Floyd 'Doc' Buchanan is known as a 'champion of education.' But, believe it or not, he actually grew up wanting to be a heart surgeon.
Born in Arkansas but raised in Colorado, Buchanan attended the University of Denver, enrolling in the pre-med program. During World War II, he put his education on hold to enlist in the Merchant Marines. After the war, Buchanan returned to Colorado and he was ready to return to medical school. However, the semester was over.
Needing a job, Buchanan turned his attention to education. He taught physics and chemistry in the Denver area in the years immediately following the war.
Buchanan made a deal with his parents. In exchange for not finishing medical school, he promised them he would attend the No. 1 university in the nation for education. That is how he came out to California, graduating with a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. 'Doc' Buchanan was born.
In 1957, at the age of 33, Buchanan became the principal of the Jefferson Elementary School District in Clovis. Three years later, he was named the first superintendent of the Clovis Unified School District. He held that position until 1991 (31 years).
'Doc' Buchanan was a visionary. He looked at things in terms of medicine, such as being able to 'diagnose' a student. He also knew every teacher and every worker; they all mattered to him 'Doc' Buchanan was a man of many interests. He was a farmer and a handyman. He studied religion. He read Westerns. And he was big into sports.
A four-sport athlete in high school and a three-sport athlete in college, Buchanan was a state-recognized wrestler as a teenager who would regularly wrestle his five children later in life. He would pin all five!
Buchanan loved wrestling because it brought out the best in an individual, while also achieving team success.
In 1991, the Clovis Invitational Wrestling Tournament was renamed the "Doc Buchanan Invitational."
Buchanan High School, which opened in 1993, is also named in honor of 'Doc' Buchanan.
He enters the Fresno County Athletic Hall of Fame posthumously, having passed away in 2015.
In 2015, Phil Casey was inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame (now known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame), but you can trace his love for the sport back to his adolescent years in the central valley.
Born in Clovis in 1937, Phil Casey grew up on a farm. He was surrounded by figs and grapes, and by siblings! Casey has two brothers and three sisters.
Phil Casey was eleven years old when he worked on his first hot rod. He and his brother "used to take transmissions out," he said.
Casey is a 1956 graduate of Roosevelt High School. He did not play sports in high school, choosing instead to work in an automotive repair shop.
Those skills would certainly come in handy.
Initially, though, Phil Casey actually got behind the wheel. He raced cars for roughly two years after high school. However, he considered that to be more of a hobby, and not a way to make a living.
Casey found his calling as a mechanic. He began by building midget cars and modified racecars. Eventually, he joined the 'big leagues,' heading up Fred Gerhardt's team.
Gerhardt, a Fresno native, and a 1977 inductee into the Fresno County Athletic Hall of Fame was a famous engineer and builder.
For 35 years, Phil Casey was a chief mechanic. He worked with A.J. Foyt, Roberto Guerrero, and Janet Guthrie, among others. Casey won the United States Auto Club National Championship competition nine times. In 1996, he became the technical director for the newly-formed Indy Racing League.
Somehow, Phil Casey also managed to run a charity golf tournament for 19 years. Held annually from 1990-2009, the Phil Casey Indy Racing Golf Tournament gave half of its proceeds to the Pediatric Diabetes Care Center at Valley Children's Hospital.
"I watched my granddaughter struggle with diabetes, and I wanted to help other kids with the disease," said Casey, who has seven grandchildren (and four children).
Phil Casey is one of two Fresno-area natives inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame (Bill Vukovich).
Kim Maher was not born in the United States. A native of Vietnam, she came to this country when she was two months old. Her dad was a contractor, and the family spent time in New York and Louisiana before eventually moving to California.
Maher grew up in Ventura. She has one brother, and they both play sports. He, who Maher refers to as the "brains," played football and baseball. She, the self-described "brawn," played soccer and softball.
In high school, Kim Maher was a pitcher. A natural infielder, Maher says she only pitched because there was no one else to play the position. She left as her school's all-time leader in wins.
At Fresno State, Kim Maher transitioned back to the infield. She played first base her freshman year, then moved over to shortstop as a sophomore. From 1991 through 1994, Kim Maher appeared in 263 games. A second-team all-American as a senior, she was a four-time all-conference player who left as the program's all-time leader in home runs (31), RBI (181), runs (162), and doubles (49).
In 1993, Maher was Fresno State's Female Athlete of the Year. Ironically, it was the only year during her four-year career in which the Bulldogs did not advance to the Women's College World Series.
Kim Maher enjoyed her time at Fresno State. She fondly remembers the community, specifically the Diamond Club. And she was proud to share the international stage with several Bulldogs at the 1996 Olympics, where she played left field on the gold medal-winning team.
Laura Berg, Julie Smith, Shelly Stokes, and Margie Wright (assistant coach) were also on that team.
Maher, who cried on the podium, joked that she was actually hoping to make the Olympic team four years later, in 2000.
After her playing career ended, Kim Maher transitioned into coaching. She was an assistant at Cal for six years (with six appearances in the Women's College World Series and one national championship), followed by eight years as the head coach at Purdue (where she led the school to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament). Since 2016, she has been the head coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State.
