6PCAA/Big West(1977, 1982, 1985, 19881989, 1991)

James Joseph Sweeney(September 1, 1929 February 8, 2013) was anAmerican footballplayer and coach. He served as the head football coach atMontana State University(19631967),Washington State University(19681975), andCalifornia State University, Fresno(19761977, 19801996), compiling a careercollege footballrecord of2011534(.567). Sweeneys 144 wins as the head coach atFresno Stateare the most in the history of the program.

Born inButte, Montana, Sweeney was the youngest of seven children of Will and Kate Sweeney; his father was a hard-rock miner who emigrated from Ireland.12As a youth in Butte, he was a top pitcher and outfielder in baseball, and graduated fromButte Central Catholic High Schoolin 1947.3

Sweeney playedcollege footballas anendat theUniversity of PortlandinOregon, and graduated in 1951.45After his junior year, the school dropped football as an intercollegiate sport, and Sweeney spent his senior season of 1950 as a high school coach at Columbia High School in Portland.6

Following graduation he returned to Montana and was ahigh schoolassistant at his alma mater, Butte Central, for a season. He was its head coach from 1952 to 1955, and atFlathead High SchoolinKalispellfrom 1956 to 1959.7Sweeney moved up to the college ranks in 1960 as an assistant coach atMontana StateinBozeman, and was promoted to head coach in 1963.8He compiled a 3120 (.608) record and threeBig Skyconference championships in his five seasons with the Bobcats,9where one of his startingquarterbackswasDennis Erickson. At Montana State, Sweeney is credited with convincingJan Stenerud, aNorwegianon a, to go out for the football team as akicker.10Stenerud went on to become the only pure kicker inducted into thePro Football Hall of Fame.411His salary at MSU in 1967 was US$15,000.7

After his success in Bozeman, he moved up to thePac-8 ConferenceatWashington StateinPullman,7where he started with a one-year contract at $20,000 in 1968.1213He had only one winning season and compiled a 26591 (.308) record in eight seasons.1415His teams most noteworthy accomplishment was the defeat ofRose Bowl-boundStanfordin 1971 to garner him NCAA District 8 Coach of the Year honors.16After a disappointing conclusion to the 1975 season (winless in conference), Sweeney resigned at WSU a week after the season ended.171819He was promptly hired atFresno State,20212223where he coached for two seasons before becoming aNational Football League(NFL) assistant for two years. He spent the1978 seasonwith theOakland RaidersinJohn Maddens finalseason,24and the1979season with theSt. Louis CardinalsunderBud Wilkinson, who was fired before the seasons end. Sweeney returned to Fresno State as head coach in1980for 17 seasons and he compiled a144743 (.658)record and eight conference championships (PCAA/Big WestandWAC) in 19 seasons.2526Sweeney retired from coaching following the1996season with 201 wins in 32 seasons.

Sweeney was the father of 9 children: Jim Sweeney, Peggy Sweeney, Sheila Sweeney, Carol Sweeney, Mary Lou Dion Sweeney, Daniel Sweeney, Colline Sweeney, Patty Negrete Sweeney, andKevin Sweeney, whom he coached at Fresno State.127His wife and mother of all his children, Lucille (Cile) Carollo Sweeney, was his high school sweetheart from Butte; she died at age 57 in 1988 from anintracranial hemorrhage.2829He later married June Sweeney and they resided in Fresno. Two of his grandsons played forPac-10football: Nate Fellner atWashingtonand Kyle Negrete atUSC. Sweeneys grandson, Beau, played atCaliforniabefore transferring in 2011.

Sweeney died in Fresno in 2013 at age 83.30He and his wife had recently moved to a senior living home due to his failing health, which included a stay at St. Agnes Medical Center.

Assistants under Jim Sweeney who became NCAA head coaches:

Dennis EricksonIdaho(19821985, 2006),Wyoming(1986),Washington State(19871988),Miami (FL)(19891994),Oregon State(19992002),Arizona State(20072011)

Mike PriceWeber State(19811988),Washington State(19892002),UTEP(20042012, 2017)

Joe TillerWyoming(19911996),Purdue(19972008)

Jeff TedfordCalifornia(20022012),Fresno State(2017- )

(Pacific Coast Athletic Association / Big West Conference)

Conference division title or championship game berth

List of college football coaches with 200 wins

Olderman, Murray (November 7, 1986).Family affair at Fresno State.

Calcaterra, John (January 6, 1968).Sweeney showed baseball talent.

. National Collegiate Athletic Association. p.384

Caraher, Pat (November 10, 1968).Cougar defense keyed on run, not pass.

Uptagrafft, Michael (October 21, 1971).Sweeney gets coaching honor.

. Hendersonville, North Carolina. UPI. p.9.

Sweeney new head football coach at Washington State University.

. Associated Press. December 14, 1973. p.21.

Putnam, Pat (November 4, 1968).Big Kick Out Of A Strange Game.

All-Time Coaching Records. College Football Data Warehouse. Archived fromthe originalon May 25, 2011

Missildine, Harry (January 6, 1968).New WSU coach Sweeney faces task with optimism.

Omen indicates fortune of Cougars may brighten.

Witter, Steve (June 20, 2002).The Swingin SeventiesScout.com

. (Oregon). wire services. December 1, 1975. p.1B.

Missildine, Harry (December 1, 1975).Cougar coach Jim Sweeney resigns.

. Bend, Oregon. Associated Press. December 1, 1975. p.10.

Derrick, Merle (December 9, 1975).Sweeney takes Fresno post.

Missildine, Harry (December 10, 1975).Sweeney to Fresno.

. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 10, 1975. p.2D.

. Bend, Oregon. Associated Press. December 10, 1975. p.12.

. (Idaho). Associated Press. February 21, 1979. p.4B.

Western Athletic Conference Football Media Guide

Shes the Signal Caller Father, Son Answer To,

Missildine, Harry (May 5, 1988).Lucille Sweeney; great lady.

. Sports Reference LLC. Archived fromthe originalon September 1, 2011

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