The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2012. The newest members were selected from a list of 35 finalists who had been determined earlier by the Black College Football Hall of Fame Committee. The inductees will be honored February 18, 2012 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis during the third annual enshrinement ceremony.
The inductees will be Willie Brown (DB, Grambling State, 1959–1963), Harry Carson (DE, South Carolina State, 1972–1975), Eldridge Dickey (QB, Tennessee State, 1964–67), James Harris (QB Grambling State, 1965–1968), Claude Humphrey (DE, Tennessee State, 1964–67), Steve McNair (QB, Alcorn State, 1991–94), Willie Richardson (WR, Jackson State, 1959–1962), Johnny Sample (DB/RB, Maryland Eastern Shore, 1954–1958), Rayfield Wright (OL, Fort Valley State, 1963–1966), Cleve Abbott (head coach, Tuskegee, 1923–1954) and Jackie Graves (former NFL scout, former director of personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles).
The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in October 2009 to honor the greatest football players and coaches from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Brown lettered all four years at split end and outside linebacker during his time at Grambling. He was a member of legendary coach Eddie Robinson’s first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship team in 1960. Although undrafted out of college, he would retire the only NFL player to intercept at least one pass in 16 consecutive seasons.
During his 12 years with the Oakland Raiders, he played in three AFL and six AFC championship games, as well as Super Bowls II and XI. He finished his career with 54 interceptions. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
Carson played for coach Willie Jeffries at South Carolina State and did not miss a single game in four years. He became the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference player to win consecutive Defensive Player of the Year honors, and led the Bulldogs to consecutive conference titles. In 1975, he set school records with 117 tackles and 17 sacks.
Carson was a fourth round draft pick of the New York Giants in 1976. He spent all of his 13 seasons with them. He led the Giants in tackles for five seasons. In 2006, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dickey was a three-time HBCU All-American at Tennessee State. He completed his collegiate career with 6,523 passing yards and 67 touchdowns. Dickey was considered a gifted athlete with his strongest positions being quarterback and punter. With Dickey under center, the 1966 TSU team earned its first undefeated, untied season and first National Black College Football Championship. In 1968, the Oakland Raiders drafted Dickey in the first round.
With Harris at quarterback, Grambling won or shared all four SWAC titles. He was named MVP of the 1967 Orange Blossom Classic. As a senior, Harris passed for 1,972 yards and 21 touchdowns on only 225 attempts. In three years as Grambling’s quarterback, he led the Tigers to a 24-5-1 record.
He went on to be drafted by the Buffalo Bills and became the first Black player to start a season at quarterback. In 1974, he led the Los Angeles Rams to an NFC Western Division title and their first playoff victory since 1951. Harris then became the first African-American quarterback to start a conference championship game. Harris was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team in 1974 and was awarded MVP of that game.
Humphrey was an All-American lineman at Tennessee State under coach John Merritt. Humphrey helped the Big Blue Tigers to a 35-3-1 record. The Atlanta Falcons drafted Humphrey in the first round with the third overall choice. He played on the Philadelphia Eagles 1981 Super Bowl team.
McNair had many standout seasons with Alcorn State. In 1992, he threw for 3,541 yards and 29 touchdowns and rushed for 10 more. In 1993, the Braves upped their record to 8-3 while McNair threw for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. In his senior year, he gained nearly 6,000 yards rushing and passing, along with 53 touchdowns.
He was drafted by the Houston Oilers with the third overall pick in the 1995 NFL draft and became a full time starter for 10 years, leading the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl XXXIV.
Richardson became one of the most honored players in the great history of the SWAC. He was a four-time member of the Pittsburgh Courier Black All-American team. In his final two seasons, he led Jackson State to a SWAC title and a Black College National Championship. Richardson caught 171 passes for 36 touchdowns and played safety on defense.
In the NFL, Richardson was a seventh round selection by the Baltimore Colts. With the Colts and Miami Dolphins he played eight seasons. He also played for the Colts in 1969 Super Bowl.
Sample was a standout at Maryland State College. In 1957, playing offense and defense, he was selected to the Little All-American Team by the Pittsburgh Courier and to the All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Team. During his college career, he led the Hawks to an overall record of 28 wins, one loss and one tie, while averaging 21.6 points a game.
