NFF Announces 2012 Football Bowl Subdivision
College Football Hall of Fame Class
14 Players and Three Coaches to Enter College Football’s Ultimate Shrine
2012 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
- CHARLES ALEXANDER - TB, LSU (1975-78)
- OTIS ARMSTRONG - HB, Purdue (1970-72)
- STEVE BARTKOWSKI - QB, California (1972-74)
- HAL BEDSOLE - SE, Southern California (1961-63)
- DAVE CASPER - TE, Notre Dame (1971-73)
- TY DETMER - QB, BYU (1988-91)
- TOMMY KRAMER - QB, Rice (1973-76)
- ART MONK - WR, Syracuse (1976-79)
- GREG MYERS - DB, Colorado State (1992-95)
- JONATHAN OGDEN - OT, UCLA (1992-95)
- GABE RIVERA - DT, Texas Tech (1979-82)
- MARK SIMONEAU - LB, Kansas State (1996-99)
- SCOTT THOMAS - S, Air Force (1982-85)
- JOHN WOOTEN* - OG, Colorado (1956-58)
* Selection from the FBS Veterans Committee
- PHILLIP FULMER - 152-52-0 (74.5%); Tennessee (1992-08)
- JIMMY JOHNSON - 81-34-3 (70.0%); Oklahoma State (1979-83) and Miami (Fla.) (1984-88)
- R.C. SLOCUM - 123-47-2 (72.1%); Texas A&M (1989-02)
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Manning, a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Ole Miss. “Each year the selection process becomes increasingly more difficult, but Gene Corrigan and the Honors Court do an amazing job of selecting a diverse group of the most amazing players and coaches in our sport’s rich history. This class is certainly no exception, and we look forward to honoring them and celebrating their achievements throughout the year ahead.”
The 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 4, 2012, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. They will be honored guests at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2, 2013 and officially enshrined in the summer of 2013.
Today’s announcement was made from The NASDAQ OMX MarketSite in Times Square, which has hosted the event for the past four consecutive years. XOS Digital produced the NFF web streams for the second consecutive year, and the Orange Bowl and the law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP participated as the supporting sponsors of the announcement.
2012 FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS NOTES
- 11 consensus First Team All-Americans (Alexander – 2x, Armstrong, Bartkowski, Bedsole, Casper, Detmer – 2x, Kramer, Myers, Rivera, Simoneau, Thomas)
- ONE unanimous First Team All-American (Ogden)
- THREE multi-year First Team All-Americans (Alexander – 2x, Detmer – 2x, Myers – 2x)
- TWO members of national championship teams (Bedsole, Casper)
- ONE Heisman Trophy winner (Detmer)
- THREE winners of college football major awards (Detmer – Maxwell, O’Brien; Myers – Thorpe; Ogden – Outland)
- FIVE conference player of the year honorees (Alexander, Armstrong, Detmer, Kramer, Simoneau)
- FIVE members of conference championship teams (Bedsole, Detmer, Myers, Ogden, Thomas)
- TWO NFF National Scholar-Athletes (Casper, Myers)
- TEN offensive players (Alexander, Armstrong, Bartkowski, Bedsole, Casper, Detmer, Kramer, Monk, Ogden, Wooten)
- FOUR defensive players (Myers, Rivera, Simoneau, Thomas)
- SEVEN first-round NFL draft selections (Alexander, Armstrong, Bartkowski – 1st overall, Kramer, Monk, Ogden, Rivera)
- FIVE decades represented: 1950s (1) – Wooten; 1960s (1) – Bedsole; 1970s (6) – Alexander, Armstrong, Bartkowski, Casper, Kramer, Monk; 1980s (2) – Rivera, Thomas; 1990s (4) – Detmer, Myers, Ogden, Simoneau
- TWO national championships (Fulmer, Johnson)
- SIX conference championships (Fulmer – 2, Slocum – 4)
- 33 bowl berths (Fulmer – 15, Johnson – 7, Slocum – 11)
- 28 Top 25 finishes (Fulmer – 13, Johnson – 5, Slocum – 10)
- 45 First Team All-Americans coached (Fulmer – 19, Johnson – 12, Slocum – 14)
- SEVEN major award winners coached (Fulmer – John Henderson, Peyton Manning, Michael Munoz; Johnson – Bennie Blades, Russell Maryland, Vinny Testaverde; Slocum – Dat Nguyen)
- FOUR NFF National Scholar-Athletes coached (Fulmer: Peyton Manning and Michael Munoz. Johnson: Doug Freeman. Slocum: Lance Pavlas)
2. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s Honors Courts ten years after his final year of intercollegiate football played.
