NCF Nation: 2012-HOF

Former Washington State football coach William "Lone Star" Dietz will be posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame with the 2012 Divisional Class.

Dietz had many coaching stops -- including Washington State from 1915-1917 -- where his teams went 17-2-1, recording 15 shutouts. He guided WSU (then Washington State College) to a Rose Bowl victory over Brown in his inaugural year.

The Divisional College Football Hall of Fame considers players and coaches from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III, and the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) for induction.

"We're proud one of our own made it, even though it's posthumously," WSU athletic director Bill Moos told the Seattle Times. "Anytime those that served at Washington State are honored, then Washington State feels honored as well ... his story is compelling, his accomplishments are very credible and he's very deserving of being inducted."

WSU's victory in the 1916 Rose Bowl -- its first and only Rose Bowl win -- was considered a major coup for West Coast football.

He would also go on to coach the Mare Island (Calif.) Marines, at Purdue, Louisiana Tech, Wyoming, Haskell Indian Institute and finally Albright College. He also coached the Boston Redskins from 1933-1934.

Dietz died in 1964.

NEW YORK -- When asked to reflect on their Hall of Fame college football careers, coach Jimmy Johnson and quarterback Steve Bartkowski talked about the fun and the camaraderie.

Both men enjoyed long and successful NFL careers. Both have been successful since they left the game -- Bartkowski in the construction business in Atlanta, Johnson as an NFL analyst on the Fox network. Yet both men, speaking Tuesday at a news conference staged by the National Football Foundation to announce the Class of 2012 of the College Football Hall of Fame, look back with great fondness on their days in the college game.

“Football is the ultimate team game,” said Bartkowski, the California quarterback from 1972-74. “I had a great group of guys around me at Cal: Chuck Muncie, Wesley Walker, Howard Strickland. We had some good, good football players. And it was fun. I was there because I wanted to be there, not because somebody was paying me a large amount of money to take the field.”

Bartkowski, the 16th Golden Bear elected to the Hall of Fame, described it as “an absolute honor. I was humbled by it, especially now that I hear some of the guys to be inducted along with me in this class.”

[+] EnlargeJimmy Johnson and Steve Bartkowski
AP Photo/Seth WenigCoach Jimmy Johnson and quarterback Steve Bartkowski joined 15 others in being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
It may be the passage of time. More likely, it’s an expression of the emotion the men elected to the Hall of Fame carry about their college days. But no matter how many years have passed, nearly all of them react as Colorado guard John Wooten (1956-58) did.

Wooten, who was nominated by the Veterans Committee, became one of the African-American pioneers in the NFL. He has blazed trails throughout his career to this day, when he is chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, which promotes diversity in NFL coaching, front office and scouting staffs. Yet when he called his Colorado teammates with news of his election, tears flowed on both sides of the connection.

Johnson, who led Miami to the 1987 national championship, will be joined in this class by two other coaches, Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee (1993-2008) and R.C. Slocum of Texas A&M (1989-2002). Johnson went 81-34-3 in 10 seasons at the U (1984-88) and Oklahoma State (1979-83). He said several times Tuesday that the most fun he had in his life came at Miami, when his Hurricanes lost a total of two regular-season games in four seasons.

But the enjoyment came from more than winning.

“You’re more than a head football coach,” Johnson said. “I was in my office continually with young kids ... being homesick, young kids that had financial problems, young kids that had academic problems. They thought they came there to get ready for pro football but then they realized they had to get ready for life.

“I used to have a meeting on Thursday nights,” Johnson continued. “And I said, ‘Every one of you, I’m going through the room, and I’m going to ask you what are you going to do when you leave the University of Miami?’ And I said, ‘You can’t say you’re gonna play pro football. So you have to tell me what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.’

“So [coaching college football] is a lot more than X’s and O’s.”

