Coach Dutch Warmerdam's team had reason to be confident heading into the season. The year before they had finished second at the NCAA College Division Championships in Chicago.
What's more, the Bulldogs boasted world-class performers in sprinter Darel Newman and triple jumper/sprinter Charles Craig, and also could call on All-American hurdler and jumper Sid Nickolas. In addition, Fresno State was pegged to host the 1964 College Division Championships at Ratcliffe Stadium.
Powered by Nickolas' victories in the long jump (26 feet) and 120-yard high hurdles (13.9 seconds), and third place in the triple jump, Newman's victory in the 100-yard dash, Craig's first place in the triple jump and a blistering, world-class performance from the victorious 440-yard relay team, the Bulldogs won the first NCAA team title in university history in any sport, scoring 87 points to outpace runner-up Long Beach State.
A crowd of 4,000 cheered the Bulldogs on at Ratcliffe.
According to the NCAA rules of the era, the top six individual placers at the College Division nationals could advance to the University Division Championships the following week. The Bulldogs were so talented they that finished third in the University Division at the University of Oregon, trailing the host Ducks and San Jose State. The 440 relay team placed second in 40.2 seconds.
Such lofty performances were hardly surprising. Newman had tied the world record in the 100 at 9.2 seconds at the West Coast Relays earlier in the season, and Craig was the NCAA record-holder in the triple jump. Both qualified for the 1964 U.S. Olympic Trials.
A former Fresno State tight end and assistant coach, Martz left his stamp on the National Football League as the offensive guru behind the St. Louis Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" during the franchise's glory years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
With Martz devising imaginative plays for quarterback Kurt Warner and tailback Marshall Faulk, the Rams won their first Super Bowl championship, 23-16 over the Tennessee Titans, during the 1999 season under Coach Dick Vermeil.
When Vermeil retired, Martz took over the Rams. It was a remarkable ascension for someone who started his coaching career as an assistant at Fresno's Bullard High School and got his first shot with the Rams by telling Coach Chuck Knox he would coach the tight ends for free.
The Rams' winning ways continued under Martz, as the team's high-scoring, quick-striking offense gave opposing defenses fits. The Rams won two NFC West titles, the 2001 NFC Championship and compiled a 53-32 regular-season record during Martz's five-plus seasons. They went 3-4 in the playoffs, highlighted by advancing to Super Bowl XXXVI, where they fell to the New England Patriots. During the 1999 campaign, Martz's No. 1 ranked offense scored 526 points, fourth highest in NFL history. Said Vermeil of Martz, who had returned to the Rams after two years as the Washington Redskins' quarterbacks coach: "I can't think, in my history of coaching, of any assistant who came into an NFL franchise and made the immediate impact that Mike Martz did."
Following his dismissal as Rams coach in 2005, Martz was offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions (2006-07), San Francisco 49ers (2008) and Chicago Bears (2010-11). In January 2012, Martz, 60 years old at the time, announced his retirement from the NFL. Several months later, he became an NFL game analyst for Fox Sports. Once asked his coaching philosophy, Martz answered, "You just can't play the game tight. You've got to let it all hang out, and not worry about it."
Few players on the PGA Tour have ever been as hot or as dominating as the Fresno native was at the 1982 Sammy Davis Jr. - Greater Hartford Open. Norris set the tournament record at 25-under-par 259 for 72 holes. With driver, putter and all of the other clubs in his bag clicking, he became only one of two Tour players to go wire-to-wire without sharing the lead, and eclipsed runners-up Raymond Floyd and Hubert Green by six strokes. That year, he finished third on the tour in driving accuracy and won $65,643.
Norris came to attention while playing at Fresno's Bullard High School and then dominated the competition in two seasons at Fresno City College. Upon transferring to Fresno State, he earned second-team All-America honors and helped the Bulldogs win the Big West Conference Championship.
In his senior season, Norris was a first-team All-American, shared Big West Athlete of the Year honors with fellow future PGA Tour player Jay Don Blake of Utah State and anchored the Bulldogs' Big West Conference title-winning team. His superb play and stroke average of 71.89 - a school record - earned Norris accolades as Fresno State's Athlete of the Year. In his senior season, he also won the individual title at the Sun Bowl Golf Classic.
Norris won four tournaments as a professional: His pro debut at the 1980 California State Open, the 1982 Greater Hartford Open, the 1986 Spalding Invitational at Pebble Beach (highlighted by an opening round 64) and the 1992 Sun Country PGA Championship at Santa Teresa, N.M. He recorded 10 Top 10 tournament finishes on the PGA Tour before an injury to his right hand ended his playing career.
Norris then moved into coaching, first at the University of Texas-El Paso (1990-97) and then rebuilding a Kansas State program that hadn't finished in the top half of its conference since 1969. Norris, the longest tenured Big 12 Conference coach at the time of his induction, turned the Wildcats into legitimate Big 12 and NCAA Regional contenders.
While at UTEP, his 1990, '91 and '95 squads appeared in the NCAA Championships and he had individuals take part in the nationals in 1994 and '97.
Serving budding athletes, international track and field stars and Special Olympians with the same dedication and sharing of knowledge, Santos put his indelible mark on the sports world. He was the 1980 U.S. Olympic men's team field events coach and he was a 2005 inductee into the U.S. Track and Field Coaches National Hall of Fame. He also served as men's coach of the 1983 U.S. Pan American Team. For 18 years, he was Director of Athletics for Special Olympics International in Washington, D.C., developing programs for special needs children and adults. In 1964, he began the first girls track and field program in the state of Oregon. In 1972, he coached the Cal State Hayward women's track and field team to the university's first conference championship in any sport. A year later, the Hayward women won the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national championship and he was named national women's coach of the year. His Cal State Hayward men's team claimed the 1977 NCAA Division II Championship, earning him Division II men's coach of the year honors.
