The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced this week the names of 75 players and eight coaches who comprise the 2008 Football Bowl Subdivision Ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Three former Tennessee student-athletes--Willie Gault, Bobby Majors and Paul Naumoff--are included.
Willie Gault, who played wide receiver from 1979-82, earned first team All-America honors his senior season. Gault led the Vols to three bowl berths while setting six conference and 12 school punt and kickoff return records. Gault also tied an NCAA record in 1980 for most touchdowns by kick return in a season (3).
Bobby Majors played for the Vols from 1969-71. The defensive back was a unanimous selection to the 1971 first team All-America team and led the Vols to wins in 1971 Sugar Bowl and 1972 Liberty Bowl. Majors holds school records for punt returns in a career (117 for 1,163 yards, 4 TDs) and season (42 for 457 yards, 2 TDs) and just this past year had his school season record for interception return yards (177) broken by Eric Berry.
Paul Naumoff was a Vols linebacker from 1964-66. A first team All-America and All-SEC choice in 1966, Naumoff played in the College All-Star Game and Senior Bowl in 1967.
Tennessee has 21 former coaches and players already inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.
The ballot was mailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Court, which deliberates and selects the class. Chaired by Gene Corrigan, a former ACC Commissioner and NCAA president, the 11-member NFF Honors Court includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and members of the media. Of the 4.6 million individuals who have played college football, only 829 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. From the coaching ranks, 178 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.
The FBS Hall of Fame Class will be announced live on ESPNEWS at a press conference in New York City's prestigious Waldorf-Astoria on May 1 and inducted at The National Football Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 9, 2008, also at the Waldorf-Astoria. They will be officially enshrined at the Hall in South Bend, Ind., in the summer of 2009.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a first team All-America by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 percent of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years; be retired from coaching and over the age of 70 (no waiting period); or over the age of 75 (active coaches eligible). In both cases, the candidate's post-football record as a citizen also may be weighed.
Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts. Each year, 15 candidates, who are not selected for the Hall of Fame, will be named automatic holdovers and will bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year. Additionally, the Honors Review Committee may make recommendations to Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago and coaches who have not won at least 60 percent of their games.
Story Courtesy: The NFF & UT Sports Information