Johnson, 68, is 25 years removed from his national championship at Miami, 23 years removed from his resignation to go to the Dallas Cowboys. A few “old alums” called him when his alma mater, Arkansas, fired Bobby Petrino last month. But he said he no longer gets serious inquiries about returning to coaching. His involvement in college football is limited to watching games all day Saturday at the Fox studio in Los Angeles with his “best friend,” fellow Fox analyst Terry Bradshaw.

“We’ll start at 10:00 in the morning, watching college football,” Johnson said. “We won’t turn the TVs off until that night. That’s how we prepare for our pro show the next day… . That’s how we feel about college football.”

Johnson and Bartkowski are members of an exclusive club. Including this class of 14 players and three coaches, who will be inducted in December at a black-tie dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, the Hall of Fame has 914 players and 197 coaches. That’s from a game that has been played for 143 seasons by nearly five million players.

They may have gone into their college experiences looking to get to the NFL. But when they look back, they think of the fun and brotherhood of the college game. It’s a lesson that takes a lifetime to learn.

Entering the Hall: Jonathan Ogden

May, 15, 2012
Massive, athletic and smart, Jonathan Ogden is simply one of the all-time great offensive tackles, both in college and the NFL.

On Tuesday, his dominance in college was recognized with his selection to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Ogden, a fearsome sight at 6-foot-9, 345 pounds, was a four-year starter at left tackle for UCLA. In 1995, he received the Outland Trophy, was the UPI lineman of the year and was a unanimous first-team All-American. Oh, by the way, in track and field, he won the 1996 NCAA title in the shot put. And he was a history major.

After UCLA, the Baltimore Ravens selected him with the fourth pick of the first round of the 1996 NFL draft. In 12 seasons before he retired in 2008, he was selected for 11 Pro Bowls and was a nine-time All-Pro. In 2009, The Sporting News selected him for its All-Decade team (2000's). In 2010, the NFL made a list of its top-100 players of all time. Ogden ranked 72nd. He almost certainly will be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013 when he becomes eligible.

His No. 79 jersey has been retired by UCLA. He is only the eighth Bruin to earn that honor.

Entering the Hall: Hal Bedsole

May, 15, 2012
Hal Bedsole had 82 catches for 1,717 yards and 20 touchdowns -- for his career. Not exactly gaudy numbers by today's standards, but in the early '60s, those kind of stats were special. Also unusual was his size -- 6-foot-5, 221-pounds -- rare dimensions for a split end at the time. By today's standards, he'd be considered near prototypical.

In 1962, he set the school records for a single season in receptions (33), touchdowns (11) and yards (827). He was the first USC player to ever have a 200-yard plus receiving game (201 yards versus Cal in 1962) and he had five, 100-yard receiving games in his career. He earned first-team all-conference in 1961 and 1962.

Nicknamed "Prince Hal," No. 19 was a member of USC's 1962 national championship team that finished 11-0, earning consensus All-America honors that year. He also caught a pair of touchdowns in USC's 42-37 win over Wisconsin in the 1963 Rose Bowl. He still holds the USC record for highest average per catch (30 or more) with 20.94.

He was a second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1964 and went on to have a modest career as an NFL tight end. He was also drafted by the Chiefs in the eighth round of the AFL draft. In 2001, he was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.

Entering the Hall: John Wooten

May, 15, 2012
One of the first two African-American football players at Colorado (with Frank Clarke), Wooten lettered three years as a left guard in Dal Ward's Wing-T/Single-Wing offense, earning All-America honors in 1958 and All Big-Seven in 1956 and 1957. Most known as a 6-foot-2, 230-pound guard who was agile and powerful, he also played tackle on defense.

His impact was immediate. In 1956, he helped the Buffs to an 8-2-1 record and the school's first ever bowl victory -- a 27-21 win in the Orange Bowl. The next year Colorado led the nation in rushing with 322.3 yards per game and they were second in total offense (415.2) -- and a lot of that had to do with the holes Wooten was opening up. Then in 1958, Colorado achieved its first ever Top 10 ranking, climbing to No. 9 nationally after a 5-0 start.

