Former CSUF students remembering Jim Sweeney

February 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Fresno State fans are mourning the loss of a football coaching legend this weekend.

Jim Sweeney died last night at the age of 83. Many people say they were saddened to hear about coach Sweeney's passing. They say there will never be another coach like him.

Fresno State Alumnus Ray Springer said, "You can be the best coach on earth, but if you don't have that charisma about you, I think you miss something."

Springer graduated from Fresno State in 1955. Two decades later he says as a coach at Washington Union High School he became friends with coach Sweeney as he was launching Fresno State into the national spotlight.

"Well, because of him, we put kids into college from Washington Union, you know to play on. That was always a fun thing to do," Springer said.

Jim Sweeney spent 19 years as head football coach at Fresno State.

At 144 he has the most football victories in university history. That number jumps to 201 if you count career wins. There is also a long list of players and coaches who went on to successful careers after sharing the field with Sweeney.

For years his name has sat atop the field where the bulldog football team plays. A name that is synonymous with just about everything related to the bulldog football.

Fresno State Alumna Carole Johnston said, "Yes, he made his mark here, no doubt about that. And his name will always be known well."

A memorial service will be held here next Saturday. The details of that are still being worked out. The Sweeney family told the Action News sports team last night that public service is tentatively planned for 2 p.m.


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