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Devine’s 22-year coaching career saw him have stints at Arizona State (1955-57), Missouri (1958-70) and Notre Dame (1975-80). His overall record was 173-56-9, including a 10-1 mark in 1977 when he led the Fighting Irish to the National Championship. He brought both his Missouri and Notre Dame squads to the Gator Bowl. In 1968, he guided the Tigers to a 35-10 victory over Alabama, and in 1976 led the Irish to a 20-9 win over Penn State. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
Was head coach of the Florida Gators for 10 years and posted a 70-31-4 record – making him the winningest coach in Florida history. He guided the Gators to five bowls and went 4-1. His teams played in three Gator Bowls and went 3-0 Florida beat Baylor, 13-12, in the 1960 Gator Bowl, Penn State, 17-7, in the 1962 Gator Bowl, and Tennessee, 14-13, in the 1969 Gator Bowl. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
Ralph “Shug” Jordan
Jordan’s 25-year coaching career saw him compile a 176-83-6 record, including a perfect 10-0 mark in 1957 when the Tigers won the National Championship. He guided Auburn to 12 bowl games, including six Gator Bowl appearances where the Tigers were 4-2. Auburn’s 35-28 victory over Ole Miss in 1971 is still considered the Gator Bowl’s greatest game. He retired as Auburn’s winningest coach in history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982
A three-time (1964-65-66) All-American running back at Syracuse, Little set the Gator Bowl record for most yards rushing (216) against Tennessee in 1966. Against the Vols., he averaged 7.4 yards on 29 carries. He scored on a 3-yard run in the 18-12 loss. For his efforts he was named Syracuse’s MVP. During his collegiate career he rushed for 2,704 yards, gained 4,928 all-purpose yards, and scored 46 touchdowns. He played in the NFL with the Denver Broncos (1967-75) and rushed for 6,323 yards, on 1,641 carries, and 43 touchdowns. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
A two-time (1969-70) All-American quarterback at Mississippi, Manning turned in one of the greatest Gator Bowl performances in 1971, against Auburn, when he played with his left forearm in a cast due to a broken arm. Against Auburn, he was 19 for 28 passing for 180 yards, and ran 11 times for 95 yards. He tossed a 34-yard scoring pass and scored on a 1-yard run. During his career at Ole Miss he was 395 for 761 passing, for 4,753 yards and 31 touchdowns. Following his collegiate career, he played in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints (1971-84) for 14 years. He was 2,011 for 3,642 passing, for 23,911 yards and 125 touchdowns. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1970.
Dodd is the winningest coach in Georgia Tech history, posting a 22-year record of 165-64-8, including a 31-game winning streak in 1951-53 that saw Tech go 12-0 in 1952. He served as head coach from 1945-66, and as athletic director from 1950-76. During his reign he took Tech to 14 bowls, including four trips to the Gator Bowl. His teams went 2-2 in the Gator Bowl with wins over Pittsburgh (21-14) in 1956 and Texas Tech (31-21) in 1965. The Yellow Jackets dropped decisions to Arkansas (14-7) in 1960 and Penn State (30-15) in 1961. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1930 as a player following his career at Tennessee.
Dooley is Georgia’s most successful coach in history, compiling a 25-year record of 201-77-10. During that time his Bulldog’s won one national championship (1980), six SEC titles (1966, ’68, ’76, ’80, ’81, ’82), and appeared in 20 bowl games. He came to the Gator Bowl both as a coach and a player. His Georgia teams played in the Gator Bowl in 1971 and 1989 – the last game of his coaching career. His ’71 club beat a North Carolina team coached by his brother, Bill, 7-3, and his ’89 squad beat Michigan State, 34-27. He played in the 1954 Gator Bowl for Auburn in a 35-13 loss to Texas Tech. He was named Auburn’s MVP.
A quarterback at Clemson, Gage was the Tigers first-ever, first-team All-America recipient. During his four-year career (1945-48) he compiled 3,757 all-purpose yards. He was 123 for 278 passing, for 2,448 yards and 24 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,309 yards, on 316 attempts, and 10 touchdowns. He was named Clemson’s MVP in the 1949 Gator Bowl when he passed and ran the Tigers over Missouri, 24-23. In the air he was 10 for 23 for 112 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown pass, and on the ground he gained 25 yards on 15 attempts.
Known as Mr. Clemson, Howard coached Clemson for 30 years (1940-69) and posted a 165-118-12 record, including six ACC titles (1956, ’58, ’59, ’65, ’66, ’67). He took Clemson to six bowl games, and to two Gator Bowls. His Tiger teams were responsible for the first two sellouts in Gator Bowl history. In 1949, his underdog Clemson team beat Missouri, 24-23, in a game that is said to have put the Gator Bowl on the map. In 1952 his squad lost to Miami, 14-0. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989
The greatest quarterback in Auburn history, Sullivan was twice an All-American, in 1970 and 1971, and won the Heisman Trophy in 1971. For his career (1969-71), he was 452 for 819 passing, for 6,284 yards and 53 touchdowns. He also rushed for 559 yards on 155 attempts and 18 touchdowns. He led Auburn to three bowls, including a 35-28 victory over Ole Miss in the 1971 Gator Bowl. Against the Archie Manning-led Rebels, he was 27 for 43 passing, for 351 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on a 2-yard run to stake Auburn to a 21-0 lead. He was selected Auburn’s MVP.
Woodruff was the head coach at Florida for 10 years (1950-59), and compiled a 53-42-6 record. His 53 wins ranks third in school history. When he took the Gators to the 1953 Gator Bowl it marked the first bowl trip in school history. He brought two Florida teams to the Gator Bowl and went 1-1. In 1953 his Gators beat Tulsa, 14-13, and in 1958 lost to Ole Miss, 7-3.
George R. Olsen
George Olsen was by all means the Bowl’s guiding light. The Gator Bowl has been called “The Bowl that George built.” The big “O” – Mr. Gator Bowl and a warm friend to all the world of college athletics is a member of the Jacksonville and Florida Sports Hall of Fames. He monitored the event for 37 years and brought his first game attendance in 1950 of 18,000 to many sellouts of 82,000 plus fans and brought national television to the event that spotlighted the Who’s Who of College Teams and Coaches. The dedication of George Olsen and his lovely wife, Dottie, brought the Gator Bowl to great heights. George remains active as Executive Director Emeritus.
Butts was head coach at Georgia for 21 years (1939-60) and compiled a record of 140-86-9, including four SEC titles (1942, ’46, ’48, ’59). He led his 1946 squad to a perfect 11-0 mark. Four of his teams finished ranked in the Top 10. He took Georgia to eight bowls, and posted a 5-2-1 record. The tie came in the 1948 Gator Bowl against Maryland, 20-20.
Petersen was the head coach at Florida State for 11 years (1960-70) and compiled a 64-42-11 record. His best year was in 1964 when he guided the Noles to a 9-1-1 worksheet. He took FSU to four bowls and posted a 1-2-1 mark. The victory and tie came in the 1964 and 1967 Gator Bowls, respectfully. In 1964 he earned a 36-19 victory over Oklahoma, and in 1967 got a 17-17 tie against Penn State.
A two-time All-American wide receiver at Florida State, Sellers was once labeled “too fragile” to play by his FSU Coach Bill Petersen. During his FSU career (1966-68) he caught 212 passes, for 3,598 yards and 23 touchdowns. He averaged 119.9 yards per game and caught passes in a record 30 consecutive games. He had 18 100-yard games and five 200-yard games. In the 1967 Gator Bowl against Penn State, he caught 14 passes for 145 yards and one touchdown. The 14 receptions is still a Gator Bowl record. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
One of the greatest all-around players in North Carolina history, Willard led the Tar Heels to their first bowl win ever in the 1963 Gator Bowl. In the Gator Bowl he led UNC to a 35-0 win over Air Force. He rushed for 94 yards on 19 attempts and scored the game’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run. He also caught two passes for 13 yards. At North Carolina (1962-64) he rushed for 1,949 yards on 514 attempts and scored 18 touchdowns. He also returned 24 kickoffs for 574 yards and one touchdown. He played in the NFL for San Francisco (1965-73) and St. Louis (1974) and gained 6,105 yards on 1,622 attempts and scored 45 touchdowns.
