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Stokes, Shelly
Softball

Athletic and busy as a child, Stokes decided to channel her energy into softball. It was the right decision as she would reach the pinnacles of accomplishment in the sport: an Olympic gold medal and All-America recognition by the NCAA and Amateur Softball Association.

Stokes’ sterling defensive skills as a catcher gave rise to a standout career in international competition that also included playing for the historic 1996 Olympic gold-medal winning team and gold-medal performances with Team USA in the 1995 and 1999 Pan American Games.

In addition, she wore USA’s colors on the 1998 International Softball Federation World Championship title-winning team and the 1995 Superball Classic title team. Stokes was a five-time Team USA member (1994-96, 1998-99).

After a standout career at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California, where she made the switch from second base to catcher, she signed with Fresno State because she wanted to play for Coach Margie Wright.

The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Women’s College World Series every season of Stokes’ career (1987-90) after winning conference championships, three times finishing as the Women’s CWS runners-up to UCLA.

With the Bulldogs, Stokes five-time Team USA member (1994-96, 1998-99). She was a two-time All-Big West Conference selection (1989-90) and twice made the All-West Region team (1989-90). In 1989, she earned All-Women’s CWS honors and in 1990 she was named an All-American.

Both her teammates and Bulldogs fans knew that Stokes was Ms. Reliable behind the plate, but the woman who wore No. 35 on her jersey also developed her hitting skills. Over her final two seasons with the Bulldogs, she hit .264, scored 56 runs, drove in 50 and slugged 31 extra-base hits, including seven triples.

During that time, she was a calming and sure-handed presence for such standout pitchers as Lori Romeiro, Terry Carpenter, Marcie Green, Melanie Parrent and Carie Dever. During the Stokes era, Bulldogs pitchers tossed 12 no-hitters.

Wright said of Stokes, "Her defensive prowess didn’t end with being the receiver for several All American pitchers. She was known by all opponents to be a real "Bulldog" at the plate and very few who tried were able to score when it came down to her blocking the plate to get them out. That skill helped make her one of the greatest catchers in Fresno State history."

Stokes says that Coach Wright has had "a great influence" on her life and she attributes her softball success to "never taking the easy way out and always working harder than your competitor!"

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Hill, Pat
Football Coaching

The former UC Riverside offensive lineman elevated the Fresno State football program into a nationwide household name and an ESPN television staple with his "anybody, anytime, anywhere" mantra during 15 seasons as Fresno State’s head coach.

Not only did the Bulldogs post a 112-80 record and go to 11 bowl games during the Hill era, but they racked up 17 victories over BCS automatic qualifying conference teams. Among their victims: Wisconsin, UCLA, Washington, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Oregon State and Colorado.

In 1999, Hill’s third season as head coach, the Bulldogs went 8-5 and won a share of the Western Athletic Conference title. But that was only a sign of things to come. From 2001 through 2004, the Bulldogs won at least nine games every season and capped three of those campaigns with bowl victories.

The 2001 season, with future No. 1 overall NFL draft pick David Carr at quarterback, saw the Bulldogs rise high in the polls – as high as #8 in the country, Fresno State’s highest ranking ever - and capture the nation’s imagination as they reeled off victories over Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin in an 11-3 campaign.

With Hill’s eye for talent and his pro-style offense showcasing players for scouts, Fresno State became a pipeline to the NFL. His tutelage produced first-round NFL draft picks Carr, Logan Mankins and Ryan Mathews, along with a bevy of other NFL veterans.

Hill emphasized recruiting players from the San Joaquin Valley. He also came up with the "Green V" (signifying the Valley’s agricultural richness) that adorned Bulldog helmets and enabled Fresno State to raise millions of dollars for football, other sports and education.

Hill served as recruiting coordinator and offensive line coach under Jim Sweeney at Fresno State, but knew he needed experience elsewhere if he were to return as Sweeney’s successor. He became offensive coordinator at the University of Arizona and spent five seasons as an NFL assistant before returning to Fresno State as head coach.

Hill is a part of the Bill Belichick "coaching tree," having spent four seasons on his staff with the Cleveland Browns. In addition, Belichick long relied on Hill’s evaluations of players and coaches in building his New England Patriots dynasty.

