National Football Foundation

News Detail

MONDAY'S NFF CHALKTALK – June 29, 2015, Presented by
The latest news and notes from the world of college football for the week of June 29.
Published: 6/29/2015 5:20:00 PM

(Pictured: 2004 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Jim Leonhard will be inducted into the University of Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 11 and honored before the Badgers’ home opener the next day.)

Hall of Famer “Froggy” Williams Passes Away

James “Froggy” Williams, a 1965 College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Rice University, passed away June 23. He was 87.

A 6-foot-2, 197-pound end, Williams had little problem living up to his nickname, for he was as slippery as an amphibian as he bedeviled enemy defenses in becoming Rice’s all-time leading scorer. Williams, who played for the Owls from 1946-49, was called the most important cog in Hall of Fame coach Jess Neely’s gridiron machine which won the Southwest Conference Championship in 1949.

Hailing from Waco, Texas, Williams came to Rice in 1946 and saw action as a freshman on a Rice squad that shut out Tennessee 8-0 in the 1947 Orange Bowl. Three years later, he led the Owls to a Cotton Bowl win over North Carolina and concluded his career as Rice’s career leader with 156 points, a record that stood for 40 years and now ranks ninth through the 2014 season. His 75 career extra points remained the school record until 1998 and his total currently ranks fifth in school history.

As a senior, Williams earned consensus All-America honors at end while leading Rice to the first 10-win season in school history. After dropping a 14-7 decision at LSU in the second week of the season, Rice ran off seven consecutive wins and swept to the SWC title with a perfect 6-0 mark. The highlight of the season was back-to-back wins at SMU and Texas when both were ranked 10th in the nation.

After graduation, Williams began a 37-year career in the oilfield service industry and later opened a successful air condition maintenance company until his retirement in 2008. He was also active with the Rice Historical Society, writing a number of articles on Rice Athletics.

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 Wisconsin, Founder Member the Big Sky Conference and Executive Members Concordia University Wisconsin, Dayton, Tufts (Mass.) and Wayne State (Mich.). Click here for the 2015 Institutional Academic Members.

FCS Schools Honored for Academics

The FCS Athletics Directors Association has announced the recipients of the Academic Progress Rate (APR) Award, sponsored by Forward Progress. The APR Award recognizes one institution at each of the 13 FCS conferences that has the highest APR score. In addition, the Association also recognizes one institution from each conference that has improved the most from the previous year. In all, 27 awards will be given this year.


Highest APR in 2013-14

Most Improved for 2013-14

Big Sky Conference

UC Davis

Portland State

Big South Conference

Coastal Carolina


Colonial Athletic Association




Delaware State


Missouri Valley

Illinois State

Southern Illinois

Northeast Conference


Saint Francis

Ohio Valley Conference

Tennessee Tech


Patriot League

Holy Cross, Georgetown


Pioneer Football League


Morehead State

Southern Conference


Virginia Military Institute

Southland Conference

McNeese State

Central Arkansas


Jackson State

Alcorn State

Ivy League



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 College Football Hall of Fame and Home Depot are celebrating America’s heroes in honor of July 4th. From June 29-July 5, the Hall will donate $2 for every full-price ticket sold to the Semper Fi Fund, which works in partnership with The Home Depot to improve the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families.

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 started its Hotel Blitz campaign as Fan Ambassadors surprised the top ten downtown Atlanta hotels with special gifts including breakfast and coffee and fun giveaways.

The College Football Hall of Fame will be a featured category on SPORTS JEOPARDY! on July 15.

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


College Football Hall of Famer Jim Haslett (Indiana [Pa.]) will serve as a consultant for the Penn State football team.

The Tallahassee Democrat profiled College Football Hall of Fame Coach Darrell Mudra, now 86 and living with his wife in Crawfordville, Fla.

Wisconsin and the National W Club hosted the 14th-annual Legends of Wisconsin Classic this morning at University Ridge Golf Course. Participants included College Football Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez, College Football Hall of Famer Pat Richter, 2004 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Jim Leonhard and 2010 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Scott Tolzien.

2004 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Jim Leonhard will be inducted into the University of Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 11 and honored before the Badgers’ home opener the next day.

1997 Campbell Trophy winner Peyton Manning (Tennessee) returned to his alma mater to present the Peyton Manning Scholarship to four incoming freshmen. The scholarships are awarded to incoming students on the basis of academic achievement, leadership and community service. Manning was also on hand for the dedication of Gate 16 at Neyland Stadium in honor of Gus Manning, who served the university for 64 years. Although they have no familial ties, the relationship they have is very special to both.

2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Zach Zenner (South Dakota State) was recognized with the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) President’s Academic Award, Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award, and he was named to the conference Honor Roll. Fellow 2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Caleb Schaffitzel (Missouri State) also received the MVFC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award, also being named to the conference Honor Roll.

2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Austin Damaschke was named Concordia University Wisconsin’s Co-Male Career Achievement Award recipient in honor of his impressive four-year career.

2014 NFF Gold Medal recipient Dr. Tom Catena’s incredible humanitarian efforts in Sudan were recently highlighted in an op-ed piece in The New York Times. Catena, a former All-America nose guard at Brown, is the only doctor at the Mother of Mercy Hospital nestled in the Nuba Mountains in the far south of Sudan, an area with a population of more than half a million people that has been engulfed in civil war.

