June 16, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Former All-America placekicker Morten Andersen, who closed out his career as Michigan State's all-time leader in field goals (45), extra points (126) and scoring (261 points), has been elected for induction into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. The Class of 2011 also includes Mateen Cleaves (basketball), Dana Cooke (volleyball), Kisha (Kelley) Simpson (women's basketball) and Charles McCaffree (swimming coach). The five-member class will be inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame on Thursday, Sept. 22, as part of the "Celebrate 2011" weekend.
The "Celebrate 2011" weekend includes the second-annual Varsity Letter Jacket Presentation and Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 22; announcement of the Varsity S Club award winners on Friday, Sept. 23; and culminates Saturday, Sept. 24 with a special recognition of the Hall of Famers during the Michigan State-Central Michigan football game at Spartan Stadium (kickoff TBA).
"You can't help but get excited when you look at the names included in the 2011 Class elected for induction into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame," Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. "We look forward to this unique opportunity to celebrate the achievement of student-athletes earning their first varsity letter jacket in conjunction with recognizing the best of the best with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
"Morten Andersen ranks among the greatest kickers in the history of college and professional football. With his range, Morten had a chance to put points on the scoreboard anytime the offense crossed midfield. His longevity and scoring production in the National Football League are simply amazing."
The MSU Athletics Hall of Fame, located in the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center, opened on Oct. 1, 1999, and displays key moments in Spartan athletics history as well as plaques of all 103 inductees. The charter class of 30 former Spartan student-athletes, coaches and administrators was inducted in 1992.
A four-year letterman from 1978-81, Morten Andersen closed out his career as Michigan State's all-time leader in field goals (45), extra points (126) and scoring (261 points). Today, Andersen still ranks among MSU's all-time Top 10 in extra points (fourth), scoring (fifth) and field goals (sixth). He connected on nine field goals from 50-plus yards during his career, including a Big Ten-record 63-yarder at Ohio State in 1981. He also converted 62-straight extra-point attempts during one stretch. In 1999, Andersen was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-Century Team (1900-2000).
"Honestly, I was a little surprised when (MSU Athletics Director) Mark Hollis called to deliver the news," Andersen said. "Obviously, I'm both thrilled and humbled by my election into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. I'm really looking forward to the `Celebrate 2011' weekend.
"I'm reminded of the rich tradition of Michigan State athletics - not only in football but across the board. There have been so many great student-athletes, coaches and administrators to go through MSU that it's truly an honor to be a part of that legacy."
Andersen, a native of Struer, Denmark, came to Michigan State after attending Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Ind., as an exchange student with the "Youth for Understanding" program.
As a freshman in 1978, Andersen led the team in scoring with 73 points, converting 52-of-54 extra points and 7-of-16 field goals, as the Spartans went 8-3 and won a share of the Big Ten Championship at 7-1. He led the Big Ten in kick scoring with 56 points in league games (44-of-45 extra points and 4-of-10 field goals).
"I vividly remember the 1978 football season," Andersen said. "It was just my second year of playing American football and I had just turned 18 when we opened preseason camp. That 1978 team had tremendous leadership, provided by guys like Kirk Gibson, Steve Smith, Mark Brammer and Dan Bass. (Head coach) Darryl Rogers was an innovative offensive coach. Darryl ran the West Coast offense and we scored a ton of points, averaging over 40 points in Big Ten games. Nobody ran the spread (offense) at that time. The Big Ten truly was a league defined by 3 yards and a cloud of dust.
"As a freshman, I led the Big Ten in (kick) scoring because I kicked so many extra points. It was a great thrill to be a part of the 1978 Big Ten Championship team, and I remember beating Michigan, 24-15, in the Big House like it was yesterday. Unfortunately, the 1978 team wasn't eligible for the Rose Bowl. In fact, my only regret is I never had a bowl game experience during my college career."
As a sophomore in 1979, Andersen finished second on the team in scoring with 58 points, trailing only running back Derek Hughes who scored 11 touchdowns for 66 points. The second-team All-Big Ten selection connected on all 25 extra-point and 11-of-18 field-goal attempts, including five from 50-plus yards. He made a career-best four field goals in the 1979 season opener against Illinois.
As a junior in 1980, he once again led the Spartans in scoring with 57 points, hitting 21-of-22 extra points and 12-of-18 field goals. Andersen, who earned second-team All-Big Ten honors for the second year in a row, made three field goals from 50-plus yards, including a 57-yarder at Michigan. Only 20 of his 50 kickoffs (40 percent) were returned by opponents in 1980.
As a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior, Andersen earned first-team All-America honors from The Sporting News, United Press International and Walter Camp. He led the team in scoring for the third time in his career with 73 points in 1981, converting 28-of-29 extra points and 15-of-20 field goals. A first-team All-Big Ten selection, Andersen ranked second in the conference in scoring with 68 points in league play (26-of-26 extra points and 14-of-18 field goals). He matched his career high with four field goals against Indiana. In addition, opponents returned just 17 of his 56 kickoffs (30 percent) in 1981. He also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors as a senior.
Andersen was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round (No. 86 overall) of the 1982 National Football League Draft and became a seven-time Pro Bowl selection (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1995). He was named First-Team All-Pro three times (1986, 1987 and 1995). Andersen, who kicked for five teams during his 25-year career, retired from the game in 2008 as the NFL's all-time leading scorer with 2,544 points. He spent 13 seasons with the Saints (1982-94), eight with the Atlanta Falcons (1995-2000; 2006-07), two with the Kansas City Chiefs (2002-03) and one year each with the New York Giants (2001) and Minnesota Vikings (2004). Atlanta advanced to its only Super Bowl following the 1998 season as Andersen's 38-yard field goal beat the Vikings in the NFC title game. sport."