NEW YORK (WSPA/Press Release) – South Carolina coaching legends Danny Ford and Steve Spurrier are now in the College Football Hall of Fame, inducted for their time as head coaches at Clemson and the University of South Carolina. The induction happened during the 60th National Football Foundation (NFF) Annual Awards Dinner in New York Wednesday.
The 2017 class was introduced by NFF Board Member Archie Griffin, a Hall of Fame running back from Ohio State. Members of the class included Bob Crable (Notre Dame), Marshall Faulk (San Diego State), Kirk Gibson (Michigan State), Matt Leinart (Southern California), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Bob McKay (Texas), Dat Nguyen (Texas A&M), Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern), Mike Ruth (Boston College), Brian Urlacher (New Mexico) and coaches Danny Ford (Clemson, Arkansas), Larry Kehres (Mount Union) and Steve Spurrier (Duke, Florida, South Carolina). NFF Chairman and Hall of Fame inductee Archie Manning (Mississippi) conducted the Official Hall of Fame Ring Ceremony.
The 10 players and three coaches bring the total number of players in the Hall of Fame to 987 and the number of coaches in the Hall to 214. Steve Spurrier, just the fourth person ever to be inducted into the Hall as both a player and coach, responded on behalf of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame coaches and touched on how important the honor is to all of the coaches.
“Thank you, I appreciate it for all of us and we thank the committee for our selection into the national College Football Hall of Fame,” said Spurrier. “It’s really maybe the ultimate honor for all of us college football coaches to be recognized as amongst the best. And there’s been so many super great coaches all through the years.”
He ended his speech with a simple message about the game: “College football, it’s the greatest thing ever invented!”
Peyton Manning, Tennessee’s all-time leading passed and just the second Campbell Trophy® winner to join the Hall of Fame, delivered the response on behalf of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame players. Manning touched on the great honor of the Hall, his personal story of attending his father, NFF Chairman Archie Manning’s induction as a kid and had personalized messages for each of his fellow inductees. Peyton ended his speech with a message about the importance of the game of football.
“Football has given each of us a gift and ultimately put our individual universes in motion,” said Manning. “Now it’s up to the class of 2017 to carry on the legacy of the game, including the valuable life lessons it teaches. It’s up to us to live up to what it really means to say ‘I’m a football player’ and ‘football matters.’ Loving this sport is much more than donning shoulder pads and helmet to run on the field. Loving the college game includes sacrificing, the simple pleasures of being just a student in exchange for the rigors of being a true student athlete.
“Throughout television and its stadiums nationwide, fans see dramatic moments on the field,” he continued. “But off the field, what they don’t see are the caring and human connections that forge indelible bonds amongst our teammates. All 13 of us up here love this game. And tonight it’s proof that the game loved us back. God bless you and God bless football.”
The 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class boasted 10 First Team All-Americans, three coaches, one Campbell Trophy® winner, three unanimous First Team All-Americans, seven consensus First Team All-Americans, five winners of college football major awards, one coach with the highest winning percentage in college football history, the youngest coach to ever win a national title and just the fourth individual to enter the Hall as both a player and a coach.
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