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College Football

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'I'm just the figurehead'

Tom Osborne leads 13 inductees into College Hall of Fame

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Posted: Tuesday December 08, 1998 10:24 PM

  Three of a kind: Bo Jackson (left), Tom Osborne (center) and Jim McMahon (right) highlight the latest class AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Less than a year after coaching his final game at Nebraska, Tom Osborne was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, along with 12 former college stars, including one from Tulsa.

"It's a great honor," said Osborne, who compiled a remarkable 255-49-3 record and won two national titles and shared a third in 25 seasons with the Cornhuskers. "Whenever somebody, a player or a coach, gets into a Hall of Fame, there's a lot of people very responsible. And that's the case here. I'm just the figurehead."

The Hall of Fame waived a three-year waiting period to admit Osborne after he retired in January. Last year, the hall did the same for retired Grambling coach Eddie Robinson.

Bo Jackson, Auburn's 1985 Heisman Trophy winner who went on to star in the NFL and in major league baseball, led a parade of college greats who were honored during the football foundation's annual awards dinner.

Jackson, whose two-sport career was cut short by hip injuries, played for the Tigers from 1982-85. In his Heisman season, he ran for 1,859 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Also inducted were quarterback Jim McMahon (Brigham Young, 1977-78, 80-81); defensive back Al Brosky (Illinois, 1950-52); guard Brad Budde (Southern California, 1976-79); tackle Bill Fralic (Pittsburgh, 1981-84); linebacker Randy Gradishar (Ohio State, 1971-73); defensive tackle Mel Long (Toledo, 1969-71); quarterback Jerry Rhome (SMU, Tulsa, 1961, 63-64); center Jim Ritcher (North Carolina State, 1976-79); running back-defensive back Johnny Roland (Missouri, 1962, 64-65); center-linebacker Alex Sarkisian (Northwestern, 1946-48); and defensive tackle Bill Stanfill (Georgia, 1966-68).

McMahon threw for 9,536 yards and 84 touchdowns for the Cougars. The quarterback who earned the nickname "Punky QB" for his brash behavior in the NFL led the Chicago Bears to victory in the 1986 Super Bowl.

"I love the game, I'm glad I stuck with football," said McMahon, who came to BYU with the intention of playing baseball. "It's brought me everything that I have great in my life. I met my wife in college, a good Mormon girl. I'm sure her folks were hoping she'd bring home a good Mormon boy and then I showed up.

"I've been with her for 20 years now. If I was that bad a person, I don't think she would've hung around."

The foundation also honored 17 athletes who will each receive an $18,000 postgraduate fellowship.

In Division I-A, the honorees were: quarterback Todd Bandhauer (Iowa State); center Eric de Groh (West Virginia); linebacker Barry Gardner (Northwestern); quarterback Corby Jones (Missouri); fullback Joel Makovica (Nebraska); guard Derek Rose (Iowa); safety Chad Smith (New Mexico); safety Patrick Stephen (Northern Illinois); tackle Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia); and safety Jeff Zurcher (Kentucky).

In Division I-AA: center Nick Battles (Butler); defensive back Anthony Pannunzio (Youngstown State); and kicker Alex Sierk (Princeton).

In Division II: linebacker Lee Daily (Henderson State) and defensive tackle Bart Johnson (Moorhead State). In Division III: safety Tom Massey (SUNY-Brockport) and guard Chris Meskan (Augustana).

Roy Kramer, chairman of the Bowl Championship Series and commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, received the foundation's Distinguished American Award.

Kramer is credited with devising the new BCS standings, which used a complicated formula of polls, computer ratings, strength-of-schedule and losses that eventually set up a Tennessee-Florida State match for a national title in the Fiesta Bowl on January 4.

Related information
Inside College Football with Ivan Maisel: BCS works, bowl system flawed
Holiday Bowl felt obligated to take Nebraska
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