DALLAS, May 1, 2007 - Ron Johnson, chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF), announced the Hall of Fame Divisional Class for 2007, which considers players and coaches from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA), Divisions II, III, and the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) for induction.
This year's class will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame during Enshrinement Ceremonies July 19-21, in South Bend, Ind. The class includes:
2007 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
Tracy Ham - QB, Georgia Southern, 1983- 86
Joe Kendall - QB, Kentucky State, 1934- 36
Frank Sheptock - LB, Bloomsburg (Pa.), 1982-85
Jessie Tuggle - LB, Valdosta State (Ga.), 1983-86
Jim Christopherson - Concordia College (Minn.) (1969-2000), 218-101-7
William "Billy" Joe - Florida A&M (1994- 2004), Central State (Ohio) (1981-93), Cheyney (Pa.) (1972-78), 237-108-4
"It gives the NFF great pleasure to announce the 2007 College Football Hall of Fame Divisional Class," said Johnson. "These gentlemen are a vital part of our sport's history, and it is our duty to recognize them for their outstanding contributions and dedication to the game."
With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. The NFF presents the MacArthur Trophy, the Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, and annual scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.
1. 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.
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 his fellow man with love of his country. 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 2006 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1956 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*.
(*Those players that do not comply with the 50-year rule and coaches that have not won 60% of their games may still be eligible for consideration by the Division I-A and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.)
Georgia Southern University
A consummate leader, quarterback Tracy Ham led Georgia Southern to two consecutive Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national titles in 1985 and '86 - all within the school's first three years at the FCS level.
Ham, who currently holds 20 game, season and career records and 21 playoff game records, ranks first in all-time career passing yards and total offense at the school. He is also GSU's career leader in passing touchdowns. A versatile threat, Ham racked up over 3,000 career rushing yards, placing him sixth in the Eagles' all-time rushing ranks.
Named First Team All-America in 1986, Ham's incredible athleticism landed him in the nation's 'Top 20' in passing efficiency, scoring, total offense and rushing during his senior campaign. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1987 NFL Draft and went on to play 13 successful seasons in the Canadian Football League, including two Grey Cups and league MVP laurels in 1989.
Active in the community, Ham has served as a deacon at Whitesville Baptist Church since 1998 and acted as a spokesperson for numerous charities.
Kentucky State University
Nicknamed "Tarzan" for his athletic prowess, Joe Kendall dominated black college football in the 1930s while leading Kentucky State to a national championship in 1934.
Kendall led the Thorobreds to a 1935 Orange Blossom Classic victory over Florida A&M en route to an impressive 29-7-3 overall record during his playing years.
A three-time First Team All-America selection from 1934-36 by the Pittsburgh Courier, Kendall is the first person in KSU history to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Kentucky State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975.
Following his player career, Kendall served as a coach, teacher and school principal. As a result of his significant contributions as a recreational director in Owensboro, Ky., a park was named in his honor.
Bloomsburg University (Pa.)
The only three-time All-America selection in Bloomsburg football history, Frank Sheptock's dominating on-field presence let to a record-setting defensive career for the Huskies.
A member of the NCAA Division II Team of the Quarter Century (1973-97), Sheptock holds the school records for tackles in a career (537), single season (159) and single game (23), and career fumble recoveries (12).
Leading his teams to an overall record of 24-18-1, the four-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) First Team pick revitalized a BU team that went 0-10 prior to his playing days. In 1985, he guided the Huskies to the PSAC Championship title as well as the Division II Semifinals.
He was named to the Bloomsburg Hall of Fame in 1997, one year after taking the head coaching position at Wilkes University (Pa.). Now in his 11th season at the helm, Sheptock has earned Middle Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year honors and his teams have posted six post-season playoff berths.
Valdosta State University (Ga.)
A highly touted defensive force, Valdosta State's Jessie Tuggle redefined the linebacker position in the Gulf South Conference en route to prolific collegiate and professional careers.
A First Team All-America selection, Tuggle was a three-time All-Conference pick and named the Gulf South Conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 1986. He holds the school record for most tackles in a career (340) and was a two-time recipient of the Blazers' Hugh C. Bailey Player of the Year award.
Tuggle's No. 88 was retired in 1993 by VSU, where he was also inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997 and named Distinguished Alumnus in 2002. Beloved by his alma mater, the school's workout facility was named the Jessie Tuggle Strength & Fitness Complex in his honor.
"The Hammer" joined the Atlanta Falcons in 1987 as an undrafted free agent, and during his 13 years with the club, he made five NFL Pro Bowl appearances and finished his career with 2,065 tackles - the most in team history. Tuggle led the NFL in tackles in 1990 and '91, while maintaining 12 consecutive 100-tackle seasons. Also a leader off the playing field, the Jessie Tuggle Humanitarian Award is given annually to a Falcon player who displays dedication to the community.
Coach Jim Christopherson
Concordia College (Minn.) (1969-2000)
Head Coach, 218-101-7, .676
A fixture at Concordia for more than 30 years, Jim Christopherson established the Cobbers as a legitimate Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) powerhouse and national title contender.
During his 32 year's at the helm, Christopherson led Concordia to two NAIA National Championships (1971, 1981), 11 conference titles and seven playoff appearances. A member of the Minnesota Coaches Hall of Fame, he was a six-time MIAC Coach of the Year and amassed 170 conference wins throughout his successful career.
Christopherson has the most wins (217), years coached (32) and highest win percentage (.676) in Concordia coaching history. A coach of 17 First Team All-Americas and 121 All-Conference athletes, he ranked third among active coaches in wins and fifth in win percentage upon retirement.
A Concordia graduate, he was captain of the football team in 1959 and garnered MIAC Most Valuable Player honors as well. He is a former president of the NAIA Football Coaches Association and a lifetime member of the American Football Coaches Association.
Coach William "Billy" Joe
Florida A&M (1994-2004), Central State University (Ohio) (1981-93),
Cheyney University (Pa.) (1972-78)
Head Coach, 237-108-4, .685
Few coaches can match the unparalleled gridiron success of William "Billy" Joe's storied career. Having captured seven National Black College Football Championships and two NAIA national titles, he enters the College Football Hall of Fame as one of the most highly decorated black college football coaches in history.
Joe's 237 career victories place him fourth on the Football Championship Subdivision's all-time winningest coaches ranks and position him second only to the legendary Eddie Robinson in the black college football standings.
At Florida A&M, he led the Rattlers to an unprecedented five Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) titles, while garnering three of the conference's Coach of the Year accolades. He also spent ten consecutive seasons in the NAIA playoffs while at Central State. Throughout his 31 years as a head coach, Joe compiled 26 winning seasons and coached five Black College National Players of the Year.
Highly respected among his peers, he served as vice president of the American Football Coaches Association in 1993 and was elected president of the organization in 1995.
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With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. The NFF presents the MacArthur Trophy, the Draddy Trophy presented by HealthSouth and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes.
For more information, please visit us on the web at www.footballfoundation.com