One of the most consistently great football players ever to wear a Georgia Tech uniform, Baughn captained the 1960 Yellow Jacket team that took on Arkansas. He was named the Most Valuable Player in the 14-7 loss to the Razorbacks. He received all conference and All American honors as a sixty-minute man, playing center on the offense and linebacker on defense.
Gambino scored three touchdowns as Maryland played Georgia to a 20-20 tie in the 1948 New Year’s Day Classic. Gambino was a one man wrecking crew for the Terrapins, scoring on runs of 35, 24, and 1 yard. Despite the tie there was no doubt who would win the MVP award. Gambino, holder of several Maryland records, will be remembered as the Gator Bowl’s first super running back.
A 1925 graduate of Missouri, Faurot was a three-sport athlete lettering in football, basketball and baseball. He was head football coach at Missouri from 1935 to 1956, except for three years of wartime service with the U.S. Navy. In his 19 years at Missouri, he was 101-79-10, giving him an overall career mark of 164-92-13. His teams appeared in four bowl games including 1949 and 1950 Gator Bowls. His innovation of the split-T offense helped move the forward. A member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, the Tiger’s stadium is named for him – Faurot Field.
John Howard Vaught
A coaching legend at the University of Mississippi, his years at Ole Miss produced 190 victories, 61 defeats, and 12 ties. He directed Ole Miss to six SEC championships and 18 bowl games in 25 years, including two appearances in the Gator Bowl, beating Florida 7-3 in 1958 and losing to Auburn in 1971 by a score of 35-28, a game considered by many to be one of the greatest games in Gator Bowl history. His 1960 team was selected as National Champions by the nation’s football writers as the Rebels went 10-0-1. Vaught is a member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame and the stadium at Oxford is named Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in honor of Coach Vaught.
His football story began in Jacksonville at Andrew Jackson High School. It’s a local-boy-makes-good story. Dewitt was a three-year letterman at Tennessee and Captain of the 1936 Volunteer team. As Coach at Texas Tech from 1951-1960, he brought the football program to new heights, including entry onto the Southwest Conference. He is a member of the Texas Tech Athletic Hall of Fame. Retiring from coaching, he served as the Commissioner of the Missouri Valley Conference. Many still believe that Coach Weaver’s 1954 Gator Bowl champions were the school’s best at Texas Tech. On January 1, 1954, his Red Raiders roared from behind to breeze past favored Auburn 35-13. It was an 11-1-0 year of Coach Weaver.
For a senior quarterback in 1964 to beat Miami at the Orange Bowl against a quarterback the likes of George Mira, was moment to remember. For a Junior quarterback to defeat Coach Bear Bryan and Alabama on the Alabama Campus in 1963, when the quarterback’s name was Joe Namath, was also a great moment for a Florida quarterback named Tom Shannon. One of the greatest upsets in Gator Bowl history was in 1962 and again the quarterback was Tom Shannon, throwing two touchdown passes to defeat heavily favored Penn State 17-7. Tom was voted the MVP of the game. Tom adds the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame to his many athletic honors, including the University of Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Auburn became the first team to play in the same Bowl game twice in the same year — the Gator Bowl. The late Joe Childress, the All-American Auburn fullback became the most valuable player in both games. On that day of two-way football, Childress also played linebacker and was Auburn’s place-kicker. Joe Childress had come Auburn, without fanfare in 1952, but when he graduated, Joe was everybody’s All-American. He spent 10 years in the National Football League. Teammate Bobby Freeman say Joe was the strong, silent person who let his ability do his talking. Joe Childress is survived by his wife Bonnie and four children. Joe joins former Coach, the late Ralph “Shug” Jordan in the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.
Douglas A. Dickey
Doug Dickey has appeared in Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl Classic on four different occasions, the first being in 1953. As the starting quarterback for the University of Florida, he led the Gators to a defeat over Tulsa, 14-13. As Head Coach for the University of Tennessee, he brought his Volunteers to Jacksonville twice In 1966 to defeat Syracuse 18-12 and 1969 to lose to the Gators in a close one, 13-14. Dickey’s University of Florida Gators appeared in the Bowl in 1975 and suffered a loss to Maryland 14-0. He celebrates his fifth appearance in this year’s Outback Steakhouse Gator Bowl Classic to play the Virginia Tech Hokies. After six years as Head Coach at UT, he served nine years as the Gators Head Coach. His combined record from both schools was 104-58-6. Dickey currently serves as the Athletic Director for the University of Tennessee and is Chairman of the Football Rules Committee.
Charles A. (Rip) Engle
Charles (Rip) Engle served as Head Coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions for 16 years, 1950-1965. In 1965, he surrendered his reign to one of his young assistants, Joe Paterno. During his tenure, he had an overall record of 104-48-4. He carried the Nittany Lions to four Bowl appearances, two of those being the Gator Bowl. In 1961, his team defeated Bobby Dodd’s Georgia Tech team by a margin of 30-15. In 1962, the game did not go his was and he succumbed to Ray Graves’ Fighting Gators, 17-7. A native of Salisbury, PA., Engle graduated from Western Maryland College in 1930 where he lettered in football, baseball, basketball and tennis. Engle had served as President of the American Football Coaches Association and was named District-2 Coach of the Year by the United States Football Coaches Association prior to his death in 1983.
Larry Libertore JR.
In 1960, Coach Ray Graves brought the University of Florida Gators to the Gator Bowl Classic under the strong arm of Quarterback Larry Libertore. Libertore led the Gators to victory 13-12 over John Bridger’s Baylor team. He was awarded the Most Valuable Player trophy for that game. While at UF, Larry became a highly decorated athlete earning Football SEC Sophomore of the Year, Second Team All-Southeastern Conference, All-State, St. Petersburg Quarterback Club Sportsmanship Award, Honorable Mention All-American, SEC All-Scholastic Team and was a three-year Letterman. Libertore graduated from the University of Florida in 1963. He went on to be elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1970 and 1972 where he served as Vice Chairman of the Committee on Insurance and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Game and Fresh Water Fish. Currently, Larry works in the field of Real Estate as President of Larry Libertore, Inc.
In modern day college football, the success of the forward pass seems to be taken for granted. In the 1965 Gator Bowl Classic when Florida State University’s quarterback Steve Tensi threw to Fred Biletnikoff, wide receiver, it seemed as if they invented the game of throw and catch.In the ’65 Gator Bowl game, FSU defeated Oklahoma 36-19. Records were set by Biletnikoff that still remain untouched after thirty years. Biletnikoff was on the receiving end of 4 record setting touchdown passes, for a record setting total of 24 points. Known as one of the best side receivers ever to play college or professional football, Biletnikoff made “Stick-Um” a household name. Biletnikoff joined the Raiders in 1965 as a second round draft pick, and continued with them for 14 years. In 1989, he joined the Raiders staff as the wide receivers’ coach. He now handles quality control for the Oakland team. The father of five children, he and his wife, Angie, currently reside in California.A small sampling of the list of awards and accomplishments Biletnikoff has received in his entire football career includeInduction into the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, 1992; induction into Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1988; Raiders’ all-time leading rusher with 598 career catches; induction into San Francisco Bay Area Hall of Fame, 1989; never played in a losing season with the Raiders.
In his 38th year with the University of Arkansas, Frank Broyles has had a more positive impact on Arkansas athletics than any individual in the history of the State. He is the winningest coach in UA football history, and is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, athletic director in the country.Broyles was a legendary athlete and coach long before his UA career. As a high school student, he was a standout athlete in football, baseball, and basketball. As a Georgia Tech student, he earned 10 varsity letters in those same sports.Frank Broyles has appeared in the Gator Bowl Classic as an Assistant Coach with Georgia Tech in 1956, as Head Coach of University of Arkansas Razorbacks in 1960, as Athletic Director for University of Arkansas in 1981, and as an ABC Color Analyst in 1977.Coach Frank Broylers is a member of the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame and the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame. Over 20 of his former players and/or assistants have earned major college or profession positions including Barry Switzer, Johnny Majors, Jimmy Johnson and Joe Gibbs.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Nicholas Sacrinty entered Wake Forest University in 1942. During his fourth year of college, he traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for the First Annual Gator Bowl Classic on January 1, 1946, to play the South Carolina Gamecocks. Acting as team captain for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Sacrinty scored the noted first touchdown in Gator Bowl history, and completed the game earning the Most Valuable Player award. Wake Forest holds the title as the first Gator Bowl Champion by defeating South Carolina 26-14. Following his college football career, Sacrinty played professional ball with the Chicago Bears in 1947 and was selected as the National Football League’s Rookie of the Year. A graduate of Bowman-Gray School of Medicine, Dr. Sacrinty currently practices medicine in North Carolina. He also has been inducted into the Wake Forest Hall of Fame and the East-West Shrine Bowl Hall of Fame.