In 1959 he was a fifth-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, where he went on to play nine seasons, earning All-Pro status, before closing out his career with one season in Washington. He went on to have a decorated career in NFL administration, streamlining programs centered on continuing education and financial planning for players. After working in Dallas, Philadelphia and Baltimore, he retired from the NFL in 2003.

In 1989 he was named as a first-team member of Colorado's All-Century Team. To honor him, the Buffs hand out the John Wooten Award annually, which goes to the team's most improved player.

Over a span of five seasons, former Miami coach Jimmy Johnson helped set the elite standard that so many Hurricanes fans are still desperately clamoring for today.

In May of 1984, Johnson came to Coral Gables from Oklahoma State and took what Howard Schnellenberger built and topped it with what many consider to be one of the best college football teams in the sport’s history.

Led by Vinny Testaverde, Miami’s first Heisman Trophy winner, the Canes finished the 1986 regular season 11-0 and were ranked No. 1 in the country for 15 weeks. It was the school’s first undefeated season. Johnson rose to the top of college football with his program, where he compiled a stunning 52-9 record and won one national championship. In 1987, Johnson led Miami to a 12-0 finish, including a 20-14 win over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl to win the national title. During his final three seasons in Miami, Johnson lost a total of two games.

In 1989, Johnson moved on to the Dallas Cowboys, where he coached from 1989-1993 and won back-to-back Super Bowls -- one of only six coaches in the NFL to accomplish that feat. In 1996, he came back to Miami to coach the Dolphins. Schnellenberger left the door open for Johnson, but he knocked it down with a Hall of Fame career.

Entering the Hall: Phillip Fulmer

May, 15, 2012
Once described by legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson as “Tennessee to the core,” Phillip Fulmer spent more than 30 years at his alma mater as a player, assistant coach and head coach.

During his 16 full seasons as head coach from 1993-2008, he engineered one of the most successful runs in Tennessee football history. The Vols compiled a 45-5 record from 1995-98, which included a pair of SEC championships and an unbeaten national championship season in 1998.

Fulmer’s 1997 and 1998 Tennessee teams still own the distinction of being the last to repeat as SEC champions.

[+] EnlargePhillip Fulmer
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesPhillip Fulmer compiled a record of 152-52 over 16 seasons with the Vols.
One of the winningest coaches in SEC history, Fulmer was selected Tuesday into the College Football Hall of Fame. He ranks eighth all-time among SEC coaches with 152 overall wins, and he’s tied for fifth all-time with 98 SEC regular-season wins. The only four coaches in history with more SEC wins are Bear Bryant, Steve Spurrier, John Vaught and Vince Dooley.

Fulmer took the Vols to dizzying heights in the 1990s and brought them their first national championship in 47 years. That 1998 season was a magical one and culminated with Tennessee knocking off Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 13-0 and take home the first BCS national championship trophy.

Al Wilson was an All-America linebacker and a captain on that team. He said Fulmer was masterful in the way he pressed all of the right buttons with players.

“I always admired the way he allowed guys to be themselves, but also the way he helped young men grow into not only great football players, but great men,” Wilson said. “It’s a tribute to him as a coach that he was able to manage so many personalities, from players to assistant coaches.”

Despite an overall record of 152-52 (.745), Fulmer was forced out following the 2008 season, which marked his second losing season in the last four years. The year before, the Vols were in the SEC championship game and had the lead in the fourth quarter before losing 14-7 to eventual national champion LSU.

A big part of Fulmer’s undoing were two straight lopsided losses to Alabama after Nick Saban took over in 2007 and four straight losses to Urban Meyer at Florida. The last two losses to the Gators were by a combined 63 points.

