Thursday, June 2, 2016

FAMU's Rudy Hubbard and MVSU's Vincent Brown lead HBCU stars on 2017 ballot for College Football Hall of Fame

 Deborah Thomas Collection

IRVING, Texas – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the names on the 2017 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, including 75 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 95 players and 29 coaches from the divisional ranks.

“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 5.12 million people have played college football,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,500 individuals who are even eligible to be on the ballot, so being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are proud to announce their names. We look forward to announcing the 2017 Hall of Fame Class on the Friday before the College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa.”

The ballot was emailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Courts, which deliberate and select the class. The FBS Honors Court, chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, and the Divisional Honors Court, chaired by former Marshall head coach, longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel, include an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.

“Having a ballot and a voice in the selection of the inductees is one of the most cherished NFF member benefits,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, a 1989 Hall of Fame inductee from Mississippi. “There is no group more knowledgeable or passionate about college football than our membership, and the tradition of the ballot helps us engage them in the lofty responsibility of selecting those who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in our sport.”

The announcement of the 2017 Class will be made Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The city is serving as the host for the CFP National Championship, which will be played Jan. 9 at Raymond James Stadium. Some of the inductees will be on site at the press conference to represent the class and share their thoughts on the announcement. The Jan. 6 announcement will be televised live, and specific viewing information will be available as the date draws near. Inductees will also participate in the pregame festivities and the coin toss on Jan. 9.

Coach Rudy Hubbard, who led Florida A&M to Division I-AA national championships in 1977 and 1978, was named to the ballot for the second straight year.  When Hubbard is inducted in the Hall, he will join Rattlers legends -- Coach Jake Gaither (1975), Tyrone McGriff (1996), Willie Galimore (1999) and Coach Billy Joe (2007) in college football immortality.

It is strange that Black College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bob Hayes is not on the short list for enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame.  Hayes is one of the greatest athletes ever from Florida A&M and is the only man to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl.

A coach becomes eligible three full seasons 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.

Listed on the ballot are the following coaches and players that made their hall of fame mark on the gridiron at Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU):

Rudy Hubbard-Florida A&M (1974-85)-Captured back-to-back national championships, 1977 and 1978, including the inaugural NCAA Division I-AA National Title in 1978…Led A&M to back-to-back SIAC championships.

Joe Taylor-Howard (1983), Virginia Union (1984-91), Hampton (1992-07), Florida A&M (2008-12)-Winningest coach in Hampton history (74%), leading Pirates to four Black College National Championships…Led teams to 10 conference titles and 10 playoff appearances throughout career…Four-time MEAC Coach of the Year.

Dwight Reed-Lincoln (Mo.) (1949-71)-Teams won three conference titles…Coached 93 All-Americans in four sports…The football stadium at Lincoln University was named for him.

Vincent Brown, Mississippi Valley State-Linebacker-1987 First Team All-American, leading the NCAA in tackles in 1986 and 1987…Set NCAA All-Divisions record with 570 career tackles…Three-time All-SWAC selection who led MVSU in tackles his last three seasons.

Parnell Dickinson, Mississippi Valley State-Quarterback-1975 First Team All-American and Pittsburgh Courier National Player of the Year…Four-time All-SWAC selection and conference Player of the Year as a senior…Finished career as SWAC’s all-time leader in total offense (7,442 yards).

Billy Thompson, Maryland Eastern Shore-Defensive Back-1968 First Team All-America selection…Four-year letterman, who was named team MVP as a senior…Three-time CIAA All-Conference selection…1984 UMES Hall of Fame inductee.

William Dillon, Virginia Union-Free Safety-Three-time First Team All-America selection (1980-82)…Tallied 16 interceptions in 1983…1983 Black College Player of the Year…Two-time First Team All-Conference selection and Player of the Year (1981-82).

About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at

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