National Football Foundation

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Michael Payton Set for Oct. 3 NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, Presented by Fidelity Investments
Marshall and the National Football Foundation will jointly honor Payton, a 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, as the Thundering Herd hosts Old Dominion.
Published: 10/1/2015 11:00:00 AM
(Pictured: Marshall and the NFF will jointly honor Michael Payton with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, Saturday, Oct. 3, during the game between Marshall and Old Dominion on the American Sports Network.)

IRVING, Texas (Oct. 1, 2015)
– Marshall University and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor Michael Payton with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, Saturday, Oct. 3, in Huntington, W.Va., during the game between Marshall and Old Dominion. Coverage of the game will start at 3:30 p.m. ET on the American Sports Network.

“It’s very humbling,” Payton told the Charleston Daily Mail after the announcement in January. “When I got there as a freshman and learned about the tragedy, one of my thoughts was I wanted to see if I could achieve some success and bring that triumph back to Huntington. God blessed me with the right coaches, right teammates and the opportunity to do that.”

The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program, which began with the inaugural class in 1951, has become a hallowed tradition, and to this day the singular events 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.

“Michael Payton received the Walter Payton Award in 1992 as the best player in Division I-AA,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “He certainly lived up to the distinction, leading the Thundering Herd to its first-ever national championship. We are thrilled to honor him in front of the Marshall faithful at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.”

A consensus First Team All-American as a senior, Payton led the Herd to a 12-3 record and the 1992 Division I-AA national championship after defeating Youngstown State, which was coached by fellow 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Jim Tressel. In 1991, he was the Walter Payton Award runner-up after leading the nation in passing efficiency (181.3) and taking Marshall to the national championship game. Payton was twice named Southern Conference Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year. For more than 20 years, Payton held the Division I-AA record for most passing yards in a half, and he currently ranks in the top four in almost every statistical passing category in Marshall history. A two-time first team all-conference selection and a team captain in 1992, he finished his career with 689 completions for 9,411 yards and 69 touchdowns.

Inducted into the Marshall University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999, Payton played for coaches George Chaump and College Football Hall of Famer Jim Donnan and was teammates with Hall of Famer Troy Brown during his career in Huntington, W.Va. He was named West Virginia Athlete of the Year and Man of the Year in 1991 and 1992.

After spending part of 1993 with the Dallas Cowboys, Payton played two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League before finishing his career with the Florida Bobcats of the Arena Football League in 1996. The Harrisburg, Pa., native is active in DARE and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Payton is currently a senior staff counselor at Alternative Rehabilitation Communities in Pennsylvania, and he serves as a personal trainer and life coach.

Payton becomes the fourth member of the Thundering Herd to be inducted, joining Mike Barber (1985-88), Troy Brown (1991-92) and Jackie Hunt (1938-41). Coach Jim Donnan, who led Marshall from 1990-95, 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 or by calling 972.556.1000.

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





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)


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)


Nov. 21

Dick Jauron

Yale (1970-72)


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

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, 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

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