2011 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot Features Three Spartans, Former Coach
March 8, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Three former Michigan State All-Americans - wide receiver Kirk Gibson, wide receiver Gene Washington and running back Lorenzo White - along with former Spartan head coach Darryl Rogers are featured on the National Football Foundation's 2011 (Football Bowl Subdivision) ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. It marks the first year on the ballot for both Washington and White.
The ballot, mailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers, contains the names of 79 players and nine coaches. Those votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Court, chaired by former Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner and NCAA President Gene Corrigan, which deliberates and selects the class. The 13-member NFF Honors Court includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and media members.
The 2011 FBS Hall of Fame Class will be announced May 11 and then inducted at the NFF College Football Hall of Fame's 54th Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 6 at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named First-Team All-American by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for its 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. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach. In both cases, the candidate's post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.
Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their school's geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts. Each year, approximately 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 Veterans Committee may make recommendations to NFF Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago.
Below are bio sketches for the three former Spartans players and one former coach listed on the 2011 FBS ballot:
Kirk Gibson (WR, 6-2, 210, Waterford, Mich.): Four-year letterman played for both Denny Stolz (1975) and Darryl Rogers (1976-78) . . . earned First-Team All-Big Ten and First-Team All-America honors as a senior while helping lead the Spartans to a share of the 1978 Big Ten championship . . . set career highs in receptions (42), receiving yards (806) and touchdown receptions (7) in 1978 . . . led team in receptions for three-straight seasons (1976-78) . . . led the Big Ten in receptions in conference games in both 1976 (30 for 486 yards and 4 TDs) and 1978 (31 for 613 yards and 5 TDs) . . . closed out his career as MSU's all-time leader in receptions (112), receiving yards (2,347) and TD receptions (24) . . . his career 21.0 yards per catch still rank first on MSU's all-time list . . . had seven career 100-yard receiving games . . . batted .268 with 255 home runs, 870 RBI and 284 stolen bases during a distinguished 17-year playing career in Major League Baseball, with the Detroit Tigers (1979-87, 1993-95), Los Angeles Dodgers (1988-90), Kansas City Royals (1991) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1992) . . . played an integral role on two World Championship teams (Detroit, 1984; Los Angeles, 1988) . . . selected National League MVP in 1988 after batting .290 with 25 home runs and 76 RBI for the Dodgers.
Gene Washington (WR, 6-3, 218, LaPorte, Texas): Three-year letterman for Coach Hugh Duffy Daugherty (1964-66) . . . helped Michigan State to a combined record of 23-6-1 during his career, including back-to-back Big Ten and National Championships in 1965-66 . . . during that three-year span, the Spartans posted a 17-3 record in Big Ten games . . . two-time First-Team All-American (1965-66) . . . also two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection (1965-66) . . . led team in receptions for three-straight seasons (1964-66) . . . closed out his career as MSU's all-time leader in receptions (102), receiving yards (1,857) and touchdown receptions (16) . . . his 18.2 yards per catch still rank ninth on MSU's all-time list . . . had six career 100-yard receiving games . . . selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round (No. 8 overall) of the 1967 NFL Draft . . . two-time Pro Bowl selection (1969-70) . . . named First-Team All-Pro by The Associated Press in 1969 . . . had 182 career receptions for 3,237 yards and 26 TDs in seven pro seasons (Minnesota, 1967-72; Denver, 1973).
Lorenzo White (RB, 5-11, 211, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Four-year letterman for Coach George Perles (1984-87) . . . helped MSU to a combined record of 28-18-1 during his career, including three postseason bowl appearances . . . led the Spartans to the 1987 Big Ten Championship and a 20-17 victory over USC in the 1988 Rose Bowl . . . became first player in school history to lead the team in rushing for four-straight years . . . two-time First-Team All-American (1985 and 1987) . . . also finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting twice (1985 and 1987) . . . two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection (1985 and 1987) . . . led NCAA FBS with 1,908 rushing yards in 1985 . . . produced some of the top single-season totals in NCAA FBS history in 1985 (No. 21 at 173.5 rushing yards per game; No. 24 with 1,908 rushing yards) . . . still holds NCAA FBS record for most rushes in two consecutive games (102 in 1985: 53 vs. Purdue and 49 vs. Minnesota) . . . still ranks as MSU's all-time leader in rushing attempts (1,082), rushing yards (4,887), rushing touchdowns (43) and 100-yard rushing games (23) . . . selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (No. 22 overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft . . . 1992 Pro Bowl selection . . . had 1,062 career carries for 4,242 yards and 30 TDs in eight pro seasons (Houston Oilers, 1988-94; Cleveland Browns, 1995).
Darryl Rogers (Head Coach; Michigan State, 1976-79): Guided the Spartans to a 24-18-2 record (.568) in four years as head coach at Michigan State from 1976-79 and coached three first-team All-Americans (wide receiver Kirk Gibson, tight end Mark Brammer and punter Ray Stachowicz) . . . led the Spartans to the 1978 Big Ten championship, claiming the school's fourth conference title . . . honored as the 1978 Big Ten Coach of the Year after the Spartans closed the championship season on a seven-game winning streak, which started with a 24-15 victory at Michigan, to finish the year 8-3 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten . . . 1978 team featured one of the top offenses in school history, setting MSU single-season records for points scored (411) and scoring average (37.4 points per game) . . . spent 20 seasons as a college head coach (Cal State Hayward, 1965; Fresno State, 1966-72; San Jose State, 1973-75; Michigan State, 1976-79; Arizona State, 1980-84).
Michigan State has five former players and four former coaches already enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. The most recent inductee is the late Brad Van Pelt, who was one of 15 players and three coaches named to the 2001 Class. Van Pelt, a two-time All-American, recorded 256 career tackles and 14 interceptions.
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