1973 FOOTBALL INDUCTEE
Jim Jurkovich was a big, fast, triple threat back in an era where that combination was rare. The stocky 187-pounder was an All-San Joaquin Valley choice in 1937 and 1938 for the Fresno High School Warriors. He also won the State CIF long jump championship in 1939 at 24’1/2″ that held up as a state record for ten years. His 9.9 second speed in the 100-yard dash also garnered points and he anchored the Warrior relay teams. His coach, Erwin Ginsburg, was one of his biggest boosters. “Jim never backed away from head-on confrontations and was a devastating runner.”Ironically, it was leading with his head that shortened a promising career at the University of California. Two concussions limited his playing time although the highly recruited Warrior had some starring moments for the Bears. In 1941, he started at halfback for the Berkeley team against St. Mary’s. He ran for two touchdowns and set up another in a 31-0 rout.
He was injured in the next game and not allowed to play for the rest of the season. The following year, he was used sparingly, but played well enough to receive an invitation to the 1943 East-West Shrine game. His highlight of that season was a 105-yard pass interception touchdown against USC. Jurkovich was an honor student at Fresno High and University of California at Berkeley and became an internationally renowned structural engineer. He won the 1959 world competition for a bridge design.