National Football Foundation

News Detail

Dat Nguyen Set for Nov. 4 NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, Presented by Fidelity Investments
Texas A&M and the National Football Foundation will jointly honor Nguyen, a 2017 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, as the Aggies host Auburn.
Published: 11/2/2017 11:00:00 AM

IRVING, Texas (Nov. 2, 2017) – Texas A&M University and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor Dat Nguyen with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments. The Salute will take place this Saturday, Nov. 4, during the Aggies’ game against Auburn. Coverage of the game will start at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN.

“I have been so fortunate and I am truly honored and humbled by this award,” Nguyen said in a Texas A&M release in January. “The game of football has taught me so much about life. I have been blessed with a wonderful family, a great football family and the outstanding Aggie network.”

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.

“Dat Nguyen is one of the greatest defensive players in Texas A&M history,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “From earning multiple national awards to owning the Aggies’ all-time tackling record, he has truly earned his place in the College Football Hall of Fame. We are thrilled to honor him at Kyle Field.”

The only player in Texas A&M history to lead the team in tackles four consecutive seasons, Nguyen earned unanimous First Team All-America honors in 1998. The winner of both the Bednarik and Lombardi awards in 1998, Nguyen started all 51 games of his illustrious career and still holds Texas A&M records with 517 career tackles and 30 double-digit tackle games.

The 1998 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year led the Aggies to three bowl berths, including a win in the 1995 Alamo Bowl. Nguyen earned Defensive MVP honors in the 1998 Cotton Bowl despite losing to UCLA after he recorded a still-standing Cotton Bowl-record 15 solo tackles. A two-time First Team All-Big 12 selection, he topped the conference with 149 tackles as a senior and led the Aggies with an interception and 17 tackles to upset No. 1 Kansas State to claim the 1998 Big 12 title.

Playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach R.C. Slocum, Nguyen currently ranks eighth in Big 12 history with 423 career tackles (not including bowl games or his freshman year in the Southwest Conference) and second all-time with nine fumble recoveries. Named the 1998 National Defensive Player of the Year by Lindy’s and Chevrolet, he also received Second Team All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore.

Nguyen was named the 1995 SWC Freshman of the Year after recording a still-standing single-season A&M record with 65 solo tackles. A member of the Big 12 10th Anniversary Team, Nguyen is enshrined in the Texas A&M, Cotton Bowl, State of Texas Sports and Texas High School Football halls of fame.

Drafted in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, Nguyen spent his entire seven-year pro career with the franchise. He led the Cowboys in tackles in three seasons and was named Second Team All-Pro in 2003. Nguyen holds the distinction of being the first Vietnamese-American to be drafted, play and be recognized as an All-Pro in the NFL.

After retiring from the NFL, Nguyen served as an assistant coach for the Cowboys and Texas A&M. He previously hosted a radio show on 1250 ESPN in San Antonio and currently owns a Chick-fil-A franchise in Fort Worth, Texas. Active in the community, he serves on the board of directors for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Brazos Valley and San Antonio and the San Antonio Sports Foundation, which focuses on improving school facilities and playgrounds. He also works with Hill Country Daily Bread, which provides physical, emotional and spiritual support to the impoverished.

Nguyen becomes the 10th Aggie player to be inducted, joining Ray Childress (1981-84), John David Crow (1955-57), Dave Elmendorf (1968-70), Joel Hunt (1925-27), John Kimbrough (1938-40), Charlie Krueger (1955-57), Jack Pardee (1954-56), Joe Routt (1935-37) and Joe Utay (1905-07).

Six former Texas A&M coaches are also in the Hall: Matty Bell (1929-33), Dana Bible (1917, 1919-28), Paul “Bear” Bryant (1954-57), Homer Norton (1934-47), R.C. Slocum (1989-2002) and Gene Stallings (1965-71).

Including the 2017 class, only 987 players and 214 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.26 million people who have played or coached the game over the past 148 years. In other words, only two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) 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 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown on Tuesday, Dec. 5, which will be live streamed on ESPN3, starting at 8:30 p.m. ET. This year’s College Football Hall of Fame Class includes: Bob Crable (Notre Dame), Marshall Faulk (San Diego State), Kirk Gibson (Michigan State), Matt Leinart (Southern California), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Bob McKay (Texas), Dat Nguyen (Texas A&M), Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern), Mike Ruth (Boston College), Brian Urlacher (New Mexico) and coaches Danny Ford (Clemson, Arkansas), Larry Kehres (Mount Union [Ohio]) and Steve Spurrier (Duke, Florida, South Carolina). For more information on the Dinner, please contact Will Rudd at wrudd@footballfoundation.com or by calling 972.556.1000.

The inductees will also be honored at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Jan. 1, 2018, and they will take part in a series of events at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta where their accomplishments will be forever immortalized.

The 2017 season marks the eighth 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 28th time in 2017.

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, which recognizes the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives around the country.


About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity’s mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $6.5 trillion, including managed assets of $2.4 trillion as of September 30, 2017, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 26 million people invest their own life savings, 23,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 12,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity employs more than 40,000 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 Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

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