Feb. 23, 2013
By Jillian Bertolucci & @StephenTrembley
By Jillian Bertolucci & @StephenTrembley
FRESNO, Calif. - The Bulldogs that captured the 1983 NIT Championship under coach Boyd Grant returned to Fresno State on Saturday night to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the win, reconnect with friends and the Red Wave, and help cheer on the `Dogs as they played Boise State.
Regardless of the outcome in the game, the return of the legends from years' past provided an opportunity for second-year head coach Rodney Terry to show the current players a glimpse into their future.
"You often hear me talking to these kids about these being the best times of their lives," Terry noted. "The experiences that our players are having right now are ones that they are going to be able to share for a lifetime with friends."
The fond memories were shared during a day back on campus that included the Bulldog alumni attending gameday shootaround and included time in the locker room with the team before the game.
"We heard about experiences today from guys who haven't seen each other for twenty years, where they were talking about games and practice," Terry said. T"hose are the things I think that you walk away with. They have given back to our guys in that regard saying cherish every moment and embrace it and leave it all out there and have no regrets."
The returning alumni included Tyrone Bradley, Marvin Carter, Dave Mosebar, Charlie Smith, Kevin Grant, Mark Gustin, Omel Nieves, Mitch Arnold, Todd Arnold, Desi Barmore, Kenny Cook, Kevin Grimes, Art Williams and assistant coach Jim Thrash. Coach Grant was unable to attend the game due to recovering from pneumonia.
With the help of many fans, the legendary team also reminisced at a pregame ceremony honoring the 1983 season. The players walked around the room, laughed with each other and signed autographs for fans.
Thrash introduced the players one-by-one with each former Bulldog updating the Red Wave about what they are doing now and sharing a favorite memory of the season. Most players attributed their fondest memories of Fresno State to the dedicated fan base.
Mosebar said what he remembers most about Fresno was the fans.
"That was the greatest feeling at Selland Arena prior to the start of each game, and running through that tunnel and you guys giving us encouragement all through the game," he said. "I appreciate that and so does everybody else."
"I just have always appreciated all the support from the University, and from all the fans," he said. "I'm very happy to see many of your faces again tonight."
The players remembered Fresno to be home.
Carter, who was recruited from Chicago, said, "I am a Bulldog forever, and that's why I am still living here."
Tyrone Bradley also was recruited from Chicago and remained in Fresno.
"I am a Bulldog, and I love my Bulldogs," he said. "If you want to be good, you gotta remember where you came from."
Bradley said if it weren't for Coach Thrash, who he described as a father figure, he would've left Fresno his freshman year.
"The first day I decided to leave Chicago and come to Fresno, I cried like a baby on that plane," he said. "The people on the plane were like, `What's wrong with him?' and they thought I was going to jail! Coach said, `No, he's going to college,'" he said.
Coach Thrash now calls Bradley the "Mayor of Fresno." Bradley, also known as "T-Bone", was dressed in head-to-toe white in honor of the "White Out" game. The crowd roared when he was introduced.
Coach Thrash's fondest memory was the reception the team got when the Bulldogs returned to Fresno after the NIT championship win over DePaul University.
"When we got out of the plane, there was a parade from the airport to the campus," he said. "At each intersection there were hundreds of people lined up on the street. It was just unbelievable."
A warm and appreciative reception was also given 30 years later at the game at halftime when the team was introduced. The entire white-clad Red Wave was on its feet, cheering for their champions.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Join us for the Bulldogs' Senior Night when Fresno State hosts Air Force on March 2. Tickets can be purchased starting at special price of $5 for members of the military, $17 for adults and $9 for youth through www.gobulldogs.com or at the Save Mart Center Box Office.
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