3. While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and fellow man. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.
4. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2012 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1962 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.
5. A coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage*.
* Players that do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.
- Including the 2012 FBS class, only 914 players and 197 coaches, have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 4.86 million who have played or coached the game over the past 143 years. In other words, only two one-hundredths of one percent (.0002) of the individuals who have played the game have been deemed worthy of this distinction.
- Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame inducted its first class of inductees in 1951. The first class included 32 players and 19 coaches, including Illinois’ Red Grange, Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Carlisle’s Jim Thorpe.
- 288 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.
- Induction for this class of Hall of Famers will take place December 4, 2012 at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City’s historic Waldorf=Astoria.
Louisiana State University
One of the truly great runners of his era, Charles Alexander dominated the Southeastern Conference in the late 1970′s. He becomes the eighth Tiger to enter the College Football Hall of Fame and third running back in the last five years, following Billy Cannon in 2008 and Jerry Stovall in 2010.
Nicknamed “Alexander the Great”, he left Baton Rouge as the most accomplished rusher in SEC history, holding the league’s career records for rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns. He became the first back in SEC history to break the 4,000-yard barrier and record 40 rushing touchdowns. Alexander earned consensus All-America honors and was named team MVP in 1977 by setting school and league records with 311 attempts for 1,686 yards and 17 touchdowns. His carries and yards marks remain single-season records at LSU. Alexander followed that up by again receiving consensus All-America accolades in 1978 by rushing 281 times for 1,172 yards and 14 touchdowns. His stellar efforts as a junior and senior helped lead the Tigers to back-to-back bowl games, rushing for a combined 330 yards in the 1977 Sun Bowl and the 1978 Liberty Bowl.
The Missouri City, Texas, native was chosen in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He amassed 2,645 rushing yards and 1,130 receiving yards during seven seasons in Cincinnati, helping the Bengals reach Super Bowl XVI.
A former member of the Tiger Athletic Foundation Board of Directors, Alexander worked with the Louisiana State Youth Opportunities Unlimited. He also regularly volunteered with the United Way in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a member of the Bengals. He was named to the LSU Modern Day Team of the Century and is also a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the 75th Anniversary All-Sun Bowl Team and the Houston Area All-1970′s Team.
One of the top runners of his era, Otis Armstrong left school owning Big Ten MVP honors, First Team All-Conference accolades and the league’s all-time rushing record. He becomes the sixth Boilermaker to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
The eighth-place finisher in 1972 Heisman Trophy voting and a consensus All-American, Armstrong’s 3,315 career rushing yards set school and conference records and placed him sixth in NCAA history at career’s end. Armstrong’s senior campaign in 1972 remains the best in Purdue history. He earned the Swede Nelson Award for great sportsmanship and team MVP honors by rushing 243 times for 1,361 yards, accumulating 1,868 all-purpose yards (all of which set single-season school records at the time). Armstrong led the Big Ten in rushing that season, and his 276-yard effort versus Indiana remains a school best. His 670 career carries remain a school record.
A first round selection by the Denver Broncos in the 1973 NFL Draft, Armstrong played eight seasons with Denver. He led the NFL in rushing in 1974, earning First Team All-Pro honors and appearing in his first of two Pro Bowls. The Englewood, Colo., native helped the Broncos appear in Super Bowl XII. Armstrong is an active church member, and he frequently helps young children stay out of trouble by teaching football skills. He was inducted into the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
University of California
Another legend in a long line of prolific Pac-12 passers, Steve Bartkowski becomes the 16th California Golden Bear to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Bartkowski earned consensus All-America honors by leading the nation in passing with 2,580 yards in 1974. The gunslinger also set school single-season records during his senior campaign by attempting 325 passes and accumulating 2,387 yards of total offense. He was universally named the best quarterback in the West following his senior year after being named team MVP, First Team All-Pac-10, an All-Coast Team selection and the NorCal Player of the Year. His four 300-yard passing games set a school record and still rank among the top five in Golden Bears history.