Hill’s blue-collar, bring-your-lunch-pail approach made him an All-America center at UC Riverside and transformed Fresno State into a program admired by the Red Wave and fans across the nation.

After returning to the NFL for a stint on the Atlanta Falcons’ staff, Hill segued into broadcasting. He has done national broadcasts for ESPN, as well as delivering analysis on 940 ESPN’s Bulldog broadcasts since 2015.

"Pat, his wife of 41 years, Cathy and their three sons: Mike and his wife Aubrey, Matt and his wife Liz, and Zak and his wife Megan along with all the Hill’s beautiful grandchildren continue to reside here in the "Valley".

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Mankins, Logan
Football

The 6-foot-4, 308-pound offensive lineman utilized intelligence, strength and toughness to become one of the most dominant offensive linemen in National Football League history after a standout career at Fresno State.

Over 11 NFL seasons, nine with the New England Patriots, Mankins made seven Pro Bowls and was named first- or second-team All-Pro six times. He earned selection to both the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team and the Patriots All-2000s Team. In 2010, the Patriots line that he anchored earned the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award given annually to the NFL’s best offensive line.

Illustrating his toughness, Mankins is believed to be the only player in NFL history to have played with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, which he did for most of the 2011 season. In the Super Bowl ending that season, he played with a torn MCL in his other knee.

Mankins made 161 NFL starts and started in all 17 of the Patriots' postseason games from 2005-13. He scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the 2006 AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts.

The combination of Mankins, at left guard or left tackle protecting quarterback Tom Brady, was a winning one for the Patriots. They made the playoffs eight times during Mankins’ tenure, twice reaching the Super Bowl. "Nobody stood for Patriots football more than him." — New England QB Tom Brady said about Mankins. "He is one of the all-time great Patriots and the best guard I ever coached." — New England Coach Bill Belichick about Mankins.

The last two seasons of his NFL career were with Tampa Bay, where he was the Buccaneers’ top offensive lineman and a mentor to the team’s young players.

Because he weighed only 240 pounds, he was lightly recruited out of Mariposa High School, but Fresno State assistant coach Tim Simons liked what he saw and recommended him to Coach Pat Hill.

Mankins spent his redshirt year in the weight room and packed on 50 pounds of muscle. After three days of practice the following season, he was named the Bulldogs’ starting left tackle — the "protector" of quarterback David Carr, a future NFL No. 1 overall draft pick.

Mankins was selected First Team All-Western Athletic Conference (2004), Second Team All-American (2004), allowed just three QB sacks in 40 career games, First-Team Freshman All-America (2001), key part of 2001 offensive line that enabled Fresno State to become first team in NCAA history with a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers.

He later became the first offensive lineman in Fresno State history to win the team's MVP award and was selected by New England in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft.

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Carbray, John
Community Leader

John Carbray, a visionary who was ahead of his time in many ways, was the prime driver in building Fresno’s state-of-the-art downtown stadium and bringing Triple-A baseball to Fresno.

Launching the Fresno Grizzlies was a 12-year effort that required Carbray to round up investors, acquire a team, play four seasons at Fresno State’s Beiden Field and convince City Hall to fund the $46 million stadium.

On May 1, 2002, the stadium debuted to an overflow crowd of 12,792 and provided the foundation for future renewal in the city’s long-neglected downtown.

That year the stadium, which Carbray had a hand in designing, was named the best new facility in Minor League Baseball, and Carbray was named Pacific Coast League Executive of the Year.

Before that, Carbray had already established himself as a creative sports and entertainment promoter.

In 1989, he founded Projects West, which brought major acts such as Reba McEntire, the Beach Boys, and Crosby Stills & Nash to Major League stadiums to perform after games. The concept helped many teams gain new fans.

Carbray helped introduce soccer as a professional sport in the United States and laid the groundwork for the U.S. to host the 1994 World Cup. As general manager of the San Jose Earthquakes, he landed stars such as George Best and created a festive atmosphere that enabled the franchise to set attendance records.

In 1969, at the age of 31, he became the youngest president of a Minor League when he was chosen to lead the Northwest League.

Then, along with actor Bing Russell, he turned the Portland Mavericks, an independent team, into one of the biggest stories in baseball. The short-season Mavericks attracted many more fans than Portland’s Triple-A team had in twice as many games.

