Just before the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game, 17 prolific players and coaches in the college football record books were announced in Dallas, Texas as the newest College Football Hall of Fame class.
Jim Tressel topped the list, followed by Kansas State Wildcats’ head coach Bill Snyder, Oklahoma Sooners’ linebacker, Brian Bosworth, and Texas running back Ricky Williams — who headlined the Class of 2015.
As many know, Tressel resigned from Ohio State back in 2011 following an investigation by the NCAA that declared he knew about several players who received impermissible benefits, let them play, and failed to report the violations. Tressel was hit with a “show cause” penalty, which bans him from coaching an NCAA team until Dec. 19, 2016. Tressel became the 9th president of Youngstown State University on July 1, 2014.
Bill Snyder is regarded as a national treasure in the coaching world, and 2014 wrapped his 23rd full season with the Wildcats. Snyder is just the fourth active coach to be inducted, but his 177 career wins at Kansas State makes him the winningest coach in KSU history. After posting a 136-68-1 record, Snyder retired from KSU on Nov. 15, 2005, and a day later, the stadium was renamed after him. Snyder returned in 2008, and has since signed an extension through 2017.
While Sooners’ linebacker Brian Bosworth was declared ineligible for his final collegiate game after testing positive for steroids in 1986, the two-time Dick Butkus award winner certainly left an impression after wearing a shirt on the sideline of the 1988 Orange Bowl that read “National Communists Against Athletes.” Following the incident, Sooners’ coach Barry Switzer dismissed The Boz, however, he graduated early. And after a slightly dramatic stint in the NFL, Bosworth was forced to retire in 1989 following a shoulder injury.
“To be included in a fraternity that shows the players — all the years they played and all the passion — it honestly took my breath away. I’m speechless,” said Bosworth following the HOF announcement. “It’s a dream come true for me, because I’m an Oklahoma boy who got to go live a dream and play at a university that has such a great tradition and great players.”
Chicago Bears’ head coach Dick Jauron is also a name that deserves mention, as the 2001 AP Coach of the Year award winner became just the third head coach in Bears’ history to record at least 13 wins in a season. As a running back at Yale, Jauron rushed for 2,947-yards — a record that hadn’t been broken until 2000. He was also the only player in Yale history to have 16 consecutive games with at, or over 100 rushing yards — a record that stood until 2006.
In order to be considered for the ballot, players must fit a number of qualifications. For example, players must be retired from playing football for at least 10 years, and been named as a First Team All-American. The criteria for coaches involves several metrics, including at least 100 wins with a winning percentage above 60 percent.
The College Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2015 inductees — selected by the National Football Foundation — will be formally celebrated in New York City on Dec. 8, 2015, where its 17 newest members will join a fraternity of 963 players, and 209 coaches.
Here’s the complete list of 2015 Hall of Fame inductees, in chronological order:
Michigan State RB Clinton Jones: 1964-1966
Notre Dame WR Thom Gatewood: 1969-1971
Yale RB Dick Jauron: 1970-1972
Arizona State LB Bob Breunig: 1972-1974
Michigan RB Rob Lytle: 1974-1976
Kentucky DE Art Still: 1974-1977
Florida WR Wes Chandler: 1974-1977
Oklahoma LB Brian Bosworth: 1984-1986
Youngstown State (coach) Jim Tressel: 1986-2000; Ohio State (coach): 2001-2010
Millsaps (Mississippi) DL Sean Brewer: 1989-1992
Washington OT Lincoln Kennedy: 1989-1992
Marshall QB Michael Payton: 1989-1992
Kansas State (coach) Bill Snyder: 1989-2005, 2009-Present
Nebraska LB Trev Alberts: 1990-1993
Pittsburgh OT Ruben Brown: 1991-1994
Texas Tech LB Zach Thomas: 1992-1995
Texas RB Ricky Williams: 1995-1998
*Section Photo credit to Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Greg Bartram, USA Today Sports.