Richard H. Stratton moved to Jacksonville in 1942 from Staten Island, New York where he was born. In 1946, as a senior at Andrew Jackson High School, Dick worked the press box at the first annual Gator Bowl Classic. The press box at that time had nine chairs.After a short baseball career, Stratton turned to television instead of coaching and was hired by WMBR-TV. Stratton, along with the first lady of television, Virginia Atter Keys, was among the pioneers of this area’s television. Mr. Stratton had no desire for the “Big Time” due to his love for Jacksonville. He was the first Sports Director and hosted a daytime talk show for 28 years. In 1972, Mr. Stratton served as the Chairman for the Gator Bowl Association when Auburn defeated Colorado 24-3. He has been a part of the Gator Bowl Association all 50 years in several different capacities, including broadcasting the first nationally televised game in 1955 with the late Russ Hodges.Mr. Stratton was inducted into the University of Florida’s Sports Hall of Fame in April of 1995.
As a high school quarterback, born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Steve Tensi received 28 football and 4 basketball full college scholarship offers. After making his touch decision, he enrolled at Florida State University in 1961. Four years later he graduated with a degree in education with a minor in physical education.One of the highlights of Tensi’s college football career was quarterbacking FSU to a win over Oklahoma in the 1965 Gator Bowl Classic. During that game, he threw five touchdown passes, a record that has remained untouched for 30 years.After college, Tensi was drafted by the San Diego Chargers. He signed his professional contract with the Chargers on the field immediately following his Gator Bowl appearance. After 6 years in the NFL, numerous injuries forced Tensi into early retirement. He and his family currently live in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Tensi and his wife Barbara will celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary this year.
Dave Robinson, The Penn State All-American, was brilliant in his team’s 30-15 Gator Bowl win over Georgia Tech on December 31, 1961. This game was only the beginning of Dave Robinson’s football fortunes. He was a true All-American, being among the first in this era to play both offense and defense. Robinson returned to the Gator Bowl in 1962 for a Penn State-Florida matchup and became the game’s Most Valuable Player. Drafted number one by the NFL Green Bay Packers, Dave Robinson is a member of the Green Bay Hall of Fame, a three year Pro Bowler and wears a pair of Super Bowl Championship rings as a Packer in 1967 and 1968.
In 1955, Wade Mitchell earned high honors at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, achieving All-American status in both academics and football. In 1996, Mitchell was honored as an inductee into the Academic All-American Hall of Fame. Wade Mitchell had an illustrious football career as quarterback for Georgia Tech, starting 33 games and posting a sparkling record of 27-5-1. His 27 victories were a record that stood for 40 years. In 1956, quarterback Wade Mitchell led Georgia Tech to a 21-14 victory over the University of Pittsburgh in the 12th Annual Gator Bowl Classic. His performance earned him the games Most Valuable Player award. Drafted by the Washington Redskins for $12,000 a year, Mitchell chose a career in banking. It is fitting that Wade Mitchell joins his legendary Head Coach, the late Bobby Dodd, in the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.
Jim Dooley is a legend in University of Miami football. A Miami native, Dooley started both on offense and defense as a junior and a senior. He was named All-American in 1951 and was the first player in Miami history to have his jersey (#42) retired. He is a member of the University of Miami Hall of Fame in both football and track. In the 1952 Gator Bowl Classic, Miami upset favored Clemson 14-0 and Dooley was voted the games Most Valuable Player, setting a Gator Bowl record with four interceptions. Jim Dooley was a 60-minute man, playing both offense and defense, plus being the team punter averaging over 45 yards in nine punts in the 1952 game. Jim Dooley was the number one draft choice for the NFLs Chicago Bears. He ranks 8th and 9th in all-time pass catches and passing yardage for the Bears. Dooley became Chicagos Head Football Coach in 1968.
North Carolina Coach, Dick Crum, never enjoyed two greater victories in his coaching career than Gator Bowl defeat of mighty Michigan and their legendary Coach Glenn Bo Schembechler, which ended in a score of 17-15 before a crowd of more than 70,000 fans. Coach Crum returned to the Jacksonville classic in 1981 and the Tarheels would face another legendary coach, Lou Holtz, and his high-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. North Carolina won 31-27 before another record attendance crowd.Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Crum graduated from Mount Union (Ohio) in 1957 with a major in math, physics and science. His love for football took him to coaching, first at the high school level then to the college ranks at Miami of Ohio where he produced an undefeated team. His college coaching record stands at 49-6-2.Following his coaching career, Dick Crum returned to his first love, teach, and is currently a professor a Kent State University.
Judge John “Papa” Hall
If you paid even scant attention to what was going on among student athletes in the early 1950s, John Lewis Hall Jr. would have come to mind as a cant miss prospect for success in whatever field he chose. He was a football and track star from 1950-52, and during his days in Gainesville he was elected to the UF all of Fame. His Legal career in the State of Florida began in 1958, and he has been Circuit Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit since 1980. In football he was named Most Valuable Player in 1953 after a winning 14-13 effort against Tulsa in the Gator Bowl. As a track athlete, he was the 1951 NCAA and National AAU high jump champion. Although he is remembered for his high-jumping accomplishment, he also ran the 100-yard dash in 9.8 and didnt lose a lot of speed in football pads. Judge J. Papa Hall has served as president of the Circuit Judges Association. He joins his coach Bob Woodruff in the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.
Gene Stallings comes to the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame as both a Gator Bowl player with Texas A&M in 1957 and as Head Coach of Alabama in the 1993 Gator Bowl game with a victory over North Carolina. A Texan through and through, Stallings earned All-Star honors in high school and continued on to college stardom at Texas A&M. After his playing days, he stayed on as a graduate assistant coach before going on to Alabama as a full-time assistant. In 1965, he returned to Texas A&M as Head Coach winning the Southwestern conference Championship in 1967. Stallings moved into the professional ranks under Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys. He returned to Alabama as Head Coach. In 1992, he led the Crimson Tide to a National Championship and was voted Paul Bryant Coach of the Year.
In Gator Bowl game 23, December 30, 1967, Kim Hammond became the games most valuable player with an air attack that set or tied six Gator Bowl records. He passed for 363 yards, smashing the mark that FSUs Steve Tensi set against Oklahoma in 1965. Penn State, the class of the East, led 17 to nothing at the half. Hammond completed 37 passes to lead Florida State back to a 17 to 17 tie in a wild storybook finish. Some of Kim C. Hammonds past accomplishments include FSU Football Scholarship Recipient, FSU Team Captain, Selected All-American by UPT and AP, Most Valuable Player of the Senior Bowl, FSU Hall of Fame and FSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Judge Hammond has been Circuit Judge, Seventh Judicial Circuit since 1979. He joins his late coach Bill Peterson in the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.
John F. Lanahan
John Lanahan has devoted a lifetime to the Gator Bowl Association and the City of Jacksonville. As a long time city councilman and a two-term President of the City Council, his wall is full of honors highlighted by the Outstanding Service Community Award in 1969 and 1976. Football has been a passion in Johns life. As an All-Star high school player, he lived his boyhood dream of playing football for Notre Dame. As Gator Bowl President in 1976, Lanahans alma mater defeated Penn State in one of the Gator Bowls headline contests. From their Gator Bowl victory, Notre Dame went on to the National Championship in 1977. John has traveled thousands of miles to bring top contenders to the Gator Bowl Classic. A deserving member of the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame, we welcome John F. Lanahan to join a distinguished group of coaches and players.
Ross Browner is regarded as the greatest defensive linemen in Notre Dame history and one of college football=s greatest of all time. This four-year starter played on two Irish national championship teams in 1973 and 1977. Browner=s list of accomplishments while at Notre Dame includes the 1976 Outland Trophy and 1977 Lombardi Trophy. Browner was a unanimous first-team All-American in 1976 and in >77 and finished fifty in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1977. Ross Browner holds Notre Dame records for career tackles for a defensive lineman (340), single season and career record for tackles for a loss, and career fumble recoveries (12). He went on to be the 9th pick in the 1979 NFL draft for the Cincinnati Bengals and played through 1987. In the 1976 Gator Bowl Browner secured victory for the Irish with a late game interception in the endzone to cap off a 27-9 Gator Bowl win over rivals Penn State. The season ending victory propelled the Irish on to capture the national championship the following season. Browner is currently a realtor with Browner Group, Incorporated in Atlanta. He joins his coach Dan Devine in the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.
