While the Bulldogs are undefeated on the football field, the university’s top dog, President Joseph Castro, has waged friendly competition with university presidents in the stands.
For every football game, Castro is proposing a challenge to the opposing university’s president.
Castro said the challenges are an opportunity to build relationships with other universities.
“The other presidents have responded very positively,” he said. “Our phone calls have been friendly. They have provided me with an opportunity to introduce myself and to begin building a relationship with them.”
So far, all presidents have accepted Castro’s challenges and paid their dues except for Boise State President Bob Kustra, who rejected the challenge completely.
In Fresno State’s season opener against Rutgers, Castro offered up a basket of goods from the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market in return for jars of Rutgers’ honey.
Perhaps the most notable challenge so far was the one against Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. After the Cal Poly loss to Fresno State, Castro shipped Bulldog gear to Armstrong. He responded by working out in Fresno State’s red athletic gear and posting a video online.
In the video, Armstrong scoffed that he “felt like a Bulldog” and that the Bulldog gear weakened him.
“Only for you Joe, only for you,” Armstrong said as he pulled on the Bulldog gear.
Castro called Armstrong a great sport and said the video “made me laugh harder than I have in a long time.”
Castro also won his challenge against University of Hawaii Chancellor Tom Apple. Castro received a bounty of fresh pineapples and coconuts.
Though Castro is willing to fulfill his end of the challenge if the time comes, but doesn’t expect that to happen anytime soon.
“Lose a game? This will not happen during my presidency,” Castro joked.
Castro said he hopes the Bulldogs’ reputation for being a good team won’t scare off other university presidents in the future.
“As the word gets out about how good we are as a team, some presidents may try to avoid accepting my challenge. I hope not. It is a great way for me to learn more about other universities. Who knew that Rutgers produced world-famous honey?”
Still, Castro is confident in this season’s team.
“Winning with integrity in every sport is the most important thing for me. The ingredients are there for a great season.”
Bulldogs head coach Tim DeRuyter said Castro’s confidence is appreciated.
“To have our No. 1 guy at this school support us like that, it’s awesome,” DeRuyter said. “Last I checked, we’re undefeated since he’s been here. I think he’s a good luck charm.”
Castro hasn’t determined what his next challenge will be against University of Idaho interim president Don Burnett and said he is open to suggestions.