The first pick of the 1975 NFL Draft, Bartkowski played 11 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and one year with the Los Angeles Rams. He was named the 1975 NFL Rookie of the Year, appeared in two Pro Bowls and compiled 24,124 career passing yards.
In addition to his football exploits, Bartkowski was an All-American first baseman for the Golden Bears baseball team in 1973. He became a member of the California Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. Bartkowski also hosted the outdoors shows Backroad Adventures with Steve Bartkowski on TNN and Suzuki’s Great Outdoors with Steve Bartkowski on ESPN. The Atlanta native serves on the board of directors for multiple organizations and is a member of the Christian Sportsmen Fellowship.
University of Southern California
Split End, 1961-63
Ahead of his time as a long, big-play threat, Hal Bedsole helped College Football Hall of Fame coach John McKay and USC win the 1962 national championship. He becomes the 30th Trojan to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Bedsole set school single-season receiving records during his consensus All-America 1962 campaign, corralling 33 passes for 827 yards and 11 touchdowns. He became the first player in USC history to top 200 receiving yards in a single game on Oct. 20, 1962 in a win over California. He capped the record-setting year with a huge game in the 1963 Rose Bowl, leading top-ranked USC over No. 2 Wisconsin with two touchdown passes in a 42-37 Trojans victory. The two-time All-Pac-8 honoree led the Men of Troy in scoring in 1961 and 1962 and set a school record by averaging 20.94 yards per reception for his career. He caught 82 passes for 1,717 yards with 20 touchdowns during his years on campus.
Drafted by the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in 1964, Bedsole played three seasons in Minnesota. Inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001, Bedsole retired after a long career as a radio broadcast sales manager.
University of Notre Dame
Tight End, 1971-73
Cited by College Football Hall of Fame coach Ara Parseghian as perhaps the greatest athlete he ever coached, Dave Casper earned All-America honors on the field and in the classroom. He becomes Notre Dame’s 44th player to be selected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Serving as Notre Dame’s co-captain and offensive MVP during his senior season of 1973, Casper led the Fighting Irish to a national championship while earning consensus All-America honors. He was also named an NFF National Scholar-Athlete, a CoSIDA Academic All-American, and an NCAA postgraduate scholarship winner. Casper was a proficient tight end, catching three passes for 75 yards in No. 5 Notre Dame’s 24-23 win over No. 1 Alabama in the 1973 Sugar Bowl. A versatile asset, he also saw action at split end, as an offensive tackle and along the defensive line during his career.
Taken in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft, he played 11 seasons for the Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers and the Minnesota Vikings. The Alamo, Calif., resident was named a First Team All-Pro performer five times, appeared in four Pro Bowls and was chosen to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
A long-time member of the NFF Chicago Metro Chapter, Casper sat on the Ronald McDonald House’s board of directors beginning in 1986. He founded the Dave Casper Celebrity Golf Tournament in 1985 to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Casper also supports the Big Brother/Big Sister Organization and Rotary International. He received the GTE Academic Hall of Fame for Outstanding Career Achievement and Contributions to the Community award in 1993, and he was one of six people to receive an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award for living a life of distinction in 1999.
Brigham Young University
With a Heisman Trophy, a Maxwell Award, two Davey O’Brien Awards and 59 NCAA records, Ty Detmer left BYU as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in college football history. His accomplishments led him to become a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, and the sixth Cougar to enter the sport’s ultimate shrine.
Twice named a consensus All-American, Detmer won national player of the year awards from organizations such as UPI, CBS, Scripps Howard and the U.S. Sports Academy. His 15,031 career passing yards and 121 touchdowns were NCAA bests at the time, and the gunslinger still holds nine NCAA records. A three-time First Team All-WAC performer, Detmer led College Football Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards’ teams to three conference championships, four bowl games, three AP top 25 finishes, a 28-21 win over top-ranked and defending national champion Miami on Sept. 8, 1990 and a 37-13-2 overall record. The NCAA Today’s Top VI Award recipient still holds 10 school records, including the season and career marks for total offense, passing yards and 400-yard games.
