Aug. 14, 2002
Bulldog Grapevine is column about Bulldog athletics written by Steve Weakland, Fresno State's Assistant Athletics Director for Communications. Its purpose is to stimulate interest in many things that may not get mainstream media coverage. It is also a forum to answer questions and correct misinformation about Fresno State athletics. If you have questions or comments, please contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments could appear in future editions of this column.
BULLDOG OF THE WEEK - Former Bulldog golfer Jonathan Echols wins the award as he earned a spot in the 2002 United States Amateur Championship. Echols, who guided the Bulldogs to the NCAA Championships each of the last three years, should be ready to enter the professional ranks after the U.S. Amateur.
TRIVIA QUESTION - What is the only school in the nation to produce a first round draft pick the sports of football, men's basketball and baseball this season?
WINDS OF CHANGES - Intercollegiate athletics is in a state of constant change. Student-athletes come and go, creating new opportunities for the next generation. That's what makes college athletics so exciting. This year, Fresno State is experiencing coaching changes that have not been seen in years. Not only do the Bulldogs lose a couple coaching legends with the retirements of Jerry Tarkanian and Bob Bennett, there is an entirely new coaching staff for the women's basketball program. That represents 13 new staff members in those three sports alone. Ray Lopes and his staff have been busy recruiting and selling their brand of Bulldog basketball. In addition to preparing for her wedding and tending to her daughter, Sierra, women's basketball coach Stacy Johnson has been circling the globe looking for prospective players. Mike Batesole and his staff have been scouring the Valley in search of the top baseball talent in the area. All three of these coaches have simple goals: Be the best in the WAC and build a perennial top 25 program. If the first few months on the job are any indication, they should be successful.
BERG, LINDEBERG ON TEAM USA - Two former Bulldog greats, Laura Berg and Nina Lindenberg, spent the summer playing for the U.S. National Softball Team. Both players have been playing well as the U.S. continues to dominate the world in the sport of softball.
BABY BULLDOGS - We would like to welcome a couple recent additions to the Bulldog Family: Gabriel Rueda and Macy Chance. Gabriel is the first child of Miguel and Andrea, who was born last month. Miguel is in his second season as the head football trainer. Macy is the new daughter of equipment manager David Chance and his wife, Tiffany.
DOUBLE YOUR FUN - This year, the athletics department is offering a combination volleyball and women's basketball ticket. For one low price, fans can purchase a ticket for both sports for the season. This a great and relatively inexpensive way to catch all of the action in the North Gym this season.
WATNEY TO THE WHITE HOUSE - Senior golfer Nick Watney has been invited to the White House to meet President George W. Bush. Watney was a member of the victorious Palmer Cup team that represented the United States earlier this summer. A date has not been set for Nick's visit, but more details will follow when available.
COVER BOYS - While on a road trip this summer, I stopped at a convenience store in Rawlins, Wyo. As I walked by, I checked out the USA Today rack and spotted David Carr on the front page of the newspaper. It marked the fifth time this year David has made the cover of USA Today. It has been a great year for Bulldog athletes past and present making the cover of magazines. David once again graces the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, his second appearance on the cover of that publication in less than a year. He also has been on the cover of The Sporting News, New York Times and Football News. Stephen Abas made the cover of the Amateur Wrestling News. Former Fresno State quarterback Trent Dilfer was recently on the cover of The Sporting News.
VAULTING TO SUCCESS - Congratulations to track and field director (and pole vault guru) Bob Fraley for another successful National Pole Vaulting Championship event in Clovis over the weekend. Fraley and the Bulldog coaching staff put on a great show. Nearly 6,000 fans lined Pollasky Avenue for the event. The music was great, the vaulting was excellent and with the food venders and kids bounce house and petting zoo made it a great event for the whole family.
'DOG TALK - KMJ radio's popular pregame show 'Dog Talk will be featuring more guests and topics during the season. Before the Wisconsin game, plans are in the works to get David Carr on for a live interview talking about the 2001 Bulldog upset over Wisconsin. Future topics could include Friday Night Football, the bowl and BCS landscape and Bulldog Stadium expansion.
