Sunday, August 15, 2004

Sanders, Theismann, Green enshrined in college hall

By Tom Coyne
The Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Barry Sanders scampered right and threw a 20-yard pass that Joe Theismann stood waiting to intercept. Darrell Green bolted in front of his former teammate to catch the TD pass.

All three were out of position, yet all were right where they belonged Saturday, playing in the annual flag football game before being enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame.

"It's like coming home," said Theismann, who 34 years ago played just five minutes away, at Notre Dame.

Among the 17 players enshrined Saturday were late USC tailback Ricky Bell, Pittsburgh tackle Jimbo Covert, SMU receiver Jerry LeVias and Georgia quarterback John Rauch. Five coaches also were enshrined, including Doug Dickey, who coached at Tennessee and Florida, and Hayden Fry, who coached at SMU, North Texas State and Iowa.

For Sanders, the 1988 Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma State, it was his second hall of fame ceremony in six days. On Aug. 8, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Sanders said he hasn't had time to think about the significance of the honors. "I have to get away for a couple of days and let it all sink in," he said. "To be inducted in both is beyond my wildest dreams."

Green, who retired two years ago after playing 20 seasons with the Washington Redskins, showed his speed and athleticism in the flag football game, throwing three touchdown passes, catching another, intercepting a pass and breaking up another.

Green, who played only two years of football in high school and almost quit Texas A&I (now known as Texas A&M-Kingsville), said he still has a hard time believing how far the sport has taken him. "This is all a surprise," he said. "I was just fortunate to get the chance to play."

Dan Ross, a tight end at Northeastern who went on to play in the NFL with the Bengals, said being inducted was overwhelming.

"I've played in Pro Bowls. I've played in the Super Bowl. I hold the record for passes caught in the Super Bowl, and I thought I reached the top of the football ladder. But nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to this," he said.

College Football Hall of Fame

The men enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday:

Ricky Bell, Running back, Southern California, 1973-76

Led USC to a 38-8-2 record, winning the national championship in the coaches poll in 1974. ... Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1976, third in 1975. ... Fourth on USC's career rushing list with 3,689 yards. ... Died in 1984 of heart disease.

Murry Bowden, Linebacker, Dartmouth, 1968-70

Co-captain of 1970 team that went 9-0, won the Ivy League and was ranked No. 14. ... Dartmouth allowed just 42 points, fewest in Division I that season, registering six shutouts. ... Dartmouth went 28-8 during his three seasons.

Tom Brown, Guard, Minnesota, 1958-60

Finished second in Heisman Trophy voting in 1960, highest finish for an interior lineman. ... Helped Gophers go from last place in Big Ten in 1959 to a league title and a national championship in 1960. ... In 1960 he won the Outland Trophy as the outstanding collegiate interior lineman and was named Big Ten MVP.

Jimbo Covert, Offensive tackle, Pittsburgh, 1978-82

The Panthers went 31-5 during the three years he started, finishing No. 2 in 1980, No. 4 in 1981 and No. 10 in 1982. ... Allowed only three sacks, none as a senior.

Harold Davis, Quarterback, Westminster, 1953-56

The Titans went 28-1-1 during Davis' four years as quarterback, going undefeated in 1953, 1955 and 1956. ... He was the first three-time NAIA All-American in school history.

Darrell Green, Defensive back, Texas A&I, 1978, 1980-82

A world-class sprinter at Texas A&I, now known as Texas A&M-Kingsville. ... He ran a 10.08 in the 100-meter dash for the Javelinas. ... He was named the Lone Star Conference most valuable player in 1982.

Garney Henley, Halfback, Huron, 1956-59

He set NAIA career records with 394 points scored and more than 4,000 rushing yards in leading Huron to a 27-5-2 record. ... Scored five touchdowns in one game. ... Had never played or even seen a football game before arriving at college.

Jackie Hunt, Halfback, Marshall, 1938-41

Hunt scored 27 touchdowns in 1940, setting an NCAA record he held for 31 years. ... School-record 162 points in 1940 was broken by Randy Moss (174) in 1996. ... He finished his career with 43 touchdowns, rushing for 1,956 yards. ... Died in 1991 at the age of 71.

Jerry LeVias, Wide receiver, Southern Methodist, 1966-68

First black player in the Southwest Conference. ... In 1968, caught 80 passes for a school record 1,131 yards. ... In 1966, helped SMU win its first league championship in 18 years. Set school records for catches in a game (15), in a season (80), in a career (80) and yards in a season (1,131), career (2,275) and career TD catches (22).

