The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class, which includes the names of 10 First Team All-America players and three standout coaches. The inductees were selected from the national ballot of 75 All-America players and six elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 95 players and 29 coaches from the divisional ranks.
2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
- BOB CRABLE – LB, Notre Dame (1978-81)
- MARSHALL FAULK – RB, San Diego State (1991-93)
- KIRK GIBSON – WR, Michigan State (1975-78)
- MATT LEINART – QB, Southern California (2003-05)
- PEYTON MANNING – QB, Tennessee (1994-97)
- BOB McKAY – OT, Texas (1968-69)
- DAT NGUYEN – LB, Texas A&M (1995-98)
- ADRIAN PETERSON – RB, Georgia Southern (1998-2001)
- MIKE RUTH – NG, Boston College (1982-85)
- BRIAN URLACHER – DB, New Mexico (1996-99)
- DANNY FORD – 122-59-5 (66.9%); Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
- LARRY KEHRES – 332-24-3 (92.9%); Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012)
- STEVE SPURRIER – 228-89-2 (71.8%); Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), South Carolina (2005-15)
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.”
The announcement of the 2017 Class was made today live on ESPN’s SportsCenter in Tampa, Fla., the site of the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, which will be played tonight at Raymond James Stadium between No. 1 Alabama (14-0) and No. 2 Clemson (13-1). Steve Spurrier joined the ESPN set inside the stadium for the announcement, representing the class and sharing his thoughts on induction. Spurrier and Peyton Manning (Tennessee) will also participate in pregame festivities and the coin toss on the field during the championship game, including an appearance by Manning on Championship Drive at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The new tradition of announcing the College Football Hall of Fame class in conjunction with the CFP National Championship began in 2015 before the inaugural CFP title game in Dallas. The 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be inducted at the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, 2017, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The inductees will also be honored at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Jan. 1, 2018, and they will be recognized at their respective collegiate institutions with NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the fall. Their accomplishments will be forever immortalized at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
“We would like to thank CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock and his staff for the continued opportunity to announce the Hall of Fame Class in conjunction with the championship game,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are also grateful for the guidance, knowledge and vision of honors court chairmen Archie Griffin (FBS) and Jack Lengyel (divisional) for the essential role that they each play in guiding the committees in the selection of the inductees.”
2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS NOTES
- ONE NFF William V. Campbell Trophy winner (Manning)
- THREE unanimous First Team All-Americans (Faulk, Nguyen, Peterson)
- SEVEN consensus First Team All-Americans (Crable, Leinart, Manning, McKay, Peterson, Ruth, Urlacher)
- FOUR multi-year First Team All-Americans (Crable – 2, Faulk – 3, Leinart – 2, Peterson – 4)
- FIVE winners of college football major awards (Leinart – Heisman, Walter Camp; Manning – Campbell, Davey O’Brien, Maxwell; Nguyen – Bednarik, Lombardi; Peterson – Walter Payton Award; Ruth – Outland)
- ONE all-time rushing leader in Division I history (Peterson)
- FIVE national championships (Leinart – 2, McKay, Peterson –2)
- SIX conference players of the year (Faulk, Leinart – 2, Manning, Nguyen, Peterson – 2, Urlacher)
- SIX members of conference championship teams (Gibson, Leinart – 3, Manning, McKay – 2, Nguyen, Peterson – 4)
- FOUR bowl MVPs (Leinart – Rose Bowl, Manning – Citrus Bowl, Nguyen – Cotton Bowl, Urlacher – Senior Bowl)
- FOUR played for College Football Hall of Fame coaches (Crable, Manning, McKay, Nguyen)
- SIX first-round NFL draft picks (Crable, Faulk, Leinart, Manning, McKay, Urlacher)
- SIX offensive players (Faulk, Gibson, Leinart, Manning, McKay, Peterson)
- FOUR defensive players (Crable, Nguyen, Ruth, Urlacher)
- FIVE decades represented: 1960s (1) – McKay; 1970s (2) – Crable, Gibson; 1980s (2) – Crable, Ruth; 1990s (5) – Faulk, Manning, Nguyen, Peterson, Urlacher; 2000s (2) – Leinart, Peterson
- ONE school with its first-ever College Football Hall of Fame inductee (New Mexico – Urlacher)
- ONE coach with highest winning percentage in college football history (Kehres)
- ONE coach who becomes only the fourth person all-time to enter the Hall of Fame as a player and a coach (Spurrier, joining Bobby Dodd, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Bowden Wyatt)
- 13 national championships (Ford – 1, Kehres – 11, Spurrier – 1)
- 35 conference championships (Ford – 5, Kehres – 23, Spurrier – 7)
- 126 First Team All-Americans coached (Ford – 15, Kehres – 77, Spurrier – 34)
- 14 conference coach of the year honors (Ford – 2, Kehres – 6, Spurrier 9)
- Youngest coach in college football history to win a national title (Ford)
- Winningest coaches in school history (Kehres – Mount Union; Spurrier – Florida and South Carolina)
- First and foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.
