Part 2: Getting It Done On The Field
A decade-long coaching tenure is rare today's world of intercollegiate football. The number of coaches who can claim that distinction is smaller than one would think.
In today's ever-change instant gratification world, one has to have thick skin, a supportive administration, or an extremely solid belief commitment toward building a program to stay at one school that long.
Entering his tenth season as Fresno State's head football coach, there's no question that Pat Hill has all three.
Hill has built the program on three distinct principles: developing Fresno State as the Valley's team; Recruiting Valley High School Football Players and resurrecting Fresno State's academic reputation; winning by playing a tough, major college football schedule.
PART II: Getting it done on the Field/Playing Tough Teams Success
The success under Hill on the football field has been remarkable for a school like Fresno State. Fresno State's streak of seven consecutive bowl appearances is longer any school in the Western U.S. The Bulldogs have been ranked in the national Top 25 polls in each of the last two seasons, and reached a program-best No. 8 national ranking in 2001.
The most remarkable factor is that Fresno State has achieved such success while playing premier programs on the road. Fresno State's recent road travels have led them to USC, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio State, Wisconsin (twice), Oregon (three games), Colorado (twice), Washington, Kansas State and UCLA (twice). That trend continues in the 2006, as the Bulldog travel to Washington on Sept. 16 and LSU on Oct. 21.
The Dogs have been tabbed giant killers for beating some ranked teams on the road, with some notable wins at Wisconsin, Colorado, Washington and Kansas State.
After Fresno State beat No. 13 Kansas State (then the defending Big 12 champion) 45-28 in 2004, legendary coach Bill Snyder said: "I've been here for 16 years. Through some of the years, you can remember the 1-and-10's and 5-and-6's. We never had a football team that just got beat up as badly as we did today and that also needs to say an awful lot about Fresno State. There isn't any doubt in my mind that they are a very quality football team, but we knew that going in."
Last season, the Bulldogs put a scare into two-time national champion and No. 1 ranked USC. The Trojans squeezed out a 50-42 victory over the Dogs in front of a capacity crowd at the historic Los Angeles Coliseum. Fresno State held a lead at halftime and led the Trojans 42-41 in the fourth quarter. It was the most points the Trojans have allowed in a home game since the mid-1970s and the most ever by a Pete Carroll coached team.
"Fresno State did a terrific job," said Carroll after the game. "Their offensive staff did a great job. But their running game today shouldn't happen. It was uncharacteristic of us. However, they are a good football team. No question, they should be in the top-10."
Playing a grueling non-conference schedule has attracted the national media. Fresno State has made 41 national or regional televised games this decade. Of those, 28 have been on ESPN or ESPN2. The Dogs are scheduled to make at least five more national television appearances this season.
Additionally, the Bulldogs have been featured on the cover of sports magazines like Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News, and in cover story features of major daily newspapers USA Today, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.
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Join the State - Fresno State! Get tickets online 24/7 at www.gobulldogs.com or by calling the Bulldog Ticket Office (559-278-DOGS), Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Ticket Office is located at the south entrance of the stadium off Bulldog Lane. Fresno State's 2006 home schedule- which kicks off Sept. 1 against Nevada- features opponents such as Oregon, Colorado State, Hawai'i, New Mexico State and Idaho.