Tennessee’s all-time leading rusher was the MVP of the 1994 Gator Bowl. Stewart led Tennessee to Victory over Virginia Tech with 85 yards on 22 attempts and scored on runs of 1,1, and 5 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Kendrick Jones in one of the most uniquely outstanding performances in Gator Bowl history. Stewart holds school records for career yards (2890) career attempts (531) and 100-yard games in a season (6) and is 13th in SEC history in yards per attempt for a career (5.4). Stewart scored 39 touchdowns and threw 2 touchdown passes and ranks fifth all-time at Tennessee in scoring (234). He was the second player ever drafted (1st round) by the Jacksonville Jaguars and has been the mainstay of the Jags running attack since the franchise=s inception. Prior to a season ending injury Stewart surpassed the 100-yard mark in each of the first 2 games in 1998.
Coach Ford began his head coaching career at the 1978 Gator Bowl where he gained a 17-15 victory over Ohio State. The 30 year-old coach, youngest in Division I at the time, also defeated a college football legend in a contest that truly put Clemson football on the map as he beat Woody Hayes in the latter=s last game. Ford had taken over the coaching reigns on December 10, 1978 when Charley Pell resigned to become head coach at Florida. Ford coached the 1986 Tigers squad to a 27-21 Gator Bowl victory over Stanford and finished his tenure at Clemson in the 1989 Gator Bowl with a 27-7 win over West Virginia in the highest attended Gator Bowl game in history. This run completed a stretch where he won six of eight bowl games and four in a row. The 1969 graduate of Alabama is still the youngest coach to win the national championship, as he was just 33 years old when the Tigers shocked the world in 1981. Coach Ford is the winningest coach in Gator Bowl history with a career mark of 3-0 in the Jacksonville classic.
Jack Bush is known as one of the finest tackles in the great history of University of Georgia football. Although initially enrolling at the University of Florida, his star-studded career took shape as a Bulldog, following a stint in the United States Marine Core. This three year letterman (46-49) was a key anchor of the Georgia offensive line, opening holes for running backs Charley Trippi, John Donaldson and All-SEC and All-American quarterback Johnny Rauch. Bush was a participant in the 3rd annual Gator Bowl, a contest matching the Bulldogs against the Maryland Terrapins. He was a member of three bowl teams including the undefeated 1946 squad. Bush left the University of Georgia despite having one year of eligibility remaining, opting to work for his father-in-laws car dealership here in Jacksonville. Although a native of Irwin County, Ga., Bush attended high school in Jacksonville and has remained in the area accompanied by his long-time involvement with the automotive business.
Walter C. Dunbar
New England native Walter C. Dunbar will be inducted into the Toyota Gator Bowl Hall of Fame December 31st along with fellow journalist Jay Solloman and Former University of Georgia offensive lineman Jack Bush. Dunbar, a veteran in sport broadcasting led a storied career in both radio and television. Following graduation from the Leland Powers School of Music and Theater in Boston, Mr. Dunbar spent 10 years broadcasting sports radio in the Boston area. He left Massachusetts for the sports director position at WLTV channel 12 here in Jacksonville, Florida, a position he would excel at for 23 years. While working for WLTV Dunbar covered a number of Gator Bowls and was a member of the Gator Bowl Executive Committee where he made a number of contributions to the Gator Bowl and the Jacksonville community. In addition to being the sports director at channel 12, Dunbar was also the voice of the Jacksonville University Dolphins (69 & 71) and the color announcer for Florida State University football (59-62). His work rarely went unnoticed, evidenced by the endless list of accolades and awards in his honor. He was twice named the Florida Sportscaster-of-the-Year (61 & 64), won seven consecutive awards for his film coverage of sporting events (64-70), was honored by the National Press Photographers Association for his film coverage of auto racing and in 1984 was inducted into the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame.
When sports radio enthusiasts think of Jay Solomon, several things come to mind his undeniable homer personality, his sincerity and his passion for whatever game he was calling. Jay Solomon came to Jacksonville in the mid-70s and changed the face of sports talk radio. After joining WPDQ in 1974, he began Jacksonvilles first sports talk show, SPORTSLINE, in 1976. He moved to serve as host of The Sports Huddle in 1990 and was instrumental in WNZS conversion to an all-sports format in 1991. While one of Solomons biggest career highlights was being the voice of the JU Dolphins from 1974-1995, his broadcasting credits also included coverage of the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Hurricanes, Jacksonville Sharks, Jacksonville Express and the Jacksonville Bulls, Jacksonville Teamen Soccer, and hole-to-hole coverage of the TPC. Some of Solomons proudest work included being named Florida Sportscaster of the Year in 1988, his radio show, Jay Solomons Sports Huddle, was named top radio show in 1990 and was the recipient of more than 20 different awards from the Florida Sportscasters Association. On January 9, 1999, the City of Jacksonville and the Gator Bowl Association lost a dear friend and it is with great pride that we honor Jay Solomon for being a true pioneer in Jacksonvilles broadcasting industry, and for promoting goodwill throughout our community.
Joe Paterno spent 16 years as an assistant coach at Penn State under Rip Engle. In 1961 Penn State defeated Georgia Tech 30-15 in Coach Paternos first trip to the Gator Bowl. The Nittany Lions would return to the Gator Bowl in 1962, but did not fare as well against Florida. After Engle retired, Paterno was awarded the job as head coach in 1966. One season later, Penn State went to their first bowl game with Paterno as head coach. The 1967 Gator Bowl, which resulted in a 17-17 tie with Florida State, was the first bowl for Penn State in the Joe Paterno era. In the 1976 Gator Bowl (Paternos fourth trip to the Gator Bowl) the Nittany Lions would lose to a high powered Notre Dame team that would go on to claim the national championship the following year. But it was the 1967 Gator Bowl game that launched a run that includes a record 20 bowl victories in a record 30 appearances. Joe Paternos coaching greatness will be cemented in the record books with 2 victories in 2001. Coach Paterno will then become the lifetime leader in wins by a major college coach. Two National Championships, four coach of the year awards, and 20 top ten finishes are some highlights for a coach whose influence reaches far beyond the playing field. It is a graduation rate over 25% above the national average and Paternos total person approach to football that influence youngsters to attend Penn State and to become outstanding contributors to the community upon graduation. The Gator Bowl is proud to honor Joe Paterno, who joins his former coach and mentor Charles Rip Engle in the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.
The 1968 Gator Bowl was truly one of the classics. Alabama was consistently enjoying the success that Bear Bryant brought to the University, and they expected for this success to continue following the 1968 season with a trip to the Gator Bowl. Little did they know that a quarterback from Florida who found his way to the Midwest would enjoy a sweet homecoming victory in the game of his career. Missouri quarterback Terry McMillan would confound the Alabama defense for the entire game. McMillan would use his legs, not his arm, to keep the Crimson Tide guessing. Over the course of the game McMillan would run for 76 yards to lead a ground attack that kept Alabama on its heels, and dominate the game. Missouri would go on to defeat Alabama 35-10 in the worst defeat of Coach Bear Bryants career at Alabama. Terry McMillan led the Missouri Tigers to a victory over one of the most storied coaches and universities in NCAA history. McMillan still holds a Gator Bowl record, with three rushing touchdowns, thus earning his place in Gator Bowl history.
Over the course of the 55-year history of The Gator Bowl there have been many legendary coaches and famous athletes, but none have impacted the game to the extent of the late Bob Bradley. Over a 45 year career at Clemson (34 spent as the schools sports information director) Bradley participated in seven Gator Bowl Classics. The wins and losses in Clemsons seven Gator Bowl games are inconsequential; the City of Jacksonville is the real winner for having the opportunity to get to know and appreciate the man known as Mr. B. As former President of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and a member of the CoSIDA Hall of Fame Mr. B showed true dedication to his profession and Clemson University. This past year Mr. B was presented the Order of the Palmetto, which is the highest honor a resident of South Carolina can receive. On September 30th of this year Mr. B reached a milestone 500th consecutive Clemson football game. The Gator Bowl Hall of Fame is proud to be added to the long list of accolades bestowed upon Mr. B.
