National Football Foundation

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NFF Chalktalk - March 7, 2016
Latest news & notes from the world of college football.
Published: 3/7/2016 3:30:00 PM

(Pictured: Peyton Manning, a former Tennessee quarterback and the 1997 recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, officially announced his retirement from the NFL after 18 seasons.)

Hall of Famer Albert Wistert Passes Away at 95

Albert "Ox" Wistert from Michigan, a member of the only trio of brothers ever inducted, passed away March 5. At age 95, he was the second-oldest living Hall of Fame player.

Chet Moeller Named 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award Recipient

The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America and Florida East Coast Railway, proudly announced U.S. Naval Academy great and 2010 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Chet Moeller as the recipient of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years.

The award will be presented formally during the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Awards Banquet presented by ACN on Dec. 5.

SEC Sets Conference Attendance Mark

The Southeastern Conference drew an average of 78,630 fans per home game during the 2015 football season to set an all-time conference attendance record. It marked the 18th consecutive season in which the SEC led the nation in average football attendance. Michigan led the FBS in average attendance with 110,168 fans entering the turnstiles for their seven home games.

1997 Campbell Trophy Recipient Peyton Manning Retires

Peyton Manning, a former Tennessee quarterback and the 1997 recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, officially announced his retirement from the NFL after 18 seasons, which included two Super Bowl victories, five NFL MVP awards and 14 Pro Bowl selections. Tennessee created a great visual retrospective of his impressive football journey.


LAST WEEK: The College Football Hall of Fame participated in "Read Across America Day" on March 2 at Centennial Academy in downtown Atlanta. The kindergarten and first grade classes participated in fun activities with Hall of Fame staff and were also given a surprise visit from Hall of Fame mascot Fumbles.

The College Football Hall of Fame opened its doors Aug. 23, 2014, in the heart of Atlanta's sports, entertainment and tourism district. Adjacent to 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

NFF Chairman and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Manning (Mississippi) will be honored with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl's Distinguished Citizen Award at the June 19 kickoff dinner at the Memphis Hilton for the Liberty Bowl's annual golf classic.

NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin (Ohio State) recently held his sixth annual celebrity golf tournament to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was among the participants.

NFF Board Member and 2015 NFF Leadership Hall of Fame inductee Casey Wasserman contributed the final piece of UCLA's Jackie Robinson Athletics and Recreation Complex: a 42-inch tall number 42 bronze sculpture and plaque honoring the 1997 NFF Gold Medal recipient who broke MLB's color barrier  and also played football at UCLA.

The State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame announced that its chairman, NFF Board Member W. Edgar Welden, has been named its 2016 Distinguished American Sportsman.

College Football Hall of Fame coach Jim Tressel will be among the speakers at the 85th annual Ohio State Football Clinic April 14-16.

College Football Hall of Famer and 1994 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Tony Boselli (Southern California) will be inducted into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame during enshrinement ceremonies on April 22 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The other inductees include former Texas head coach Fred Akers, former SMU tailback Eric Dickerson, former Notre Dame linebacker Bob Golic, former Arkansas quarterback Fred Marshall and former Cotton Bowl chairman Dan Petty.

Steve Spurrier, a College Football Hall of Fame player from Florida and former SEC football coach, will headline the Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford County's 29th annual Stake & Burger fundraiser April 21 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Saint John's (Minn.) will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on May 5 for Gagliardi Field, which is named for College Football Hall of Fame coach John Gagliardi.

The Chicago Bears produced a video on the efforts of their current linebacker and 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient Sam Acho (Texas) in helping the less fortunate in Nigeria.

2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete E.K. Binns (Navy) was one of two named as a 2015 American Athletic Conference Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year, joining Ryan Leahy (Cincinnati).

Presented by
The NFF Capital District (N.Y.) Chapter's Scholar-Athlete Banquet will take place on March 7 at the Radisson Turf Inn in Albany.
The NFF Mike Cleary/Northeastern Ohio Chapter will hold its Scholar-Athlete Banquet on March 8 at the LaCentre Banquet Facility in Westlake, Ohio. Recent Kent State graduate April Goss, who made history this past season after becoming just the second female to score a point in an FBS game, will speak on behalf of 12 postgraduate award winners. Other notable presenters and speakers at the banquet will include College Football Hall of Fame coach Jim Tressel, former Clemson and Cleveland Browns running back Kevin Mack and Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini.

The NFF Essex County (N.J.) Chapter's Scholar-Athlete Banquet will take place March 9 at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, N.J.

