Former Fresno State Bulldogs Series: Quarterback Jim Arellanes (Preview) is catching up with former Fresno State Bulldogs to hear about their experience at Fresno State, where they are now, and some of their favorite stories throughout their time as a Bulldog. In our latest feature, former Fresno State quarterback Jim Arellanes (1995-96) discusses his experience playing for head coach Jim Sweeney and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, his career after Fresno State, and much more.

The audio interview and following transcription is just a small sample of our full-length interview, which is available for Premium Members.

Jim Arellanes played quarterback for the Fresno State Bulldogs in 1995 and 1996. He finished his career with 4,026 yards and 26 touchdowns under head coach Jim Sweeney and offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Jeff Tedford. Arellanes went on to sign as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks and later played in the NFL's European League as well as the XFL before retiring from football.  

Q: What’s your reaction to the Jeff Tedford hire?

A: Just extremely excited, extremely happy for Jeff and his family. He’s a great man, a great teacher and a great leader. I obviously value my experience playing for him and working with him. The friendship that we’ve had since I left there. It’s been a long time, but extremely excited and looking forward to the future of Fresno State football.

Q: Do you have a memory or story about Tedford that stands out?

A: There’s a couple. It’s funny, I was thinking about it earlier. First of all, I think the week I got to Fresno State, I was a mid-year transfer and it was the week of my 21st birthday. I was still brand new and I didn’t really know any of the guys. So Coach and his family had me over to his house. That Sunday we watched the Super Bowl and my 21st birthday was the next day. He had a little something and invited me over and wanted me to not be alone I guess on my birthday. I spent my 21st there watching the Superbowl with him and his family.

It was my very first experience in dealing with him, just seeing what a genuine coach and person he is. How he obviously cared more about you than just as a player, but as a person as well. It was a great experience right off the bat.

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Q: What was it like getting to Fresno State and your reaction to the experience?

A: It was extremely positive - the red wave, the stories I heard about the fan base and support, being there on campus. I still vividly remember the very first time I took a snap in Bulldog Stadium. It was our very first game of the year. We were actually platooning at the beginning of the year, myself and and Rich Donati - another quarterback. He started that game and I knew going in that I was going to get a chance to play, I just didn’t know when. We were either going to go series or quarters.

I remember jogging onto the field for the first time and hearing the roar of the crowd and thinking ‘wow.’ It was something I hadn’t really noticed before, but for whatever reason that really stuck with me. I felt like, ‘Wow, this is going to be someplace special to play.’ The support, and even now 20-something years later - seeing former Bulldog players, people that know the red wave, the fan base and the community, it is just pretty special to have been a part of.

Q: What was your major at Fresno State and how did your experience impact where you are today?

A: I was a criminal justice major at Fresno State. It’s one of those things where ... in being extremely honest and looking back now, I wasn’t a great student and I don’t feel that I wanted to be this and education was going to lead me here. Football and Fresno State and those places really pushed me through. It’s ironic now that I taught high school for 14 years, I was a coach for 15 years at the high school level. I am now an assistant principal at Burbank High School. I just kept going. I got my bachelor’s degree, I eventually went and got my master’s degree from Whittier College and my administrative credential from Cal Poly Pomona down here. I’m looking at getting my doctorate next.

It’s funny and interesting how that all worked out because I never felt I was a great student, but it was the direction I was fortunate enough ahead. Again, the sport and for playing at Fresno state and for playing all those years really helped mold me and lead me to the direction I’m at now and I'm extremely and eternally thankful.


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