FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State Athletic Director Jim Bartko laid out his five-year plan Thursday afternoon that includes the return of wrestling.
Few people are happier about the news than Dennis DeLiddo. He coached the 'Dogs for more than two decades and won nine conference titles. Fresno State expects to hire its new coach within the next year and DeLiddo knows the talent pool will be deep.
"It'll be huge. It'll be nationally, there will be people calling me that have already called me. I've got people calling me from all over the country. I go to the NCAA's in March. And they get the news of this, it's going to be bananas," said DeLiddo.
Bartko also announced the addition of a women's sport. Fresno State has chosen water polo as a tag-team partner with wrestling. The aquatics center on campus houses swimming and diving, but will host the new team. The news is making a big splash just a few miles away at Clovis North, where a big swim meet was taking place.
"I think with Fresno State being here, I think this area could become the Mecca of Water Polo, because we can just keep all of the local talent right here. And we don't really have a need to really recruit and go anywhere else. It's great for our club kids and our high school kids," said Micha Pavlovic.
Clovis North girls water polo head coach Micha Pavlovic and Dennis DeLiddo believe these two programs can start excelling within the next few years, given the local talent pool and the right coaching. That's all part of Jim Bartko's game-winning and program-changing strategy for the Fresno State Bulldogs.
"I hope they know we have a plan. And a plan in place. And that we're committed to being excellent. And to re-engage the entire community," said Bartko.
Fresno State is also looking to upgrade some of its facilities. The women's soccer and lacrosse field looks dry and dead here, but the 'Dogs will re-sod the field and spruce up the locker rooms. The Wathen Tennis Center and Warmerdam Field will also get a makeover. And consultants will be brought in to see if any new improvements can be made to Bulldog Stadium.
"We've got to engage our community. We need to raise some more money. That's kind of the five points. It's not going to happen overnight, but each day we take one step at a time and do a little checklist, we'll get there," added Bartko.
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Jim Bartko's 5-year plan for Fresno State sports
FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS
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