National Football Foundation

News Detail

MONDAY'S NFF CHALKTALK – June 22, 2015, Presented by
The latest news and notes from the world of college football for the week of June 22.
Published: 6/22/2015 3:40:00 PM

(Pictured: NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell, Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis and NFF Board Member & NACDA Executive Director Bob Vecchione at NACDA's 50th Anniversary Convention in Orlando, Fla., last week. During the convention, Hatchell accepted a NACDA Golden Anniversary Award on behalf of the NFF and officially announced Hollis as the 2015 NFF John L. Toner Award recipient. Photo courtesy of NACDA.)

Hall of Famer and Texas A&M University Legend John David Crow Passes Away

John David Crow, a 1976 College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Texas A&M University, passed away June 17. He was 79 years old.

Crow became Texas A&M’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1957 while playing for legendary College Football Hall of Fame coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He is the only Heisman Trophy winner to play for the fabled coach.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound halfback averaged 4.9 yards per carry in his three years at Texas A&M while leading the Aggies to a 24-5-2 record. In 1957, Crow claimed a long list of impressive honors, including unanimous All-America accolades, the Heisman and Player of the Year from the Walter Camp Foundation. During his Heisman season, he carried the ball 129 times for 562 yards, scoring six touchdowns and passing for five more. A two-way player, he also recorded five interceptions that season.

After playing professionally with the Cardinals and 49ers (1958-68), he became an assistant coach under Bryant at Alabama from 1969-71 before coaching stints with the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers. In 1975, he was named athletics director and head football coach at Northeast Louisiana (now known as Louisiana at Monroe), where he achieved a 20-34-1 record in five seasons. He returned to Texas A&M as an associate athletics director in 1983 before serving as athletics director from 1988-93. He later served as the Aggies director of development for athletics until his retirement in 2001. Texas A&M will host a celebration of Crow’s life on Tuesday, June 23, at 2 p.m. CT inside Reed Arena on campus.

Michigan State AD Mark Hollis Named 2015 Recipient of NFF John L. Toner Award

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced that Michigan State University Athletics Director Mark Hollis has been named the 2015 recipient of the NFF John L. Toner Award. Presented annually by the NFF, the Toner Award recognizes an athletics director who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football. NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell made the official announcement at a luncheon on June 16 during NACDA’s 50th Anniversary Convention in Orlando, Fla., and presented Hollis with a commemorative football.

Officially named athletics director by Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon in 2008, Hollis made an immediate impact on Spartan Athletics. Prior to his official appointment as athletics director, Hollis spearheaded the effort to hire Mark Dantonio as football coach, which has resulted in a school-record eight consecutive bowl appearances and two Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013). In 2014, Michigan State won 11 games for the fourth time in five seasons, finishing with a thrilling 42-41 victory over Big 12 Co-Champion Baylor in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. In 2013, the Spartans enjoyed its winningest season ever (13-1) after defeating Pac-12 Champion Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO. Three Spartans have been recognized as NFF National Scholar-Athletes under Hollis’ leadership, including quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2011, linebacker Max Bullough in 2013 and punter Mike Sadler in 2014.

Spartan athletic facilities have been upgraded at an unprecedented rate under Hollis, including more than $100 million in renovations at Spartan Stadium. Hollis will be honored at the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

NFF Honored with NACDA Golden Anniversary Award

On behalf of the NFF, President & CEO Steve Hatchell accepted a NACDA Golden Anniversary Award on June 16 during the organization’s 50th Anniversary Convention in Orlando, Fla. The awards provide unique recognition to those individuals, companies and organizations that have had significant impact on NACDA over its first 50 years.

The NFF and NACDA have collaborated on many initiatives over the years. From 1983 to 2002, the NFF and NACDA worked together on the Kickoff Classic, which took place at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., serving as the first game of the college football season. The effort helped raise more than $10 million for the NFF scholarship efforts during the 20 year period, and the Classic served as the model for the current set of marquee games that help launch the season each year.