Presented by

Former NFF Central Pennsylvania Chapter President Frank Rocco, who has worked for many years as an athletics administrator in football operations at Penn State and Liberty University, has penned his first book. Titled “Secrets Are Forever” and published by Archway, the book can be purchased on Amazon. The NFF honored Rocco for his service to the organization in 2010, presenting him with a coveted NFF Chapter Leadership Award.

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 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 NFFCHOF Bill Dooley (N.C.) Chapter will host its annual Pigskin Preview on July 23 at Duke University in Durham.

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



BYU and Toledo have agreed to a home-and-home series in 2016 and 2019… Oklahoma State and Oregon State have agreed to a home-and-home series in 2019 and 2020… Alabama and Fresno State have agreed to a non-conference game in 2017… Fresno State also scheduled a game with UCLA in 2021 and a home-and-home series with Minnesota in 2018 and 2019… Appalachian State and Marshall have agreed to a home-and-home series in 2021 and 2022…


The Southland Conference announced early TV selections for the 2015 season… The Ohio Valley Conference announced an eight-game football “Game of the Week” package that will be carried exclusively on ESPN3 this fall… The American Sports Network will broadcast two Patriot League football games this fall…


Central Florida head football coach George O’Leary will serve as interim director of athletics through the end of 2015… Boise State announced Curt Apsey as its new athletics director… Florida A&M named Milton Overton as the new director of athletics… Findlay (Ohio) has tabbed Brandi Laurita as its new director of athletics… Salisbury (Md.) announced Dr. Gerry DiBartolo will assume the role of interim athletics director for the next two years… Evangel (Mo.) named Dennis McDonald as its new athletics director… Virginia Tech announced the hiring of Jon Laaser as “The Voice of the Hokies”… Temple has extended the contract of head coach Matt Rhule for four years… In honor of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Northern Illinois’ Huskie Stadium, NIU will name the Top 50 Huskie players in stadium history over the next 10 weeks…

Awards & Honors

Western Kentucky head football coach Jeff Brohm has been named a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Steve Beshear, the highest civilian honor the governor can bestow upon an individual… Former football players Jared Lorenzen, Nate Northington and Greg Page have been elected to the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame…


Fresno State unveiled renovation plans for Bulldog Stadium… Miami (Ohio) has received approval for the construction for the Gunlock Family Athletic Performance Center, the future home of Miami football… The New Jersey State Senate passed a $25 million bill to help fund Rutgers’ recently announced plans to upgrade its athletics facilities… Louisiana Tech announced it is naming the new south end zone facility at Joe Aillet Stadium in honor of the Davison family for their continued and generous support… Montana has begun work on the new $14 million Washington-Grizzly Champions Center…


The Baylor Bear Foundation recorded its 11th consecutive record fundraising year in 2014-15…


Colorado unveiled a new “Frosted Steel” uniform for this fall… Louisville unveiled the uniforms it will wear in its season opener against Auburn on Sept. 5…


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 Look Magazine sports editor Tim Cohane, the 1987 winner of the Bert McGrane Award…

Community Service

Rutgers is launching the “R Heroes” ticket initiative for the Sept. 12 football game between Rutgers and Washington State, which will provide fans an opportunity to donate tickets to active-duty and veteran members of the armed forces…

More News of Interest

The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee recommended that the program to pay for travel expenses for student-athletes’ families be extended for the College Football Playoff… More than 21,200 Penn State students purchased football tickets and the student section has now consistently sold out for four decades… Kansas State is closing in on another season sellout for 2015, which would run its consecutive sellout streak to 27 games… Wisconsin-Whitewater is set to roll out the Warhawk Leadership Academy, a comprehensive student-athlete development program… Pittsburgh announced the launching of the “Panther Fans Experience Committee”…


Former BYU and UTEP head football coach and former Tulsa football player Tommy Hudspeth passed away June 23. He was 83… Former Utah all-conference fullback Claron Everett “Monk” Bailey passed away June 18. He was 77… Central Michigan defensive back Derrick Nash died June 22 while fighting leukemia. He was 20… Dick Stanfel, a standout on the University of San Francisco’s famed “undefeated, untied and uninvited” 1951 football team, passed away June 22. He was 87… Former North Carolina State and Wake Forest assistant coach Pat Peppler passed away June 23. He was 93… Former linebacker and captain of North Dakota’s 2001 national championship team Travis O’Neel died on June 24 due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident… Former Central Oklahoma athletics director John “Skip” Wagnon passed away June 24. He was 69… Lafayette tight end Brian Keller died June 25 following injuries sustained in a car accident. He was 21… Former Auburn football player Monreko Crittenden passed away June 25. He was 35… Former Bethune-Cookman offensive lineman Damion Cook died June 26. He was 36… Former Auburn football player James Kiger died in a car wreck on June 26. He was 40…


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. 


Advertising in NFF publications will put your organization in front of key decision makers in football including key administrators, coaches, players, former players, as well as other key sports business executives throughout the year. To inquire about the print advertising opportunities available to your organization, please contact Kelli Hilliard at 404-467-8101 or  

Become a fan of the National Football Foundation on Facebook - Upload your game day photos, check out pictures of the NFF Annual Awards Dinner and chat with other college football fans.

You can keep up with the NFF on Twitter at and on

Stay involved with the game. Become an NFF member by clicking here.

For more information on the NFF and college football, including announcements from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and NCAA Football, please visit


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

Created by the National Football Foundation, is the home for storytelling that promotes the power of amateur football.

corporate partners