but there was family.
The football family of coaches, staff and players there to celebrate a moment none of these players will forget.
"The ceremony itself was awesome, but getting to have that special moment with just the football team there, the guys you spend, pretty much, your entire experience of college with and having the family there as well - there's nothing better than that," Rogers said.
"I know my family wasn't here, but having all my boys with me that we've done this whole season together, it was just nice to have them cheering in the background and have them there supporting me the whole time," Senior Linebacker Matt Tago said. "It's a feeling I'll never forget and I'll cherish that moment forever."
Congratulations to the Spartan Football Class of 2023!
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