- A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s honors courts ten full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.
- 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.
- Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2017 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1967 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.
- A coach becomes eligible three full seasons 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.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME QUICK FACTS
- Including the 2017 Hall of Fame class, only 987 players and 214 coaches, have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.19 million who have played or coached the game during the past 148 years. In other words, less than two ten-thousandths 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.
- 306 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.
- Induction for this class of Hall of Famers will take place Dec. 5, 2017, during the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown.
2017 College Football Hall of Fame Inductee Bios
University of Notre Dame
A two-time First Team All-American, Bob Crable owns nearly every tackling record at Notre Dame. He becomes the 46th Fighting Irish player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American as a senior, Crable holds Notre Dame’s career (521), single-season (187) and single-game (26) tackling records. A Third Team All-American in 1979, his 26 tackles against Clemson that season are tied for the most ever in an FBS game. In the 1979 Cotton Bowl following his freshman season, he recovered a fumble that led to a touchdown and a comeback victory over Houston in the famous “Chicken Soup” game. The two-time team captain and team MVP for Hall of Fame coach Dan Devine also led the Irish to a berth in the 1981 Sugar Bowl. A 1982 Hula Bowl participant, Crable led the team in tackles three seasons and posted four games with 20 or more tackles as a sophomore. In 2006, he received the Butkus Silver Anniversary Award.
The 23rd overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft, Crable played seven seasons for the New York Jets. While with the Jets, he went into his first business venture, a high-end sportswear company known as Crable Sportswear, which he later sold. After his professional football career, he returned to his high school alma mater, Moeller High School in Cincinnati, where he coached football and taught religion for 16 years. Crable would serve as the school’s head football coach from 2001-07.
In 2007, Crable started the Crable Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing scholarships to student-athletes looking to attend Catholic high schools. He has founded several other companies, including Crable Investments and Hilltop Management Company, and he is currently a licensed real estate agent with Capital Real Estate Partners. An active volunteer for the Notre Dame Monogram Club, Crable is a member of the Hamilton County (Ohio) Hall of Fame.
San Diego State University
Running Back, 1991-93
A three-time First Team All-American, Marshall Faulk was just the fifth player in NCAA history to record back-to-back rushing titles. He becomes the second San Diego State player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time unanimous First Team All-American in 1992 and 1993, Faulk became the first freshman in history to lead the nation in both scoring (140 points) and rushing (158.8 yards per game) in 1991. A three-time Heisman Trophy finalist, he finished second in 1992 after again leading the nation in rushing with 163 yards per game. The 1992 WAC Offensive Player of the Year owns the NCAA FBS record for points per game with 12.1, and he remains in the top 10 in college history in rushing yards per game (148) and all-purpose yardage per game (180.5).
The 1991 WAC Freshman of the Year, Faulk rushed for 386 yards in his first start as an Aztec to set a then-NCAA record. A three-time First Team All-WAC selection, he led the conference in scoring all three seasons and twice led the conference in rushing. The two-time recipient of the Joe Kearney Award as the WAC Athlete of the Year across all sports set numerous conference records, including single-game and career touchdowns and career rushing average. Faulk set nearly every San Diego State rushing record while leading the Aztecs in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards every year of his career.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft, Faulk split his 12-year career between the Indianapolis Colts (1994-98) and the St. Louis Rams (1999-2005). His many NFL accolades include the 2000 MVP award, seven Pro Bowl selections and the 1994 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Leading the Rams to a victory in Super Bowl XXXIV and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVI, Faulk ranks 11th in NFL history with 12,280 rushing yards. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Colts Ring of Honor.
