The stage is set at Bulldog Stadium for a big memorial service honoring Jim Sweeney.
The former Fresno State football coach died last Friday. He led the bulldogs for 19 seasons and is the program's all-time wins leader.
Fresno State is creating a game day atmosphere. A joyous celebration where 5,000 to 10,000 people are expected to turnout.
Everything is in place inside Bulldog Stadium for family, friends and fans to celebrate the life of the man whom this very field is named after, coach Jim Sweeney.
“You can come in at 10 a.m. to setup and have a tailgate. The gates open at noon and then at 1 p.m. the celebration will begin,” said Ryan Reggiani of the Fresno St. Athletic Dept.
Two different programs will be handed out to guests on Saturday. A replica from Sweeney's appreciation night in 1997 as well as a traditional brochure outlining the service schedule.
“We have video tributes. We have a long line from a pastor speaking to formers players to former coaches,” said Reggiani.
No one knew coach better than his son, Kevin Sweeney, who played quarterback for his dad and the bulldogs in the mid-80s.
“He taught life. He taught about accountability, responsibility and execution. Just was an amazing guy,” said Kevin Sweeney, son of Jim Sweeney.
Former NFL Fullback, Lorenzo Neal, agrees.
“He was the American dream. He was a guy who worked hard and was a leader. He was a leader of men. He taught me way more than football, he taught me how to be a man,” said Lorenzo Neal, who played for Coach Sweeney.
The service will mark the end of a week full of emotions for Kevin.
“But for me it's been really positive emotions and a week of reflection,” said Sweeney.
Kevin says it was a lot of pressure being the coach's kid at the college level. But looking back on it, he would not change a thing.
“So no regrets at all. Just a big time thank you to God for letting us have this unique experience,” said Sweeney.
The ceremony is expected to last anywhere from an hour to and hour and a half. At 2:30 p.m., fans are invited to continue the celebration out in the White Lot.
Copyright 2013 High Plains Broadcasting LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.