Maher said she actually knew in high school that she wanted to be a coach.
"I learned how to fight for the players and the program," she said.
Kevin Sutherland is amazed at what he does for a living.
"I tell people I'm still doing what I did when I was ten," he says.
Sutherland, a professional golfer since 1987, started playing the game when he was eight years old. However, it was not until he was 15 or 16 that he played tournament golf for the first time.
Kevin Sutherland was born and raised in Sacramento. He attended Christian Brothers High School, and it was actually his track & field coach who suggested he might want to consider attending Fresno State. The Bulldogs did not offer him a scholarship, but he picked them anyway, walking on to Mike Watney's team in 1983.
Sutherland redshirted his first year at Fresno State. He used that time to practice, and also simply get used to "being away at college."
By the time he was a senior, in 1987, Sutherland had turned into the Pacific Coast Athletic Association's Golfer of the Year. He was also a second-team all-American.
While at Fresno State, Kevin Sutherland played alongside his brother, David, who was a Bulldog from 1985-1989. The two would also play together years later on the PGA Tour, and they were even paired together in tournaments a few times.
The thought of turning pro did not occur to Kevin Sutherland until his senior year in college. It was Watney who told him, "you're good enough to play at the next level."
More than three decades later, Sutherland is still playing at that level.
An active member of the PGA Tour Champions, Kevin Sutherland has more than a few wins in his professional career. He has earned millions of dollars, has traveled the world, once shot a 59 (at the 2014 Dick's Sporting Goods Open) and he even played a round with his idol, Jack Nicklaus.
"I was like a little kid, watching everything he was doing," said Sutherland of the 'Golden Bear.'
It is a feat that has only been accomplished twice in the 70-year baseball history of the California Community College Athletic Association: back-to-back-to-back state championships.
And the first team to do it was Fresno City College from 1961-1963.
Coached by Len Bourdet, who took over the program in 1958, the Rams won 72 games in those three seasons. They went 21-12 in 1961, 26-9 in 1962, and 25-8 in 1963.
In 1961, Fresno City College defeated Cerritos College to win its first state championship. The Rams were "fortunate to play well when we had to," recalls one former player. Pitchers Leroy Harris and Bucky Hoover both threw complete games against Cerritos. Harris, who had nine wins that season, won the first game of the best-of-three series. In Game 2, Hoover was the beneficiary of ten runs and 19 hits (four from Chuck Caldera) in a 10-2 championship-clinching victory for FCC.
In 1962, Dick Selma entered the picture. Selma, who would go on to have a ten-year career in Major League Baseball, went 13-2 that year with one of those wins coming in the first game of the championship series against Orange Coast College.
In the last game of that series, it was Sherrill Ankenman who earned the win.
Ankenman, a relief pitcher, entered the deciding game (Orange Coast College won Game 2 to force Game 3) after Bill Harrison was ejected for arguing a balk. Ankenman pitched five innings, allowing just one hit, and the Rams rallied behind him: seven runs on eleven hits over the next four innings to win their second straight state championship.
Fresno City College also celebrated another milestone in 1962 when Bix Hayden threw the first perfect game in school history, blanking Porterville, 8-0.
In 1963, the Rams won their third straight state championship by beating Long Beach City College. FCC had two future major leaguers on that team: Dick Selma and Ross Moschitto, an outfielder from Atwater who was just 20 years old in 1965 when he made his big-league debut for the New York Yankees.
Fresno City College won three consecutive state baseball championships in its first 14 years of existence. As of 2020, the Rams have won a total of five state baseball championships, adding titles in 1972 and 1992.
Bob Albers ('61), Sherrill Ankenman ('62), Doug Atwood ('61), Tom Avakian ('62, '63), Dewey Belli ('61, '62), Clark Bridgman ('61), George Bryson ('61), Chuck Caldera ('61, '62), David Corona ('61), Charles Craig ('61), Aaron Epperly ('61), Jerry Fleming ('62, '63), Ken Frankfort ('61), Bob Gamboa ('61), Gary Groth ('61), Leroy Harris ('61), Bill Harrison ('61, '62), Cliff Hathaway ('62), Bix Hayden ('62, '63), Chris Heintz ('63), Terry Heizenrader ('61, '62), Bucky Hoover ('61), Ken Hoyt ('61, '62), Tom Jacobsen ('61), John Kempf ('62), Lincoln Marini ('62), Howard Martin ('62, '63), Major Martin ('62), Ross Moschitto ('63), Darrell Moss ('61), Ron Oliver ('62, '63), Basil Perch ('61, '62), Jerry Rosser ('61, '62), Bob Schanze ('63), Howie Schmidt ('63), Dick Selma ('62, '63), Marty Sharp ('61, '62), Lawrence Silva ('62, '63), Steve Smith ('62), Dean Stewart ('61), Nolan Tinkler ('61), Kryn Van Elswyck ('62), Craig White ('61)
Coach: Len Bourdet