Fulmer to be honored at NFF awards dinner

DALLAS – At the annual National Football Foundation awards dinner, to be held Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City this year, former Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer will be honored as a member of the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class.

Fulmer, named to the Hall of Fame Class in May, became the 22nd former UT player or coach to earn enshrinement. Fulmer is the first Vol gaining entry into the College Football Hall of Fame since offensive guard Chip Kell in 2006.

“Many people have come together to support this year’s event, and their efforts promise to make the event a celebration for the ages. We thank them all,” NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell said. “As a bridge between the regular season and the bowl season, the NFF dinner provides a unique setting where we briefly set aside intense rivalries to join together to celebrate our sport. If you’re passionate about college football, there will be no better place to be on December 4.”

One of the central highlights of the evening is the induction of the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class. This year’s class stands among the greatest of all-time, encompassing 11 All-Americans, one unanimous First-Team All-American, three multi-year First-Team All-Americans, two members of national championship teams, five conference player of the year honorees, five members of conference championship teams, two NFF National Scholar-Athletes, seven first-round NFL Draft selections and the winners of the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Davey O’Brien Award, the Jim Thorpe Award and the Outland Trophy.

The 2012 class includes Charles Alexander (LSU), Otis Armstrong (Purdue), Steve Bartkowski (California), Hal Bedsole (Southern California), Dave Casper (Notre Dame), Ty Detmer (BYU), Tommy Kramer (Rice), Art Monk (Syracuse), Greg Myers (Colorado State), Jonathan Ogden (UCLA), Gabe Rivera (Texas Tech), Mark Simoneau (Kansas State), Scott Thomas (Air Force), John Wooten (Colorado) and coaches Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee), Jimmy Johnson (Oklahoma State, Miami [Fla.]) and R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M).

The College Football Hall of Fame class headlines the event while 15 of the current game’s brightest stars will collect $300,000 in scholarships and vie for the coveted William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, as the nation’s top scholar-athlete.

Fans can watch a live stream of the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, starting at 8 p.m. ET, and the morning press conference, starting at 9 a.m. ET, on ESPN3 and the NFF’s homepage at www.footballfoundation.org.

ESPN’s Rece Davis will emcee the event, and NFF Board Member and New England Patriots owner Robert K. Kraft will provide the welcome address. NFF Board Member and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will introduce the college coaches in attendance.

Tennessee highlights from the past 55 years of the event

10 Years Ago, 2002 - Reggie White, Tennessee defensive tackle, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

15 Years Ago, 1997 - Tennessee All-American QB Peyton Manning claimed the William V. Campbell Trophy.

25 Years Ago, 1987 – Hall of Fame inductees included Tennessee halfback Johnny Majors , Georgia QB Fran Tarkenton, and Southern California guard Mike McKeever.

40 Years Ago, 1972 – Tennessee end Boyden Wyatt was among the Hall of Fame class of 22 inductees.

45 Years Ago, 1967 - Tennessee guard Nathan Dougherty , LSU halfback Abe Mickal, and Texas A&M back Joel Hunt were among the night’s Hall of Fame inductees.