Tom Flores, 1988 Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee
Born and reared in Sanger, Calif., this tall, slender youngster learned to throw a football with accuracy at an early age. He captained the Sanger High School football, basketball and baseball teams in his senior year (1953-54). Flores was voted Sanger Athlete of the Year and then enrolled at Fresno City College. He quarterbacked the Rams under coach Hans Wiedenhoefer in 1954 and 1955, gaining honorable mention All-American honors in his final year. Flores enrolled at College of the Pacific (now University of the Pacific) in Stockton and was the sixth ranked passer in the nation in 1956 and was fourth in total offense. In 1957 he was the seventh ranked passer, received honorable mention All-American and was named to the West team in the annual Shrine East-West game in San Francisco. During his two years at COP he broke most of the records set by the legendary Eddie LeBaron. He was an academic collegiate All-American. In 1958 he signed professionally with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. A shoulder injury caused him to sit out the 1959 season, but in 1960 he signed with the Oakland Raiders in the newly formed American Football League. He rehabilitated his shoulder through a series of exercises and led the AFL in pass completion percentage and fewest interceptions. In 1961 he was the second leading passer in the AFL and he was the Raiders quarterback until he was released in 1966. His Raider career totals were 810 completions for 11,635 yards and 92 touchdowns. He played two more seasons each for the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, quarterbacking the 1969 Super Bowl champion Chiefs. He was named head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 1979. In 1980 he took the Raiders to the Super Bowl championship, was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1982 and took the now Los Angeles Raiders to the Super Bowl title in 1983. He received the NFL Life Achievement award in 1988 and numerous accolades for his humanitarian work.