SAN JOSE -- After nearly 31 years of being sealed up, Steve Clarkson recently opened a letter from Chevrolet congratulating him on his performance in a 1982 game against Cal.
Clarkson, a former San Jose State quarterback and member of the school's hall of fame, was named the Spartans' Most Valuable Player during the ABC televised game, which Cal won 26-7.
Chevrolet donated $1,000 to school's scholarship fund in Clarkson's name and sent him a plaque and a letter. He received the plaque, but the letter remained in the office of sports information direction Lawrence Fan, who is now entering his 34th year at the school.
It was tucked away in a file until Clarkson stopped by last week to visit with Fan and SJSU quarterback David Fales. Fan thought the letter was in recognition of Clarkson being named Academic All-American and planned to point out that Clarkson had been the school's last football player to receive that honor until Travis Johnson last season.
Turns out it was a letter from Thomas A. Staudt, Chevy's general marketing manager, congratulating Clarkson's performance. The letter was dated Oct. 8, 1982.
"This made my day," Clarkson said as he opened the letter.
Clarkson was at the school primarily to get to know Fales, who broke Clarkson's SJSU single-season passing touchdown record during his fabulous debut season last year. Fales, who had 33 touchdowns, is in line to make a run at Clarkson's career record of 59.
It was the second time Fales has met Clarkson. The first was when he was in high school and drove four hours to a camp that Clarkson, a noted quarterbacks coach, was holding.
There wasn't much interaction that time, but now Clarkson is fully aware of the quarterback that's rewriting San Jose State's record books and said he plans to attend a Spartans game this season.
Clarkson split time at quarterback as a sophomore in 1980 before taking over full-time during the 1981-82 seasons under coach Jack Elway. The Spartans went 9-3 and won the Pacific Coast Athletic Association title in 1981. They lost to Toledo in the California Bowl despite Clarkson throwing for a school bowl-game record of 467 yards.
San Jose State opened Clarkson's senior season in 1982 with three wins over Pacific-10 Conference teams, beating Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State -- all on the road -- before losing to Cal. The Spartans went 8-3 that year but did not reach a bowl game.
Follow Jimmy Durkin on Twitter at twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.