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Clovis West and Fresno State icon Vince Wesson passes away at 56

Wesson was a three-sport star at Clovis West from 1978-1982 before becoming a big play receiver for Fresno State and color commentator for high school football.

Vince Wesson, a beloved member of the Central Valley sports community as an athlete at Clovis West and Fresno State and a champion of high school athletics, passed away suddenly at the age of 56 on Saturday. 

Wesson was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball at Clovis West from 1978-1982, earning Fresno Bee All-Metro honors in all three sports. He was also selected to play in the annual City/County games in those sports, a rare accomplishment. 

An explosive athlete at 5-foot-9, Wesson walked on as a receiver at Fresno State and played under Jim Sweeney for four years, winning Pac West titles in 1982 and 1985. He finished with 55 receptions and 8 touchdowns, most notably the game-winner from two yards out – a bullet pass from Jeff Tedford – with 11 seconds left to defeat Bowling Green in the 1982 Cal Bowl, capping a 22 point fourth quarter comeback.

Wesson also accomplished an extremely rare feat when he caught two TD passes and passed for two in a 43-18 win over Utah State in 1984.

“He was gifted in so many ways and was truly one of a kind and it was evident to me from the time he was a young multiple sport athlete at Clovis West,” Clovis Unified Hall of Fame football coach Tim Simons said. “I saw Vince as a school teacher and a coach and then as a local sports media favorite. Whatever it was, Vince was a born entertainer.

“Replacing his role in our local sports community, in my mind, is not possible.”

Affectionately known as V-Dub, Wesson was instrumental in bringing the Central Section basketball championship games to Selland Arena starting in 2004, a massive two-day extravaganza. In addition, he was an analyst for Fresno State football radio broadcast and recently provided the color commentary for KMPH/KFRE channel 59’s Friday Night Rivals football broadcast. 

Wesson was inducted into the Clovis West Hall of Fame in 2019 along with Brad Bell, Kendall Brock and the 2010 Central Section football team. He left a legacy as one of the great Golden Eagles of all time. 

In a video played for the Hall of Fame ceremony Wesson can be seen making highlight reeling plays for Clovis West and Fresno State. Jim Sweeney says this about the receiver: “He’s a tremendous competitor under pressure. I don’t think I’ve ever known a kid who competed any better under pressure than Vince does.”

“Vince Wesson played a huge role in the establishment of Clovis West Athletics,” Clovis West athletic director Matt Loggins said. “He was a great competitor who never shied away from those big moments. All-Valley in football, basketball and baseball, his legacy as a Golden Eagle will continue to inspire our current and future Clovis West student athletes.”

Wesson cast a huge net with his larger-than-life personality, inspiring many throughout not only Clovis West but the entire Valley. Coaching brought him to Clark Intermediate and Clovis High where he forged a lifelong bond with the Patrick family – father James, the winningest baseball coach in Central Section history, and sons Kevin and Chris, the current head baseball coaches at Clovis West and Clovis respectively.  

“Very sad news yesterday as Vince was a lifelong family friend,” Chris Patrick said. “He coached me in seventh and eighth grade basketball, seventh grade baseball and eighth grade football and was an assistant for my dad on my undefeated freshman football team. He was also the color man on the radio broadcast for our Valley championship football win my senior year.

“He was my coach, mentor and friend. His smile and laugh was infectious and will be missed greatly by all who got to know him.”

Wesson worked as a coordinator for the Safe and Healthy Kids Department at the Fresno County Office of Education and is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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