But even with the dip at the end, Fulmer was 85-41 with three SEC championship game appearances in his final 10 years. The Vols also never went more than two years without making it to the SEC championship game during that stretch.

Fulmer was 11-5 against Alabama and 11-6 against Georgia, but only 5-12 against Florida. He won 10 or more games nine times and wound up 44-37 against nationally ranked foes.

Known as a master recruiter, Fulmer signed 16 players at Tennessee who went on to become first-round NFL draft picks. Included in that bunch: Peyton Manning, Jamal Lewis, Shaun Ellis, Albert Haynesworth, Eric Berry, Jerod Mayo and Wilson.

“He put together a staff that knew how to go out and get players,” Wilson said. “It was like bowling. His staff set him up, and Coach Fulmer went in there and knocked them down.

“The other thing is that when you’re invested in a place the way Coach Fulmer and his coaches were, it’s so easy to sell a school and make players feel like they want to play for you. He had a passion for Tennessee. It’s so different nowadays with coaches going from school to school. There’s very little loyalty in the college game. Coach Fulmer’s one of the last coaches who really had that loyalty.”
When it came to dishing out punishment from the running back position, Charles Alexander was one of the best of his time.

On Tuesday, Alexander, who played at LSU from 1975-78, was honored for his grueling play by being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

During his famed LSU career, the bruising Alexander was selected as a two-time, first-team All-American (1977 and 1978) and finished his LSU career with nine SEC records, tied for another and held 27 school records. He still owns the LSU records for most rushes in a game (43), most yards in a season (1,686) and yards per game in a single season (153.3).

Even after a rough debut with the Tigers as a freshman in 1975, Alexander went on to total 1,177 rushing yards as a backup during his first two years, including 876 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore.

The next two years were stellar for Alexander, as he rushed for 2,858 yards on 592 carries. He averaged 28.3 and 25.5 carries per game, respectively, during those two years -- ˙˙˙the top two marks in LSU’s record books.

He ranks third all time in school history in career rushing yards (4,035) and rushing touchdowns (40).

Alexander’s record-breaking year in 1977, in which he ran away with LSU’s single-season rushing record, was highlighted by four big individual performances in which he ran for 237 yards against Oregon, 231 against Wyoming, 199 against Tulane and 183 against Vanderbilt -- all LSU wins.

Alexander was later a first-round NFL draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1979 and played seven seasons in the league, starting Super Bowl XVI in 1982.

Entering the Hall: R.C. Slocum

May, 15, 2012
Texas A&M enjoyed its longest reign among the college football elite in the 1990s, thanks to head coach R.C. Slocum. In his 14 seasons (1989-2002) as head coach, Slocum went 123-47-2 (.721), won four conference titles and a division title, and proved that nice guys can finish first.

Slocum treated everyone as his friend, and once they got to know him, they usually stayed that way. The former McNeese State tight end served for seven years as the defensive coordinator to his predecessor, Jackie Sherrill. Slocum moved into the head coaching job in 1989.

Slocum’s defenses, known annually as The Wrecking Crew, used speed, especially at linebacker, to shut down the Southwest Conference. The Aggies dominated the SWC as it withered away, winning 26 consecutive conference games from 1991-94. When the eight SWC schools helped form the Big 12 in 1996, the Aggies picked up where they left off, winning the South Division in 1997-98.

In the 1998 Big 12 Championship Game, No. 3 Kansas State, aware that No. 2 UCLA had lost earlier in the afternoon, needed only to hang onto a 27-12 fourth-quarter lead to secure a berth in the first BCS Championship Game. But the Aggies came back to win the game, 36-33, in double overtime.

As Texas and Oklahoma began to rule the Big 12 South under Mack Brown and Bob Stoops, respectively, Slocum bore the brunt of alumni dissatisfaction. Texas A&M fired him in 2002. Slocum, bitterly disappointed, held his tongue well enough to become a fundraiser and goodwill ambassador for the university.