Faulk has continuously given back to the community, establishing the Marshall Faulk Foundation for underprivileged youth and providing funding for YMCA youth programs, the Boys to Men mentoring network and 9th Ward Field of Dreams. He also created the Marshall Faulk Scholarship Endowment at San Diego State. Faulk can currently be seen as an analyst on the NFL Network.
Michigan State University
Wide Receiver, 1975-78
One of the great receivers in Michigan State history, Kirk Gibson finished his All-American career as the school’s all-time leading receiver. He becomes the ninth Spartan player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Still owning the Michigan State record with 21.0 yards per catch average, Gibson finished his career as the university’s record-holder for career receptions (112), touchdown receptions (24) and receiving yards (2,347), with the latter two still ranking in the top five. A First Team All-American as a senior in 1978, Gibson helped the Spartans to a No. 12 national ranking that season and was named the Outstanding Offensive End by the New York Downtown Athletic Club. He hauled in 42 receptions for a team-high 806 yards that year, then No. 1 on the school’s seasonal list, and he paced all Big Ten players in receptions (31) and receiving yards (613) in league outings. A three time all-conference selection, he earned first team honors after guiding Michigan State to a share of the Big Ten title in 1978. After leading the Spartans in receiving his final three years, Gibson played in the Hula Bowl and the Senior Bowl. He received the 1976 MSU Outstanding Underclassman Award and the 1978 MSU President’s Award during his career, and he is a member of the Michigan State Centennial Super Squad.
Although he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round of the 1979 NFL Draft, Gibson chose a professional baseball career after being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the MLB Draft. Gibson played for four teams throughout his 17 years in the MLB, winning a World Series with the Tigers in 1984 and receiving National League MVP honors in 1988. He hit one of the most memorable home runs in MLB history in Game One of the 1988 World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who would go on to win the Series.
Gibson went on to serve as an MLB coach, eventually serving as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010-14. He also served as a television analyst for the Tigers from 1998-2002. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2015, he established the Kirk Gibson Foundation, which is committed to raising money and awareness for neurological disorders research.
University of Southern California
One of the greatest quarterbacks in college football history, Matt Leinart won the 2004 Heisman Trophy while guiding USC to consecutive national championships. He becomes the 31st Trojan player elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, Leinart earned consensus honors in 2004 when he claimed the Heisman, Walter Camp Award, Manning Award and AP Player of the Year honors. The two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year led the Trojans to consecutive AP national titles after wins in the 2004 Rose Bowl, where he earned MVP honors, and the 2005 Orange Bowl. In 2005, Leinart finished third for the Heisman and led USC to a national championship game appearance in the 2006 Rose Bowl.
Losing just two games in three years (37-2), he set Pac-10 records for career (99) and single-season (38) touchdowns, career completion percentage (64.8) and consecutive passes without an interception (212). A three-time All-Pac-10 selection, Leinart twice led the conference in passing efficiency while guiding the Trojans to three-straight Pac-10 titles. He is only the fourth player and second quarterback to twice win Pac-10 Player of the Year honors.
The two-time team captain boasts a school-record three 3,000-yard passing seasons and set 12 other USC records by career’s end. Currently ranked third in school history with 10,693 passing yards, Leinart’s 1.85 percent interception ratio was an NCAA-record, and his 94.9 winning percentage was a school record and second-best in NCAA history. The 2003 USC Team MVP finished sixth in that season’s Heisman Trophy balloting.
Leinart was selected 10th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2006 NFL Draft, playing for the Cardinals, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills during his career.
Leinart’s jersey was retired by the Trojans and he was inducted into the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. He maintains a strong interest in charitable endeavors, operating the Matt Leinart Foundation, which aims to create athletic opportunities for underprivileged youth. He currently serves as a college football analyst for FOX Sports, providing pregame, halftime and postgame coverage on FOX and FS1.
University of Tennessee
A 1997 consensus First Team All-American, Peyton Manning is Tennessee’s all-time leading passer and becomes just the second College Football Hall of Fame inductee ever to have also claimed the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy. He is the 20th Volunteer player to enter the Hall.
The 1997 Heisman Trophy runner-up, Manning claimed the Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Sullivan Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award among many others during his senior campaign. Manning holds numerous Tennessee records, including wins by a starting quarterback (39), passing yards (11,201), touchdown passes (89), total touchdowns (101, 89 passing/12 rushing), passing attempts (1,381), completions (863), completion percentage (62.5) and career 300-yard games (18). A Third Team All-American as a junior and senior, he led the Vols to four consecutive bowl games, winning the first three and earning MVP honors in the 1997 Citrus Bowl.
