Posted: Sep 19, 2012 5:14 PM by Andrew Masuda
Updated: Oct 10, 2012 10:18 AM
There has been a familiar face on the Cal Poly football sidelines for the last 34 years. It is someone who has literally been involved in every single play and in every single game. Bill Fairbanks is the latest Central Coast resident profiled in the KSBY Sports series "Legends in the Making."
Fairbanks started his tenure as the leader of the chain gang in 1978 and he hasn't missed a single down since. He has manned the down marker since he landed the job as a 15 year old sophomore in high school. "We used to be ball boys. The first game of the year, the guy didn't show up and they were like, 'Hey, Bill could you mind the down box?' And I was like, since I played high school football,Ii was like sure," said Fairbanks, who just turned fifty years old.
Thirty-four years after his first game on the chain gang, he is still running the sidelines. "I could write a book about the different things I've seen down here as far as coaches being mellow, fighting, arguing with me, arguing with the officials. It's just really exciting to see different management styles," said Fairbanks.
His most memorable season was 1980 when the Mustangs won the national championship. But this lifelong Mustang fan says don't let that fool you. " I love Cal Poly athletics. But when I'm down here I'm all business. So I take this job very seriously," he added. "I've only been run-over once. The pretty good thing is you learn down here to protect yourself. So I've dealt out a lot more punishment than I've taken," joked Fairbanks.
Bill is even missing a close friend's wedding next month because Cal Poly plays a home game that day.
By our tally, the UC Davis game will be Bill's 185th-straight game. "When I start thinking about streaks, 34 years, when your 50 years old, I'm pretty proud of my record. It's something that's just part of my life and I'm so happy to be a part of it," said Fairbanks.
Bill has literally become a part of Cal Poly football and a legend in the making one down at a time.
A lot of his chain gang has been around for almost as long as he has, so Fairbanks says they form one of the best chain gangs in all of college football.
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