When his successors, Dennis Franchione and Mike Sherman, failed to rise above mediocrity, Aggie fans looked at Slocum in a more favorable light. With the hiring of head coach Kevin Sumlin, a former Slocum assistant, Slocum is enjoying a renewed appreciation among Aggies for his achievements.

Entering the Hall: Gabe Rivera

May, 15, 2012
Texas Tech legend Gabe Rivera earned the nickname "Seńor Sack" throughout his four-year career in Lubbock from 1979-82.

Now, he can add "College Football Hall of Famer" to his résumé. Rivera was one of 14 players and three coaches to be inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame at an announcement on Tuesday.

Rivera was a consensus All-American in 1982, and his 105 tackles that season still stands as a record among Red Raiders defensive linemen.

He totaled 321 tackles over his four-year career, and was the team's leading tackler among down linemen in each season, averaging just over 80 tackles per season.

Rivera was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the No. 21 overall pick in the 1983 draft, but his career ended in October of his rookie season after he was paralyzed in a drunk driving accident.

Rivera now lives in San Antonio.

Entering the Hall: Tommy Kramer

May, 15, 2012
Tommy Kramer played quarterback so well that he set records with one team tied behind his back. In his four seasons (1973-76) at Rice, the Owls went 12-31-1 (.284). But Kramer left the Houston school with eight career and single-season records.

If a passer came of age in Texas in the Wishbone Era and wanted to stay in-state to throw the ball, he didn’t have many choices. Kramer went to Rice to play for Al Conover and, in his first four seasons, threw for a total of 2,880 yards. But before 1976, Kramer’s senior season, Homer Rice replaced Conover. Rice, to this day one of the most respected men in college athletics, recognized the talent he had at quarterback and let Kramer loose. The Owls only went 3-8, but oh, how Kramer threw the ball. His 3,317 passing yards led the nation, and fell short of the NCAA career record at the time by 26 yards. His 501 attempts, an average of 45 passes per game, also led all passers.

In a season when Gifford Nielsen threw 29 touchdowns while leading BYU to a 9-2 record, the All-America teams made Kramer a consensus pick. They recognized the difficulty of his task. The Minnesota Vikings, did, too, ignoring the Owls’ results to take Kramer late in the first round. He went on to enjoy 14 seasons in the NFL.

The low profile of the school may explain why it took the College Football Hall of Fame more than 20 years to honor Kramer. That oversight has been rectified.
Before Purdue cemented itself as the "Cradle of Quarterbacks," the Boilers produced several superstar running backs, and Otis Armstrong might have been the best of the bunch.

Armstrong succeeded another Boilers' ball-carrying standout, Leroy Keyes, and starred for Purdue from 1970-72. Unlike Keyes, Armstrong played on mostly weak teams under Bob DeMoss, which made his accomplishments fly under the national radar. But Armstrong got his due Tuesday as the Big Ten's only member of the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame class.

A Chicago native, Armstrong arrived at Purdue in 1969 and, like all freshmen, sat out the season. He announced himself the following fall with 1,009 rush yards on 213 carries, becoming just the second Purdue back (Keyes being the other) to eclipse 1,000 yards on the ground. After a solid junior campaign, Armstrong sizzled as a senior, racking up 1,361 rush yards and nine touchdowns en route to earning consensus All-America honors. He finished his career with a flourish, piling up 276 yards against archrival Indiana, a single-game team record that stands to this day.

Armstrong still holds Purdue's record for career rushing attempts (671), and his career rush yards mark (3,315) is third behind two players (Mike Alstott and Kory Sheets) who played four seasons. He twice recorded five 100-yard rush games in a season (1970, 1970) and trails only Alstott for most career 100-yard rush performances at Purdue (13 in 31 career games).

Armstrong also stood out as a kick returner, averaging 30.1 yards per runback with two touchdowns in 1972. He added five receiving touchdowns on 36 career receptions.

