In one of the more improbable Cinderella stories in American sports history, the Bulldogs surmounted a daunting array of obstacles on their way to the NCAA title:
Fresno State had never won an NCAA championship in any men's sport going into the 2008 tournament, with the exception of the 1968 men's tennis team which won the national championship held in Fort Worth, Texas. <Reporter Bruce Farris, Fresno Bee>
Fresno State had previously won only two national championship in its school history, the 1968 NCAA College Division men's tennis championships and <Fresno Bee, June 1968> the 1998 NCAA Women's College World Series.
The Bulldogs entered the Western Athletic Conference tournament at 33-27; they would likely not have made the NCAA tournament without winning the WAC tournament, which they did.
They were the #4 seed in their regional. Since only four teams play in each of 16 regionals, this is the equivalent of a team seeded #13 or lower in the NCAA basketball tournament. No #4 seed had ever advanced to the College World Series. By contrast, no #13 or lower seed has ever made the "Elite 8" of the men's basketball tournament, which is arguably equivalent to the eight-team College World Series.
Six times in the NCAA tournament, including three times in the College World Series, they faced elimination with a loss. They won all six times.
They won a total of 10 tournament games against six different teams ranked in the top 20. ESPN pointed out that in terms of the NCAA basketball tournament, Fresno State's run would be equivalent to a 13 seed beating a 4 seed in the first round, a 5 seed in the second round, a top seed in the Sweet 16, a second seed in the Elite 8, another top seed in the Final Four, and still another 2 seed for the championship.
The Bulldogs' stellar underdog journey to the CWS Championship was nominated for an ESPY.
Fresno State's 30+ NCAA tournament appearances is good enough to rank in the top 10 all-time.
John Hoover – Set three career records and three Bulldogs single-season records, highlighted by his NCAA record of 42 career complete games and 19 complete games in a season, including 44 wins and 494 innings pitched in a career, and single-season marks of 18 wins and 205 strikeouts (Baltimore Orioles, first round, 25th pick, 1984 MLB draft).
Jeff Weaver - Pitcher, 2006 World Series champion (St. Louis Cardinals). Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the 1998 amateur draft.
Jimy Williams – 1999 American League Manager of the Year (Boston Red Sox), 1995 World Series champion (third-base coach, Atlanta Braves), and 2008 World Series champion (bench coach, Philadelphia Phillies).