A ninth round selection of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, Detmer played 14 seasons with the Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons.
The founder of the Ty Detmer Charitable Foundation, he regularly holds the Ty Detmer Youth Football League in Grants, N.M. He remains involved in the Davey O’Brien Foundation and the Children’s Miracle Network, and he makes yearly appearances at numerous fundraising events for youth organizations. A 2000 inductee of the BYU Athletics Hall of Fame, Detmer is currently the head coach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas.
One of only two quarterbacks in college football history to earn consensus All-America honors for a sub-.500 team since 1970, Tommy Kramer proved his worth by finishing fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1976. Kramer becomes the sixth Owl to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus All-American in 1976, Kramer led the nation with 3,317 passing yards and 3,272 yards of total offense. Both marks ranked second in NCAA single-season history at the time. The 1976 Southwest Conference Player of the Year became the first player in league history to top 3,000 yards of total offense in a single season while also recording four of the top eight passing performances in SWC history. The San Antonio native held every career and single-season school record for passing and total offense for more than 30 years, and he led the Owls in passing all four years on campus.
Chosen by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 1977 NFL Draft, Kramer compiled nearly 25,000 career passing and 159 touchdowns yards during 14 NFL seasons. He was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year and earned his only Pro Bowl berth during the 1986 campaign.
Kramer was chosen to the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame and also the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. He earned the nickname “Two-Minute Tommy” for executing multiple late-game comebacks. A Kiwanis Club member, Kramer is still active with the Rice football program, returning to campus annually for the Huddle Up football reunion and serving as the Owls’ honorary captain on numerous occasions.
Wide Receiver, 1976-79
The winner of the Lambert Trophy as the top college football player in the Eastern U.S. in both his freshman and senior seasons, Art Monk became the mark of consistency during his remarkable career with the Orange, earning First Team All-America honors in 1979. Monk is the ninth Syracuse player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
As a senior in 1979, Monk hauled in 40 receptions for 716 yards (17.9 yards per reception) with three touchdowns. He set a school record in 1977 for most receptions and receiving yards by a sophomore, catching 41 passes for 590 yards and four scores. With 1,644 career receiving yards in 35 games, Monk set a school record with a 47-receiving yards per game average. He also recorded the greatest game by a receiver in Syracuse history on Nov. 5, 1977 against Navy, catching 14 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. A versatile playmaker who entered college as a running back, he posted 31 kickoff returns for 675 yards and 44 punt returns for 430 yards. Monk ranks sixth in school history with 3,899 career all-purpose yards. The last player to lead Syracuse in receiving for three consecutive seasons, Monk led Syracuse to its first bowl victory in 13 years with a 31-7 win over McNeese State in the 1979 Independence Bowl.
Chosen in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft, Monk played for the Washington Redskins from 1980-93 and the New York Jets in 1994. He set an all-time single-season receiving mark in 1984 by catching 106 passes. Monk broke Steve Largent’s all-time career receiving record with 819 career receptions, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
An active member of the NFF Central New York Chapter, Monk sits on the board of trustees at Syracuse. The co-founder of the Good Samaritan Foundation, he has worked with the Leukemia Society, Project Harvest and I Have a Dream.
Colorado State University
Defensive Back, 1992-95
The personification of “student-athlete” and the winner of the 1995 Thorpe Award, Greg Myers claimed as many decorations off the field as he did for his stellar on-field performance. Myers becomes the second Ram to enter the College Football Hall of Fame, following 1981 inductee Thurman McGraw.
The first player in WAC history to earn All-WAC honors four times, Myers holds the league record with seven all-conference selections, four as a defensive back and three as a return specialist. A two-time First Team All-American, Myers led the NCAA with 555 punt return yards and three punt return touchdowns. He also set the WAC record with 1,332 career punt return yards, and he posted Colorado State records with three punt return scores and a 15.9-yard average. As a defensive back, he totaled 295 tackles and 15 interceptions. Myers helped guide the Rams to back-to-back WAC titles and Holiday Bowl berths.