John David Crow
As is the case in many Gator Bowl games, the 1957 Gator Bowl Classic played host to a legendary coach and one exceptional player. It was that year in which Coach Paul Bear Bryant brought his Texas A&M Aggies, highlighted by that years Heisman Trophy winner John David Crow. The 1957 game was a defensive battle, with Tennessee picking up three points in the fourth quarter to shut out the Aggies 3-0. That remains the lowest scoring game in Gator Bowl history. Crow was named the Most Valuable Player for the Aggies, rushing for 46 yards on 14 carries. In addition to winning the Heisman Trophy, John David Crow has a long list of accomplishments including the 1957 Walter Camp Memorial Trophy, the United Press Player of the Year, and Scholastic All-American. Following his trip to Jacksonville, Crow signed with Chicago in what was the biggest contract of its time. Crow and his wife, Carolyn, have two daughters and six grandchildren.
Throughout its 56-year history, the Gator Bowl has showcased many of college footballs greatest coaches. West Virginia University Coach Don Nehlen is certainly one of them. During his 21-year career with the Mountaineers, Nehlen won numerous awards and accolades. At the time of his retirement in 2000, he ranked among the nations five winningest active coaches. He posted 202 career wins, a feat that only 17 other coaches in NCAA Division I history have been able to accomplish. Nehlen has coached the Blue-Gray, East-West Shrine, and Hula Bowl all-star games. In 1988, he was named Coach of the Year by several top organizations, including Kodak/AFCA, Bobby Dodd, Walter Camp, and Scripps-Howard. Don Nehlen brought three Mountaineer teams, along with thousands of West Virginia fans, to the Gator Bowl during his tenure. The Gator Bowl Hall of Fame is proud to be added to the long list of accolades bestowed upon Coach Don Nehlen.
Carlisle Jones is the most steadfast figure in Gator Bowl History. This years game will mark the 50th consecutive game Mr. Jones has been with the bowl. Bowl Presidents, Athletic Directors, Coaches and Players have come and gone; careers have been made; dreams fulfilled; and Carlisle Jones has been in the middle of it all. In 1951, the same year he came out of the Army, Carlisle began working with the Gator Bowl as the clock operator. Jones quickly worked his way onto the sideline, where he would remain a fixture. He has seen many chain crew members come and go, but has managed to keep the same crew intact for the past 15 years at the Gator Bowl as well as at the University of Florida. He has seen Heisman Trophy winners, countless All-Americans, and some of the all-time coaching greats pass through Jacksonville. His dedication to the Gator Bowl is unmatched and his tireless efforts year after year exemplify volunteerism at its best. Carlisle Jones currently remains active in his family business. Jones has been with Newsome Fence for 50 years, eventually buying the company from his in-laws. He has two sons (who are in the family business) and a daughter, and four grandchildren. Carlisles wife Betty currently is the president of the company, providing him the spare time to run the sideline crews for the Florida Gator games as well as every Jacksonville Jaguars home game ever played. The Gator Bowl thanks Carlisle Jones and warmly welcomes him to the Hall of Fame.
W.W. “Bill” Gay
William W. Bill Gay, founder and chief executive officer of W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc., has more than fifty years experience in the commercial and industrial contracting business. He is a graduate of the University of Florida where he earned a BSE degree in 1949. His civic and professional involvement is wide-spread and he is a member and officer of numerous organizations such as the Gator Bowl Association. Bill Gay presided over the 27th Annual Gator Bowl Classic, also known as the Dooley Bowl, played on December 31, 1971 featuring Georgia and North Carolina. It was the second lowest scoring game in the classics history played before its second largest crowd and it was the only time brothers, Vince and Bill Dooley, coached the opposing Gator Bowl teams. The Bulldogs won out over the Tar Heels 7-3. A native Floridian and resident of Jacksonville since 1939, Bill is very active in civic and community affairs. He and his wife, Eloise, have two daughters, two sons and eleven grandchildren. His longstanding association with the Gator Bowl and his overwhelming support for more than thirty years has earned him the honor of induction into the 2002 Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.
Coach Sherrill led the Pittsburgh Panthers to a 34-3 Gator Bowl victory over fellow Alabama alum Charley Pells Clemson Tigers in 1977. In the 1980 Gator Bowl Coach Sherrill let a 10-1 Pitt team to a 37-9 victory over Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers and South Carolina. In Sherrills five years at Pitt, he never won less than 8 games in a season, took his team to a bowl game each of the five seasons (4-1 record), and finished the 1970,1980 and 1981 seasons with an incredible 11-1 mark each year. Sherrill, a 1966 graduate of Alabama, played for Bear Bryants National Championship teams of 1964 and 1965 and was a graduate assistant under Bryant the following year. In 1980, Sherrill was named Walter Camp Coach of the Year. He is one of two coaches ever to lead three different schools to 10 wins or more in a season. Pittsburgh, Texas A&M and Mississippi State have each enjoyed their most prosperous tenures under Sherrill, who has graduated over 80 percent of his student-athletes over his career. Jackie Sherrill is currently the Head Coach at Mississippi State. His 2-0 Gator Bowl record, with sound victories over Clemson and South Carolina has secured Coach Sherrills place in Gator Bowl history and now in the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.
Hugh Green was the man who brought glamour and prestige to the defensive side of the ball in college football. Green was a three time All-American who in 1980 won the Lombardi Award (outstanding lineman or linebacker), the Maxwell Award (top player in the nation) was the first defensive player ever to win the Walter Camp Award (player of the year), and finished second in voting for the Heisman Trophy. Green went on to play professionally for Tampa Bay and Miami, earning All-Pro honors in 1983 and 1984. Green was inducted into the National College Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1996. Although Green did not win the Heisman, he was able to make his case against the Heisman winner George Rogers of South Carolina on a national stage in the 1980 Gator Bowl. The Pitt defense led by Green was able to keep Rogers in check, and kept South Carolina out of the endzone until the fourth quarter, when the outcome had already been decided. Green dominated in a 37-9 victory in which he turned in a smothering performance that was a fitting end to a storied college career, earning him a place in the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.
Donny Anderson is one of the most prolific and honored athletes in Texas Tech history and remains a legend throughout West Texas. In three years at Texas Tech Anderson was named All Conference all three years and All-American two years. Serving as a do-it-all player for the Red Raiders, Anderson ran theball, caught the ball, and punted the ball. In 1965 Donny Anderson was consensus First Team All-American and Sporting News Player of the Year. After an early loss to Texas, Anderson led his team to seven straight victories and a Gator Bowl berth. Texas Tech fell short in the fourth quarter to Georgia Tech, but as always Anderson pulled his weight and much more. He would finish the game with 13 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown and 9 receptions for 138 yards. After the Gator Bowl Anderson would sign (underneath the Gator Bowl goalposts) what was, at the time, the most lucrative contract ever offered to a rookie. He became one of the few players ever chosen in the first round with a season of eligibility remaining. Anderson would go on to play on 2 Green Bay Packer Super Bowl Champion teams. A 10 year career saw Anderson spend 6 seasons in Green Bay and finishing his football career in 1974 with the Cardinals. Anderson is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and he currently resides in Dallas, Texas.
Rodney Hampton helped carry the Georgia Bulldogs to victory in the 1989 Gator Bowl. The game was Coach Vince Dooley’s final game on the sidelines, and Hampton wanted to ensure that the Georgia legend would not go out on a sour note. The Dawgs were in a shootout with highly regarded Michigan State and their All-American receiver Andre Rison. Rison would provide a great challenge (scoring three TD’s) for the Dawgs, but it was Hampton who proved to be a one man wrecking crew, leading the UGA charge in rushing and receiving. Rodney Hampton scored touchdowns in each of the first two periods of the game, hauling in a 6-yard pass in the first and taking another pass 30-yards in the second. Hampton’s third and final touchdown proved to be the game winner. His 32yard TD run in the fourth period would put the Dawgs ahead by 14. MSU would mount a comeback, but it was not enough to overcome the performance Hampton would put together on this New Year’s Day. Overall, Rodney Hampton ran 10 times for 109 yards and 1 touchdown, and caught 4 passes for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns, providing the difference in a game ‘Dawg fans will remember forever. Hampton was a first round pick of the New York Giants, where he spent his entire career. During his professional career Hampton was a two-time pro-bowl selection (1992-1993), scored 51 career touchdowns, and was a Super Bowl Champion in 1991. Currently Hampton resides in Houston, Texas.
