Jim Sweeney memorial service
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Legendary head football coach Jim Sweeney will be remembered at a "celebration of life" service at bulldog stadium Saturday afternoon.
It was certainly a busy Friday at Bulldog Stadium, with crews working to set up for thousands of people to remember the coach Saturday afternoon at his memorial service.
Charlie Jones said, "No dog down, bulldog born bulldog bred gonna be a bulldog till the day I'm dead."
Jones says those "Sweeney sayings" are common language amongst Bulldogs. He says Sweeney taught them much more than a game.
"A lot of his sayings the way he coached he taught us more than football he taught us about life, a lot of the stuff he told me for football I use it in life," Jones said.
Lorenzo Neal said, "Jim Sweeney wasn't just a football coach, he was a father figure and a leader among men."
Neal says he owes his 16 years in the NFL to coach Sweeney.
"Jim was a guy who would grab you by the helmet and say yes you better listen."
A number of former players are back in Fresno to remember the most winning head coach in Fresno state football history.
Former players met at the Elbow Room in Northwest Fresno to share stories-and reconnect with one another.
Brad Bell said, "if you ask any of these guys what they miss they don't miss the practice, they might miss the games, but what they miss is this the relationships and time together."
Bell is emceeing Saturday's memorial service and called the invitation a humbling honor. He and former bulldog Kevin Jordan have been coordinating and working to bring everyone back home to the Central Valley for one last celebration of coach Sweeney. Jordan says the bulldog spirit isn't what it once was.
"We've been on the forefront, bringing the tradition back to bulldog football a lot of new guys never even heard of bulldog spirit the fight song we used to sing," Jordan said.
And he says he's made it his mission to make sure the next generation continues the tradition that Sweeney started.
The celebration of life will start here at the stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, with the lots opening for tailgaters at 10 a.m.
Fresno State is helping to coordinate this service and they are asking people to dress in church style attire.
fresno, fresno county, fresno state, local, stephanie stone
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