Callaway, Claude

This Fresno High School graduate went to Stanford University in 1932. He was part of the famous team known as the "Vow Boys" under Coach Claude B. "Tiny" Thornhill. The vow was made in his freshman year to never lose to USC and they didn't. Stanford's three-year record was 25-4-2. Calloway played in three Rose Bowls, losing to Columbia 7-0 in 1933 and to Alabama 29-13 in 1934. The Redskins did beat Southern Methodist 7-0 in 1935. Callaway earned a medical degree at the Washington University School of Medicine and served as a captain in the Army Medical Corps.

Conley, Phil
Track & Field

Phil Conley had a simple explanation of how he changed from a mediocre high school athlete to a four-sport star at Cal Tech College and an Olympic javelin thrower. Conley was the best player on the Fresno High School tennis team, a standout on the school’s volleyball club, and a member of the Class B football squad. He added varsity basketball in his senior year. "Serving tennis with a straight overhand motion, hitting a volleyball, and throwing a football all have the same natural motion as throwing the javelin," Conley said during an interview. "I would go out on the football field at Cal Tech and throw the football and each time I would throw it a little further. (Former UCLA coach) Bert LaBrucherie was the Cal Tech football coach and, as he watched me throw, suggested I try the javelin. It was absolutely fortunate. At that time, most of our best javelin throwers had never touched one [before coming to Cal Tech] because they [javelins] weren’t allowed in California high schools. I went over to a nearby field and threw for the first time and it really took off. It starts with your legs and then the throwing motion."

The 6’3", 200-pound Conley was an instant star at Cal Tech in football, basketball, baseball, and track. By his senior year, he captained all but the baseball team. He was unbeaten in javelin and other track events. "One interesting part of Cal Tech football was that our home field was the Rose Bowl, so I played fifteen games in the Rose Bowl," Conley said. The team would get maybe 3,000 to 4,000 people for a big game. Conley won the NCAA javelin event in 1956, the same year that he made the United States Olympic team for the Olympiad in Melbourne, Australia. He finished third in the national AAU meet held in the rain and mud in Chicago with a throw of 235’10". "I have read articles which point out it takes more coordination to be a javelin thrower than in any other track event," he said during a 1958 interview. "If that’s true, I know participating in other sports helped a great deal." Conley threw 251 feet in the Olympic Trials and justified his place on the team by finishing tenth in the Games, better than either of his teammates, Cy Young and Benny Garcia. Conley’s best was 260’2 ½" in 1964, and for the years 1956 to 1965, he was an AAU medalist who ranked in the javelin top ten in the U.S., finishing at sixth or higher every year but one.

Among his wins were the Fresno West Coast Relays, Drake Relays, Mt. San Antonio Relays, U.S. Army, Quantico Relays, Compton Relays, and the Pacific AAU. In 1973 at thirty-nine, he set an American age group javelin record. Conley opened the 1957 season by breaking the Southern California AAU meet record by nine feet with a throw of 243’4". He made the 1959 Pan American team where he was a silver medalist. From 1972 to 1974, he competed in six marathons and eighty-one races of more than six miles. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree at Cal Tech and a Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard. Conley’s wife, Fran, won the Bay to Breakers 17.3-mile run in 1971. She met Phil after asking Bill Toomey, who later became an Olympic decathlon champion, to find someone to give her advice on javelin throwing. Toomey introduced her to Phil and the rest was history. Fran went on to become a noted brain surgeon at Stanford University Hospital. Conley and his wife now live in Stewarts Point, California on the Mendocino/Sonoma coastline almost surrounded by water.

Craghead, Howard O.

Howard O. Craghead graduated from Fresno High School in 1926 and signed with the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League that spring. Craghead, a big right-hander, was an All-Star for Fresno High from 1924 to 1926, averaging double figure strikeouts per game and he reportedly fanned twenty-four of twenty-eight batters in a game against Fresno Tech in 1926. He played a year with the Idaho Class 'C' team and was elevated as a starter for Oakland from 1928 to 1931. He was also a starter for the Long Beach Shell Oil team in the Los Angeles Winter League from 1927 to 1930. Craghead made it to the major league Cleveland Indians as a relief pitcher in 1931 and 1933, but only pitched twenty-three innings in thirty-one games, never winning or losing a game. Craghead pitched for Toledo in the American Association and was a twenty-game winner in 1934. He finished his Pacific Coast League career with Seattle from 1935 to 1938 and San Diego until 1944. Craghead, who was born in Selma in 1908, retired from baseball in 1944, joining the Navy where he became a lieutenant commander. Howard O. Craghead died in 1962

Mathiesen, Seymor I.

Sim Mathiesen began an illustrious athletic career at Fresno High School, participating in football, basketball, and baseball from 1926 through 1928. Mathiesen continued his athletic career at Fresno State from 1928 through 1931. He became one of the finest punters on the West Coast at the college or university level. Mathiesen averaged forty-five yards per kick for an unbeaten 1930 Bulldog team coached by Stan Borleske. He was an All-Far Western Conference halfback in 1929 and 1930. Mathiesen was a three-year varsity basketball letterman and team captain in his final two years. Showing his versatility, Mathiesen played on the Fresno State golf team for three years and, after his college days, won the Fresno City Golf Championship in 1943. In 1934, he became the first football coach at Sierra High School near Auberry and continued there through 1935. From 1936 to 1943, he served as Supervisor of Physical Education for Fresno County Schools. Mathiesen's son, Mike, was an outstanding baseball player at Fresno State and also professionally. His wife, Mickey, was one of the top women amateur golfers for many years.

Olsen, George

George Olsen was an icon in the city of Coalinga for forty-two years as a coach and athletic director. Travel to Coalinga today and you will see George E. Olsen City Park dedicated in 1981. Olsen was a Kansas native and moved from Emporia State University in Kansas to Fresno State in 1923. He was a member of J. Flint Hanner's first Bulldog track and field squad and was chosen captain in 1926. Olsen admitted that he never was proficient in any event, but managed to win points in the high jump, shot put, and a few running events. His coaching tenure at Coalinga began in 1926 after his graduation from Fresno State. Olsen compiled an impressive record while at various times coaching the school's football, baseball, basketball, track, and tennis squads. Olsen coached in an era when there were Class A, B, and C teams. His Class B football team won nineteen games in a row. His track teams took eighteen league titles and twelve ABC County championships. He was an official in the first Fresno WestCoast Relays in 1927, working that meet and several other top relay meets until his retirement in 1968. He was affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Association for forty years as an official and Coach. Olsen said his biggest thrill was as a coach and leader of the 1958 Five-Man All-Star United States track team consisting of Olympians: Arnie Sowell, Glen Davis, Rink Babka, Jim Brewer, and Don Bowden. Together, the team competed on a seven-week tour of Norway, Denmark. Sweden, and Finland. He said Davis, a 400-meter hurdler the greatest competitor he ever met. George E. "Swede" Olsen died in 1975.

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