A 1995 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, he was also named the Honda Scholar-Athlete of the Year that fall. Myers was named a two-time Academic All-American and a four-time Academic All-WAC honoree. The 1996 Nye Trophy recipient as CSU’s most outstanding male athlete in academics, he was named to the NCAA Today’s Top VIII. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 1996 and a M.D. from the University of Colorado in 2006.
A fifth round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, Myers played five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys. A 2001 Colorado State University Sports Hall of Fame inductee and a 2012 Colorado Sports Hall of Fame member, Myers has sponsored the Greg Myers Scholarship Golf Tournament to raise money for student-athletes. He has worked with Shriners Hospitals; made numerous appearances at inner-city schools; and participated in Doug Pelfrey’s Kicks for Kids. He is a member of the Groupsmart Community Outreach Program.
University of California – Los Angeles
Offensive Tackle, 1992-95
A unanimous All-American and the winner of the Outland Trophy in 1995, Jonathan Ogden was a cornerstone left tackle all four years he spent as a Bruin. He becomes the 11th UCLA player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Ogden won the Morris Trophy as the Pac-10′s top offensive lineman, the UPI Lineman of the Year award and shared the Henry “Red” Sanders Award as the Bruins’ most valuable player as a senior in 1995. The four-year starter allowed just one sack as a senior.
Ogden experienced success early during his years in Westwood, earning the John Boncheff, Jr. Memorial Award as UCLA’s top freshman and a Freshman All-America nod from The Sporting News. Playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Terry Donahue, he also helped the Bruins win the Pac-10 title in 1993. Ogden’s No. 79 jersey is one of eight to be retired by UCLA. A two-sport athlete, he earned two top-five finishes in shot-put at the NCAA Indoor Championships and also placed fourth in shot-put at the 1995 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The fourth overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, Ogden played 12 seasons for the Baltimore Ravens. He started 176-of-177 games; earned First Team All-Pro honors four times; and appeared in 11 Pro Bowls. Ogden helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV.
He founded the Jonathan Ogden Foundation, which aims to assist inner-city students through athletics, and the foundation supported the NFF’s Play It Smart program at Patterson HS in Baltimore for many years. The Henderson, Nev., resident also established the Ogden Club, which hires tutors to work with Baltimore City high schools, and in turn enlists high school athletes to tutor at local elementary schools. Ogden stages the Jonathan Ogden Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament, benefitting youths in Las Vegas and Baltimore.
Texas Tech University
Defensive Tackle, 1979-82
The most accomplished defensive lineman in Texas Tech history, Gabe Rivera was a consensus All-American as a senior in 1982. He becomes the fourth Red Raider to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Carrying the nickname “Señor Sack”, Rivera averaged 80 tackles per season from his defensive tackle spot. He compiled 62 solo tackles, 43 assists, 10 TFL, five sacks, 25 quarterback pressures and eight pass breakups during his All-America campaign in 1982. He was named an Honorable Mention All-American in 1980 and 1981, and earned First Team All-Southwest Conference honors in 1982 and Second Team All-SWC accolades in 1981.
Chosen with the 21st overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, Rivera played six games for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rivera had his career cut short when he was left a paraplegic by injuries suffered in a car accident midway through his rookie season.
Rivera was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He is also a member of the Texas Tech Hall of Honor. He has volunteered as a tutor with Inner City Development in San Antonio, and he has worked with Gridiron Heroes, a nonprofit that aids high school football players that have suffered spinal cord injuries.
Kansas State University
A two-time All-American, Mark Simoneau stands as possibly the greatest defender in Kansas State history. He becomes the second Wildcat to enter the game’s ultimate shrine following Gary Spani a decade earlier.
A three-time team captain, Simoneau holds a school record with 251 career unassisted tackles, ranks third in school history with 400 total tackles, 52 TFL and eight forced fumbles. The 1999 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year also notched 15.5 sacks and seven fumble recoveries. A 1999 Butkus Award runner-up and a three-time First Team All-Big 12 selection, he led Kansas State to one of the greatest stretches in school history. With Simoneau on the roster, the Wildcats earned a 42-7 record, a 28-4 record in Big 12 play, a claim to two Big 12 North titles, three AP top 10 finishes, the first No. 1 ranking in school history, and wins in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl and the 1999 Holiday Bowl.
