National Football Foundation

News Detail

Zach Thomas Set for Sept. 26 NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, Presented by Fidelity Investments
Texas Tech and the National Football Foundation will jointly honor Thomas, a 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, as the Red Raiders host TCU.
Published: 9/25/2015 1:00:00 PM
(Pictured: Texas Tech and the NFF will jointly honor Zach Thomas with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, Saturday, Sept. 26, during the game between the Red Raiders and TCU.)

IRVING, Texas  (Sept. 25, 2015)
– Texas Tech and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor Zach Thomas with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, Saturday, Sept. 26, in Lubbock, Texas, during the game between Texas Tech and TCU. Coverage of the game will start at 4:45 p.m. ET on FOX.

“Zach Thomas is one of the great Texas Tech football players of all time,” Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt said. “His spirit, determination and work ethic were an inspiration to his teammates and coaches and 20 years later we continue to admire and celebrate all that he was able to accomplish. This is a tremendous honor for Zach, his family and for Texas Tech and we are grateful that he will forever be acknowledged as one the game's elite players.”

The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program is a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951, and to this day the salutes remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.

“Zach Thomas is one of the most acclaimed players in the history of the old Southwest Conference,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “He was an incredible linebacker, and he twice claimed conference’s honors as its best defensive player. We are thrilled to honor him in front of the Texas Tech faithful at Jones AT&T Stadium.”

One of the most acclaimed players in Southwest Conference history, Zach Thomas claimed unanimous First Team All-America honors in 1995 following his stellar career at Texas Tech.

A two-time First Team All-American, Thomas was named the consensus Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1994 and 1995. A finalist for the 1995 Butkus Award, he led coach Spike Dykes’ Red Raiders to a share of the 1994 Southwest Conference title and three consecutive bowl games, including the 1995 Cotton Bowl and a win in the 1995 Copper Bowl.

A second team all-conference selection as a sophomore, Thomas currently ranks fifth all-time in school history with 390 career tackles, and he holds the school record with seven career fumble recoveries. He became a household name his senior year after his game-winning interception against Texas A&M, which he returned 23 yards for a touchdown with 30 seconds remaining in one of the most memorable plays in Texas Tech history.

Taken in the fifth round by the Miami Dolphins in the 1996 NFL Draft, Thomas spent 12 years with the Dolphins before spending his final season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection was named the 1996 AFC Rookie of the Year, and he is the Dolphins’ all-time leading tackler.

The Pampa, Texas, native is now the owner of Zach’s Club 54 fitness centers in Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas. Active in the community, Thomas has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the United Way, and he has visited soldiers overseas. He is a member of the Texas Tech Athletics Hall of Fame, Southwest Conference Hall of Fame and the Miami Dolphins Ring of Honor.

Thomas becomes the fifth Red Raider to be inducted, joining Donny Anderson (1963-65), E.J. Holub (1958-60), Dave Parks (1961-63) and Gabe Rivera (1979-82). Coach Jerry Moore, who led Texas Tech from 1981-85, is also in the Hall.

Including the 2015 class, only 963 players and 209 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.12 million people who have played or coached the game over the past 147 years. In other words, only two ten-thousandths of one percent (.0002) of those who have set foot on the gridiron have earned the distinction. Click here for a complete list of players and coaches in the Hall.

The 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, held at New York City’s historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Tuesday, Dec. 8. This year’s College Football Hall of Fame Class includes: Trev Alberts (Nebraska), Brian Bosworth (Oklahoma), Bob Breunig (Arizona State), Sean Brewer (Millsaps [Miss.]), Ruben Brown (Pittsburgh), Wes Chandler (Florida), Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame), Dick Jauron (Yale), Clinton Jones (Michigan State), Lincoln Kennedy (Washington), the late Rob Lytle (Michigan), Michael Payton (Marshall), Art Still (Kentucky), Zach Thomas (Texas Tech), Ricky Williams (Texas) and coaches Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and Jim Tressel (Youngstown State, Ohio State). For more information, please contact Will Rudd at wrudd@footballfoundation.com or by calling 972.556.1000.

Remaining Scheduled 2015 NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes
Presented by Fidelity Investments
(Chronological Order)

DATE

INDUCTEE

SCHOOL (YEARS PLAYED/COACHED)

OPPOSING TEAM

Sept. 26

Rob Lytle

Michigan (1974-76)

BYU

Sept. 26

Thom Gatewood

Notre Dame (1969-71)

UMass

Sept. 26

Zach Thomas

Texas Tech (1992-95)

TCU

Oct. 3

Michael Payton

Marshall (1989-92)

Old Dominion

Oct. 3

Brian Bosworth

Oklahoma (1984-86)

West Virginia

Oct. 10

Sean Brewer

Millsaps [Miss.] (1989-92)

Centre [Ky.]

Oct. 10

Trev Alberts

Nebraska (1990-93)

Wisconsin

Oct. 10

Coach Jim Tressel

Youngstown State (1986-2000)

Illinois State

Oct. 24

Ricky Williams

Texas (1995-98)

Kansas State

Oct. 29

Ruben Brown

Pittsburgh (1991-94)

North Carolina

Nov. 14

Bob Breunig

Arizona State (1972-74)

Washington

Nov. 21

Dick Jauron

Yale (1970-72)

Harvard

Nov. 27

Lincoln Kennedy

Washington (1989-92)

Washington State

The 2015 season marks the sixth season that Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans to higher education employees, is serving as the national presenting sponsor of the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes. The salutes are one component of a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. At the start of the 2014 season, Fidelity became the presenting sponsor of the William V. Campbell Trophy, college football’s premier scholar-athlete award, which will be presented for the 26th time in 2015. Other highlights of the sponsorship include Fidelity becoming the first presenting sponsor of the organization’s prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and helping launch the NFF Faculty Salutes Initiative, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives around the country.


About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity’s goal is to make financial expertise broadly accessible and effective in helping people live the lives they want. With assets under administration of $5.1 trillion, including managed assets of $2.0 trillion as of August 31, 2015, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 24 million people invest their own life savings, nearly 20,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing nearly 10,000 advisory firms with technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for nearly 70 years, Fidelity employs 42,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about.

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 FootballMatters.org, 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 the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, SKP, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

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