Led by star freshman Jackie White and Sue Mahackian, the Panthers rolled to an undefeated season and three championship titles.
Under Coach Mary Brown, Memorial played an attack-the-basket style on offense. On defense, they pressed and harassed opponents into turnovers that turned into easy baskets on the other end.
The 22-0 Panthers lit a torch for women’s basketball and women’s athletics in the San Joaquin Valley, earning media attention and fan admiration.
They were champions of the North Sequoia League and won the prestigious Holiday Invitational Tournament before being crowed CIF “Valley” champions.
As the California Interscholastic Federation did not conduct a girls’ state tournament in the era, the Panthers’ season was forced to conclude after their Valley title-winning game.
Players: Sue Mahackian, Annette De Feudis, Liz McKinney, Teri Schattinger, Gina Manolio, Beth Cleary, Jackie White, Peggy McGuire, Coach: Mary Brown
Recruited to Fresno State by Coach Jerry Tarkanian, the 6-foot, 10-inch center and power forward rewrote the Bulldogs record book, dominated the Western Athletic Conference and went on to an NBA career that lasted more than a decade.
Ely earned the WAC Player of the Year award in back-to-back seasons (2001, 2002) and led the Bulldogs to the postseason four times, including NCAA Tournament appearances in 2000 and 2001. His senior season, he averaged 23.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots a game.
When he was selected 12th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2002 NBA draft, he left Fresno State as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,951) and shot-blocker (362) and had made more shots from the floor (789) than any Bulldog in history.
During his NBA career, Ely suited up for the Clippers, Charlotte, San Antonio and Denver, and had two stints with New Orleans. He was appreciated by coaches such as Gregg Popovich, George Karl and Byron Scott for his defense, professionalism and willingness to sacrifice personal goals for team goals.
During the 2006-07 season, San Antonio acquired Ely from Charlotte and he earned an NBA championship ring with the Spurs.
Ely became an Illinois high school legend for his play at Harvey Thornton High School, earning Parade and McDonald’s All-America honors. During his three seasons as a starter, the Wildcats posted an overall record of 93-4 and finished second place twice and third place once in the state tournament. He was named Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year and first-team all-state as a senior.
Imagine an athlete who could high jump nearly 6 feet, 9 inches, pole vault 16 feet, long jump nearly 25 feet and twirl the discus almost 158 feet.
Now imagine sprinting 100 meters in 10.7 seconds, finishing the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.3 seconds, putting a 16-pound shot nearly 48 feet, running 400 meters in a shade under 49 seconds and then hearing the starter’s gun and covering 1,500 meters in about 4 minutes, 14 seconds.
You don’t have to imagine such an athlete. Roger George accomplished these marks while becoming a three-time All-American in the decathlon for Fresno, qualifying three times for the U.S. Olympic Trials and winning three conference titles (1972-74).
At the time of his induction, George had held the all-time Fresno State decathlon record of 7,984 points through five decades. He was a two-time runner-up in the NCAA decathlon championships and would have won the 1973 title if the proper scoring tables and timing equipment had been used, according to Track & Field News.
George was an "ironman" in this grueling endeavor, as his career spanned 1970 to 1983. He was a U.S. Olympic team alternate in 1976 on the squad led by Bruce Jenner, and his career best of 8,034 points earned him a silver medal at the 1978 U.S. National Sports Festival. He credits Fresno State coaches Dutch Warmerdam and Red Estes for refinishing his skills and inspiring him to championships.
George’s honors also include being named Fresno State Athlete of the Year in 1974 and Fresno State Senior of the Year in 1975. He won an NCAA postgraduate scholarship in 1975. And he represented the United States in the 1973 World University Games in Moscow and in the 1975 U.S. vs. Russia meet in Eugene, Ore. He was an Olympic Team alternate in 1976.
George later became as accomplished in fishing as he was in the decathlon. He set the Millerton Lake record for a striped bass (50.3 pounds) in 1998 and has landed more than 100 stripers over 20 pounds. He works as a fishing guide and fishing columnist.
The Harris name is synonymous with excellence in every aspect of horse racing in California and across the nation.
The stakes-winning horses bred, raised or trained by Harris Farms include such legendary performers as California Chrome, the 2014 winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, and Tiznow, the only two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Through 2016, Harris Farms had accounted for 46 California divisional champions and seven California Horse of the Year honors for the farm and its clients.
This love affair with horses and competition began simply enough in the early 1950s when Harris rode horses with his grandfather, who lived next to the Fresno Fairground. When the fair rolled around, they would head to the grandstand and cheer on their picks.
