David White

It’ll take the next Jim Sweeney (Pat Hill? David Carr?) to rekindle Bulldog passion

Jim Sweeney leads the Fresno State Quarterback Club through a round of “Bulldog Spirit” in an undated photo. Columnist David White says Fresno State needs to top someone with the kind of zest and pride that Sweeney showed to help Bulldogs athletics programs prosper again.
Jim Sweeney leads the Fresno State Quarterback Club through a round of “Bulldog Spirit” in an undated photo. Columnist David White says Fresno State needs to top someone with the kind of zest and pride that Sweeney showed to help Bulldogs athletics programs prosper again. Fresno Bee file

Oh, Fresno State.

You want us to believe that your $60 million plan to renovate Bulldog Stadium is moving forward, without the $60 million and actual forward movement.

Your president, Joseph Castro went on Twitter to call The Bee “misleading” over reports that his wishing well project is, in fact, on hold.

Really, Mr. President? Using Twitter to call out the media? Have you been drinking the hometown Hanford water again? Did the laptop die before you could throw in a #SAD?

Enough with the liar-liar act. Why don’t you go hire-hire someone to make your crumble cake of a football stadium un-old again.

We don’t mean go hire an athletic director. You need to discover the next Cult of Fresno State Personality.

You’ve got to find us the next Jim Sweeney.

The Ol’ Ball Coach is the one who built Bulldog Stadium in the first place, not some mild-mannered athletic director in unadjusted glasses.

The athletic director is just here to hold the hat and tip the driver at the end of the show. Raise $60 million?

That’s going to take a carnival barker who sells used Buicks on the side. If you’re going to reach deep into booster’s pockets, it’s going to take someone with that Bulldog Spirit deep down in their liver.

Because, winning ballgames isn’t enough to make this village float.

Just ask Jeff Tedford, who won 10 games in front of empty seats by the thousands this past football season. He’s a football coach wrapped up in a football coach, which wins lots of games but does nothing to tap into a booster’s retirement fund.

Go ask men’s basketball coach Rodney Terry, who wins every season in front of tarped upper decks and entire rows of unfolded chairs. He keeps asking where everyone’s at. No one is ever there to answer.

It took a poster-sized figure like Jerry Tarkanian to build the Save Mart Center. It took name-taking butt kickers like Margie Wright and Bob Bennett to build fashionable diamonds.

Even wrestling is outdrawing basketball in the Save Mart Center this winter, because they’ve got the backing of retired coach Dennis DeLiddo, screaming at the top of his raspy lungs to anyone who’ll listen.

Do you know that I bought four season tickets for wrestling this year? Not because I thought they’d win three matches in their first season back, but because DeLiddo made me believe in their cause. That, and he threatened to hit me with a Granby if I refused, but still.

Bulldog Stadium happened because Jim Sweeney was out there waving his collared shirt over his naked torso. Nothing gets done in this town without that kind of leader.

No one around gives just because. They give because someone inspires them with a cause. The Red Wave is a tepid bowl of water. It takes someone special, in a maniacal way, to stir the pond.

Reboot Pat Hill, only this time as Fundraiser in Chief. Misquote Scripture to convince David Carr that God wants him to rebuild the walls. Tell Kevin Sweeney that his Old Man’s blood is dying to burst from his veins and bleed us dry of our billfold cash.

After all, it’s going to take more than a new athletic director with a slick sales pitch to move that Bulldog Stadium mountain.

It’s going to take a mountain of a Bulldog to get this dream going again. So, how about you sign out of Twitter and go find that irresistible force to get this unmovable ball rolling?

David White: bydw@sbcglobal.net and on Twitter @bydavidwhite.

Three-point stance

1. Pay very close attention to Firebaugh’s Josh Allen, the Wyoming quarterback who could go No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft this April. It’ll be the last time a small-town Valley quarterback goes to the NFL without going through Fresno State under Jeff Tedford’s watch.

2. Hoover High has two brothers playing in the NFC Championship game – Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks and Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks. Think about that, all you Fresno parents who think you’ve got to transfer your kids to the school district next door to raise successful children.

3. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady busted his hand during practice ahead of the AFC Championship game, which means the Patriots are going to beat the Jaguars with a one-handed quarterback. If you think otherwise, let us know, and we’ll all have a good laugh at the nearest sobriety checkpoint.

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