Warzone: Legendary coach Jim Sweeney won and molded men

The Fresno BeeFebruary 9, 2013 

Enter the Warzone, bite-sized chunks from the smorgasbord of sports.

-- Fresno State fans everywhere have huge holes in their hearts with the passing of legendary coach Jim Sweeney.

Legendary is a term that gets overused in sports. In this case, it's perfectly appropriate.

-- The legacy of a college football coach can't solely be measured by the number of wins on his résumé. One must equally consider the imprint he leaves on the young men who pass through his program.

But when you have a coach who wins and molds young men into responsible adults -- teachers, coaches, bankers, policemen, account executives, even radio station owners -- you begin to understand why so many are so deeply impacted by this loss.

-- Our favorite Sweeney saying, shared by one of his ex-players: "If you always do what you have always done, then you will always be what you have always been."

Words to live by.

-- Other than a few friendly conversations and that vise-grip of a handshake, we don't have many personal memories of Coach Sweeney.

But seeing Fresno State in the final top 20 college football polls -- something the Bulldogs haven't done since -- always left a certain young sports fan baffled in amazement.

-- Bulldog born, Bulldog bred and in heaven you just know Coach Sweeney will be wearing red.

-- Most major leaguers spend the offseason hunting or lounging in tropical climes. Doug Fister needed a tool belt.

"I spent the whole offseason in Merced redoing my kitchen trying to get some cabinets in," Fister said before the Hot Stove Gala.

All by himself?

"I had somebody put the cabinets in, but I was the one stripping the floors and doing Sheetrock."

-- Someone (OK, yours truly) pointed out to Fister that he pitched better in Game 2 of the World Series after getting tagged in the head by a line drive (4-1/3 innings, two hits) than before (1-2/3 innings, two hits).

His reply: "Fortunately it knocked some sense into me."

-- Visalia product Aaron Hill has a new three-year, $35 million extension with the Diamondbacks.

So if you know Hill, now might be a good time to hit him up for a loan.

-- Turns out the Super Bowl blackout was caused by an electrical device installed specifically to prevent a power failure.

Which is kind of like having your house burn down because of a faulty fire extinguisher.

-- Heard Colin Kaepernick got a new tattoo.

The inscription reads, "Check the play clock!"

-- For no particular reason: Mike Withycombe

-- Awfully nice of Fresno State to paint our initials -- MW -- on its basketball court.

They sure do know how to make a guy feel special.

-- Had this week's column all ready to go, but Mom confiscated it and threatened to give it to another newspaper.

Fortunately, Dad intervened and faxed it to The Bee before deadline. What a mess.

The Warzone never signed a letter-of-intent, so tell him where he should go at marekw@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6218.

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