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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Character Conference helps high school athletes and coaches win on the field, in life

FPU brings Bill Walsh to Fresno

A legendary coach who built strong character as well as a winning football team will be the featured speaker at the second annual Character in High School Activities Conference at Fresno Pacific University.

Bill Walsh will give the keynote address at the event, Tuesday, October 5, in the university Special Events Center. His title will be “The Perfect Blend of Teamwork and Selfless Team Play.”

Walsh’s talk will cap a morning of activities for more than 700 high school athletes and coaches from Bakersfield to Merced. Bruce Brown, special presenter for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Champions of Character program, will conduct training sessions. Brown has worked at every level of education in over three decades of teaching and coaching. He has written several books, including Teaching Character Through Sport.

As coach, general manager and eventually president, Walsh took over a losing San Francisco 49ers team and built it into the most successful National Football League franchise of the last two decades. Under his direction the 49ers won three Super Bowl titles (1981, 84, 89), made seven NFC postseason appearances and claimed six NFC West division championships. He was twice named the NFL Coach of the Year (1981, 84) and was later named the NFL Coach of the Decade for the 1980s.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Fresno, Clovis, Madera and Central unified school districts, the Fresno County Office of Education, Educational Employees Credit Union, Dubudio and Defendis Insurance and Coca-Cola. At the first conference on October 7, 2003, John Wooden presented his “Pyramid of Success.”

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Fresno Pacific University offers undergraduate and graduate programs that stress solid academic preparation and a strong ethical foundation. Each year more than 2,000 traditional and adult students attend classes on the 42-acre main campus in southeast Fresno or centers in Visalia and Bakersfield. The university also reaches 12,000 students across the nation and around the world through professional development studies programs. The only four-year Christian university in the Central Valley, FPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and ranked in the top quarter among Western universities—master’s category by U.S. News & World Report.