He is the only professional football player to have won all three: an NFL, AFL and Super Bowl championship. Sample finished his 11 professional football seasons with 41 interceptions, which he returned for 460 yards and four touchdowns. On special teams, he returned 68 punts for 559 yards and a touchdown, along with 60 kickoffs for 1,560 yards and a touchdown. Sample led the NFL in punt return yards in 1961.
Wright was known as a great athlete for his size. After being a standout at Fort Valley State, Wright was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys as a tight end. After three years of playing tight end, he played 166 games starting at right tackle and played in six NFC championship games and five Super Bowls winning two of them (Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Abbott was the eighth football coach for the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers located in Tuskegee, Al. He held that position for 32 seasons, from 1923 until 1954. His football coaching record at Tuskegee, where he was also a Hall of Fame track coach, was 202 wins, 97 losses and 27 ties. This ranks him first at the school in total wins and fifth in winning percentage (.661). The football stadium at Tuskegee bears Abbott’s name.
A former director of personnel and scout for the Philadelphia Eagles, Graves made a huge impact on Black College Football. Graves was a pioneer in bringing qualified players from the HBCU system to the professional ranks.
GRAMBLING, La. — Forget about the lawsuit he’s brought against the school.
Doug Williams is totally committed to getting Grambling State University’s football team prepared for the 2012 season.
“It’s not a distraction, because my job is to be the head football coach and to get the most out of our players,” he said. “Sure, it is out there and everybody knows about it, but it isn’t keeping me from doing the things I’ve always tried to do and that’s to be the very best coach I can be.”
Williams recently sued the school, claiming that Grambling reneged on contract promises and is now trying to pressure him to sign a reduced deal on a “take it or leave it” basis.
The former Tigers’ All-American quarterback and fourth place Heisman Trophy finisher as a senior in 1977 returned as head coach of Grambling State for a second time in February of 2011.
Williams had been the general manager of the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League for only a few months before the GSU post became vacant and he quickly became the leading candidate for the job.
“Anybody who knows me knows how much I love Grambling,” he said. “I bleed the black and gold. This is where I learned about not only football, but life, from Coach (Eddie) Robinson. So whatever else happens along the way, it isn’t going to change how I think about the university and my responsibilities as the head football coach.
“I am still getting up early and heading to the office just like I always have. We’ve got spring practice going now and we haven’t missed a beat. The spring workouts have been going well, the players are working hard and we’re all looking forward to next year. The bottom line is that, regardless of what has happened, I’ve still got a job to do.”
In his first time as head coach, as the successor of the legendary Robinson in 1998, Williams sent the Tigers to consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference titles from 2000-2002.
Last year, things began slowly for Grambling with four losses in the first five games. But then the Tigers won their final seven games, including all-time SWAC title No. 18.
Williams was named as the Coach of the Year in the conference.
“It was about the players, not the coaches,” he said. “They did an absolute great job of remaining focused at what they needed to do. Even when we were 1-4, the attitude they had was great. So it’s not surprising at all that, with what has happened in the past week, they are totally focused on practice and getting ready for next year.”
Before the suit was announced late last week, Williams told his son, sophomore quarterback D.J. Williams, about what was going on and then let the entire team know.
“Hopefully, things will all get worked out in the future, but for now, my job is coach these young men and do the best job I can for the university,” he said.
One person certainly thrilled about Williams being back at Grambling is Jack Lengvel, the former head coach at Marshall University.
In the late 1990s, Lengvel was the athletics director at the Naval Academy and hired on Williams to be an assistant coach for the Midshipmen.
“Doug is a great guy and the perfect coach for Grambling State University,” he said during an appearance at a fundraising golf tournament hosted by Terry Bradshaw and country and western recording artist Kix Brooks at the Squire Creek Golf and Country Club earlier this week. “He was with us at Navy for three years and the kids loved him. He’s such a personable, quality guy and the place for him to make the greatest impact is at Grambling. He belongs there because of the contributions that he’s made to that school and to the influence he’s had on the young people there.”
The suit names Grambling, the UL System and GSU President Frank Pogue as defendants and requests damages equal to what Williams would have earned under his unapproved contract, plus punitive damages.
