Jim Sweeney, Legendary Fresno State Football Coach, Dies at 83

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Jim Sweeney, Legendary Fresno State Football Coach, Dies at 83
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Jim Sweeney, who christened Fresno State a "sleeping giant" when he arrived in 1976 and then awakened not only the school but a region with 19 years of charismatic, firm and witty leadership as a football coach, died Friday. He was 83. "He was the catalyst, he gave us hope and he gave us pride," longtime Bulldogs booster Harry Gaykian said. "He took us from being obscure to being somebody." Mr. Sweeney had been admitted recently for a week at Saint Agnes Medical Center. His failing health had forced him and his wife, June, to move a couple months earlier from their Clovis home to San Joaquin Gardens, a senior living community in Fresno with continuing care services.

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