When Sacramento rejoined the PCL after a 13-year absence, Carbray ran the operation. Playing in old Hughes Stadium, which had a short left-field fence, the team bashed home runs and played some games in shorts. The result: The Solons led Minor League Baseball in attendance in back-to-back years.

Wherever he went, John and his wife, Diane, gave back to the community. In Fresno, this meant supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs and putting his promotional heart and soul into the annual City-County All-Star Football Game.

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Jones, Dot
Track and Field

Dorothy-Marie "Dot" Jones set records in the shot put at Modesto College and Fresno State before becoming the most dominant women’s arm wrestler in the sport’s history with 15 world championships.

She then parlayed her personality, strength and sense of humor into a highly successful career as an actress highlighted by three Primetime Emmy Award nominations (2011-13) for her portrayal of "Coach Beiste" in the musical television series "Glee."

Jones was born in Turlock, California, and raised in Hilmar. Between eighth and ninth grade, she grew more than 5 inches and started weight training to strengthen her gangly frame. At Hilmar High School, she starred in track and field and, at 6-foot-4, attracted a basketball scholarship offer from Nebraska.

But she loved the shot put and instead went to nearby Modesto Junior College, where she set the national JC record at 51 feet, 1.5 inches and earned All-America honors.

The records and All-America recognition continued at Fresno State. She set the university’s record at 54 feet, 2.75 inches — a mark that still stands — in 1986 and the indoor record as well (53-7.5). She placed fifth in the NCAA indoor Championships in 1985 and fourth at the NCAA Championships the following spring. While at Fresno State, she won three conference titles and was a three-time All-American.

Following college, she continued to rank among America’s top shot putters, placing 11th at the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials and seventh at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials before retiring because of knee injuries. She finished with a personal best of 56-6.25.

A few years before, at age 19, Jones had won the first of her 15 world arm wrestling championships. World Champion, Lori Cole said, "There is no word for it. She beat me in her first tournament when she was 19 and I couldn’t believe it. At the time I had already won a couple of titles and I was experienced." Jones was capable of bench-pressing more than 300 pounds and already battle tested because of her track-and-field career, Jones simply was too much for the competition, often winning matches in mere seconds.

After college, Jones was a youth counselor at the Fresno County Juvenile Probation Center and acting wasn’t on her radar. But she was asked to audition for a role in the syndicated series "Knights and Warriors." From there it was on to roles in feature films, a recurring guest role in the TV hit "Married … with Children" and other guest appearances before hitting it big with "Glee."

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2008 Fresno State Baseball
Baseball

Entering the WAC Tournament with a 33-27 record, the underdogs transformed themselves into Wonderdogs, overcoming injuries and long odds to claim the NCAA College World Series with a 6-1 victory over Georgia in the championship game.

It was the first CWS baseball title for Fresno State, which finished the season 47-31.

The Bulldogs went undefeated in the WAC Tournament and won their NCAA Regional, having to bounce back from a 15-1 loss to the University of San Diego. They lost to 12-4 in the opener of the Super Regional to host Arizona State, but beat the Sun Devils 8-6 and 12-9 to earn the trip to Omaha.

The team plane to the College World Series was rerouted 50 miles west of Omaha after struggling with weather problems throughout the flight.

In the title game, Justin Wilson walked one and struck out nine in the longest effort by any pitcher in the 2008 CWS. He threw 129 pitches over eight innings on three days’ rest.

"Justin coming back like that was something special," said third baseman Tommy Mendonca, who earned the CWS Most Outstanding Player award.

Mendonca was special himself. He hit four home runs, drove in 11 runs and sparkled defensively.

Right fielder Steve Detwiler plated all six runs in the title game with two home runs and a double — despite playing with a torn ligament in his left thumb that was awaiting surgery.

"That's a kid who has been playing for us for the last two months with one thumb. And I mean one thumb," said Bulldogs Coach Mike Batesole. "He's just made of heart."

Fresno State tied a CWS record by scoring 62 runs. The offensive explosion, combined with standout pitching at crucial times, enabled the Bulldogs to become the lowest seed in history to win an NCAA title in any sport. And they did it by staying alive in six elimination games, including two against Georgia.