In 1966, John Harris and his father, Jack, decided to add a complete thoroughbred horse operation to their cattle ranching and farming businesses.
Throughout his career, Harris has championed California’s place in the horse-racing industry and worked tirelessly to improve and promote the sport.
He has served as chairman of the California Horse Racing Board and been involved in many other industry organizations, among them: The Jockey Club, the California Jockey Club, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, and the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association.
He received the Laffit Pincay Jr. Award in 2012 for "serving the sport with integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction." In addition, Harris is a California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Hall of Fame inductee.
The 6-foot, 4-inch signal-caller was the top collegiate quarterback in the nation in 2001, leading Fresno State to an 11-3 record and becoming the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NFL draft the following spring.
From there, Carr had an 11-year NFL career that included stints with Houston, Carolina, and San Francisco, and two stints with the New York Giants, with whom he earned a Super Bowl title ring.
Carr first earned the attention of Fresno State Coach Pat Hill while he was at Bakersfield’s Stockdale High. After seeing limited duty his first two years with the Bulldogs, he redshirted in 1999.
Carr then took over as starting quarterback in 2000. The promise of that 7-5 season was fulfilled the following year as Carr’s rifle-like passing arm enabled the Bulldogs to defeat Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin while rising to as high as No. 8 in the national polls.
Carr’s statistics were eye-popping and so were the awards he received. He led the nation in passing yardage (4,839), total yardage (4,906) passing touchdowns (46) and TDs responsible for (51). Carr received the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Sammy Baugh Trophy, which go the nation’s top senior QB and outstanding passer, respectively. He also was named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
Selected with the first pick of the 2002 NFL draft by the expansion Houston Texans, Carr’s development was stymied by the team’s porous, makeshift offensive line. But he proved to be a solid NFL quarterback and in 2006, his last year with Houston, led the NFL in pass completion percentage (68.3) while throwing for 2,767 yards and 11 TDs.
He played in 94 NFL games, starting 79, and completed 59.7% of his passes for 14,452 yards and 65 touchdowns, with a QB rating of 74.9.
Following his NFL retirement, Carr entered broadcasting as an NFL analyst. He is a co-founder and managing partner of Carrelite Fitness, and an ambassador for Valley Children's Hospital.
This was the first year that girls’ teams could earn invitations to the post-season Tournament of Champions in Oakland, and the Panthers made getting there a team goal.
They did not disappoint as stars Jackie White and Sue Mahackian led Memorial to a 27-2 overall record. Highlights of the season included winning the Holiday Invitational Tournament title, the Central Sequoia League championship and the CIF "Valley" crown.
In the TOC, the Panthers buzzed through the competition before losing by a single point in the title game.
With their all-out, pressing defense, Coach Mary Brown’s meticulous game plans and Mahackian feeding White for easy baskets, the Panthers routinely beat Valley opponents by margins of 50 points or more.
"(Coach Brown) never went into a game saying, ‘Let’s beat them by 100, let’s humiliate them,’ " Mahackian said. "Her style was to run and gun, press and fastbreak, and we went 100% all of the time because her philosophy was to train for state (playoffs). She didn’t mean to hurt anybody."
Players: Stephanie Moreno, Peggy Neumeier, Lori Cassano, Carol Dela Torre, Joy Moreno, Joanne Torres, Maureen Gill, Jackie White, Gina Manolio, Katie Danks, Sue Mahackian, Teri Schattinger.
Team Manager: Sharon Cappelluti
Coach: Mary Brown
The Panthers dominated their Central Sequoia League competition and other Valley rivals en route to a 25-3 season record.
The combination of high-scoring Jackie White, point guard Sue Mahackian and innovative coach Mary Brown paved the way for the Panthers.
Memorial not only rolled to a 14-0 Central Sequoia League record, but it also claimed the title of the Holiday Invitational Tournament and won its third straight CIF "Valley" championship.
These accomplishments earned the Panthers a berth in the Tournament of Champions for the second consecutive year.
The Panthers often put 60, 70 or more points on the board, and they did it while playing with the same large ball that the boys played with – and without benefit of the 3-point shooting line.
Players: Gina Defendis, Stephanie Moreno, Peggy Neumeier, Mary Ray, Anne Frye, Sue Mahackian, Maureen Gill, Julie Anderson, Katie Danks, Jackie White, Mary King, Diane DuPrey.
Managers: Diane Yraceburu, Pete Gutierrez.
Coach: Mary Brown.