In 1979, a small group of businessmen met for lunch at a local restaurant. The conversation was the usual – business, sports, politics. One of the men mentioned they heard about the plight of a family who had traveled across country looking for a cure for their son stricken with leukemia. They were on their way to Mexico where they had heard a new treatment existed that might help their son.
Having run out of money, the family was in desperate need of living expenses. Moved by the family’s situation, the businessmen reached into their pockets and came up with enough cash.
The Nice Guys organization began that day, and has been quietly serving the good citizens of San Diego ever since. The main focus has always been to assist families and individuals who cannot meet life’s demands. For more than 40 years, the Nice Guys have continued to make a difference in peoples lives by offering a hand up.
The Nice Guys, now with a membership of around 175 men and women, is strictly a non-profit, charitable organization with no paid staff.
When it comes to serving the community and taking social responsibility, the Nice Guys have gone quietly about their work. It’s only recently that some San Diegans' have even heard of the Nice Guys. But now, with increased need, the Nice Guys have become more visible in an effort to raise more money to come to the aid people within the San Diego community.
On the evening of October 1st, the Nice Guys held their annual fund-raising gala, this year in honor of Steve Fisher who successfully led the San Diego State University basketball team to a record number of successes over a period of 18 years.
Coach Steve Fisher is originally from Herrin, Illinois, began his career as a coach at Rich East High School in Park Forest, Illinois in 1971. He went on to an illustrious career at Western Michigan and then the University of Michigan. In 1999, he was hired by SDSU to coach a moribund program that had only had one winning season since 1985.
Coach Fisher became SDSU’s all-time winningest coach and the winningest coach in Mountain West history. He led the Aztecs for 18 seasons before announcing his retirement in April 2017. He led the Aztecs to a Mountain West-record 10 conference titles, eight NCAA tournaments and 13 postseason appearances. At the time, SDSU was the league’s all-time winningest program in conference wins (168). He was a two-time national coach of the year and the recipient of the prestigious 2015 John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award.
To the San Diego community, having a winning team was a dream come true, but it was a lot more than winning. Coach Fisher created an atmosphere, a culture that embraced developing young talent and helping to shape their lives. It also brought the business and philanthropic community together to support SDSU and students.
Photography by Gilda Adler