March 27, 2002: Class Notes


1991-2001 & Graduate School

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Class Notes Profile:

Hitting hard
Linebacker Suzanne Fiske ’87 plays pro football

Off the gridiron, Fiske is a detective with the San Diego sheriff’s department.

With three brothers, it isn’t surprising Suzanne Fiske ’87 ended up knowing a bit about football. What is remarkable, however, is that last fall, Fiske, a member of the San Diego sheriff’s department, made football history. On November 3, Fiske and her teammates on the San Diego Sunfire opened a new chapter as part of the first-ever women’s professional football league.

Fiske is used to being a football pioneer: As a child, she joined the youth league in Santa Barbara. “My parents actually had to sue so I could play with the boys, but we settled out of court and I ended up playing for a couple of years.” After that, she turned from the gridiron to the softball diamond, eventually winning four league championships as a three-time all-Ivy catcher for Princeton.

Late last summer she rediscovered football. “One day reading the paper, I saw an ad for tryouts, showed up, and it just went from there,” says Fiske. It took weeks of conditioning — and a refresher course on football strategy and positions — to get Fiske, playing at inside linebacker, and her team ready. In San Diego’s first game, a solid running game and good defensive effort gave them a victory over the Arizona Caliente, 14—12. And while the Sunfire would end up with a 5—5 record, they were the league’s most popular team, drawing more fans than any of the other 17 squads.

Fiske hasn’t decided whether she’ll play next year, due to the demands of her day job with the sheriff’s department. “Football took a lot of time, and I really am focused on my career as a detective,” she says. The 12-year veteran enjoys the “writing and analysis of crime scenes,” as well as the difficulty of “getting a suspect to talk to me” to determine “whether or not they were involved.”

Asked what she might take with her off the field if she doesn’t play again, Fiske hesitates, then says, “Not being afraid to hit someone really hard when you need to‚ like in a life-or-death situation. Some women aren’t used to hitting and aggression. But in football, that’s the name of the game.”

By Paul Hagar ’91

A former senior editor of PAW, Paul Hagar currently manages the online publication


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