1971 TRACK & FIELD INDUCTEE
Art Cazares has a place in the Fresno State track and field record book that most likely will never be equaled. He is the only distance runner in Bulldog history to win an NCAA championship. As a senior, Cazares won the NCAA two-mile in 9:10 in 1942. The following week, he lowered his personal best to 9:05.2 in the AAU-Pacific Association two-mile race in San Francisco.
The Cazares family moved from El Paso, Texas to California where Art and his brother, Gabe, got their first taste of organized track at Garfield High School. While in high school, Cazares ran every distance from the half-mile through the two-mile. The experience paid off when he enrolled at Pasadena Junior College in 1939 and by 1940, he doubled with 4:16.5 in the mile and a 9:22 in the two-mile. Fresno’s veteran coach J. Flint Hanner won the recruiting war and Art and Gabe enrolled at Fresno State. At the same time, they were joined by another top distance runner, Bobby Madrid. The Cazares brothers and Madrid were probably the best trio of distance runners that Hanner ever had.
Art Cazares and Madrid finished in a dead heat for first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association mile run and Cazares also won the two-mile in 1941. The following year, he repeated as CCAA champion in both events. In one of his greatest races, the 1942 National AAU Championship two-miles, he finished second behind the international star Greg Rice. Even when Cazares was voted into the Fresno State Track Hall of Fame, no one was able to contact him. Former Bulldog track coach Red Estes said he believed that Art moved out of the country.