Drafted in the third round of the 2000 NFL Draft, Simoneau played 11 seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs. He recorded 370 total tackles in 124 career NFL games.
Simoneau has participated in service events with local children’s hospitals, retirement homes and the United Way of New Orleans. Simoneau’s high school was the center piece of the book Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen by Joe Drape.
United States Air Force Academy
A driving force in one of the most successful four-year runs in the history of Air Force football, Scott Thomas earned consensus All-America honors his senior year in 1985. He becomes the third Falcon player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Playing for 2011 Hall of Fame coach Fisher DeBerry, Thomas notched 221 career tackles with four TFL, 10 interceptions, 22 pass breakups while averaging 28.8 yards per kickoff return. He returned a punt, kickoff and interception for a touchdown during his 1985 All-America campaign. A two-time All-WAC honoree, Thomas led the Falcons to the first conference title in program history with a 12-1 record and No. 5 final ranking in 1985. He also guided Air Force to a 38-12 overall record, four consecutive bowl wins, four wins over Notre Dame, the first top 10 finish in academy history and three Commander-in-Chief’s Trophies with a 7-1 record against storied rivals Army and Navy.
Thomas also was a four-year letterman for the Air Force basketball team, and he logged more than 4,100 hours of military flight time. He gained national attention during the first Gulf War after his plane went down over enemy territory in 1991. Thomas currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force reserves while working as a commercial pilot.
A regular keynote speaker for nonprofit organizations, he volunteers with Young Life youth ministries and as a little league coach. He is also a Kiwanis Club member. Thomas served as the guest picker during ESPN’s College GameDay visit for the Army game on Nov. 7, 2009. Thomas is a 2011 United States Air Force Academy Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.
University of Colorado
Offensive Guard, 1956-58
Described as a “quick, agile tackle who provided bone-crunching lead blocks” by Colorado historian Fred Casotti, John Wooten blazed a path for others to follow, becoming one of the first African-Americans to earn All-America honors as a lineman. The 1958 All-American will join five other Buffalo players as College Football Hall of Fame inductees.
Wooten paved the way for one of the most powerful rushing attacks in college football, driving the Buffaloes to rank 12th nationally in 1956 with 252.1 yards per game, first in 1957 with 322.4 yards per outing and fifth in 1958 with 249.5 yards per game. In 1957, Colorado finished second in the country with 415.2 yards of total offense per game, and running back Bob Stransky ranked second nationally with 1,097 rushing yards. The 1957 All-Big 7 performer also saw action on the defensive line where he recorded half a dozen fumble recoveries. Wooten aided Colorado to a 20-9-2 overall record with a 27-21 victory over Clemson in the 1957 Orange Bowl.
Chosen in the fifth round of the 1959 NFL Draft, Wooten played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, appearing in 136 games. A two-time All-Pro, he participated in two Pro Bowls. He is a 2010 inductee to the Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor.
After retiring from football, Wooten had a long administrative career with the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens before retiring in 1998. He was named to Colorado’s All-Century Team in 1989, the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. Wooten serves as the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, which works to promote diversity in NFL coaching, front office and scouting staffs.
University of Tennessee
Head Coach, 152-52-0 (74.5%)
Tennessee’s head coach from 1992-2008, Phillip Fulmer led the Volunteers to the school’s sixth national championship in 1998. Under Fulmer’s leadership, Tennessee finished in the AP top 25 in 13-of-17 seasons and appeared in 15 bowl games.
The 1998 National Coach of the Year achieved 137 wins in his first 15 campaigns, tying for the fourth-most in a 15-year span in college football history. Fulmer owned two SEC championships, a piece of seven SEC East Division titles, an impressive 5-0 record when playing the nation’s No. 1-ranked team, an 88-19 home record and nine 10-win seasons. He trails only College Football Hall of Fame coach Gen. Robert Neyland on Tennessee’s all-time wins list. Fulmer’s teams appeared in two BCS games, winning the first national title in the system’s history with a victory over Florida State in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.
Fulmer coached two William V. Campbell Trophy winners in Peyton Manning and Michael Munoz. Nineteen players earned First Team All-America honors under Fulmer, and 70 Volunteers were named First Team All-SEC during his tenure. He also coached nine 1,000-yard rushers and six 1,000-yard receivers.