The Gator Bowl is proud to honor Ash Verlander with induction in to the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame. Verlander has served as a pillar of the Jacksonville community for almost 50 years. A native of Portsmith, VA, Verlander moved to Jacksonville in 1956 as a founder in the American Heritage Life Insurance Company. Ash Verlander would quickly establish himself as one who would invest a great deal of time in the community. Throughout the years he served as the President of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Life Companies, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Jacksonville University. But Verlander always had a passion for sports as well as business, and became the Chairman of the Gator Bowl in 1965. He helped guide the Association through some of the best years in its history, and helped prepare for the future. All of these titles and accolades were accomplished while serving as President & CEO of his American Heritage Life Insurance Company. Always one to lend any support the Gator Bowl ever needed from him, Verlander will always be known as a friend and pioneer of the Gator Bowl. Ash Verlander currently lives in Jacksonville. His son Chris is a Past Chairman of the Gator Bowl and his grandson Alan was formerly the Marketing Director. The Verlander family will always be held in the highest regard by the Gator Bowl.
As a freshman quarterback for Florida State, Chip Ferguson was named MVP of the 1985 Gator Bowl for his 338 passing yards and two touchdowns in a 34-23 Seminole victory over Oklahoma State. Ferguson was part of the Seminole team that began its incredible streak of 10-win seasons. He led the team in passing as a freshman (1985) and a senior (1988) and was a captain on the 88 team that finished the season ranked third in the nation. In 1988, Ferguson was named honorable mention All-American. After Ferguson completed his career at FSU, he would go on to play in the Canadian League, European League, and Arena League. In 1994 he took a leading role on the sidelines as the offensive coordinator of the Charlotte Rage Arena Team.Bill Nimnicht, Jr.
Bill Nimnicht, Jr. contributed many years of service to the Gator Bowl and served as chair in 1983. He was active in the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the Northeast Florida Safety Council, the USO, United Way of Northeast Florida, the Jacksonville Quarterback Club and the Jaycees. He also was a past president of the Dolphin Century Club, JU Alumni Association and various automotive dealership organizations, and served on the National Chevrolet Commercial Dealer Council. A leader in the business community, Nimnicht successfully ran a host of car dealerships in Jacksonville.
Steve Spurrier is known as the man who took the University of Florida to the pinnacle of the college football world by winning six Southeastern Conference titles and the 1996 National Championship. Early in his career, Spurrier successfully used the 1992 Gator Bowl as a springboard to one of the greatest runs in SEC history. The Gators defeated the N. C. State Wolfpack 27-10. The Gators racked up over 400 yards in total offense with Coach Spurrier calling the plays. Under Spurrier, the Gators finished with nine or more wins in each of his twelve seasons. Spurrier was named SEC Coach of the Year on five occasions, and ACC Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1989. Coach Spurrier is currently taking over the reigns of the South Carolina football program.
All-American tailback Greg Allen was the MVP in 1982, coincidentally the last time FSU and West Virginia played in the Gator Bowl. After WVU tied the game 3-3 early in the second quarter, Allen took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and a Gator Bowl record. FSU went on to win the game 31-12. During each of his four years at FSU, Allen was named to an All-American team. Allen holds 14 school rushing records, which includes the amazing most yards gained in a game (322,) as well as several rushing touchdown records. Allen was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1985, but had his NFL career cut short by a knee injury in 1987. Currently Greg Allen is the founder and President of Gregory Allen Construction, Inc. in his hometown of Milton, Florida.
Desmond Howard is a name all football fans know. We know his name because he Won the 1991 Heisman Trophy in college and was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXI, was a Pro Bowl kick Returner in 2000, and played for over a decade in the NFL. We now see Desmond Howard every Saturday on ESPNs College Football Game day. The career accomplishments of Desmond Howard are distinguished and many. But his accomplishments in the January 1st, 1991 Gator Bowl are what has brought him to the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame. In Howards four years at Michigan he was a part of teams that won at least a share of four Big Ten titles. The 1991 team came to Jacksonville to take on the most heralded Mississippi team since the days of Archie Manning. Howard and Quarterback Elvis Grbac would provide all the ammunition the Wolverines would need to handle the Rebels. The pair would hook up on scoring plays of 63 and 50 yards, and Howard would total 6 receptions for 167 yards. To show his all around talent Howard also had a run for 19 yards in the 35 3 route. The MVP award that day was given to the Michigan offensive line, but it was clearly Howard whose star shown brightest, and provided a precursor to what we would witness the following season when he would score 23 touchdowns and win the Heisman Trophy.
Peter Kirill Sr.
An enthusiast of life, believer in sports, and booster of Jacksonville, Florida, Peter A. Kirill, Sr. was an inspiration to many people. Born in New York City to Russian immigrants, Mr. Kirill lived to be 91-years-old. Throughout his life, he found it his duty to partake in the sporting environment, serve his country in World War II and influence businessmen in the local area. Peter Kirill served as a past chairman of the Gator Bowl Association, the Players Championship, and the Jacksonville Quarterback Club. In 1989, he received the honor of being inducted into the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame. He was once a varsity football player at New York University and later played with a startup professional league, the New York Yankees. Following his stint with the Yankees, Mr. Kirill joined the Union City (N.J.) Rams in the National Football League. Among his sporting accomplishments, Mr. Kirill served as a Jacksonville and Florida president and national vice president of the Navy League of the United States. He additionally was active in the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA and the Sales and Marketing Executives. Peter Kirill’s survivors include a wife, two children, 10 grandchildren and a sister. He touched many lives and will be forever remembered.
Douglas “Peahead” Walker
Douglas Clyde “Peahead” Walker proved to Wake Forest, football fans and the media that his traditional coaching philosophy and his dynamic personality could survive throughout Deacon history. From 1937 to 1950, Peahead Walker established a brilliant football coaching career at Wake Forest University focusing primarily on exceptional recruiting, blocking, tackling and kicking. He believed in discipline, strength and conditioning during practices and demanded hard work and dedication from the players. In addition to compiling a record of 77-51-6 during his fourteen year regime, he also led the teams to two bowl games, one including the win over South Carolina in the 1946 inaugural Gator Bowl. Following his stint at Wake Forest University, Peahead Walker joined a longtime friend Herman Hickman at Yale. After one year at Yale, he signed on as the head football coach at Montreal in the Canadian Football League. There he won four division titles before returning to one of his passions, scouting. With experience in scouting for the New York Yankees and the New York Giants, Peahead continued in that role throughout his football coaching career. The native of Alabama and lifelong sportsman passed away in July, 1970 at the age of 71. His coaching ability and character will forever be legendary at the Gator Bowl Association and Wake Forest University.
A national leader in collegiate athletics, Dave Braine made a career out of building successful programs. In nearly nine years as the Director of Athletics at Georgia Tech, he oversaw tremendous growth in the Yellow Jackets overall athletics program while positioning Tech for the future with ambitious building projects. Braine served at Tech from 1997 through his retirement in January of 2006, closing the book on a 21-year career as an athletics director and a coaching and administrative career that covered nearly four decades. Prior to his tenure as Director of Athletics at Georgia Tech, Braine also served as its defensive secondary coach on the football staff of Pepper Rodgers for two years beginning in 1974. He then went to Marshall as Athletic Director from 1985 through 1987 after which he moved to Virginia Tech and made a name for himself in a 10-year tenure in which he helped change the face of Hokie athletics. Dave Braine has a strong tie to the Gator Bowl having been a member of the University of North Carolina team that appeared in the 1963 Gator Bowl Classic. He returned to Jacksonville in 1994 as Athletic Director of Virginia Tech for their game against Tennessee. During his tenure as Athletic Director at Georgia Tech, he brought the Yellow Jackets to play in the 1999 Gator Bowl against Notre Dame and again in 2000 for the Georgia Tech vs. Miami game. Married to the former Carole Bowles of Richmond, Va., Dave and his wife recently retired to Blacksburg, Va . They have four children, Jennifer, Bill, Steven and Meredith and nine grandchildren Kaeler, Nathan, Garrett, Margot, Ramsey, Jennings, Bennett, Brody and William.