The NFF Greater Baltimore Chapter will host its Scholar-Athlete Banquet on March 9 at Martins West.

The NFF Sacramento Valley (Calif.) Chapter will hold its Scholar-Athlete Banquet on March 10 at the Sacramento Elks Club. Former Willamette (Ore.) head coach and current Lawrence (Wis.) offensive coordinator Mark Speckman will be the guest speaker.

The NFF Delaware Valley (N.J.) Chapter's 54th Annual Scholar-Athlete Banquet is scheduled for March 13 at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton, N.J.

The NFF Morris County (N.J.) Chapter's Scholar-Athlete Banquet will take place March 14 at the Madison Hotel in Morristown, N.J.

The NFF Orange County (Calif.) Chapter will host its 46th Scholar-Athlete Banquet on March 14 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The NFF Wyoming Chapter will hold its annual banquet in Laramie on March 19. The chapter will present $1,200 scholarships to finalists from each of the state's five participation classes and two from the University of Wyoming. The finalists will be selected from a field of 101 nominations from 35 high schools and the University of Wyoming. From the group of finalists, one top scholar-athlete will be awarded a second scholarship and be the state's nominee to represent the West Region as an NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete.

The NFF Tom Lombardo/St. Louis Chapter will host a luncheon on March 23 at Lombardo's Airport Restaurant featuring Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner Patty Viverito

The annual New Balance NFF Jack Grinold/Eastern Massachusetts Chapter Coaches Clinic will be held Saturday, April 2, in the Yawkey Building at Boston College. A sellout crowd of 300 coaches is expected to hear the six clinicians, followed by attendance at the Boston College spring practice that day. Those scheduled to speak are Boston College offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler and defensive coordinator Jim Reid, Harvard offensive coordinator Joel Lamb and defensive coordinator Scott Larkee, Amherst (Mass.) head coach E.J. Mills and retired Maine head coach Jack Cosgrove.

The NFF Valley of the Sun (Ariz.) Chapter announced the names of the scholar-athletes who will be honored at its 35th Annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet April 2 at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort and Villas.
The NFF New York City Chapter will hold its Elite Eleven Dinner on April 5 at the New York Athletic Club, honoring the top scholar-athletes in New York City and presenting New York Jets and former Central Florida wide receiver Brandon Marshall with its Accorsi Award for his work with PROJECT 375, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental illness and disorders.

The NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter announced that longtime Dallas sports talk radio staple Norm Hitzges will receive the 2016 Distinguished Texan Award, the chapter's highest honor, at its Eighth Annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet on April 10 at the Marriott Quorum.
College Football Hall of Famer Chuck Cecil (Arizona) will be the keynote speaker at the NFF Southern Arizona Chapter's 19th Annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet April 17 in Tucson.
The NFF Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter will hold its 50th Anniversary "Touchdowner of the Year" Banquet on May 4 at the Westin Galleria Ballroom. NFF Chairman and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Manning (Mississippi) will be the guest of honor. The chapter will host a Hall of Fame Golf Tournament the day before at Wildcat Golf Course.

The 41st annual NFF Jack Grinold/Eastern Massachusetts Chapter Scholar-Athlete Banquet will be held May 15 at the Boston/Newton Marriott. The banquet will feature 33 High School Scholar-Athlete honorees and the presentation of the Daly, Schluntz and Burton Awards. Boston College play-by-play announcer Jon Meter-Parel will return as the emcee.


The Mountain West announced its 2016 football schedule... The Sun Belt Conference releasedits full 2016 football schedule... BYU officially announced its 2016 football schedule... Coastal Carolina announced its 2016 schedule... The 2016 Army-Temple game has been moved to Friday, Sept. 2... Illinois announced the addition of eight future home football games... The future football series between BYU and Notre Dame has been reduced to just one game...
Illinois hired Lovie Smith as its head football coach... Shaw (N.C.) hired Adrian Jones as its head football coach...  Zach Tinker was named head football coach at the South Dakota School of Mines... Connecticut formally introduced David Benedict as its new director of athletics...Nevada approved a three-year contract extension for athletics director Doug Knuth... Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) announced Kimberly Pate as its new athletics director... Tusculum (Tenn.)appointed Doug Jones as director of athletics...

Conference Realignment 

Beginning with the 2018 football season, the Sun Belt Conference will be a 10-team football league, eliminating the current membership agreements that are in place with Idaho and New Mexico State...