The 1997 SEC Player of the Year led Tennessee to the conference title that season and earned MVP honors in the championship game. A three-time All-SEC selection under Hall of Fame coach Phillip Fulmer, Manning earned first team honors in 1995 and 1997, second team laurels in 1996 and was also named the 1994 SEC Freshman of the Year. Finishing as the SEC’s all-time leading passer, his career passing yards now rank fourth and he is third in conference annals in career passing touchdowns. Manning also holds the SEC record for lowest single-season interception percentage (1.05), finished in the top 10 of the Heisman voting in 1995 and 1996 and led Tennessee to three consecutive top 10 finishes nationally. In addition to winning the 1997 Campbell Trophy as the top football scholar-athlete in the country, he was a two-time Academic All-American.
The first overall pick in 1998 NFL Draft, Manning established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, playing for the Indianapolis Colts for 13 seasons and the Denver Broncos for four. The only player in NFL history to be named MVP five times, he made 14 Pro Bowl appearances. He owns NFL career passing records for both yards and touchdowns, earned MVP honors in the Colts’ victory in Super Bowl XLI and received the 2005 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He retired following the 2015 season after leading Denver to a victory in Super Bowl 50.
Off the field, Manning established the PeyBack Foundation in 1999 to promote the future success of disadvantaged youth. He also opened the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent (Indianapolis) in 2003 and started the Chattanooga Heroes Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. Tennessee retired his No. 16 in 2005 and established the Peyton Manning Scholarship in his honor. He will join his father, Archie Manning, in the College Football Hall of Fame, making them the first father-son duo to both be inducted as players.
University of Texas
Offensive Tackle, 1968-69
A stalwart on the offensive line of one of the best teams in Texas history, Bob McKay led the Longhorns to a national championship in 1969. He becomes the 18th player in school annals to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 1969, the 6-foot-5 McKay guided Texas to a perfect 11-0 season and the national title after defeating Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl. He also helped the team to a No. 3 final ranking nationally in 1968 following a win over Tennessee in the 1969 Cotton Bowl. The 1969 All-Southwest Conference selection led the Longhorns to two conference championships.
Behind McKay and the rest of the offensive line, the 1969 squad outscored opponents 435-119 while leading the FBS in rushing offense (363 yards per game) and scoring offense (33.8 points per game). With McKay in the starting lineup, Texas held an impressive 20-1-1 record and twice finished in the top three of the AP rankings. After his senior campaign, he played in the Coaches All-America Game and the Hula Bowl. During his standout career in Austin, McKay played for College Football Hall of Fame coach Darrell Royal and alongside Hall of Fame halfback Chris Gilbert.
McKay was drafted 21st overall by the Cleveland Browns in 1970 and spent nine seasons in the NFL with the Browns and New England Patriots. He would lead each franchise to two playoff appearances during his career.
Following his football career, McKay worked commercial sales and is involved with the NFL Children’s Benefit and CASH of Austin. He was inducted into the Texas Men’s Athletics Hall of Honor in 1990.
Texas A&M University
The only player in Texas A&M history to lead the team in tackles four consecutive seasons, Dat Nguyen is one of the greatest defensive players in Aggie history. The 1998 unanimous First Team All-American is the 10th A&M player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The winner of both the Bednarik and Lombardi awards in 1998, Nguyen started all 51 games of his illustrious career and still holds Texas A&M records with 517 career tackles and 30 double-digit tackle games. The 1998 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year led the Aggies to three bowl berths, including a win in the 1995 Alamo Bowl. Nguyen earned Defensive MVP honors in the 1998 Cotton Bowl despite losing to UCLA after he recorded a still-standing Cotton Bowl-record 15 solo tackles. A two-time First Team All-Big 12 selection, he topped the conference with 149 tackles as a senior and led the Aggies with an interception and 17 tackles to upset No. 1 Kansas State to claim the 1998 Big 12 title.
Playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach R.C. Slocum, Nguyen currently ranks eighth in Big 12 history with 423 career tackles (not including bowl games or his freshman year in the Southwest Conference) and second all-time with nine fumble recoveries. Named the 1998 National Defensive Player of the Year by Lindy’s and Chevrolet, he also received Second Team All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore. Nguyen was named the 1995 SWC Freshman of the Year after recording a still-standing single-season A&M record with 65 solo tackles. A member of the Big 12 10th Anniversary Team, Nguyen is enshrined in the Texas A&M, Cotton Bowl, State of Texas Sports and Texas High School Football halls of fame.
Drafted in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, Nguyen spent his entire seven-year pro career with the franchise. He led the Cowboys in tackles in three seasons and was named Second Team All-Pro in 2003. Nguyen holds the distinction of being the first Vietnamese-American to be drafted, play and be recognized as an All-Pro in the NFL.
After retiring from the NFL, Nguyen served as an assistant coach for the Cowboys and Texas A&M. He currently hosts a radio show on 1250 ESPN in San Antonio and owns a Chick-fil-A franchise. Active in the community, he serves on the board of directors for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Brazos Valley and San Antonio and the San Antonio Sports Foundation, which focuses on improving school facilities and playgrounds. He also works with Hill Country Daily Bread, which provides physical, emotional and spiritual support to the impoverished.
Georgia Southern University
Running Back, 1998-2001
One of the most decorated players in college football history, Adrian Peterson remains the all-time leading rusher in Division I (FBS and FCS) history with 6,559 yards. The four-time First Team All-American is the second Georgia Southern player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The only sophomore to ever win the Walter Payton Award as the FCS Player of the Year, Peterson finished among the top three vote-getters for the award all four seasons of his career. The two-time Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year led the Eagles to three national championship appearances, winning back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000. Peterson holds virtually every rushing record in school and conference history, including career rushing yards (6,559), rush attempts (996), rushing touchdowns (84) and points (524), among many others.
The four-time first team all-conference performer led Georgia Southern to four consecutive SoCon championships. In 1998, Peterson set the NCAA record for most-rushing yards by a freshman with 1,932, and he finished his career as Division I’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, a record that lasted until 2015. A 14-time SoCon Player of the Week selection, he rushed for 100 or more yards in 48 consecutive games. Peterson is a member of the Georgia Southern and SoCon halls of fame, and Sporting News renamed its FCS Offensive Player of the Year Award in his honor in 2014.
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Peterson played for the franchise from 2002-09 and participated in Super Bowl XLI with the team.
Peterson is one of the founders and owners of All Pro Sports Performance in Illinois. He wrote a book titled, “Don’t Dis My Abilities,” regarding his struggles with a speech impediment and donated a portion of the proceeds to a scholarship fund at Georgia Southern. Honored as Georgia Southern’s “Champion of Life” at the GoDaddy Bowl in 2015, Peterson helps raise awareness for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a rare, inoperable brainstem tumor of which his son died from in 2015. He also hosts youth football camps and serves as a motivational speaker.
Nose Guard, 1982-85
The recipient of the 1985 Outland Trophy as the most outstanding interior lineman in the nation, Mike Ruth terrorized offensive lines with his combination of strength and quickness. He becomes the seventh Boston College player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American as a senior, Ruth led the Eagles to three bowl games, including a win in the 1985 Cotton Bowl against Houston. Boston College would finish the 1984 season ranked No. 5 nationally. A three-time All-East and All-ECAC selection, he led the Eagles to back-to-back Lambert Trophies as the best FBS team in the East in 1983 and 1984.
A team captain as a senior, Ruth amassed 344 career tackles, 29 sacks, seven forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during his remarkable career. In 1986, he received Boston College’s highest athletic honor when he was named Eagle of the Year. A teammate of College Football Hall of Famer Doug Flutie, Ruth is a member of Boston College’s Varsity Club Hall of Fame and his No. 68 jersey was retired by the program.
Ruth was drafted in the in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots and spent two seasons with the franchise. He also spent two seasons with the Barcelona Dragons in the World League of American Football.
After his football career, Ruth worked in insurance for more than a decade and earned a master’s in education from Harvard University. He has served as president of Mike Ruth Consulting since 2003, and he currently teaches and coaches at Everett High School in Massachusetts.