A co-captain of the 1971 Volunteers football team, Fulmer is the national spokesperson for the Jason Foundation, an educational organization aimed at preventing teenage suicide. A member of the board of directors for Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc., he is active with Boys and Girls Club, Team Focus, and Child and Family Services. The 2003 American Football Coaches Association president, Fulmer is the co-chair for the Ride for Prostate Cancer event and the vice-chair for Boy Scouts of America. He contributed $1 million to the University of Tennessee to be split evenly between athletics and academics. Fulmer was inducted to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Oklahoma State University, University of Miami
Head Coach, 81-34-3 (70.0%)
The Oklahoma State head coach from 1979-83 and Miami head coach from 1984-88, Jimmy Johnson continuously led his teams to victory, earning numerous coaching honors along the way and the national title with the Hurricanes in 1987, capped by a 20-14 victory over Oklahoma in the 1988 Orange Bowl.
Johnson began his head coaching career in Stillwater, Okla., leading the Cowboys to a 29-25-3 mark. He won Big 8 Coach of the Year honors his first year after taking Oklahoma State to a 7-4 record. Under Johnson, the Cowboys won the 1981 Independence Bowl and the 1983 Bluebonnet Bowl. He coached 15 First Team All-Big 8 performers during his five seasons with the Pokes.
At Miami, Johnson enjoyed a 52-9 mark in five seasons with five New Year’s Day bowl appearances. During his final four seasons in Miami, he posted a remarkable 44-4 record, including four top 10 finishes and two national title appearances. He earned two National Coach of the Year distinctions while coaching 12 First Team All-Americans. Johnson’s star pupils included future College Football Hall of Famers Bennie Blades and Russell Maryland as well as the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner in Vinny Testaverde. Johnson’s tenure was the genesis of an NCAA-record 58 home-game winning streak, which lasted from 1985-94.
A member of Arkansas’ 1964 national championship team, Johnson became the only person to win a college national championship as a player and coach and lead a team to a Super Bowl victory when he guided the Dallas Cowboys to victories in back-to-back Super Bowl victories following the 1992 and 1993 seasons. In the NFL, he held the Cowboys head coaching job from 1989-93 and with the Miami Dolphins from 1996-99.
A member of the University of Arkansas, University of Miami, State of Texas and State of Florida Sports Halls of Fame, Johnson supports charities such as The Children’s Health Fund, Malaria No More, City of Hope, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Johnson, who works as an NFL analyst on FOX, has donated his time visiting troops overseas and hosting a fundraiser for the Gridiron Greats Foundation, which raises money for former NFL players in need of medical assistance.
Texas A&M University
Head Coach, 123-47-2 (72.1%)
The head coach at Texas A&M from 1989-2002, R.C. Slocum is the winningest coach in Texas A&M and Southwest Conference history. A four-time national coach of the year honoree, Slocum’s Aggies experienced reigns of dominance over the SWC, including a 22-game league winning streak, a 28-0-1 conference record from 1991-94, and three SWC titles. He also led the Texas A&M to one of the school’s landmark victories on Dec. 5, 1998, with a 36-33 double-overtime upset of Kansas State, which gave the Aggies their only Big 12 championship and only win over a No. 1-ranked team.
Slocum led the Aggies to 11 bowl games in 14 seasons, five New Year’s Day bowl appearances and 10 AP top 25 finishes. He retired as college football’s sixth-winningest active coach. Under Slocum’s leadership, 14 players earned First Team All-America status. Linebacker Dat Nguyen submitted one of the finest seasons in school history in 1998, winning the Bednarik and Lombardi awards.
Slocum, a standout receiver and defensive lineman for at McNeese State, holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from his alma mater, and he was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2001. He currently works as a special assistant to President R. Bowen Loftin at Texas A&M.
A Texas Sports Hall of Fame and Texas A&M University Athletics Hall of Fame member, Slocum served as the chairman of the Children’s Miracle Network in Central Texas as well as the Cattle Baron’s Association, which raises scholarship money for young people in ranching. He is active with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Scotty’s House home for abused children. A former AFCA Board of Trustees member, he served as grand marshal at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade.