FRESNO – Two of the five inductees for the Fresno County Athletic Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 have roots in Fresno and Tulare County regions, and will be honored at the hall’s annual induction ceremony in late September.
James Patrick, a former Reedley College athlete who later became the Central Section’s all-time winningest high school baseball coach along with Strathmore native and longtime basketball coach-mentor Roland Todd are both being honored for this year’s induction ceremony at the hall’s location in Fresno’s Save Mart Center. The event takes place Wednesday, Sept. 20.
Joining Patrick and Todd in the Hall’s newest class are Jaime Ramirez, a star player and longtime coach at Fresno Pacific University; Todd Riech, Fresno State product and former NCAA record holder and Olympic qualifier in the javelin; and the 1968 Fresno State men’s tennis team that captured the NCAA College Division national title.
After concluding a stellar three-sport prep career at San Joaquin Memorial in 1976, Patrick played football and baseball in 1976-77 at Reedley College before transferring to Fresno City College. After beginning his prep coaching career at SJM in 1983, Patrick moved over to Clovis High in 1985 as an assistant before taking the reins in 1988.
Over the next 32 seasons, Patrick directed the Cougars to nine Central Section titles; the first in 1995 and including national team of the year seasons in 1997 and 1998. In 2017, he became the winningest baseball coach in section history and finished his career with 757 wins. The last win was over Frontier High for his ninth section title in 2019.
James Patrick coached both of his sons at Clovis High, and Chris and Kevin Patrick have gone on to become coaches in the Tri-River Athletic Conference.
Fellow inductee Rolland Todd grew up on a citrus farm in Strathmore, and began his collegiate career with College of the Sequoias, where he helped lead the Giants to the state crown in 1953. He then transferred to Fresno State, and was captain of the Bulldogs’ 1957 California Collegiate Athletic Association championship squad. He finished with nearly 1,000 career points.
Todd then went on to play professionally in the National Industrial Basketball League (for Goodyear Tire) and American Basketball League (for the Denver-Chicago Truckers) while getting brief tryouts with the 1960 U.S. Olympic team and the NBA’s St. Louis Hawks. He then went into coaching, where he has made his mark over nearly six decades.
Todd briefly served as an assistant coach at Riverside College under Jerry Tarkanian and at Cal State Los Angeles under basketball Hall of Famer Bill Sharman. He then preceded Tarkanian at Nevada-Las Vegas from 1975-70, creating the Runnin’ Rebels reputation that Tarkanian then made famous.
That success brought Todd to his coaching pinnacle, when he became the first coach of the expansion Portland Trail Blazers and served for two seasons. After coaching seven seasons at Santa Ana College, he later founded Todd Team Coaching. Since 1986, the company has worked with individuals and organizations to provide leadership training at the highest level.
Individual tickets to the induction ceremony are priced at $90 per person, and are available by going online to https://www.fresnoahof.org/.