Bulldog Pride on the Rise

September 5, 2008 8:34:56 PM PDT
Exciting times for Fresno State Athletics This week, the department announced a one-point five million dollar donation from the Tachi Palace Casino. And next Saturday the Wisconsin badgers become the first big-ten conference team to come to Bulldog Stadium ... They can expect to see a packed house filled with bulldog red. University officials say these are just two indications that the tide is turning for the recently troubled department.

"We start raising our budget ... we start bringing in some top notch athletes ... "

Cory Hall and Terance Frazier are excited about all the positive buzz surrounding the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Terance Frazier: "Now that we have positive conversation about Fresno State we need to keep it going, we need to keep the ball rolling on all the positive things and stop looking back on all the negative things."

And they're not just all talk ... both former bulldog athletes recently donated 100-thousand dollars each to the athletics department.

Cory Hall: "If you've been to Fresno State you kind of want to get behind that want to see improvements in the facilities, you want recruits to come here, to better the team."

Frazier likes the changes he's seen in the department new management, new coaches it's what prompted him to open his wallet.

Terance Frazier: ""I started going around, and I started talking to a lot of the guys and they were very transparent about the things they were doing so it made me feel more comfortable to know that I could donate money to the school and actually know where it's going."

But the successes on the field including the Bulldog Baseball Team's College World Series Championship ... have also done a lot to change the public's perception of bulldog athletics and the university.

Peter Smith, VP, University Advancement: "We recently announced a 10 million dollar gift from Bill Lyles and his family for engineering ... now we have these additional gifts to athletics, so I think that things are looking great."

Paul Oliaro-- vice president for student affairs, says a bad economy and bad publicity following several scandals and lawsuits against the university by former coaches ... Did lead to fewer donations for athletics But gifts like Hall's and Frazier's signal a dramatic turnaround.

Paul Oliaro, VP Student Affairs: "I'd like to think that they see that we have responded very well accepted responsibility where we needed to, we've abided by the decisions of the courts and are moving forward with a department that really deserves their attention and deserves their investment.

Hall and Frazier hope to inspire other to give ... They say an investment in Fresno State is an investment in the community.

Cory Hall: "Once we're playing against the UCLA's and the USCs that is income coming into Fresno-- You're bringing notoriety to Fresno."

University officials say they've already seen a big increase in ticket sales ... and if the Bulldogs beat Wisconsin next Saturday, they expect tickets sales to go even higher ... right thru spring.

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