David Grimes: Surveying the College Football Hall of Fame

In 1951, the National Football Foundation created the College Football Hall of Fame.

 

The Hall was originally supposed to be built at Rutgers, where the very first college football game was played way back in 1869. It wound up being built in 1978 in Kings Mill, Ohio, before relocating to South Bend, Indiana in 1995.

Then, it moved again in 2014. Somewhat mirroring the shift in the college football power structure on the field, the Hall relocated from the Midwest to the Southeast, settling in Atlanta, Georgia.

For a small annual fee, anyone can become a member of the National Football Foundation and vote each year on the new crop of inductees.

Among the more notable members of 2017 class were Peyton Manning, Marshall Faulk and Kirk Gibson, who while better known as a major league baseball World Series hero in the 1980s was also an All-American wide receiver for Michigan State in the late 1970s.

Among the coaches enshrined in 2007 were Steve Spurrier and Danny Ford. Ford earned his place more so for his 1981 national championship at Clemson than for his five years at Arkansas from 1993-1997.

According to the hall’s website, over 5.1 million people have played or coached college football, while fewr than 1,300 of those have been inducted. Two of those have ties to the University of Central Arkansas.

Warren Woodson was enshrined in 1989. His coaching career began in 1927 at Texarkana Junior College and ended in 1973 at Trinity. His career record was 203-95-14, plus 52 more wins on the junior college level. He lived to the ripe old age of 94, passing away in 1998.

Woodson served as the head Bear from 1935-1940, compiling a record of 40-8-3, winning four AIC championships. He also coached the basketball team, going 114-40, while also winning four AIC titles on the hardwood. He was inducted into the UCA Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 as part of its inaugural class.

Ronnie Mallett was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Of all the great players in UCA history, Mallett still stands out as one of the most accomplished, having been a three-time NAIA All-American.

The Pine Bluff native played wide receiver for the Bears from 1978-1981 where he set almost every receiving record in school history. Despite the recent proliferation of pass-happy offenses, Mallett still ranks first in career touchdown receptions and fourth in career receiving yards.

On only four occasions has a Bear receiver gone over 200 yards in a game. Mallett has three of those, including a school record 242 yards in 1980. He later played briefly in the USFL for the Oakland Invaders and was inducted into the UCA Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

I think as the years go by, a few more Bears ought to join Woodson and Mallett in Atlanta.

 

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