Carl Cannon is the publisher of The Florida Times-Union and executive vice-president of Morris Publishing Group. He is a Georgia native who started his professional career with Morris Communications after graduating from the University of Georgia in l965 with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism.Prior to coming to Jacksonville he was with their newspapers in Augusta, Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas.Carl Cannon is the first in Gator Bowl history to serve as chairman of two games. As the new stadium was being built, Carl presided over the 1994 game that was moved to Gainesville and played at Florida Field. While the logistics of this game was a tremendous obstacle, the 50th Anniversary game in 1996 proved just as difficult being the first game to be played in the new stadium. During his tenure, Carl was instrumental in securing Toyota as a new title sponsor, acquiring a national television network and landing a New Years Day time slot that returned the Gator Bowl Classic to national prominence. He presently serves on the board of directors of Florida Council of 100; Florida Press Service; Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens; The Players Championship Charities, Inc.; Wesley Manor, Inc.; The University of North Florida Foundation Board; the YMCA of Floridas First Coast Metropolitan Board, the Jacksonville Symphony Association and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. Carl is married and has three children and four grandchildren.
Don Davis, Vice President of Corporate Relations for the Gate Petroleum Company, was publicly known as one of Jacksonville’s most outstanding citizens and equally recognized for the numerous contributions he made to the Jacksonville community. He began his career in public service as the At-Large representative on the Jacksonville City Council where he served in that capacity for 12 years. During his tenure, he served two terms at President of the Jacksonville City Council. He was then elected to the Florida House of Representative for second term Don Davis had a lifetime history of community involvement and served at the helm of many organizations including the Gator Bowl Association. He oversaw the January 1, 1989 Gator Bowl when Georgia played Michigan State in a historic game that showcased Vince Dooley winning his last game. In addition to his civic accomplishments, Don Davis was a decorated veteran of the Korean War. He is survived by his wife, Alice and their two sons, Robert and Dean and five grandchildren, Lindsay, Skylar, Robb, Deena and Ally. Don Davis has been a staunch supporter of the Gator Bowl Association and with deep appreciation he will be remembered for his significant contributions that will forever remain etched in Gator Bowl history.
All-America running back George Rogers won the 1980 Heisman Trophy following his senior season at South Carolina, as he was recognized as the nation’s top collegiate football player. The Duluth, Ga., native was a consensus first-team All-America selection that year after leading the nation in rushing with 1,894 yards. Rogers went on to become the first player chosen in the 1981 NFL draft and starred for the New Orleans Saints before moving on to the Washington Redskins, where he helped lead his team to a Super Bowl Championship in 1988. Rogers was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1997. George Rogers had many accomplishment throughout his football career. In addition to his Heisman Trophy honors, Rogers was named the 1980 NCAA Back of the Year and the ABC-TV 1980 Player of the Year. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. In 1981 he was named the NFL Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl selection and was the leading rusher in the NFL. In 1988 George Rogers helped his team to a Super Bowl Championship with the Washington Redskins and in 1997 was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame. Rogers No. 38 jersey was retired by South Carolina following his final home game in 1980 the same year he appeared in the 36th Annual Gator Bowl Classic against Pittsburgh. In that game he also earned Most Valuable Player honors. George Rogers played in the 36th Annual Gator Bowl Classic against Pittsburgh where he earned the Most Valuable Player Award for the game.
Paul Bear Bryant
Inarguably, Paul W. “Bear” Bryant is one of the greatest football coaches in history. He arrived in Tuscaloosa as head coach of his alma mater, The University of Alabama, in 1958, when, as he said at the time “Mama called”. The turnaround at Alabama was immediate. After winning a combined four games the previous three years, the Tide went 5-4-1 in Bryant’s first season. The next year, in 1959, Alabama beat Auburn and appeared in a bowl game, the first time either had happened in the previous six years. It was two years later, however, in 1961, that Alabama fully regained its previous dominance and a Bryant-coached team first ascended to the national championship of college football. The 1961 team went 11-0 and defeated Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl to claim the national title; the defense allowed a mere 25 points all season, compiling six shutouts, five of them coming consecutively. When Bryant finished his career after the 1982 season, he held a 323-85-17 record, which made him the winningest coach in the history of collegiate football at the time. He averaged 8.5 wins per season during his 38-year career as head coach.Furthermore, his teams have averaged over 10 wins a year over the last decade of his career, and his teams of 1977-80 won more games than any team in history for a four year period by claiming 44 wins. His 25-year record at Alabama was 232-46-9, an average of 9.3 wins per year and a winning percentage of .824.Six of Bryant’s teams won national championships, those coming in 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, and 1979. Six other times his teams had legitimate shots at winning the national title at season’s end, but lost it on the field four times and were shutout at the polls the other two. Bryant personally took part in 31 bowl games, 29 as a head coach, one as a player and the other as an assistant coach. Coach Bryant coached two teams that made appearances in the Gator Bowl Classic. As Head Coach at Texas A&M he brought his team to play against Tennessee in the 13th Annual Gator Bowl game and returned as Head Coach of Alabama for the 24th Annual Gator Bowl game against Missouri. Bryant was the 11th of 12 children who were born to William Monroe and Ida Kilgore Bryant in Moro Bottom, Arkansas. His nickname stemmed from his having agreed to wrestle a captive bear during a theater promotion when he was 13 years old.
Wendell Davis was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana and started participating in sports at a young age. He was named a High School Blue Chip All-American in football as a wide receiver and accepted an athletic scholarship to Louisiana State University.Wendell played four years of college football at LSU and was named All-American as a junior and senior and became LSU’s all-time leading receiver in yardage and receiving In 1988 Wendell Davis became a first round pick of the Chicago Bears. He played 6 years with the Bears and was the team-leading receiver two years straight. He is currently ranked 13th on the Bears all-time receivers list. He also played one year with the Indianapolis Colts. Wendell Davis was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1987 Gator Bowl where he scored 3 touchdowns for LSU in their victory over South Carolina 30 – 13. Wendell Davis is married with three children and resides in Mundelein, Illinois.
Errict Rhett was born in Pembroke Pines, Florida and attended the University of Florida where he became Florida’s all-time leading rusher with 4,163 career yards, which ranks fourth highest in SEC history. He also caught 153 passes in his career, the top total in UF history for a running back. Rhett was the first player in NCAA Division I-A history to rush for more than 4,100 yards and catch more than 140 passes in a career. He led the SEC in rushing in 1991 and 1993. Rhett and Emmitt Smith are the only UF players to have multiple 1,000 yard rushing seasons. Rhett enjoyed a seven-year career in the NFL. He was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2nd round of the 1994 NFL Draft. He also played for the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns. Errict Rhett played in the 1992 Gator Bowl where he rushed for 182 years in the Gator’s victory over North Carolina State 27 – 10. He was named Most Valuable Player of this game for his outstanding performance.
Wilford C. Lyon, Jr.
Wilford Lyon is a long-time resident of the City of Jacksonville well known for his corporate leadership and his outstanding civic contributions. Following his graduation from Georgia Tech in 1958, Wilford began his career at The Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company in the Actuarial Deparment. His climb through the ranks resulted in his election as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Independent Life, a position he held from February 1984 to February 1996. With a strong belief in giving back to the community, Wilford Lyon served in leadership roles in many civic organizations as was the recipient of numerous awards. He provided guidance to the Gator Bowl Association serving as its President in 1981. For 32 years, Wilford has remained involved in the Gator Bowl Association which he continues to this day as a member of the Board of Trustees and the Trustee Finance Committee. His legacy will live on for his invaluable guidance and tremendous support…truly one of the strongest and most valued advocates for the Gator Bowl Association. Wilford Lyon is married to Eleanor Perkins Lyon. They have two children Katherine Lyon and Wilford C. Lyon, III, a grandson Griffin Kelly Lyon and a grand daugther, Eleanor Patricia Lyon.
