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Pat Tillman selected for College Football Hall of Fame

May 27, 2010

Tillman becomes 9th Sun Devil member of illustrious group

Former ASU football student-athlete Pat Tillman has been selected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Hall's Class of 2010, the National Football Foundation (NFF) announced today in New York City. The announcement took place at the NASDAQ Marketsite in the heart of Times Square and was televised live by ESPNEWS and CBS College Sports Network.

Selected from a ballot of 77 All-America players, Tillman now joins former Sun Devil coaches Dan Devine, Frank Kush and John Cooper and student-athletes defensive back Mike Haynes, wide receiver John Jefferson, offensive lineman Randall McDaniel, linebacker Ron Pritchard and quarterback Danny White as representatives of ASU in the College Football Hall of Fame. In all, ASU has nine former football coaches or student-athletes in the College Football Hall of Fame.

In addition to Hall of Fame enshrinement, Tillman will be honored posthumously at an ASU football game this fall.

The College Football Hall of Fame is one of the ways in which the National Football Foundation fulfills its mission of preserving the game of college football. Founded in 1947, the NFF is dedicated to mobilizing the constructive forces of amateur football, at all levels, for the benefit of society as a whole.

The National Football Foundation currently has more than 10,000 members in 119 local chapters nationwide and recognizes the vital role amateur football plays in the development of our nation's youth and in the education process. The NFF seeks to honor those who have excelled both on and off the field and who demonstrate the Foundation's creed of scholarship, citizenship and athletic ability. Last year, the National Football Foundation and its chapters awarded nearly $1,000,000 in scholarships to deserving high school and college scholar-athletes.

The first class of College Football Hall of Fame inductees was selected in 1951. That inaugural class included 54 legends and pioneers of the game like Walter Camp, Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Knute Rockne. Today more than 900 legendary players and coaches from NCAA Division I-A, I-AA, II, III and the NAIA are enshrined in the Hall.

Joining Tillman in the Class of 2010 are players Dennis Byrd (North Carolina State, 1964-67), Ronnie Caveness (Arkansas, 1962-64), Ray Childress (Texas A&M, 1981-84), Randy Cross (UCLA, 1973-75), Sam Cunningham (USC, 1970-72), Mark Herrmann (Purdue, 1977-80), Clarkston Hines (Duke, 1986-89), Desmond Howard (Michigan, 1989-91), Chet Moeller (Navy, 1973-75), Jerry Stovall (LSU, 1960-62), Alfred Williams (Colorado, 1987-90) and coaches Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin, 1990-2005) and Gene Stallings (Texas A&M, 1965-71 and Alabama, 1990-96).

In 2008, Tillman was elected in ASU's Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2004, Tillman had his uniform number “42” retired by the University and his name added to the façade of the Press Box at Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field. Tillman's No. 42 was the fifth number retired in Sun Devil history, joining No. 11 Danny White (1971-73), No. 27 Bobby Mulgado (1954-57), No. 33 Wilford White (1947-50) and No. 40 Mike Haynes (1974-75).

Tillman, who lettered between 1994-97, is one of the most famous Sun Devil football players in history. As a junior, Tillman started every game as ASU went unbeaten through the regular season, won the Pacific-10 Conference championship and made its second appearance in the Rose Bowl in 1996. The following year, Tillman was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and was a Second-Team All-American while also receiving numerous academic honors as he helped lead the Sun Devils to a 9-3 season and a Sun Bowl victory over Iowa. He was named Sun Bowl MVP in his senior season and has since been inducted into the Sun Bowl Hall of Fame. Tillman also was named the 1997 Sporting News/Honda Scholar Athlete of the Year.

He went on to play four seasons in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals before joining the U.S. Army Rangers in 2002. He was killed in Afghanistan April 22, 2004, but he continues to be an inspiration to Americans everywhere. Following his death, he was awarded a Purple Heart by the U.S. Army and a Silver Star by the U.S. Military. Tillman was posthumously honored with the NFF’s Distinguished American Award in 2006. 

In 2004 the Pacific-10 Conference Office announced that the annual Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award would be named the Pat Tillman Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award in honor of the former Sun Devil.

Also in 2004, The Pat Tillman Scholarship Award was established and is awarded annually to a student in ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business that is studying marketing, the same major Tillman attained his degree in just three and one-half years. In his short time in the classroom, Tillman worked his way to a 3.84 grade-point average and earned numerous academic honors, including GTE District VIII Academic All-America honors in 1996 and 1997 as well as the Sporting News' Honda Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 1997.

In 2004 the Tillman family and friends created the Pat Tillman Foundation, established to carry forward Pat’s legacy of leadership and civic action by supporting future generations of leaders who embody the American tradition of citizen service. Its signature event, Pat’s Run, attracted over 27,000 participants this year.

The Pat Tillman Foundation is a national leader in providing resources and educational support to veterans, active servicemembers and their dependants. The Tillman Military Scholars program aids all veterans and specifically the ever-growing population of veterans and dependents of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

In 2005 The Pat Tillman USO Center opened its newest center in Afghanistan in early April, bringing to 123 the number of USO centers worldwide. The National Football League donated $250,000 to the USO for construction of the center, named in honor of Tillman.

He is survived by his wife, Marie.

Founded in 1947 with leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.

With 120 chapters and over 12,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, a nonprofit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in America’s young people. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, The NFF Center for Youth Development Through Sport at Springfield College (Mass.), and scholarships of nearly $1 million for College and High School Scholar-Athletes.


Mark Brand
ASU Athletics