The only football players to have had their numbers retired -- Dale Messer, Vince Petrucci, Kevin Sweeney and Henry Ellard -- will be honored at halftime of Saturday's game against California.
Sept. 22, 2000
FRESNO, Calif. -
Four former Fresno State football standouts - Henry Ellard, Dale Messer, Vince Petrucci and Kevin Sweeney - will be honored in an on-field presentation at halftime of Saturday's football game against California. They are the only players in the 75-year history of Fresno State football to have had their jersey numbers retired.
The foursome will be honored by receiving a replica jersey in addition to having their name and number hung on the facade of the Bulldog Stadium press box. The ceremony will be a part of the Bulldogs' Alumni Day, at which over 300 former players will be in attendance, according to head coach Pat Hill.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to honor four of the greatest players ever to play at Fresno State," said Hill. "They have meant a lot to Bulldog football, and it's fitting they should have their numbers hanging in the stadium for everyone to see."
Following are the accomplishments of each of the four players:
No. 83 Henry Ellard, Wide Receiver (1979-82)
Broke nearly every Fresno State receiving record in 1982 in addition to setting an NCAA record with 1,510 receiving yards that season ... still the FS career leader in touchdown receptions (25) ... is third in Bulldogs history in receiving yards (2,947) and fourth in receptions (138) ... was named second-team All-America by the Associated Press as a senior and was a second round draft pick by the Los Angeles Rams ... had a 16-year NFL career and is considered one of the finest wide receivers ever to have played ... while in the NFL, played for the Rams (1983-93), Redskins (1994-98) and Patriots (1998) ... had 13,777 yards gained in his NFL career, third all-time.
No. 21 Dale Messer, Halfback (1958-60)
Was not only the starting halfback but also punted and handled the placekicking chores in his career ... was a three-time all-conference pick ... led the Bulldogs in rushing (811 yards), receiving (30 receptions), scoring (108 points), punt returns and kickoff returns his senior season ... two-time All-America selection ... played in the East-West Shrine game in San Francisco, Calif., and was a three-time All-Coast honoree ... rushed for nearly 2,000 yards in his career and scored 31 touchdowns ... his 25 rushing touchdowns ranks eighth on FS's all-time list ... later played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1961-65.
No. 14 Vince Petrucci, Placekicker (1976-78)
Ranks ninth on Fresno State's career scoring list with 176 points ... was a two-time All-PCAA pick ... connected on 88 consecutive conversions at one point ... as a junior, was a second-team All-Coast selection by both the AP and UPI ... converted 101 of his 103 PAT attempts and 25-of-42 field goals ... kicked a career-best 51-yard field goal against Cal State Fullerton.
No. 9 Kevin Sweeney, Quarterback (1983-86)
Finished his career with 10,623 passing yards, at the time an NCAA record ... became the first player in PCAA history to finish in the top 10 in the Heisman Trophy balloting when he was ninth in 1986 ... established 30 NCAA, PCAA and Fresno State records during his career ... was runner-up for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback of the Year Award as a senior ... was an Associated Press honorable mention All-American in 1986 ... is still the FS career leader in passing yards and total offense ... threw 69 touchdown passes in his career, tops in program history ... was drafted in the seventh round by the Dallas Cowboys ... played for Dallas in 1987 and '88 and later for the San Francisco 49ers in 1989.