Julie Smith (Softball) -- The Glendora native and Fresno State standout made her mark as one of the best second basemen ever at the collegiate and international levels - highlighted by an Olympic gold medal as a member of the U.S. team in Atlanta.
She was a three-time first-team All-America, first as a freshman leading Texas A&M to the NCAA College Women's Softball Championship over UCLA in 1987.
After breaking her leg five games into her sophomore season, Smith decided to return home to California and play for Fresno State. She sat out one season because of the transfer rule and then helped the Bulldogs to a runner-up NCAA finish in 1990 and third place in '91 while earning All-America honors each year.
After a '91 campaign in which she hit .362 to lead the Bulldogs, she was named Fresno State's Female Athlete of the Year and selected to the NCAA's College Softball World Series All-Decade Team.
In addition to starting at second base for the United States during its gold medal Olympic run in '96, Smith also was a member of two World Championship teams and three Pan American squads that earned gold medals.
Smith also was a six-time Amateur Softball Association All-American, winner of the ASA's Erv Lind Defense Award and a member of the 1987 Junior Women's World Championship team.
In 1997, Smith founded a non-profit company called TeamSmith, Inc. It started out as a nationwide philanthropic effort to focus on the underserved young girls and provide life skills clinics. Smith was afforded the opportunity to conduct 2 clinics on Yankee stadium and multiple clinics at RBI in Harlem. Her efforts switched to more local efforts in California. Currently, Teamsmith has 6 ASA Travelsoftball Teams. Teamsmith has helped placed over 100 student-athletes in college all the while promoting respect and giving back within the philosophy.
In 2000, feeling that she (earned her right) to return to the U.S. Olympic team, she challenged the ASA selection process. The focus of the claim was to change the Selection Process, not to return to the team. Though she didn't land a spot with her appeal, a federal arbiter ordered ASA to publically admit the process was flawed, change the process for future selections.
At the time of her induction, Smith was beginning her sixth season as head coach of the University of La Verne softball team and had led the Leopards to three NCAA Division III tournament appearances. Smith has also been serving the role as Senior Women's Administrator role and Assistant Athletics Director for the past five years.
A Super Prep All-American at famed Long Beach Poly High School, the tenacious and hard-hitting safety blossomed into one of the best defensive backs in Fresno State history and carved out an 11-year NFL career that included playing in Super Bowl XXXV for the New York Giants.
As a junior, the 5-foot-11, 205-pounder set school and Western Athletic Conference records for tackles in a season with 198. He was named All-WAC as a senior and finished his Bulldogs career with a school-record 458 tackles. As a true freshman in 1993, Stoutmire was Fresno State's Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Selected by Dallas in the seventh round with the 224th overall pick of the 1997 NFL draft, Stoutmire made an immediate impact for the Cowboys with four tackles and a sack in his first regular-season game. Stoutmire started 14 games during his two seasons in Dallas.
After one season with the New York Jets, in which he returned an intercepted pass 67 yards for a touchdown, Stoutmire crossed town and joined the Giants. Always versatile, he started 32 games, returned kickoffs and was a key performer in New York's dime defense and on their special teams for five seasons. Perhaps his best year was 2003, when he was third on the Giants in tackles with a career-high 109.
In the 2004 season opener, however, Stoutmire tore a knee ligament and went on injured reserve. After being waived by the Giants, he signed with the NFC East rival Washington Redskins and again made his mark by making four tackles, including a sack, in a playoff victory over Tampa Bay.
The following season he moved onto New Orleans and claimed a starting position for the Saints at strong safety. He helped the Saints into the playoffs by intercepting two passes and making 56 tackles in the regular season. Stoutmire then returned to the Redskins for his final NFL campaign.
Following his NFL career, Stoutmire and his wife, Sheila, founded the North Texas Jackrabbits, a track and field program for youths 7 to 18.
"Records are made to be broken" surely applies to Pete Wilson, a New York native who moved to Fresno at the age of 43, and began his conquest of powerlifting at age 49.
At the time of his induction, Wilson had won six (6) World Championships, seven (7) American Championships and twenty (20) California State Championships since taking up the sport in 1986. Among his many other accomplishments would be the 2008 Induction into the U.S. Powerlifting Federation Hall of Fame and a citation in Sports Illustrated magazine's popular "Faces in the Crowd" feature in 1998.
Three lifts comprise a powerlifting completion - squat, bench press and deadlift - and Wilson excelled at all of them. In addition, he performed at a high level for nearly three decades in a sport in which competitors often rise to prominence and quickly burn out.
At 5 feet, 6 inches tall, Wilson competed in the 181-, 198- and 220-pound classes in both Masters and open competitions. In 1988, at the age of 51, he pulled the best deadlift of his career, 518 lbs. He was 55 when he squatted a career-best 525 lbs., and 61 when he produced his career-best bench press of 374.7 lbs. Wilson's all-time best total for the three lifts of 1,387 lbs. was accomplished at the 1997 U.S. Powerlifting Federation National Championships, when he was 60, in Portland, Oregon.
Wilson grew up in the borough of Manhattan in New York City and ran track and played basketball while attending Straubenmueller Textile High School in Manhattan.
It was Wilson's wife, Deidra, who convinced him to join a gym here in Fresno. After attending a powerlifting meet, Wilson says, "I liked what I saw" and he started training to compete in an upcoming competition."
Wison's career took him to locales such as Australia, Finland, Canada and all over the United States for competitions. It also earned him the nickname "The Governor of Powerlifting," because Pete Wilson occupied the state Capitol while the powerlifter was setting records.