College Football Playoff and Bowl Games

The College Football Playoff announced that this year's Semifinals at the Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 31, will begin at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET, respectively, on ESPN.  Additionally, the Capital One Orange Bowl will be played on Dec 30 on ESPN... The Fiesta Bowl announced its 2016-17 Executive Board...

Awards and Honors

College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock was named the recipient of CoSIDA's 2016 Keith Jackson Eternal Flame Award... Rece Davis, the host of ESPN's College GameDay, was named the 2016 recipient of CoSIDA's Jake Wade Award for contribution in the media to the field of college athletics... Iowa's Gary Barta, Northwestern's Jim Phillips, Mississippi State's Scott Stricklin and San Diego State's Jim Sterk are among 28 winners of the 2015-16 Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year Award... Southern California's Tim Tessalone and Southern Connecticut State's Rick Leddy are among the members of the 2016 CoSIDA Hall of Fame Class... Football players Derrick Henry (Alabama), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford),Keenan Reynolds (Navy) and Deshaun Watson (Clemson) are among the semifinalists for the 86th Annual AAU Sullivan Award, which is presented to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States...

The new turf design for West Virginia's football stadium has been revealed... Cincinnati is replacing the artificial surface inside Nippert Stadium... Designs were released for West Texas A&M's proposed on-campus football stadium...

Indiana announced the fundraising goal for the athletics department's capital campaign... 


Oklahoma State unveiled new football uniforms... The Lindenwood University system has signed a five-year agreement with Under Armour to be the exclusive outfitter of its sports teams on both its Illinois and Missouri campuses...

Community Service

Colorado defensive end Derek McCartney, the grandson of College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill McCartneymissed the first week of spring practice after being selected to donate bone marrow... Continuing the fight against cancer, the San Jose State football team joined forces with Wipeout Cancer to host the inaugural Sports Day for Kids at Spartan Stadium...

More News of Interest
National champion Alabama visited the White House on March 2... Football coaches in the Ivy League unanimously decided last week to remove tackling from regular-season practices... The NCAA-Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium study will enter its third year this summer and now includes 30 schools across the country...
Former Wisconsin running back Lou Holland, who led the Big Ten in scoring for two consecutive years, passed away Feb. 16. He was 74... Former UCLA football player Tommy Taylor Jr. died Feb. 21. He was 53... Former Tennessee offensive lineman David Douglas died Feb. 27. He was 52... Former Maryland All-American Elmer Wingate passed away Feb. 27. He was 87... Former Notre Dame football player and noted sports physician Dr. Richard Cronin passed away Feb. 27. He was 89... Former Alabama team captain Bud Willis passed away Feb. 28. He was 85... Former UCLA and Wisconsin assistant coach Lew Stueck died Feb. 28. He was 80... Former Southern California quarterback Rudy Bukich, the 1953 Rose Bowl Player of the Game, passed away Feb. 29. He was 85... 

Buffalo linebacker and defensive end Solomon Jackson passed away Feb. 29. He was 20... Former North Carolina A&T football player and longtime high school football coach Bill Boyers passed away Feb. 29. He was 82... Former Cornell offensive tackle Lee Reherman passed away March 1. He was 49... Former Coastal Carolina football player Anthony Frye died in a motorcycle accident March 2. He was 27... Former Memphis football player Bill Hudson passed away March 2... Former Virginia Tech All-American Mike Widger passed away March 3. He was 67... Billy Michael, a senior co-captain on Coach Frank Broyles' first Arkansas football team in 1958, passed away March 4. He was 81... Joel Mareiniss, the voice of Syracuse football for 14 seasons, passed away March 5. He was 87...

Sept. 28, 2016 - Announcement of the semifinalists for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently displayed at the NYAC - Irving, Texas

Dec. 5, 2016 - Announcement and Presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup to the Ivy League Football Players of the Year at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel at an event presented by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses - New  York City 

Dec. 6, 2016
 - NFF Annual Awards Press Conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel - New York City

Dec. 6, 2016 - NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel - New York City

Dec. 6, 2016 - 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria - New York City

Dec. 6, 2016 - 27th 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. 6, 2016 - Induction of the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel - New York City

Dec. 31, 2016 - The 12th Annual NFF National Hall of Fame Salute during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Atlanta

Jan. 5, 2017
 - NFF Leadership Hall of Fame Dinner - Tampa, Fla.

Jan. 6, 2017 - Announcement of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class - Tampa, Fla.

Jan. 9, 2017 - College Football Playoff National Championship at Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Fla.

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