The NFF has provided a seat on its board to the head of NACDA for many years. From 1998 until 2011, then-NACDA Executive Director Mike Cleary served on the NFF Board of Directors, becoming an emeritus member in 2012. In 2013, current NACDA Executive Director Bob Vecchione began his current service on the NFF Board. The organizations have also collaborated on the operation of the NFF Mike Cleary Northeast Ohio (Cleveland) Chapter, which annually recognizes the best high school and college scholar-athletes in the region.

2016 College Football Hall of Fame Voting Has Ended

Voting for the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot has officially ended. Click here to see the complete list of names that appeared on the 2016 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, including 76 players and five coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 92 players and 27 coaches from the divisional ranks.

The announcement of the 2016 Class will be made Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz. The hotel is serving as the official media hotel for the College Football Playoff National Championship, which will be played Jan. 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The nominees elected as members of the 2016 class will be inducted during the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria on Dec. 6, 2016, and their accomplishments will be permanently enshrined at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

2015 NFF Institutional Academic Membership is Now Open

Each year, the NFF invites universities, colleges, conferences and bowl games from across the country to provide support for the NFF programs through its Institutional Academic Membership Program. The program allows the NFF to greatly enhance the power of football's collective voice while actively building a stronger national platform for the game with community leaders, educators and the media.

The program is open to all football-playing institutions and conferences at every level of college football and all bowl games, and it reached new levels of support last year. Email Ron Dilatush at to learn about the benefits and how your institution can become a member in 2015.

Those who have joined this week include Presidential Member Army West Point and Executive Members Eastern Washington and Northern Illinois. Click here for the 2015 Institutional Academic Members.

NFF Promotes

The NFF would like to highlight the newest stories on, a powerful new addition to the organization’s campaign to highlight the good in the game and the lifelong benefits to those who play it. Recent headlines on the site include:

Click here to sign up to receive the eNewsletter from The site focuses on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.

The site is the latest addition to the NFF’s #FootballMatters Campaign, which began in 2013 and provides people from border-to-border and coast-to-coast a voice in highlighting the positive impact that football has had on their lives. The campaign encourages participation via a series of national television spots with high-profile former players who subsequently achieved remarkable success later in life. The TV spots urge people to utilize social media platforms and the hashtag: #ImAFootballPlayer to share their football stories, which become part of the Twitter feed on the NFF website.


The Hall started its Hotel Blitz campaign over the weekend! The College Football Hall of Fame Fan Ambassadors are surprising the top ten downtown Atlanta hotels with special gifts including breakfast and coffee and fun giveaways.

The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience is now officially part of CityPASS in Atlanta. The Hall joins the National Center for Civil and Human Rights as the newest attractions included in the CityPASS program, joining the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, Fernbank Museum of Natural History and CNN Center.

The Hall treated all dads to free admission and a special gift with the purchase of one regular priced adult, senior or child admission on Father’s Day. Dads also received a free t-shirt.

Chick-fil-A hosted a Father-Son Campout on the playing field on June 19. The night consisted of fun programming and activities throughout the evening. This was the Hall’s second overnight event.

The University of Georgia will host UGA Day in Atlanta on July 27 at the Hall. UGA coaches and administrators will share the latest news on the upcoming athletic seasons. Coaches, who are schedule to speak, include head football coach Mark Richt and Men’s head basketball coach Mark Fox. The event is open to the public. To register, visit

The 14th annual Big South Conference Football Media Day will be held in part on July 29 at the College Football Hall of Fame. Events will include a free tour for media of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Big South’s Kickoff Dinner.


The College Football Hall of Fame opened its doors last fall in the heart of Atlanta’s sports, entertainment and tourism district. Adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park, the new Hall provides visitors with a highly immersive, interactive and engaging experience using a blend of historic college football artifacts and state-of-the-art, interactive multimedia exhibits. To plan your visit and purchase tickets, visit


2015 College Football Hall of Fame electee Coach Jim Tressel, now the President at Youngstown State, will be honored by the Mahoning Valley Scrappers minor league baseball club when the team holds “Jim Tressel Bobblehead Night” on June 26 at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.