Although Purdue went just 13-17 during Armstrong's career, his accomplishments didn't go unnoticed and he was selected No. 9 overall by Denver in the 1973 NFL draft. Armstrong played eight seasons with the Broncos, earning two Pro Bowl selections and rushing for 4,453 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Entering the Hall: Greg Myers

May, 15, 2012
Nobody has dominated the defensive back position in the WAC the way Greg Myers did at Colorado State in the 1990s.

The Rams might have moved on to the Mountain West, but Myers still has his name etched all over the WAC record book, a huge reason why he earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Myers began playing as a freshman and never looked back.

He ended up setting a record for All-WAC selections, making the first team at defensive back in all four years he played, from 1992-95. In addition to his terrific skill in the defensive backfield, Myers also returned kicks, earning one first-team selection as a returner, and two second team honors in his career.

His efforts led him to become a two-time All American, and the winner of the Thorpe Award in 1995 as the best defensive back in the nation. Myers set school and WAC records with 1,332 career punt return yards, leading the Rams to back-to-back WAC titles. He also had 295 career tackles and 15 interceptions.

In an interview with The Denver Post last month, Myers recalled his college days. He now teaches anesthesiology at a hospital in Denver.

"It's amazing to think about what we accomplished," he said. "My college career was an incredible time for me. We had great camaraderie on the team, and I loved the game of football."

Entering the Hall: Dave Casper

May, 15, 2012
The College Football Hall of Fame enshrinement festival will be getting some local flavor.

Former Notre Dame tight end Dave Casper will have the chance to return to South Bend, Ind., as part of the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame class, his second Hall of Fame induction in the past decade.

Casper, who was selected Tuesday to the College Hall, was also a member of the 2002 Pro Football Hall of Fame class after his 11-year NFL career with the Raiders, Oilers and Vikings.

Prior to those stops, Casper spent two years as an offensive tackle with the Irish before switching to tight end for the second half of his college career (1972-73). He also saw some time on the defensive line at Notre Dame, prompting coach Ara Parseghian to later call him the best athlete he ever had.

Casper was a consensus All-American, a team captain and Notre Dame's offensive MVP in 1973, helping lead the Irish to the national title that season. The 1973 campaign also included National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete honors, CoSIDA Academic All-American honors and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

The Chilton, Wis., native caught 21 career passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns before being picked by the Raiders in the second round of the 1974 NFL draft. Casper made five Pro Bowls in his NFL career and helped the Raiders win Super Bowl XI. He was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 1993 before receiving the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award six years later.

Casper was the only one of the three former Notre Dame players on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot this year to be selected. Raghib Ismail and Jim Seymour were also on the ballot.

Entering the Hall: Ty Detmer

May, 15, 2012
Before Jimmer Fredette came along, Ty Detmer was the student-athlete most singularly identified with Brigham Young University.

Detmer, who won the 1990 Heisman Trophy as college football's best player, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

During his four-year career at BYU from 1988 to 1991, Detmer also won the Maxwell Award as the country's best player and two Davey O'Brien Awards as the top quarterback. He also broke 63 NCAA records and left BYU as the sport's all-time leading passer with 15,031 career passing yards and 121 touchdowns. More than two decades after he left BYU, Detmer still holds 10 school records.

A two-time All-American, Detmer thrust the Cougars into the national spotlight with a 28-21 upset of No. 1-ranked Miami on Sept. 8, 1990.

Detmer threw for 406 yards with four touchdowns while leading BYU to an upset of the defending national champions. He had a 37-13-2 record at BYU and guided his teams to three consecutive conference championships.

A ninth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in the 1992 NFL draft, Detmer played 14 seasons with the Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons.

Detmer is currently the head coach at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. He is the fifth BYU quarterback selected to the Hall of Fame, along with Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon and Steve Young. Legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards and tight end Gordon Hudson are also in the Hall of Fame.