University of New Mexico
Defensive Back, 1996-99
Arguably the most decorated player in New Mexico history, Brian Urlacher earned consensus First Team All-America honors in 1999 and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. He deservedly becomes the first Lobo (player or coach) to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 1999 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, Urlacher led the league in tackles (154), forced fumbles (5) and fumble recoveries (3) as a senior. The two-time team captain and Team MVP twice led the Lobos in tackles, recording a single-season school record 178 in 1998, which led the nation. A two-time all-conference performer, Urlacher’s 115 tackles in conference games in 1999 are a MWC single-season record, and his 154 total single-season tackles that season rank third all-time in MWC history and sixth in the Lobos record books.
Showing his versatility, the 1999 New Mexico Male Athlete of the Year recorded seven touchdowns to lead the team in scoring with 42 points while also earning his second consecutive Colonel H.J. Golightly Defensive Player of the Year award from the team. His 442 career tackles rank fourth all-time in Lobo history while his 11 career forced fumbles rank second. As a sophomore, Urlacher led New Mexico to a berth in the 1997 WAC Championship Game and a trip to the Insight.com Bowl, the Lobos’ first bowl appearance since 1961. Following his standout career, he played in the 2000 Senior Bowl where he earned Defensive MVP honors. A member of the State of New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame, Urlacher’s No. 44 jersey was retired by the Lobos in 2013.
Selected ninth overall in the 2000 NFL Draft, Urlacher spent his entire 13-year career with the Chicago Bears. The eight-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time All-Pro was named the 2000 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and 2005 AP Defensive Player of the Year. A member of the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000s, Urlacher led the Bears to an appearance in Super Bowl XLI and holds the franchise record with 1,776 career tackles. He received the Bears’ Brian Piccolo Award in 2007.
Giving back to his community off the field, Urlacher donated $500,000 to UNM for its indoor practice facility, and he conducted summer football camps at the university for more than a decade. He built the Brian Urlacher Training Facility for his alma mater Lovington High School (N.M.) and bought shoes for all of the school’s athletes for five years. During his career with the Bears, Urlacher would purchase 120 tickets to every Chicago home game and donate them to charity. He worked briefly as a studio analyst for FOX Sports 1 following his NFL career.
Clemson University (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
Head Coach, 122-59-5 (66.9%)
The youngest coach in college football history to win a national championship, Danny Ford was only 33 when he led Clemson to a perfect 12-0 season in 1981 after defeating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. After coaching one of the most successful runs in Clemson history from 1978-89, he also coached at Arkansas from 1993-97.
He guided the Tigers to six wins in eight bowl games, the second-most bowl victories among ACC coaches, with five coming against Hall of Fame coaches. The 1981 AFCA and Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year coached Clemson to a school-record 41 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 20 and eight top 20 seasons, including four in the top 10. A two-time ACC Coach of the Year, Ford led the Tigers to five conference titles and his 51 wins over his first six years is an ACC record.
Ford’s 76.0 winning percentage with the Tigers ranks first in school history among coaches who served at least three seasons, and he is second in wins at Clemson (96) behind only College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Howard. Ford never had a losing season at Clemson, guided them to the second most postseason appearances in school history and led the university to its first national championship in any sport.
At Arkansas, Ford led the Razorbacks to the 1995 SEC Western Division title, a spot in the conference championship game and a bowl berth.
During his career at both universities, Ford coached 15 First Team All-Americans, including Hall of Famers Jeff Davis and Terry Kinard at Clemson. He also coached 73 first team all-conference selections, 21 Academic All-ACC players, three ACC Players of the Year, two ACC Rookies of the Year and two recipients of the ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy. He also coached 1978 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Steve Fuller.
Ford was a team captain and earned First Team All-SEC honors playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Bear Bryant at Alabama. Before becoming Clemson’s head coach, he served an assistant coach at Clemson, Virginia Tech and on Bryant’s 1973 national championship team. A member of the Clemson Ring of Honor, Ford is enshrined in the Clemson, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, State of Alabama Sports and State of South Carolina Sports halls of fame. A scholarship at Clemson has been named in his honor.
University of Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012)
Head Coach, 332-24-3 (92.9%)
Boasting the highest winning percentage (93 percent) in college football history, Larry Kehres established himself as a coaching legend during his 27 seasons at Mount Union from 1986-2012. He also owns the most national titles (11), most conference titles (23) and most unbeaten regular seasons (21) of any college football coach in history.
The winningest coach in Ohio Athletic Conference and Mount Union history, Kehres set an NCAA record for most consecutive victories after winning 55 from 2000-03. One of only 10 coaches in college football history to win 300 games, he was named AFCA Regional Coach of the Year a record 17 times, AFCA National Coach of the Year eight times, OAC Coach of the Year six times and in 2008 became just the second-ever NCAA Division III winner of the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year award.
