History of the Special Games
“A Special Day for Special Athletes” was the brainchild of three ambitious CAL-STATE FULLERTON students. Struggling to complete a difficult class project, Dan Faley, Lisa Whaley, and Tom Bohen decided to create an on campus event for developmentally-disabled and special-needs students from local schools: a day of sports, food, ribbons, Disneyland characters, and lots of special attention.
Dan, Lisa, and Tom wanted their event to be different from other Special Games events — they wanted one volunteer for each participating student. Family, friends, CSUF football and basketball players, and other fellow students showed up that April morning in 1986, and the CAL-STATE FULLERTON Special Games were born.
The key to this event has always been — and will always be — the volunteers. One of the key volunteers that first year was Kathleen E. Faley, Dan’s sister. Sadly, Kathleen was killed the following year in an automobile accident. The Games were renamed “The CAL-STATE FULLERTON Special Games-Kathleen E. Faley Memorial” in her honor.
It has been said that “without a seed a tree cannot grow,” and that is certainly the case with the CAL-STATE FULLERTON Special Games. This endeavor is not only a family affair — the entire Faley family turns out to help — but a community event as well. The early support of Mr. Maurice Monnig gave us the seed to plant the tree, and it has been growing ever since, creating thousands of smiles over 18 years for all who participate, young and old.