Two NFL alums, a Fresno State softball star who hit the most historic homer in program history, a man known as the “godfather” of golf, and two state championship JC football teams form the Class of 2015 for the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bernard Berrian and Ron Rivers, a pair of Fresno State stars who went on to the NFL; Bulldogs slugger Nina Lindenberg; golf pro Steve Menchinella; and the 1968 and 1969 Fresno City College football teams were announced as inductees Wednesday, with the 57th Annual Enshrinement Awards Dinner set for Nov. 12 at the Fresno Convention Center’s Valdez Hall. The dinner originally was Nov. 7 but moved back because of scheduling conflicts.
Berrian was an all-conference receiver at Fresno State from 2000-03, then piled up 288 receptions for 4,122 yards and 24 touchdowns in eight NFL seasons with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. He caught two passes for 55 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown from David Carr, during Fresno State’s 44-24 upset of nationally No. 10-ranked Oregon State in 2001. At the time, it was highest ranked opponent Fresno State had ever beaten at Bulldogs Stadium.
Rivers is the second on the school’s career rushing list (3,584 yards) and was a seven-year NFL veteran with the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons. Rivers, now an assistant coach at Freedom High-Oakley, scored the final touchdown in Fresno State’s historic 24-7 victory over USC in the 1992 Freedom Bowl.
Lindenberg hit the homer to decide a 1-0 win over Arizona in the championship of the 1998 Softball World Series. She was a three-time All-American and twice was selected to the College World Series All-Tournament team. Lindenberg was on four U.S. national teams that won gold medals in international competition.
Menchinella served as director of golf at Sunnyside Country Club for five decades. His honors include 1998 Northern California PGA Professional of the Year, the 1999 NorCal Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2009 NorCal PGA Langley Award for lifetime contributions to the game of golf.
The 1968 and 1969 Fresno City football teams each went 10-2. The 1968 team beat East Los Angeles 16-7 in Fresno for the title, while the 1969 team downed Fullerton 28-0 in the final.