In addition to Mendonca, four other Bulldogs were named to the All-CWS team: Wilson, Detwiler, outfielder Steve Susdorf, and second baseman Erik Wetzel.

The team was invited to White House, where President George W. Bush quoted Detwiler: "Pain is temporary, pride is forever."

Players: Eric Wetzel, Danny Grubb, Trent Soares, Nick Hom, Alan Ahmady, Jason Breckley, Todd Sandell, Tanner Scheppers, Steve Detwiler, Danny Muno, Jordan Ribera, Justin Wilson, Ryan Overland, Brandon Burke, Steve Susdorf, Gavin Hedstrom, Blake Amador, Tommy Mendonca, Justin Miller, Jake Johnson, Sean Bonesteele, Jake Floethe, Clayton Allison, Gene Escat, Kris Tomlinson, Holden Sprague, Jake Hower.

Coaches: Head Coach Mike Batesole. Assistants: Pat Waer, Matt Curtis, Mike Mayne.

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1959 Fresno State Baseball
Baseball

Coached by the legendary Pete Beiden, the Bulldogs became the first team in Fresno State history to reach the College World Series in 1959, a season in which they finished with a 41-13 record.

Upon reaching the CWS at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, the Bulldogs won three of five games, including elimination games against Western Michigan and Arizona, to finish third among eight teams.

The Bulldogs split a pair of games with CWS runner-up Arizona and were finally eliminated by eventual champion Oklahoma State.

Fresno State’s postseason path to the CWS started at home, where the Bulldogs swept Santa Clara 23-11 and 15-3. Next Beiden’s crew ventured north to Seattle where they won two of three against the University of Washington for the District 8 crown.

Dick Doepker was the winning pitcher in one of the games against the Huskies and he won twice more at the CWS.

The Bulldogs opened the CWS by edging Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado) 6-5 but fell to Arizona 5-1 in their second game.

They staved off elimination with a 7-2 victory over Western Michigan and then left-handed ace Leroy Gregory handcuffed Arizona on four hits as the Bulldogs won 2-0 to again avoid going home. Three teams, Arizona, Oklahoma State, and Fresno State each finished the First round with 3 wins and 1 loss a coin flip decided who received the bye) Add before loss to Oklahoma State.

The Bulldogs bats went cold in the semifinal as the team fell 4-0 to Oklahoma State behind a four-hitter by Cowboys senior pitcher Roy Peterson.

Gregory and outfielder Augie Garrido were named to the All-West Region team. Four Bulldogs from the 1959 team earned All California Collegiate Athletic Association honors: Gregory, third baseman Jim Lester, shortstop Mike Mathiesen, and second baseman Jerry White.

Players: Mountie Bedford, Dave Biggers, Stan Busch, Merv Carter, Harvey Casey, Dick Doepker, Tom Emery, Joe Fischer, Jim Garrett, Augie Garrido, LeRoy Gregory, Ted Hiltel, Wayne Hiranaka, Bobby Kelly, Jim Lester, Mike Lillard, Dorman Martin, Mike Mathiesen, Marty Mazzoni, L.H. McDaniel, Lee Murphy, Dave Peeler, Dennis Robertson, Richard Rose, Bob Schultz, Tommy Thompson, Ed Vegely, Jerry White, Babe Williams, O’Dell Youngblood

For Garrido, 1959 would provide a first taste of the College World Series. As a coach, he would win a total of five CWS titles with Fullerton State and Texas, and was the winningest coach in NCAA baseball history at the time of his 2016 retirement.

Players: Mountie Bedford, Dave Biggers, Stan Busch, Merv Carter, Harvey Casey, Dick Doepker, Tom Emery, Joe Fischer, Jim Garrett, Augie Garrido, LeRoy Gregory, Ted Hiltel, Wayne Hiranaka, Bobby Kelly, Jim Lester, Mike Lillard, Dorman Martin, Mike Mathiesen, Marty Mazzoni, L.H. McDaniel, Lee Murphy, Dave Peeler, Dennis Robertson, Richard Rose, Bob Schultz, Tommy Thompson, Ed Vegely, Jerry White, Babe Williams, O’Dell Youngblood

Coaches: Head Coach: Pete Beiden, Assistant Coach: Bill Harbour

Honoring the Past
Celebrating the Present
Inspiring the Future