“We have offered him one of the highest salary and incentive compensation packages in Grambling’s conference,” said UL System President Randy Moffett said. “We believe that we did everything possible to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement without compromising the University’s academic core.”
Grambling State will kick off its 2012 season in Shreveport Sept. 1 against longtime SWAC rival Alcorn State before then facing new Southeastern Conference member TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 8. — (AP)
ORLANDO, Fla. — A study of the racial and gender makeup of leadership and coaching positions among the Football Bowl Subdivision membership showed it remains largely white and male.
The report released this week by the Institute for the Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida said that 100 percent of FBS conference commissioners, 76 percent of school president positions and 84 percent of all athletic director positions were held by white men at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year.
It also showed a decline in the percentage of women in campus leadership positions with a slight increase in the representation of people of color, especially for Latinos and Asians.
Among the FBS' 120 institutions, there were 18 minority head coaches to begin the season, down from an all-time high of 19 last year. That total included 14 African-Americans, two Latinos and two Asians.
"For me, as somebody who has worked on college campus for 30-plus years, it's especially discouraging that in terms of hiring practices are far behind the professional levels," said primary study author Richard Lapchick. "I would have hoped that colleges would have at least kept pace, but they are clearly behind in hiring practices."
For the position of faculty athletics representative, 94.4 percent are white and 31.7 percent are women.
According to 2011 data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education, 6.3 percent of full-time faculty members are Asian, which is 1.2 percentage points less than the 2007 data reported in last year's study. African-American and Latino faculty members have grown by 1.6 and 0.6 percentage points respectively, to seven and 4.2 percent. Forty-seven percent are women.
For coaches, the study's numbers don't reflect the recent dismissals of Joker Phillips at Kentucky, and Jon Embree from the University of Colorado, who drew attention to the poor rehire rate for minority coaches.
During his final news conference earlier this week, Embree hinted at a double standard for African-American hires after they are fired from a head coaching job.
Tyrone Willingham is the only African-American coach to be hired for another head coaching job (by Washington in 2005) after having been fired (by Notre Dame in 2004).
"We don't get second chances," Embree said. "And that's OK, you know it going into it ... But every minority coach knows that going into it. Eventually that'll change."
The numbers show that change is coming at a slow pace.
Since 1982, there have been 546 head coaches hired in the FBS and 41 African-Americans since Willie Jeffries became the first at Wichita State in 1979. There have also been three Latino and two Asian/Pacific Islander head coaches hired in FBS history.
"Our representation is not consistent on the court or on the playing fields," Black Coaches and Administrators executive director Floyd Keith said. "You have to look at the numbers."
Keith noted that a pair of other African-American coaches have been fired from FBS jobs and rehired, though not on the FBS level.
"Turner Gill was fired at Kansas but ended up at (Football Championship Subdivision) Liberty. We had Tony Samuel at New Mexico State and he ended up at Southeast Missouri State. With only 41 individuals hired in history, it's not a very good record," he said. "You have to say getting back in the cycle is difficult. So you have to make the most of your first chance."
Keith also echoed the importance of getting more diversity at the leadership positions.
"I think in total it's about college athletics," he said. "When you're making decisions, there was the old term 'Out of sight, out of mind.' If you aren't represented around the table, your concerns aren't heard. And that's at all levels."
Both Keith and Lapchick continue to advocate for an "Eddie Robinson Rule," which like the NFL's Rooney Rule, would mandate that minorities are included in the interview process for open head coaching and key front office positions.
Since the BCA started putting out its hiring report cards in 2004, the number of minority coaches in the FBS increased 600 percent from three to last year's high of 19.
BCA partners with Lapchick to put out the report cards and said that in the latest one, which is scheduled to be released this week, three schools that hired Black coaches received poor grades because they didn't invite more minority candidates to the interview process.
"If they continue to be excluded from that interview room, not much is going to change," Lapchick said.
Keith said the process of bringing a Robinson Rule to college athletics continues to be a slow process.
"We've had meetings, and I don't think anything has ever seriously developed out of it ... they simply have been discussions," he said. "We keep talking about it. We see minor advances in terms of overall landscape, but there's hasn't been a watershed change."
He said his resolve to see it happen won't be affected by the pace, though.
"Perseverance. We've got to keep being advocates," Keith said. "We have to continue it and keep it going." — (AP)