Kansas State is asking fans to help stripe out Bill Snyder Family Stadium for the season opener against South Dakota as the department honors Coach Bill Snyder for his 2015 College Football Hall of Fame election.

College Football Hall of Famer and 1973 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Randy Gradishar (Ohio State) was named the 2015 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award winner by the Charlotte (N.C.) Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America. The award, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years, will be presented Dec. 7.

College Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno has been elected to the State of Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Joining him in the class are former Penn State kicker Matt Bahr, former Pittsburgh wide receiver Eric Crabtree, former Pittsburgh head coach Foge Fazio, former Penn State quarterback Chuck Fusina, former North Carolina linebacker Bill Koman and former Maryland linebacker Neal Olkewicz.

College Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese (Purdue) was honored last week in his hometown of Evansville, Ind., with a street being renamed Bob Griese Pass and the unveiling of a monument.

A new athletic field at Saint John’s (Minn.) will be named after legendary College Football Hall of Fame football coach John Gagliardi. The multi-purpose facility will feature an artificial turf field and a seasonal dome and will serve as the football practice field.

College Football Hall of Famer Frank Merritt will be posthumously inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 18. Other former football players in this year’s class include Mike Fahnestock, Casimir Myslinski and Don Tillar.

College Football Hall of Famer Leonard Smith (McNeese State) has been elected to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, and he will be officially enshrined June 27. Joining him in the class are former Louisiana-Monroe head coach Pat Collins and former football players Jake Delhomme (Louisiana-Lafayette) and Kevin Faulk (LSU). Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan will receive the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award at the event.

2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Brandon Vitabile was named Northwestern’s male 2015 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient.

2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Zach Zenner (South Dakota State) and San Diego linebacker/safety Troy McClelland were honored as the recipients of the 14th Division I Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athletes of the Year. They were honored at the FCS ADA Luncheon during last week’s NACDA Convention.

2008 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Chase Daniel (Missouri)’s DFW Mizzou Golf Tournament will be held June 26 at Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club in Keller, Texas. Proceeds from the event will support the Dallas-Fort Worth alumni chapter's scholarship endowment and the Chase Daniel Lone Star State Scholarship Fund.

2000 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Drew Brees committed $1 million to the Purdue football program.

Presented by

The NFF State of Maine Chapter will host its 16th Annual Golf Tournament on July 6 at the Belgrade Lakes Golf Club in Belgrade Lakes, Maine. The chapter has also started to explore forming an “alumni” branch to engage previous honorees.

The 19th Sunshine Football Classic all-star game, sponsored by the NFF Delaware Valley (N.J.) Chapter, will take place July 1 at The College of New Jersey.

The NFF Northern Connecticut Chapter will host its annual golf tournament July 29 at the Manchester Country Club in Manchester, Conn.


New Football Schools

Kennesaw State announced kickoff times for its inaugural six-game home football schedule…


The SEC announced game times and network designations for 32 football games, including the first three weeks of the 2015 season… UCLA added home-home series with Georgia and Cincinnati, as well as a home game with South Alabama and a new date for the 2019 home game against San Diego State… Duke and Charlotte have scheduled a home-and-home series for 2020 and 2021… New Mexico State will play at Minnesota in 2018 and 2020… Alabama and Fresno State will play in 2017… Contract locks Alabama in for 2019 or 2020 appearance in Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas…


Texas announced that the Austin Radio Network will become the new radio home for Texas Athletics… The SEC announced its Media Days schedule, including a presentation by the NFF on July 15 at 8:30 a.m.…

College Football Playoff & Bowl Games

College Football Playoff will delay filling New Year’s six bowl slots until after the Army-Navy game if Navy or Army is in the running for the semifinals or one of the other four bowls…