Billy Neighbors, Tackle, Alabama, 1959-61

Two-way player who helped lead Alabama to a 26-3-4 record over three years, including three straight bowl appearances. ... Alabama went 11-0 in 1961, with Neighbors leading a defense that allowed just 25 points. ... The Crimson Tide won the national championship in 1961 after winning the Sugar Bowl. ... MVP of the Senior Bowl.

Ron Pritchard, Linebacker, Arizona State, 1966-68

Arizona State's first consensus All-America pick. ... A three-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection. ... In 1968, he was elected team captain and most valuable defensive player by his teammates. ... Led the Sun Devils in tackles and interceptions in 1968.

John Rauch, Quarterback, Georgia, 1945-48

Started all 45 games of his college career. ... In 1946 led Georgia to an 11-0 season, finishing No. 3 in the AP poll. ... Most Valuable Player in the SEC as a senior in 1948. ... Was college football's all-time passing leader when he graduated, throwing for 4,044 yards.

Dan Ross, Tight end, Northeastern, 1975-78

First Northeastern player inducted into the Hall of Fame. ... Ross set school records for single-season receptions (68), career receptions (153), single-season receiving yards (988) and career receiving yards (2,343).

Barry Sanders, Tailback, Oklahoma State

Set 34 school records in winning the Heisman Trophy in 1988, rushing for 2,628 yards and scoring 37 touchdowns. ... Played behind Thurman Thomas for two years. ... In three years, Sanders had 3,797 yards and 55 touchdowns.

Bill Stromberg, Wide receiver, Johns Hopkins, 1978-81

First Johns Hopkins player inducted into the Hall of Fame. ... Set school and NCAA Division III career records for receptions (258), receiving yards (3,776) and touchdowns (39). ... Twice led the nation in receiving and twice was named Middle Atlantic Conference MVP. ... Had 19 games where he had more than 100 receiving yards.

Joe Theismann, Quarterback, Notre Dame, 1968-70

Finished second to Stanford's Jim Plunkett in Heisman Trophy balloting in 1970. ... Compiled a 20-3-2 record as a starter, throwing for 4,411 yards and 31 touchdowns. ... Set school records for passing yards in a game (526), season (2,429) and TD passes in a season (16).

Roger Wehrli, Defensive back, Missouri, 1966-68

A two-time All-Big Eight player and defensive player of the year in 1968. ... Wehrli still holds school records for punt returns (92), and yards gained on punt returns in a game (156), season (478) and career (1,062). ... Had seven interceptions in 1968.


Tom Beck, Illinois Benedictine, 1970-74, Elmhurst, 1976-83, Grand Valley State, 1985-90

Posted a 137-52-1 career record. ... After Benedictine had 18 straight losing seasons, he led the Eagles to a 37-21-1 record. ... After Elmhurst had only two winning seasons in 23 years, he led the Bluejays to a 50-22 record and two conference titles. ... Took over an 0-10 Grand Valley State team, led them to a 50-18 record and two conference titles.

Doug Dickey, Tennessee, 1964-69, Florida, 1970-78

Career record of 104-58-6, a .637 winning percentage. ... Tennessee was eight years removed from its last eight-win season when Dickey arrived. After a 4-5-1 start, he led the Vols to five straight seasons of eight wins or more. Led the Vols to two SEC championships. ... Posted a 58-43-2 record at Florida, leading the Gators to four bowl appearances.

Hayden Fry, Southern Methodist, 1962-72, North Texas State, 1973-78, Iowa, 1979-1998

A career record of 232-178-10, retiring 10th on the all-time list for wins. ... In 1966, he led the Mustangs to their first Southwest Conference title in 18 years. Was 143-89-6 in 20 seasons at Iowa, guiding the Hawkeyes to 14 bowl appearances, including three Rose Bowls.

Charlie Richard, Baker, 1980-90, 1992-94

Coaching record of 123-28-1, an .813 winning percentage. ... In 14 seasons, he guided the Wildcats to at least a share of 11 conference and 10 playoff appearances. ... Baker's teams were ranked in the NAIA Top 25 poll for 128 consecutive weeks at the end of the 1994 season. Died of a heart attack in 1994.

Dick Strahm, Findlay, 1975-98

He had a record of 183-46-5 with 22 winning seasons at Findlay. ... Led Findlay to four NAIA national championships. ... He was a four-time NAIA coach of the year.

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