Bob Golic was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Notre Dame where he graduated with a B.A. in Management in 1979. Golic’s football career at Notre Dame included a school record of 26 tackles in one game vs. Michigan. He appeared in the 1976 Gator Bowl Game against Penn State beating the Nittany Lion’s 20-9. He was a Consensus All-American and Defensive Player of the Game in the 1978 Cotton Bowl and the 1979 Hula Bowl. He was also an All-American Heavyweight Wrestler at Notre Dame, placing as high as 3rd in the nation. His 14-year Pro Football career began when he was drafted in the second round by the New England Patriots, where he played from 1979-1982. From there he joined the Cleveland Browns from 198201988 and then onto the Los Angeles Raiders from 1989-1992. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 1986, 1987 and 1988. Following a career in the NFL, Bob Golic has many movie and television credits and is currently on air daily at WNIR 100.1 FM in Akron, OH. Among his many credits are: The Taking of Beverly Hills, Da Vinci’s War, Coach, Saved by the Bell: The College Years as Mike Rogers; CNN/SI Anchor, co-host “NFL This Morning” on Fox Sports Net and ESPN/ESPN2 College Football telecast analyst. He is married to Karen Golic and has two daughters, Tawnie and Jenna, and one son Gage. His parents are Bob and Catherine Golic and his brothers are Greg and Mike.
Gary Pajcic grew up in Jacksonville, where he attended Paxon Senior High School and earned accolades as both a student and an athlete – including Scholar-Athlete for the State of Florida. In fact, Gary made the last-second shot to win the State Basketball Championship for Paxon High School, the last Jacksonville team to win a state championship in the largest school category. He went on to play football at Florida State University where he was a star quarterback. He received both his undergraduate degree and law degree from FSU. He is a member of the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame and the Florida State University Hall of Fame. Gary’s esteemed career as a trial lawyer began when he served as assistant state attorney in the early 1970s. He quickly rose in the ranks and was named a circuit court felony division chief after just 18 months. Upon leaving the prosecutor’s office, Gary was honored by the police and sheriff for his “Dedicated Service and Personal Concern for the People and Law Enforcement”. With brother Steve, Gary founded Pajcic & Pajcic in 1974. His brother and his three sons carry on Gary’s legacy at Pajcic & Pajcic today. Gary distinguished himself as a great humanitarian in giving back to his community. In addition to being a friend of the Gator Bowl Association, he and his brother Steve gave gifts as $1 million to UNF for the Pajcic Scholarship Endowment that provides scholarships to Paxon High School graduates to attend college there; $1 million to Duval County Public Schools to boost teaching salaries at Annie R. Morgan Elementary School where they attended; as well as contributions to Warrick Dunn and Danny Wuerffel’s foundations. Gary was also very interested in good government and was proud to serve as chairman of the successful campaign to elect (at later re-elect) Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover. Gary Pajcic passed away on August 2, 2006. He is survived by his five children: Curt, Curry, Seth, Ian and Shaara; 12 grandchildren; his mother, brother and four sisters; and his widow, Sallyn Pajcic. Curt and Seth currently serve as members of the Gator Bowl Association.
Bobby Bowden is known as much for his affable charm as he is for this championship teams. Having coached young men in seven decades, he became the second winningest coach in major college football history. Bowden guided Florida State University to more than three hundred victories, two national championships, twelve Atlantic Coast Conference titles, finishing in the top five in the country in 14 straight seasons, and led the Seminoles to Bowl Games in 28-consecutive seasons during his 34-year tenure. Coach Bowden appeared in the Gator Bowl five times and was victorious in each matchup. He brought his Seminoles to Jacksonville an additional five times since 1999 and won each neutral site matchup against BYU, Duke, Alabama and Colorado. His team was also victorious against Virginia Tech in the inaugural ACC Championship game held in Jacksonville. The patriarch of college football’s most famous coaching family, Bowden remains heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; annually awarding The National Bobby Bowden Award to a student-athlete for achievement on and off the field, including his conduct as a faith model in the community. Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He and his wife of 61 years, Ann, live in Tallahassee, Florida.
Michael A. Tranghese
Mike Tranghese, the BIG EAST Conference’s first full-time employee, served as Commissioner of the conference from 1990 to 2009. He was the leader behind the formation of BIG EAST football, which began in 1991. An acknowledged industry leader in television negotiation and production, Tranghese was a central figure in every television negotiation in the league’s history. All of these accomplishments have been achieved in an NCAA environment that has been in a continual state of change. Mike Tranghese moved into the Commissioner’s chair on June 21, 1990 and became an active leader nationally upon his appointment. During the 2002 and 2003 football seasons, he was the lead administrator of the Bowl Championship Series, the group of major conferences and bowls that produces college football’s national championship game and the best possible bowl matchups After establishing BIG EAST football, Tranghese guided the league through a critical time that many observers felt could have resulted in a permanent split among its members. In March 1994, the conference added football members Rutgers University and West Virginia University as its 11th and 12th full-time members and maintained its overall structure. He was also instrumental in establishing a 15 year partnership with the Gator Bowl that begain with the January 1, 1996 Gator Bowl game and continued through the January 1, 2010 game.
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Coach Pat Jones
Coach Pat Jones has thirty-seven years overall coaching experience….ten years in the National Football League, eleven years a major college head coach, ten years as a major college assistant and five years of high school coaching experience. As Head Coach at Oklahoma State, Coach Jones made two Gator Bowl appearances in back-to-back seasons. In the 1984 Gator Bowl, the Oklahoma State Cowboys and first-year Head Coach Jones took home the championship trophy after a sensational finish, with Oklahoma State coming from behind in the final 64 seconds to beat South Carolina 21-14. In front of the second-largest crowd of all the postseason college bowls, a record 82,138, the Cowboys became the first Oklahoma State football team ever to win 10 games in one season. Coach Jones and his Oklahoma State Cowboys returned the next year to play in the 1985 Gator Bowl. A victory, however, was elusive as Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles won the battle and took home the trophy in the 41st Annual Gator Bowl. Following his career as Head Coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Coach Jones used his invaluable experience and opted for the NFL as an Assistant Coach for the Miami Dolphins, a position he held from 1996-2003. During that time, the Dolphins had five consecutive playoff appearances – NFL’s best. Following his tenure with the Miami Dolphins, Coach Jones joined the Oakland Raiders as an Assistant Coach from 2004 – 2006.
Anthony “the Darter” Carter played for the University of Michigan from 1978-1982. In addition to his duties as a receiver, he was also the team’s kickoff and punt returner for most of his career. His 45-yard TD catch and run against Indiana as time ran out to give Michigan a 27-21 victory is considered one of the greatest plays, if not the greatest play, in Michigan football history. In the December 28, 1979 Gator Bowl game, Michigan played North Carolina in a close battle to the end. Carter was selected as one of the Gator Bowl’s Most Valuable Players along with John Wangler even though their Wolverines just missed a Gator Bowl championship by two points, losing to North Carolina 17-15. By his sophomore year, Carter was the Wolverines primary option at receiver. That season he became the first second-year player to be voted Michigan team Most Valuable Player. A three-time All-American, he was named Big Ten Conference MVP his senior season, and finished fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy. Anthony Carter, also known as “A.C.”, finished his college career as the University of Michigan’s all-time leading receiver, and went on to play professionally for two years in the USFL and eleven years in the National Football League, nine with the Minnesota Vikings and two with the Detroit Lions.
Bill Nimnicht, Sr.
Bill Nimnicht, Sr. was a former Gator Bowl Association president, civic leader and long-time Jacksonville auto dealer. Mr. Nimnicht served as president of the Gator Bowl Association and its board of trustees policy advisory committee. As Gator Bowl Chairman, he oversaw the January 1, 1953 Gator Bowl Classic featuring Florida and Tulsa….a game his beloved Gators won 14-13. As a delegate of the Gator Bowl Association, Mr. Nimnicht represented the city at the annual Atlanta Touchdown Club Jamboree almost every January for nearly 10 years and was well known by football personalities all over the country. Mr. Nimnicht founded Riverside Chevrolet in 1941 and, at the time, was the youngest Chevrolet dealer in the country. The name of the dealership was changed to Big “R” in 1968 and to Nimnicht Chevrolet in 1971. Mr. Nimnicht was a strong community advocate and also served as a member of the board of governors of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce; a member of the Convention and Visitors Bureau advisory committee and a member of the executive committee of United Way. The Jaycees named him Outstanding Young Man of the Year in 1953 and he received the Junior Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Award for his work with the Jaycees. Bill Nimnicht, Sr. was, first and foremost, one of the greatest advocates for the Gator Bowl. He was instrumental in laying the foundation and introducing the 6th oldest Bowl game to a national audience. His contributions will forever be etched in Gator Bowl history.