Kehres’ Purple Raiders appeared in 16 national championship games and led the OAC in total offense and total defense every season from 1999-2009. He finished his career on a high note, compiling a record of 182-7 and winning seven of his 11 national titles after the year 2000. He stepped down as the head coach following a perfect 15-0 national championship season in 2012, and his 72-3 record in his final five seasons is the best in college football history, breaking the record set by Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne in his final five seasons. Kehres lost only nine home games and 24 games overall in 27 seasons.
During his remarkable coaching career, Kehres coached five Gagliardi Trophy winners, 77 First Team All-Americans (including Hall of Famer Jim Ballard), 220 First Team All-OAC selections, 18 First Team Academic All-Americans and three NFF National Scholar-Athletes.
Kehres served as the offensive coordinator for the U.S. National Football Team that won a gold medal in the 2011 World Championships. Off the field, he served as a board member and as president of the American Football Coaches Association and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.
The Diamond, Ohio, native played quarterback and punter at Mount Union from 1967-70. Kehres served as a graduate assistant coach at Bowling Green from 1971-72, and then got his first head coaching job at Johnstown Monroe High School [Ohio]. He returned to Mount Union the following year, spending the next 11 seasons as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach prior to the 1986 season. He has served as Mount Union’s athletics director since 1985, and he is also a professor of physical education at the university. His son, Vince, has succeeded him as the Purple Raiders’ head coach and already owns a 55-4 record, three Division III national championship appearances and the 2015 national title.
Duke University (1987-89), University of Florida (1990-2001),
University of South Carolina (2005-15)
Head Coach, 228-89-2 (71.8%)
The winningest head coach in both Florida and South Carolina history, Steve Spurrier becomes just the fourth person ever to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player and coach.
Spurrier began his 26-year head coaching career at Duke from 1987-89. The ACC Coach of the Year in both 1988 and 1989, his 1989 team won the university’s first ACC title since 1962 and made its first bowl appearance since 1960.
Spurrier became the head coach at his alma mater, Florida, in 1990, compiling a 122-27-1 record over 12 seasons in “The Swamp.” His Gators appeared in back-to-back national championship games, winning the 1996 national title after defeating rival Florida State in the Sugar Bowl. During his tenure in Gainesville, Spurrier led the Gators to six wins in 11 bowl appearances, and he was named SEC Coach of the Year five times. He helped the Gators win their first-ever conference title in 1991, and he added five more, including four straight from 1993-96 and one in 2000. At Florida, he became the only coach in major college football history to win at least 120 games in his first 12 seasons at one school, and his teams never finished lower than No. 13 in the final rankings.
After a stint coaching the NFL’s Washington Redskins, he became the head coach at South Carolina where he compiled an 86-49 record from 2005-15. Spurrier picked up two more SEC Coach of the Year honors, leading the Gamecocks to their first-ever SEC East title in 2010 and five bowl victories in nine berths. His South Carolina teams finished in the top 25 four times, including a No. 4 ranking after the 2013 season. Spurrier guided the Gamecocks to historic wins in his first season at the helm, including their first-ever win against Tennessee in Knoxville and a victory over then-No. 12 Florida, who they had not beaten since 1939.
He joins Hall of Fame coach Bear Bryant (Kentucky and Alabama) as the only two coaches in college football history to have the most wins at two different SEC schools. During his career at all three universities, Spurrier coached one Heisman Trophy winner in Danny Wuerffel (Florida), 34 First Team All-Americans, 118 first team all-conference players and nine First Team Academic All-Americans. He coached two members of the College Football Hall of Fame in Clarkston Hines (Duke) and Wuerffel (Florida), and he coached four NFF National Scholar-Athletes, including Campbell Trophy winners Brad Culpepper (Florida) and Wuerffel (Florida).
The 1966 Heisman Trophy winner as the quarterback at Florida, Spurrier was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1986. He is a member of multiple other halls of fame, including the University of Florida and University of Florida Athletics. In 2016, his name was added to the Gators’ home field. After a 10-year playing career with the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he served as an assistant coach at Florida, Georgia Tech and Duke and as head coach of the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits. He currently serves as an ambassador and consultant for the Florida athletics department.