Jim Sweeney said, "If you build it, they will come." On Saturday, the fans who grew to know and love the Bulldogs former head coach, will come back to Jim Sweeney Field to honor him.
"[He was a] wonderful friend to so many people. I'm just one of them," said Harry Markus, friend who'll be attending the celebration of life.
Markus credits Sweeney for Fresno State football's tremendous rise back in the 1980's and 90's. But what he loved most, was Sweeney's personality.
"He was so upbeat and jovial and was always laughing and having fun," said Markus.
Former Bulldog and NFL player Lorenzo Neal will be speaking on Saturday. He expects there will also be a lot of singing. Sweeney broke out in song when Neal was first drafted.
"He sang 'When the Saints Go Marching In' and he said one of the lines, 'Oh when Lorenzo sends his first paycheck home,' so he was just a great guy," said Neal with a smile.
Friday afternoon, crews set up platforms and equipment for the service. The Athletics Department has been preparing all week.
"We have a stage going in right now, we have speakers, we have video tributes. We have a long line of, from a pastor speaking, to former players to former coaches," said Ryan Reggiani with the Athletics Department.
Some folks are already talking about building a tribute to Sweeney at the stadium he helped build.
"It's got to be Jim Sweeney, him taking off the hat that has the Bulldog in front of the hat that he'd always wear so graciously," said Neal.
The White Lot opens Saturday at 10am for parking. People are encouraged to tailgate before the Celebration of Life service. The stadium opens at noon for people to take their seats. The service begins at 1pm and is expected to run about 90 minutes.