1971 BASKETBALL INDUCTEE
P. F. POLLY
Coaching in junior college ranks for 24 years, P.F. “Polly” Wilhelmsen led College of the Sequoias teams, from 1941 to 1965, to a record 355 wins against 194 losses.
During this span of mentorship, Wilhelmsen coached COS squads captured nine Conference Championships, one California JC (1953) title and competed in state playoffs on two other (1952 and 1957) occasions.
From the 1942 through 1950 seasons, his teams won 59 consecutive league games.
A native of Nebraska, he came to Fresno with his family. His participation in organized sports began at Fresno High School under the guidance of Erwin Ginsburg. Wilhelmsen matriculated to Fresno State after graduating from FHS in 1924.
In college, he participated in basketball, track, and golf. He was a star for the Bulldogs, playing forward on the 1925-1928 teams. He is still considered by many local sports experts as one of the top players in FSC history, as a set shot and a dribbler.
In addition to his great dedication to coaching basketball, Wilhelmsen was active in the promotion of all sports and was always ready to lend a helping hand in strengthening the overall athletic picture.
He was a former president of the National Junior College Athletic Association, in 1946 he was Director of the NJCAA Track Meet, in 1949 he founded the first COS golf team and in 1952 he was the director of the first California JC Championship Basketball Game.
Posthumous recognition came from the National Junior College Association in 1965, naming him one of three outstanding coaches in the country.
Helms Athletics Foundation, in 1970, designated “Polly” Wilhelmsen as a recipient of the California Junior College Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Award.