Todd Stansbury
has been named vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics at Oregon State… Syracuse announced Mark Coyle as its next director of athletics… Akron appointed Nathan J. Mortimer as interim director of athletics… Minnesota-Morris has selected Jason Herbers as its next director of athletics… Berry (Ga.) announced that Todd Brooks has returned as athletics director…

Awards & Honors

Former Duke wide receiver Blair Holliday is one of six recipients of the 2015 Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award, which is given annually to those who have overcome great personal, academic and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics…


An estimated $30 million in renovations is expected at Air Force’s Falcon Stadium… Fresno State announced that Bulldog Stadium will be receiving a new $892,000 high definition LED video and ribbon boards… Rutgers unveiled new facility plans, including renovating the Hale Center to be specialized specifically for the football team, upgrades to the press box and new practice fields…


As part of its 75th anniversary celebration in 2015, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) is highlighting one of its most important leaders each week for the next four months. The most recent installment is on former Dallas Morning News sportswriter Blackie Sherrod, the 1985 winner of the Bert McGrane Award…

Additional News of Interest ranked college football’s 15 smartest players… Led by 1997 Campbell Trophy winner Peyton Manning (Tennessee), the Denver Broncos organized an opportunity for their players to lead the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in symphonic arrangements of their various alma mater’s fight songs… Penn State head coach James Franklin will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia prior to the July 30 game between the Phillies and Atlanta Braves… Central Michigan coach John Bonamego is fighting treatable tonsil cancer…


Oklahoma sportscaster Bob Barry Jr., who accepted the 2012 NFF Chris Schenkel Award on behalf of his late father, died June 20. He was 58… Former Rhode Island co-captain and longtime high school football coach Dennis Breen passed away June 8. He was 64… Montana sports information director Mike Hanson died June 17. He was 49… Former University of Tennessee President Dr. Edward J. Boling passed away June 18. He was 93… Former New Mexico State football great Danny Villanueva passed away June 18. He was 77… Former Cameron (Okla.) and Oklahoma City (Okla.) football player and longtime Oklahoma high school football coach Jerry Potter passed away June 19. He was 89… Elson S. Floyd, the 10th president of Washington State University, died June 20. He was 59… Troy offensive lineman Corey McCullers died June 20. He was 19…


The National Football Foundation relies, in part, on the support of individuals to fulfill our mission of "Building Leaders Through Football." The NFF accepts gifts in a variety of forms. In addition to one-time cash gifts, which can be put to use immediately, pledges also allow donors to make more substantial commitments over a longer period of time in support of our programs. Stock and other property which can be easily liquidated are also options when considering a gift. By making a gift of appreciated stock or property, one may reduce or avoid capital gains. Gifts to the National Football Foundation are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Join us! For more information about how you can support the NFF, call 972-556-1000 or click here.

The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association provides a powerful vehicle for past honorees to remain in the vanguard of the NFF’s present efforts. Click here to see the members of the 2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association. For more information on the program or to enroll for 2014, please email Ron Dilatush at


Sept. 24, 2015 – Announcement of the 2015 semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy – Irving, Texas

Oct. 29, 2015
– Announcement of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments – Irving, Texas

Dec. 7, 2015
– Presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup to the Ivy League Football Players of the Year at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New  York City

Dec. 8, 2015
– NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 8, 2015
 – 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Press Conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 8, 2015
– 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 8, 2015
– 26th presentation of the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently displayed at the NYAC, to the nation's top football scholar-athlete at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Dec. 8, 2015
– Induction of the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Class at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – New York City

Jan. 7, 2016
– Leadership Hall of Fame Induction Dinner - Phoenix, Ariz.

Jan. 8, 2016
– Announcement of the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class – Scottsdale, Ariz.

Jan. 11, 2016
–College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Ariz. 


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The NFF would like to thank NFF correspondent Bo Carter for his contributions to this report.

NFF Chalktalk items are welcome, and should be submitted to

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