BONA BACK IN TOWN - Former Bulldog basketball player Andrea Bona has been in Fresno for parts of the summer. Bona, who played last season in his native Italy, was on his way back to Europe to meet with a professional team in Germany.
WELCOME TO THE WIZARD - Randy Welniak is one of the newest administrators on the Bulldog staff. Serving as associate athletics director, Randy came to Fresno from the University of Wyoming, where he was a successful fundraiser. He spearheaded a $9.4 million campaign to build a student-athlete center. Randy was an outstanding quarterback in the late 1980s, guiding the Cowboys to a top 10 national ranking, the 1988 WAC title and berth in the Holiday Bowl. He won the 1989 Stan Bates Award, given annually to the WAC's top scholar-athlete. It has been great having Randy share his awesome fundraising ideas with the rest of the staff. In addition, he is the sports supervisor for football, women's basketball, softball, men's golf and equestrian. Randy and his wife Wendi, a former Miss Wyoming, have two sons, Craig and Michael, and a daughter, Katie. The department would like to welcome the Welniak family to the Valley.
JAURENA HEADS UP "DEFEAT THE HEAT" - Tracey Jaurena, a former Bulldog student athletics trainer and 1985 Fresno State graduate, has been named one of the national spokespersons for the "Defeat the Heat" campaign, a national public safety program designed to alert parents of the dangers of dehydration and heat illness among active kids. The campaign provides information on prevention of dehydration, which in extreme cases can lead to death. "Defeat the Heat" is a joint effort between National SAFE KIDS and the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) with support from Gatorade. Jaurena, the head athletics trainer at West Hills College in Coalinga, Calif., got a scare last summer when her 10-year-old son, Abe, suffered heat exhaustion during a football game. "Defeat the Heat" was launched June 6 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., featuring Tracey, Abe and Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt. They stressed to lawmakers the importance of educating parents about heat illness. Those three are also featured in 30-second public service announcements that are being circulated nationwide. Summitt, who is considered one of the greatest coaches of all-time, and Jaurena are making parents aware of the dangers related to heat illness. The campaign will continue throughout the summer.
WATCH YOUR STEP - While spending a quiet week at Shaver Lake this summer, Athletics Director Scott Johnson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The good news for Scott is that surgery was not required and he was able to continue to water ski with the use of a knee brace. The bad news is that the truth of the injury spread like wildfire around the department. Scott did not injure his knee while skiing, but rather he missed a step coming off the deck of a cabin.
WEDDING BELLS - Several members of the department have either gotten married or will soon be tying the knot. Kelly Hansen of academic services married former Bulldog pole vaulter Nick Paramo on July 13. Media Relations photographer David Hunter married Melissa Farris on Aug. 3 and women's basketball coach Stacy Johnson married Chuck Klein on Aug. 11. Scott Wetherbee, who resigned as the Bulldog's ticket manager in July to accept a similar position at San Diego State, married his fiancée, Tracy, in June. Congratulations to the newly weds!
'DOG BONES - Best wishes go to former basketball operations director Jack Fertig, who is recovering from emergency back surgery ... congratulations to former Media Relations Student Assistant Aaron DeWall, who was named Assistant Media Services Director at the University of Nevada ... our thoughts and prayers are with Jerry Tarkanian as he continues to battle prostate cancer ... former Bulldog All-American Amanda Scott was named the pitching coach at Michigan State ... former Media Relations Intern Chennelle Miller was named Assistant Media Relations Director at North Carolina State ... former men's assistant basketball coach John Welch has taken a job with the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA ... the Bulldog golf team leaves for Japan at the end of the month to play in the Topy Cup.
TRIVIA ANSWER - Fresno State. (David Carr to the NFL's Houston Texans; Melvin Ely to the NBA's Los Angles Clippers, Chris Jefferies to the Los Angles Lakers, Ben Fritz to the Oakland As of Major League Baseball.)